Appalachian Approach Trail is a 25.9 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Dawsonville, Georgia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 25.9 km Elevation Gain: 1,288 m Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
15 days ago

This trail was tougher than we anticipated. The stairs at the beginning with a loaded pack (18 lbs) was tough...went to Springer overnight and back down the next day. Camped in a surprise thunderstorm with hail. it was an amazing lesson in survival! I recommend trekking poles...they saved me on the way down. We took the alternate trail to finish and avoided the stairs...some nice boulder/rock hopping this way. Will definitely do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun trail for a longer day hike, well worth the journey. The hardest part was probably the 500+ stairs at the start of the hike overlooking Amicalola Falls. You can detour it by parking at west ridge and shave a mile or two from your total hike. Just follow the blue marker; the trails are well defined, and there’s many camping grounds for breaks. Definitely check out the camp at Springer Mountain, and take pictures at the AT Plaque! It was a great hike to burn off the calories. Not a difficult one, just long. Do wear high socks as there’s an abundance of poison ivy near the last 1.5 miles to Springer Mountain. My boyfriend and I did it in 7 hours and 30 minutes with three breaks, and lots of pictures of the falls. Packs were only 15 lbs, bring plenty of water and start early! Parking is only $5 a day. Bring cash, honor system. Visitor center is still closed due to Covid-19, so be prepared with everything you need. No bear or large animal sightings, but the bears are commonly found near Springer Mountain.

rocky
2 months ago

The trail was awesome! Sections of the trail was hard and had some beautiful views. We camped at Frosty Mountain which had a awesome view as well.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked the AT approach trail today with my brother. The weather was perfect, overcast skies, cool enough for a jacket. E we hiked from the arch to Three Forks making it an almost 13 mile day. Very few people out today.

hiking
5 months ago

Did this out and back from the top of the falls yesterday. Easy to follow. Some parts are steep but not for very long. Took about 8 1/2 hours for the round trip journey. Not very scenic this time of year.

5 months ago

Started at Springer Mountain and ended at The Lodge at Amicalola. Beautiful hike, trail was pretty easy to follow but blue blazes were a bit sparse for novice hikers like us. On Thanksgiving, the trees were mostly bare, so great mountain views.

hiking
6 months ago

From visitor center to top of falls

hiking
6 months ago

Very nice hike. Did it as an overnight trip with a friend who had never backpacked before, and she did great. Definitely some tough sections but there are always nice breaks to allow you to catch your breath between them. We didn't get on the trail until about 330, so we ran out of daylight and camped around mile 6. There was a stream about 2 miles in, not long after finishing the stairs, that was great for filtering. But then there is no water access until mile 7 - so prepare accordingly!

hiking
6 months ago

First solo backpacking hike-it was tough! Rain made me stop earlier than I would have liked on my first day so day 2 was tough. Seeing that first white blaze up top on springer made the entire hike worth it. Still trying to figure out how it was possible to feel like I hiked uphill both ways. Haha. Highly recommend.

hiking
6 months ago

Magificant day for hiking. Starting @ 8am, 36F with a 15mi headwind, the medium hills and dales throughout the first 4 miles were a perfect challenge. But then came Springer! Get ready to make a constant push to the top with a lung-testing climb. Loved it. Trail was in great shape thanks to the ATC Vol.

backpacking
6 months ago

awesome hike. the waterfall was great. very tough.

hiking
6 months ago

Went from the falls to Frost Mountain. Comes out to right at 5 miles or so. It’s a fun hike but it lacks scenery on this stretch. Hope to come back and finish the whole approach someday

hiking
6 months ago

This one was tough.. seemed like a relentless amount of climbs. Actually I think 7. The last one to springer was my worst. Attempted out and back same day - failed. Camped at one of the many decent sites. Temps fell below 30. So plan ahead, leave early enough for your pace to get back same day. Met several SOBO thru hikers. Great to talk to. I wasn’t quite prepared for this hike, but it’s good one. Had just rained - so water was available. I went thru 6 -16 oz waters and a liter, temps were 30-57.

hiking
7 months ago

I was concerned about trying this hike as my experience as a day hiker has been in NJ for the past 12 months. Yes, the elevation is a challenge but there is an alternating break between lung-challenging climbs and downslopes to catch breaks throughout. Also, I wondered about the 12 HR time expectation posted for this hike so I pushed myself briskly and completed in 7.5 hrs. Fall colors and crisp temps kept me motivated as well as playful skip-hopping on rocks and roots on the well-worn trail. Great hike!

hiking
7 months ago

This is a hard trail. I was attempting to do it again bc I did it three years ago. Unfortunately as I got closer to Springer it started raining more, strong winds and the temperature was 50 degrees. I decided to turn back - I wasn’t dressed right. Definitely suggest hiking it though but check the weather and allow plenty of time.

hiking
8 months ago

Much tougher than anticipated. Steep inclines and very little water sources. Pack extra water just to be safe. Only came across 2 water sources the entire trek. Also nearly walked right into a very large rattle snake laying in the sun on the trail. We wouldn’t have even seen it if it hadn’t started rattling at us. Watch where you’re walking. When it’s all said and done, it was a beautiful trail that proved to be a challenge but enjoyable all the same.

hiking
8 months ago

Butt kicker

hiking
9 months ago

The trail is well marked and made it easy to stay on the trail. First time on this trail and the overall experience was excellent. Plenty of campsites and shelters along the trail, and there are couple of water springs to refill water. The trails to the water springs are marked as well.

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome day, awesome trail. Saw two black bears along the way. You should be in relativity good health to attempt an out and back. As stated in previous reviews there are plenty of camp sites along the way but only three areas to replenish water. I recommend bringing at least 2-3 liters of water with you. Expect to burn over 3500 calories.

backpacking
11 months ago

Lots of good places to camp along the first 5 miles of this trail and shelter close the Springer Mountain! Since we started at the top of Springer and hiked backwards we stopped about halfway along the trail around the frosty mountain area 4.3ish miles from Amicalola Falls and unfortunately picked a campsite that had so much broken glass on the ground! It was a major disappointment bc we were exhausted from our 4 hour hike but then we had to rid the glass from the ground so we could put the tent down safely. Very dangerous. But the other campsites seemed to be much better and cleaner! I loved this hike and the falls were beautiful.

hiking
11 months ago

This trail is no joke . I consider myself moderately in shape but was not prepared for it. Hike with two other friends from Aminicola to Springer for an overnight stay . 30 pound pack was feeling like a 100 after 4 miles. The first part of the trip is a constant upward climb. It was brutal but then leveled out until Springer with a more steady climb. Make sure to register at the visitors center which opens at 8:30 am. Prepare for your water intake especially in Summer . We saw 2 timer rattlesnakes off trail a few yards so be on the lookout. They have some decent tent sites up on Springer and a food locker . Be sure to stow away all food before nightfall from Bears. I’d advise to practice some various distanced hikes first with 30lbs and decent inclines before trying this. They also have a shelter on Springer and with a spring water stop . Be cautious and keep a steady pace . It took me 5 hours up to springer with full gear moderately in shape mid 50 yr old . Made it back the next day in 4 plus hours with a stop at the Hike in for coffee and to wash up. Very nice staff and stop. Donations are appreciated there for stopping by. Overall a rigorous Father’s Day weekend .

hiking
Mon May 27 2019

The sign at the trailhead indicates that the average time to the terminus at Springer Mountain is 6 hours, making for a total 12-hour hike. I was a little concerned about getting back before dark (I started my hike at 11am.) so I hiked at a brisk pace. As a result, I actually finished the entire trail in 5 hours 10 minutes out-and-back. That said, this was not an easy hike for me. I am a beginner hiker so I have little basis for comparison when it comes to more challenging trails. I can say definitively that the segment out has several very steep parts near the beginning, a few points in the middle, and (in particular) at the very end; conversely, the way back is comparatively easier (although still a challenge), but much harder on the knees. In any case, it was a very enjoyable journey; I personally liked the variations in terrain and vegetation. The view at the top of Springer Mountain isn’t the best, as the trees are relatively dense at the top, but it was worth the trip regardless.

hiking
Thu May 23 2019

Tough hike

Fri May 17 2019

Hiked this on March 15/16. It was harder than expected, really gave my ego a bruising. We got a late start in the afternoon so we overnighted reaching Springer the next day. Be aware that the water source you pass in the beginning is the only water source until you reach the shelter. At least, when we went it was, since it was an unusually dry spring. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I'm never hiking this thing again. My legs and lungs were so shot by the time we reached the actual AT there was no energy left. I will say the Approach is probably stunning in late spring, lots of rhododendrons that hadn't opened yet. Also, you can skip the staircase and get to the top of the falls by going through the arch and walking straight instead of taking the left at the sign. It's a bit of an ascent but it beats the stairs. When you reach the top take a left at the gravel service road and you'll reach the falls. The downside is you miss the beautiful views of the falls from the bottom, the plus is you miss the god awful staircase.

hiking
Fri May 10 2019

My brother an I hiked this trail today. We started at Amicalola Falls Visitor Center. We were told it would take 12 hours to go up to Springer and come back down. We only got started at 9:00a, so we hiked pretty quickly to make sure we wouldn’t run out of daylight. Each of us carried a backpack with 2 liters of water and plenty of snacks. We ended up making it to Springer Mountain right before 1:00p and we were back down to the visitor center by 5:00. We spent probably 20-30 min at the top of the mountain. If you’re hiking at a relatively quick pace, you will certainly make it up and down the mountain in way less than 12 hours. Met some very nice AT hikers along the way and there are plenty of makeshift campsites if needed!

hiking
Sun May 05 2019

The AT Approach Trail to Springer Mountain is rated Hard, as it should be! For me, it was the most challenging hike to date. Very steep inclines almost the entire way. Not gonna lie, I said a few cuss words (ok, a lot)! This was a 13 mile day and I hiked for 8.5 hrs straight (yes, I’m slow). My pack was less than 10 lbs but felt like it weighed 100 by the time I was done. I ended my day at the Len Foote Hike Inn, where I spent the night. I met a lot of great people both on the trail and at the Inn. In my opinion, there is so much beauty in the pictures I took but it does not compare to what my eyes have seen. It does my soul good to get away from the chaos and noice even if only for a few days. I’ll end with this....”I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life-And I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” - Georgia O’Keeffe

hiking
Thu Apr 11 2019

Hiked the Approach Trail this past Thursday (Apr 11th), from the arch, out behind the Visitor's Center, to Springer Mtn Gap (north side of Springer Mtn) where we had a second vehicle parked. Started at 10:30am, did the steps (pausing briefly to take pics at the mid level bridge on the falls and the top bridge on the falls. My Gaia app said 9.8 miles total. We finished at 2:30pm. This was an equipment shakedown for me and my hiking buddy, so we had full packs, minus several days of food. I didn't think the 600 steps are nearly as bad as some folks let on. There were a group of fire fighters behind me and my ego said "don't let them pass!" So, I didn't. Of course they had on their fire fighter clothes, which looked really hot, but I had a full pack and I am 65 so there is that. Still, I was proud of them for using those stairs to stay in shape! As for the trail, it seems to be in pretty good shape considering all the recent thru-hiker activity. Overall, fun day on the most famous trail in the world.

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