View Full Version : Approach Trail Dayhike/Loop Suggestions

Teacher & Snacktime
02-16-2014, 14:58
Snacktime and I want to "experience" the Approach Trail out of Amicalola Falls, but I have no real desire to hike 8+ miles uphill with a pack and then worry about shuttles/transport back to the car. So I figure a day hike it in order.

If we start at the archway, and want to see the falls and hike some stairs, is there a good turn-around point that anyone can recommend? Or can anyone just suggest a nice dayhike that begins and ends at the arch and is under 8 miles? And is not too strenuous?

02-16-2014, 15:17
Considering there is about 1000 steps up to the top of the falls, strenuous gets going in the first half mile. If the falls are flowing then maybe play tourist at AFSP then go up and do something like the BMT/AT loop and/or Long Creek Falls near Three Forks. I personally love that area. I used to trail run the approach trail and AT up and back to Hawk Mtn. The AT section was far more scenic than the Approach trail IMHO.

Teacher & Snacktime
02-16-2014, 15:34
I printed up the AFSP trail map and can see a nice loop from the visitors center to above the Lodge & Falls area, then back down the Creek Trail, but this looks rather long and the stairs are above it. Where is the arch located?


02-17-2014, 09:33
The arch is located behind the visitor's center, down the road from the base of the falls. The approach trail is not especially senic, but if you're looking for an overnight hike without having to carry heavy packs, consider the Len Foote Hike Inn: http://www.hike-inn.com.

02-17-2014, 10:07
I'm unsure if this is what you are looking for, but once you get to the top of the stairs you can take a right and walk back down to the visitor center via a steepish hill. I don't remember what that trail is called, but when we did the approach trail we didn't take the stairs. We walked (I believe) to the right after we walked under the arch and proceeded to the top via the steep hill. (We had done the stairs prevously and where intent on walking to Springer instead of seeing the falls). We had a car waiting at Springer Parking area.

Sorry if that is unclear, or if I misunderstood what you where asking.

Rain Man
02-17-2014, 10:43
...if you're looking for an overnight hike without having to carry heavy packs, consider the Len Foote Hike Inn: http://www.hike-inn.com.

Gotta agree with this one. Wife and I did the Len Foote Hike Inn at Thanksgiving '13. An easy hike to the Inn. I did the AF stairs; wife met me at parking lot at top of stairs. I'm an old fat guy and didn't find the stairs too bad.

We did not do the loop, but it would have been easy to make this a loop with the AT approach trail, and many people do, many as a day hike. If you stayed at the Hike Inn two nights, you could easily tag Springer as a 4-mile hike to the top and back to the Inn, which is one of the most interesting and beautiful places to stay along the whole AT itself, IMHO.

Of course I've got a link to a photo album of our hike, should you wish to see photos. :)



Teacher & Snacktime
02-17-2014, 11:22
Yes, Rainman, I'd love pics.

I find the map (posted above) a tad confusing, since according to its scale it's about 8 miles from the Visitor's Center just to the Falls....and I know that's not accurate. I assume that the archway is at the VC at the base of this map....so if one takes the Approach Trail Option, how far is it to the Falls/Lodge area?

My thought was to hike from the beginning of the Approach Trail to the Falls (in the hope that the notorious stairs would be part of it), then turn back and take a different trail back to the car.

max patch
02-17-2014, 12:11
right at 1 mile to the top of the falls, 1.2 miles to the paved road that goes to the lodge.