National Forest

he rewards of following a trail through the wilderness in our "neck of the woods" are so significant. Whether you are scouting wildflowers, bird watching, waterfall exploring or just stretching your limbs, your lungs and your imagination, you'll have a very special journey. There are endless opportunities for the novice to the most experienced hiker. For hiking trail information throughout the National Forest in this region, click here.

The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a wilderness footpath that winds over 2100 miles along the crest of the Appalachian mountains. Stretching from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin in Main, the trail passes through fourteen states, 8 national forest, and 2 national parks. Hikers are responsible for the upkeep of the primitive shelters and trailside campsites, located 7 to 8 miles apart. The Trail was originally established by hiking enthusiasts in the 1920's and 30's and it became one of the two initial units of the National Trail System established by the U.S. Congress in 1968.

The Georgia Trail
The Appalachian Trail in Georgia extends some 80 miles through primitive areas of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Although rising at times to elevations of over 4400 feet, the Trail is mostly along the ridges at elevations around 3000 feet. It offers unlimited hiking adventure of exceptional challenge and variety. Ascents and descents are sometimes steep , but are often rewarded by scenic vistas from rocky outcrops and open summits.
The Trail's southern terminus is located atop remote Springer Mountain, near Forest Service Rd. 42. Since this area is difficult to reach by automobile, an 8.5-mile blue-blazed "approach trail" begins at Amicalola Falls State Park on GA 52. Outstanding scenic peaks along the Trail include Big Cedar , Blood , Cowrock, Rocky, and Tray Mountain. one of the many side trails leads from Chattahoochee Gap to the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald. Bly Gap on the Georgia/North Carolina border is the northern end of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.

The Georgia part of the Appalachian Trail is maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, Chattahoochee National Forest.
Reaching the Trail

The is no public transportation to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. The Trail can be reached by way of the six main highways which traverse the mountains; usually the Trail crosses at the highway's highest point, where a large hiking trail sign should be visible. Ample parking is available. These crossings and approximate distances from the nearest town are:

Dicks Creek Gap on U.S. 76: 11 miles east of Hiawassee, 18 miles west of Clayton.

Unicoi Gap on GA 75: 10 miles north of Helen, 14 miles of Hiawassee

Tesnatee Gap and Hog Pen Gap on GA 348 (Richard Russell Scenic Highway): 12 mile northwest of Helen, 15 miles southeast of Blairsville.

Neels Gap on U.S. 129/19: 15 miles south of Blairsville, 19 miles northwest of Cleveland, 22 miles north of Dahlonega.

Woody Gap on GA 60: 15 miles north of Dahlonega.

Amicalola Fall State Park (approach trail) on GA 52: 15 miles west of Dahlonega, 15 miles northwest of Dawsonville, 20 Miles east of Ellijay.

Trail Markings
The Trail is marked throughout it's length with rectangular white blazes. Side trails and trails to water are blue-blazed. Turns in the Trail are marked with double blazes, which indicate caution; signs are placed at road crossings, shelters, and other important intersections. The hiker should almost always be able to see a blaze up ahead; if a blaze in not found within a reasonable distance, stop and backtrack if necessary.

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