Great view! Make sure you stop by Outdoor 76 in Franklin, NC. They are great people. You can find most any hiking gear there. If you need any information about the area or AT they are happy to help.

I recommend starting clockwise on the Long Branch Trail, to avoid the brutal northbound ascents up to the Albert Fire Tower and the Standing Indian summit. The LBT begins directly across from the Back Country Info Center (basically, a bulletin board) at the Standing Indian Campground.

Thanks to the hard work of the Nantahala Hiking Club, both the Kimsey Creek and Long Branch connector trails are in excellent condition - well-blazed with single blue bars and no major blow-downs to maneuver.

The AT section of this loop is nestled primarily in the Southern Nantahala Wilderness - 90% of which was affected by the fires from the Fall. Fortunately, it was a beneficial burn, clearing out much of the underbrush and leaves......and revealing many food and fuel cans "lost" on the trail over the decades!

The fire tower is by far the panoramic highlight of the trek, although there's some nice ridge walking in parts that benefit from the leaves being down.

These days, any loop incorporating the AT means you'll have plenty of opportunities to bump into other folks. Even in February, on a drizzly, foggy weekend, the shelters and major camping spots were packed!

A well-marked and idiot-proof loop.

Great section of the AT in Ga. it's rated hard but I would consider it moderate at least the first 2.5 miles that we did. Very enjoyable!

Very difficult. Got caught in a lightning storm and trashed my knee coming out in a hurry with a thirty pound pack in but, hey it was an adventure to add to my list!! So DO IT!!

My first start on the AT

did the section from blue ridge gap to rich knob. this is a fantastic trail in the georgia southern nantahala wilderness. i climbed a few hundred feet out of the gap and then the trail leveled off and followed a nice ridge past wheeler knob. the trail was dry with great footing as opposed to the muddy mess around the blood mountain area. rich cove gap was a great place to take a lunch break. i encountered more than a dozen happy hikers headed north.

Great hike. Beautiful dense forestry. Moderate to Hard. Love this hike and will be back again! Great intermediate challenge!

hiking
2 years ago

Strenuous at times but well worth it with the changing leaves. Last part of ga to complete.

I hiked this section in 2002 during my thru-hike and have been back numerous times since. My last hike was with a novice backpacker. It was still a challenging section for me at the age of 65. Buzzard Knob is straight up without any switchbacks. Nice section of the AT in the fall for the colors or in the winter for the awesome views.

but, of course, part of the Appalachian Trail

Beautiful section. It's surprising how drastically the landscape changes through this section. You know when you're at Bly Gap (the GA/NC border) when you see the curved, gnarled oak in the middle of the trail. Plumorchard Gap Shelter was one of the nicer shelters I've used though there were the normal mice. If you don't want mice running across your face sleep in a tent. I also saw lots of places where wild pig had been rutting.