View Full Version : Where to Begin on the South End?

03-26-2015, 00:21
Would you suggest starting immediately at the trail head at Springer Mountain or would you suggest starting at the Amicalola Falls? I have a shuttle that is willing to drop me off at either place. Please let me know your thoughts and why. Thank you.

03-26-2015, 00:28
It's a matter of personal preference, really. I figure more hiking is good hiking, but the climb and all its stairs from the park seems to frighten a lot of potential thru-hikers away, for some reason. The falls themselves are nice and it takes a couple days before you begin to cross anything quite so scenic, though this depends on what you define as scenic and how fast you hike. There's a register at the state park, which is sort of fun to flip through, but then there's also a notepad/register atop Springer and another again at the shelter, .2 of a mile up trail. If you love hiking as so many of us here do, you would do it.

03-26-2015, 09:06
I started on Springer when I hiked the GA section. I am saving the approach trail for when I attempt a thru hike. For me, the decision simply comes down to what I envision my thru hike to be. I want to experience as much as I can. In my hike's eye, the approach trail is part of the experience. If you just want to get moving northbound, then maybe getting dropped off near the trailhead works for you. There are no rules. I guess it just depends on how far you want to walk before you start. I have also purposely never climbed Katahdin. I have to have something up north waiting for me that I have never done. Every little mental motivation I can use, I try to keep in play. Have an awesome adventure!

03-26-2015, 10:34
If you are not in rush the approach trail and rangers headquarters at the campground are worth visiting. The roads up to the Trail head north of the Springer summit can be muddy and if your shuttle is doing you a favor versus paid and have never been there, I would have them bring you to the approach trail. Of course parking north of Springer, they could easily walk back to the summit and see you at the start of the trail. If they are really up for it, they could drop you off at the campground and let you slackpack up to springer and they would meet you with your pack.

03-26-2015, 11:25
I'd do (and I'm doing) the approach trail. If anything, it's something you haven't seen before and from the pics I see, looks like a pretty spectacular place to visit. Would make for a great start to a long journey, except for maybe all those stairs. Haha

03-26-2015, 11:30
Approach trail is beautiful. May want to climb the first part below the lodge without your pack if that's an option. Lots of steps and there's no point in wearing yourself out if you don't have to.

03-30-2015, 14:36
I haven't thru hiked but I've been to the approach trail and I would never miss it on a thru hike. I've heard some say "Why add on 8 miles that don't count towards the trail?" but really, what is another 8 miles? And you don't want to end the hike with any regrets. You don't want to look back thinking you missed a part of the experience. And again, it's beautiful! It's an amazing way to start a thru hike and I think a better way to reach Springer. Backtracking a mile on the trail to reach the start doesn't sound as fun to me, but it is personal preference of course.

03-30-2015, 18:16
The approach trail is as good as way as any to get to springer.
But, its not part of the AT proper, so do what you like.
Even if you skip the approach, Id still reccomend checking out the falls. I think its a highlight of GA.
Particularly the day after a heavy rain when they are really ripping.

The approach trail is no different from most of the southern AT.
It IS harder than the first day starting from Springer though, a lot of that day is downhill/flat.

03-30-2015, 18:33
there's no point in wearing yourself out if you don't have to.

LOL :) The rest of Georgia did a pretty good job of wearing me out. Then, I got those trail legs everybody talks about!!

Do the approach. When you see that first white blaze, you'll be mentally prepared to start your thru-hike. It helps to get you in the "zone."

I'm glad I did the approach trail, and I regret not doing the Knife's Edge on Katahdin, which is kind of the opposite of an approach trail.