It is SUMMER TIME!! Which means it is the perfect time to cherry pick a section of the Appalachian Trail to hike. Here is a mini guide to several popular section hikes in Georgia that offer something for all levels of backpackers. Which one is right for you?!
The Over Nighter
Not everyone is ready for a hike that will test their limits. For those who are wanting to get out there and try their hand at backpacking for the first or second time, the over nighter is the perfect section hike. We suggest hiking from Woody Gap to Tesnatee Gap, covering a 16.17mi stretch of trail. To set shuttle, drive up to Tesnatee Gap and drop your first car off, then drive down to Woody Gap. This breaks down into two 8mi. days and requires a two day food carry. Start at Woody Gap and take the slow and steady way up to the summit of Blood Mountain, staying at the shelter and taking in the views of the beautiful summit. (Remember that camping on Blood Mountain requires a bear canister from March 1st to June 1st.) On the second day, you will descend the mountain into Neel Gap and be able to get a refreshing cold beverage at Mountain Crossings. Continue on north, taking a break at both Wolf Laurel Top and Cow Rock to soak in the wilderness around you before dropping down into Tesnatee Gap to your car.
The Georgia Classic
For those who have a couple of days and are looking for the classic Appalachian Trail experience in Georgia, hike from Springer Mountain to Neel Gap. This 31.7mi. hike takes 3 to 4 days for most hikers. Drop your first car at the Bryon Reese Trailhead Parking and drive down to the Springer Mountain Parking Lot. This hike requires 3+ days of food to be carried and you can break down the 30ish miles how ever you would like, whether you choose to shelter hop for the social aspect of it or camp at more secluded areas. This hike ends at Neel Gap, where you can pop into Mountain Crossings for some refreshments and to spruce up before you drive home.
The Full State
If you are looking to challenge yourself and have the time to set aside for a week or so in the woods, hiking the full Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail is for you! Drop your first car at Deep Gap and drive down to Springer Mountain to begin your hike. This is an 85.4 mi. section of the Appalachian Trail that traverses all of Georgia and takes you just into North Carolina. There are two spots to resupply along this 8 to 10 day trek. The first portion requires carrying 3+ days of food to Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap where you can get your first resupply. From there, carry 3+ days of food to Dicks Creek Gap, where you can get a ride into the town of Hiawasee, Ga to resupply again for a final 2 day food carry to Deep Gap in North Carolina. Don’t forget to get your Appalachian Trail Georgia Patch for a souvie!!
Good Things To Know
If you don’t want to bring two cars along, consider calling a shuttle driver to help you set shuttle before you hike. We suggest parking your car at your final destination and having a shuttle driver drive you to your beginning point. That way you can be on your own time schedule and when you finish your hike, you can head home immediately. Need help finding a shuttle? Call us up and we will give you a list of folks in the area who do shuttles!
Always allow yourself extra time when planning a hike so that it can be a leisurely and fun hike. Also, always pack an extra meal or so in each resupply just incase!
Bring a map! But don’t go over board. Anti Gravity Gear make the most perfect section hiking maps. The Georgia portion gives you all the info you need on a small, water resistant strip of paper. Your shelters, camp sites, water resources and road crossings are all marked and there is even an elevation profile. Pick one up before you go!