View Full Version : To approach or not to approach

05-09-2015, 21:02
Hello all,

I have been planning on skipping the approach trail, and just going straight for the AT trailhead to start my hiking, mainly because I am planning on having 4weeks to hike and I just figured doing the approach would just be one less day that I could be on the trail. But now that I am going to be staying at the amicolola falls lodge and the approach trail starts right there in the parking lot I have been reconsidering doing the approach trail. I have heard that there has been a lot of money spent on it, and that it is a very scenic hike.

So what I am asking for from all of y'all is if you could share your opinion of doing the approach trail VS. getting an extra day on the trail.

Thanks in advance

PS:I will be starting my hike Tuesday, May the 12th

05-09-2015, 21:07
I know we briefly talked about this in another thread, but my suggestion would be to slack pack the approach trail if only for the scenic views. The "stairs" up the falls are a bit of a kick in the nuts if you aren't prepared for them, and if you're on a limited time budget it might not be worth it to wear yourself out unnecessarily.

Don't forget to get your pictures at the bottom though, there's a scale and sign at the welcome center!

Sarcasm the elf
05-09-2015, 21:10
The approach trail is absolutely worth hiking, heck it's worth it just for the fact that you get to walk past the falls. I section hiked it two years ago and thought it looked like a lot more fun than getting driven up the forest road.

As a side note, of you are leaving your car there, do not park it at the lot on the forest service road near Springer, there were two cars in that lot with windows that had been busted out when I passed by in 2013

05-09-2015, 21:26
Thanks for the suggestions, and no I am getting dropped off so I won't have to worry about my car being destroyed lol (thankfully).

I heard that the approach trail is a kick in the ass like you mentioned, and I can see the pro's And the con's of doing it. A Pro would be that it would be a good way to start getting my trail legs. The Con would be that I am packing over a weeks worth of food for my start, so my pack is heavier than it will normally be (42lbs with 2lts of water) (I am starting with a pack of tuna/salmon in addition to my Knorr's for every night at first to try to help with muscle recovery at the start, then I will switch to more calorie dense food (IE...Spam) for the remainder of my hike. I am going to be just over 36lbs once I eat the food I am starting with and resupply with a more standard food supply.


Lone Wolf
05-09-2015, 21:31
skip the approach

Sarcasm the elf
05-09-2015, 21:37
If you are so inclined, I believe you can still send a mail drop to Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap, which would mean you would only have to carry 3-4 day of food to start.

05-09-2015, 21:49
Approach trail is no different really from the rest of GA, NC, and TN.
The first day on the AT from springer is pretty easy, after that, its all the same pretty much. Up, and down, and up and down.
The falls are worth seeing, I think they are a highlight of GA, but you dont have to hike the approach to see them.

It is just one way to get to Springer.
My personal view, is Springer is a little more special to reach if you worked to get there, rather than driving up. Kind of like Wayah bald, or Clingmans dome , or Beauty spot, or Roans balds, etc.

Mail all but your first couple days food to MX.

05-10-2015, 07:46
The approach trail has become almost iconic if for no other reason than the discussions about doing it or not doing it. The actual doing it or not is of no consequence to anybody but yourself. For me I've done it at least 10 times and enjoy it every time.

Pedaling Fool
05-10-2015, 08:07
...I just figured doing the approach would just be one less day that I could be on the trail...

Thanks in advance

PS:I will be starting my hike Tuesday, May the 12th
If you were dropped on most sections of the AT or the approach trail, you wouldn't even know the difference. They are the same thing, other than the color of the blazes and that the Amicalola falls is on the approach, which is kind of unique, because it's on the top 100-list of waterfalls in the U.S., other than that, they are exactly the same http://www.newenglandwaterfalls.com/top100uswaterfalls.php

05-10-2015, 08:16
For me, the falls are a memorable part of the AT. I don't know why some folks say to skip the approach.

05-10-2015, 08:20
If you are staying at Amicolola Falls Lodge it would be silly not to hike the approach trail. I mean it starts right there and get to the AT without climbing Springer you'd have to arrange for a shuttle etc. Plus, if you are going to be hiking the AT...why the hell fuss over an 8 mile approach trail?just do it!