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Sassafras Lass
08-13-2010, 11:54
I hadn't previously realized that this was a subject of much debate - I'm interested in the responses here.

Are you folks doing the traditional approach trail from the visitor's center, or are you starting a bit further on and backtracking a mile or two to the beginning of the AT?

takethisbread
08-13-2010, 12:56
I did the whole thing before I started, and glad I did. It's one of the highlights of the trail, and it's not as hard as advertised. The steps are awesome.
Missing the falls would suck. If you struggle with it, then u probably won't last on the trail anyway.

Enjoy!

Turtle Feet
08-13-2010, 12:57
Makes no matter to me what someone chooses to do ...

I'm meeting my hubby at Fontana Dam on March 31st (for our anniversary), so whether or not I do the approach trail will depend on which day I'm able to actually start my hike, since the approach to the first shelter would constitute 1 "day" for me.

TF

oldbear
08-17-2010, 11:56
What I would like to do is start my hike by using the approach trail to the top of Springer and end it by using the Hamlin Ridge Trail into Chimnney Pond Mt Katahdin

khog03
08-17-2010, 14:26
I'm doing th approach trail so my ride doesn't have to drive up the rocky, steep, winding USFS road 42 that takes 2 hours round trip...and because I want to hah

max patch
08-17-2010, 14:56
I think doing the approach is a great way to start a thru. However, there is nothing "wrong" with starting at usfs 42. If friends or family, as opposed to a paid shuttler, is dropping you off I think the best way to resolve this issue is to figure out what is best for them and proceed accordingly.

moondoggie
08-17-2010, 15:17
As my family and I will be staying at Amicalola Lodge the eve of departure, I will do the approach trail. What's another 8.8 miles in the 'grand scheme of things'? Really?

Wish it were tomorrow, as I can hardly wait!

Moondoggie

beautifulpoetman
08-17-2010, 16:31
I'll be doing the approach trail for many of the reasons already mentioned:

1) I want to see those falls, man!
2) I want the trail to kick my ass right off the bat. If I can't hack the approach...?
3) My wife shouldn't have to brave driving the FS roads so I can have it easy on the trail.

There's nothing "wrong" with skipping the approach, but I think the "proper" attitude is seeing it as an opportunity more than an obstacle.

FritztheCat
08-17-2010, 17:50
I originally planned on doing the approach trail but I may not. In October I'm going to do all of GA including the approach trail so when April 1st rolls around, I may decide "I've already done these steps." Then again, I am going to be doing all of GA again so I'll probably climb the steps a second time.

Lilred
08-17-2010, 17:55
I accidently followed the old approach trail and totally missed the stairs. Don't know how I did it, but glad it worked out that way. There's a trail that goes back behind the shelter. There was a blue blaze so I followed it and ended up at a road. Turned left and there I was at the lodge. This was a few years ago. Wonder if the old trail is still marked.

HiKen2011
08-17-2010, 18:11
I accidently followed the old approach trail and totally missed the stairs. Don't know how I did it, but glad it worked out that way. There's a trail that goes back behind the shelter. There was a blue blaze so I followed it and ended up at a road. Turned left and there I was at the lodge. This was a few years ago. Wonder if the old trail is still marked.

It's still there, I hiked up it recently and came down the stairs and back to the visitor ctr.

walkin' wally
08-18-2010, 20:41
I'm going to try the Approach Trail. No good reson though, I just think I will have the time.... Happily unemployed. :sun

DapperD
08-18-2010, 21:17
I hadn't previously realized that this was a subject of much debate - I'm interested in the responses here.

Are you folks doing the traditional approach trail from the visitor's center, or are you starting a bit further on and backtracking a mile or two to the beginning of the AT?You can do anything that you feel, it's your hike! I think the trail from the visitor's center at Amicalola was changed to a series of stairs that need to be ascended in order to reach the top of the falls. I think from what I understand something like 425? I guess some say it is really not that hard. If you don't want to begin by having to climb all those stairs right at the start, from what I learned if you are being driven to Amicalola you can bypass them by being driven to the top of the falls and you can then pick up the Approach Trail from that point, and begin your journey to Springer Mountain from there. You can also backtrack to Springer. The choice is yours. If you are not worried about not beginning at the stone archway at the visitor's center, and don't worry about what other hikers think, begin where you choose to. The official Southern Terminus for the AT is at Springer, so it really doesn't matter which route you choose to get there.:sun

Dogwood
08-18-2010, 21:38
If you like seeing waterfalls, announcing to yourself and the world that you are starting a thru-hike by entering under the stone arch, signing the thru-hiker register at the visitor's center, and weighing your pack do the approach.

You might be amazed how heavy and bulky your gear was when you started and how light and smaller it got as you progresssed into your hike!

walkin' wally
08-19-2010, 07:13
Speaking just for myself I am not announcing anything to the world. I couldn't care less. Just hiking my hike

Sassafras Lass
08-19-2010, 21:16
Yes, we're doing the approach trail as well - if we're doing this, we want the whole kit n' kaboodle experience. Plus, what a great way to start your hike, with a waterfall . . . .

DapperD
08-19-2010, 21:44
Yes, we're doing the approach trail as well - if we're doing this, we want the whole kit n' kaboodle experience. Plus, what a great way to start your hike, with a waterfall . . . . This is the wisdom of the thru-hike adage:"Hike Your Own Hike"! You go about it in the way that suits you and yours the best. As you hike you will make many decisions regarding your hike. The people you choose to spend time with, the places where you choose to camp/stay, the towns you choose to spend the most time/money in, etc...right down to the gear you choose to use/carry. Enjoy yourselves and remember that it is your hike and you and yours deserve to hike it the way that brings you the most joy and happiness:sun

jersey joe
08-19-2010, 22:27
Most people regret the things they don't do more than the things they do.
Do the approach trail.

Helios
08-21-2010, 09:02
I did the approach trail last year and enjoyed it. The falls were worth the visit. The trail from the top to the base of Springer was simple enough, but climbing up Spring and anticipating seeing the first white blaze was way kewl! I remember as I hit the FS road thinking "I wouldn't want to approach Springer any other way than the Approach Trail." To walk back a mile on the AT to start seems a bit redundant. The hike my way to it had a bit of anticipation that was way awesome for me.

mistiaggie
08-21-2010, 10:24
Sometimes I wish I hadn't ('10 here) but then we all looked back and laughed at how hard we thought it was when we really hadn't done anything hard until much, much later. If we went back now it would have been a breeze to do.

Do it, it'll be tough if you aren't used to hiking, but then you'll just laugh at it later.

10-K
08-21-2010, 10:40
Most people regret the things they don't do more than the things they do.
Do the approach trail.

Yep.... I figured I didn't need to hike the approach trail so I skipped it.

Now I've finished the rest of the trail and that little stretch is calling for me to come back...

I will go back and hike it and suggest to anyone with a personality type that had a tendency to regret not doing things to go ahead and get it out of the way.

Tenderheart
08-21-2010, 10:48
No approach trail for litefoot.

Iceaxe
10-06-2010, 19:58
I don't even know anything about the approach trail but all the AT veterans I met on the PCT in 09 made me swear I wouldn't skip it! Actually I am exagerating a bit... Shootout just told me not to miss it. Anyhow I can't wait to see what Georgia is all about! Yeehaa! :sun

a_tigger
10-19-2010, 16:39
the way i see it, is if your starting a thru hike - why WOULDN'T you do the approach??

of course I'm doing it !

Sensei
10-19-2010, 19:36
Definitely doing the approach trail.

walrus5757
11-22-2010, 17:16
I'm in for the approach trail. I don't want to miss anything...including the pain. lol

Big Suave
11-23-2010, 12:29
I started a thru in 09 and did the approach trail then and it definitely kicks you in the arse to start. I'm starting again this spring and I'm not going anywhere near Amicalola!!!! I don't regret doing it the first time though. It put me on pace to meet up with some great people who I am still friends with, 2 of which will be joining me this spring :-)

Buzz Saw
11-23-2010, 12:45
Whats 8 more miles. I figure if I have trouble with that I'm going to have a tough time making it to Maine in 6 months.

jesse
11-23-2010, 15:26
I accidently followed the old approach trail and totally missed the stairs...

Your thru hike doesn't count

Handyman
11-23-2010, 19:40
I'm making preparations to start this journey in early March 2011. I live in N. Georgia so the falls are only about an hour away. If you are making plans for your thru hike I'd like to hear from you.

Praha4
11-23-2010, 19:50
yes, do it, including the staircase. The falls is worth the view, and u can get a photo at the "arch" behind AMSP visitor center. It's a great warmup act for tougher things to come. The option is catch a bumpy shuttle ride to Big Stamp Gap, and then hike southbound about 1 - 1.5 miles to Springer summit, then back northbound.

FORTIS
12-01-2010, 11:05
Yep.... I figured I didn't need to hike the approach trail so I skipped it.

Now I've finished the rest of the trail and that little stretch is calling for me to come back...

I will go back and hike it and suggest to anyone with a personality type that had a tendency to regret not doing things to go ahead and get it out of the way.


Thanks for the insight 10-K. I will definitely hike the approach when starting my NOBO this coming March.

lonewolftrekker
12-01-2010, 15:09
I hadn't previously realized that this was a subject of much debate - I'm interested in the responses here.

Are you folks doing the traditional approach trail from the visitor's center, or are you starting a bit further on and backtracking a mile or two to the beginning of the AT?

I did the Approach Last year and truthfully its a great warm up because it shoves ya right into it all and for 8 miles its worth it.

Blissful
12-01-2010, 16:06
I did the Approach Last year and truthfully its a great warm up because it shoves ya right into it all and for 8 miles its worth it.


That's why I did it in '07. I mean, might as well start your conditioning now. Why put it off? it will only hurt later. :)

Turtle Feet
12-01-2010, 16:18
I'm hoping to - staying at the Hiker Hostel the night before, I heard they take the guest going to the top (up US 42) first? If it meant getting dropped off at the start of the approach at noon or something, I might opt to get dropped off on top.

BUT, yes, I am the type to let it haunt me if I don't....

tf

LIhikers
12-01-2010, 16:23
Why not do the approach trail?
After all, during the course of a thru hike you'll be doing a lot of walking that's not part of the AT if you go into towns.

M1 Thumb
12-01-2010, 16:28
I will be on the approach trail.

TheChop
12-01-2010, 16:48
I did the Approach Trail when I hiked the Duncan Ridge Trail/Neels Gap/Springer loop last April. Didn't realize it was so difficult to start off at Springer. I actually arranged for a shuttle to take me to the top of Springer and then had to postpone for a few days due to my pet's medical issues. Decided the 45 bucks wasn't worth it and walked it. Did the stairs on the way up and the side trail on the way back down. Got to say the stairs are the way to go. I felt like the older trail behind the visitor's center maybe the more "trail" of the two but it's really quite boring and the steps up the falls are an excellent wake up call. Nothing like having your legs completely frosted an hour into the trip.

QuarterPounder
12-01-2010, 17:00
I planned to start my thru-hike with some guys I met on these forums (here and trailplace). They were not planning to hike the Approach so I started a day early in order hike it and meet them at Springer the next day. It was pouring rain when my wife dropped me off at Amacolala State Park and I admit I was beginning to question my decision...until I saw the falls and began to climb the steps.

Despite the weather, it was enjoyable and the time alone helped calm my jitters and allowed me time to acclimate to the start of a lifelong dream. It was a little like a warm-up jog before starting a 10K, etc. Got the juices flowing.

I had not hiked the Approach before so I'm glad I did it.

... HYOH

Tim51
12-01-2010, 17:10
I'm still undecided but leaning towards the FS-42 approach trail. I will just backtrack the mile or so to the trail head at springer.

walkin' wally
12-02-2010, 20:05
I did the Approach Trail when I hiked the Duncan Ridge Trail/Neels Gap/Springer loop last April. Didn't realize it was so difficult to start off at Springer. I actually arranged for a shuttle to take me to the top of Springer and then had to postpone for a few days due to my pet's medical issues. Decided the 45 bucks wasn't worth it and walked it. Did the stairs on the way up and the side trail on the way back down. Got to say the stairs are the way to go. I felt like the older trail behind the visitor's center maybe the more "trail" of the two but it's really quite boring and the steps up the falls are an excellent wake up call. Nothing like having your legs completely frosted an hour into the trip.

With a little luck you will be able to do the 757 steps descending Whitecap Mtn in Maine too. :D Last big mountain before the Big K.

Carbo
12-02-2010, 22:01
Bring it on! If you think omitting this part will make the rest easier, who do you think you're fooling?

ChinMusic
12-02-2010, 22:30
In 2013 I plan on "Blue Blazing" the blue blaze Approach Trail by staying at the Len Foote Hike Inn my first night.

walkin' wally
12-03-2010, 11:14
Bring it on! If you think omitting this part will make the rest easier, who do you think you're fooling?

Huh? I'm not saying to omit anything. HYOH and have a nice day. Approach trail for me.

So Far
12-03-2010, 11:34
Just do it...this is a once in a lifetime journey! Falls are amazing and u get to climb Springer Mt. not drive up it.

Blissful
12-03-2010, 17:00
I'm still undecided but leaning towards the FS-42 approach trail. I will just backtrack the mile or so to the trail head at springer.


It's a dull way to start a big adventure, imo.

:):)

Blissful
12-03-2010, 17:01
Just do it...this is a once in a lifetime journey! Falls are amazing and u get to climb Springer Mt. not drive up it.


B I NG...OH

And Bingo was its name-oh :)

Luddite
12-03-2010, 17:25
Just do it...this is a once in a lifetime journey! Falls are amazing and u get to climb Springer Mt. not drive up it.

Why drive to Amicalola? Walk from Gainesville...don't drive there! ;) Actually just start in Key West.

DapperD
12-03-2010, 19:26
I'm still undecided but leaning towards the FS-42 approach trail. I will just backtrack the mile or so to the trail head at springer.I posted about the approach trail earlier in this thread, but from what I learned about it is if you don't feel the need to immediately start off your hike by climbing up the falls, you can be driven to the top of Amicalola Falls at the park and at the top of the falls pick up the approach trail which will then take you to Springer Mountain and you won't have to backtrack to Springer, if you choose.

trailangelbronco
12-03-2010, 20:23
I have secured a US Navy Jetpack for my ascent of Springer Mountain. I am having one dropped off by helicopter for each 500+ Elevation section on the entire trail.

Don't touch my freakin Jetpacks if ya stumble upon one. I mean it!

Carbo
12-03-2010, 21:57
Huh? I'm not saying to omit anything. HYOH and have a nice day. Approach trail for me.
Wally, that was not directed to you. It happened to appear after your post. Was a general comment for this thread about hiking the approach. No harm done. Hope to meet you on the approach!

Lone Wolf
12-03-2010, 22:09
It's a dull way to start a big adventure, imo.

:):)

not really. most don't make it to maine anyway. no sense doin' extra blue-blaze miles

So Far
12-04-2010, 12:38
Last time I checked u couldnt drive up the "O holy mountain" in Maine...

V Eight
12-04-2010, 13:04
My first section hike was from the approach trail to Unicoi. For me, the hike up the approach trail was the best thing I could have done. By the time I reached the top of Springer, all the little self doubts, what ifs and the little voice in my head asking have you lost your mind? where gone. Its not like the stairs are one continuous climb. There are landings & benches all the way up the falls.

At the bridge at the top of the falls I met a 93 year old man & his wife. He had thru hiked the trail in the early 50s. The light that came up in his eyes as he told me about his accomplishment was just amazing. I regret that I did not get their names, but I will never forget that 15 minuets.

Im one of those guys that is going to hike the entire AT if it takes me 20 years, one section at a time. So for me, the approach trail was a requirement. (ymmv)

Luddite
12-04-2010, 13:19
I'm not even thinking about the approach trail, i'm thinking about my thru hike of the AT. If I end up hiking the approach trail OK cool, if not, whatever.

I think the reason people don't want to hike it is because they know their hike is going to be difficult, especially in the beginning, and would rather put that effort into getting 8 miles closer to Maine. Its not laziness.

-Ghost-
12-08-2010, 21:06
I am planning on doing it. Was considering going straight to Hawk Mountain shelter on the 1st day. Would be like an almost 16 mile day to start. Does this seem excessive? Anyone done it? I already consider myself in pretty good shape but dont want to destroy myself on day 1!

HiKen2011
12-08-2010, 21:14
I am planning on doing it. Was considering going straight to Hawk Mountain shelter on the 1st day. Would be like an almost 16 mile day to start. Does this seem excessive? Anyone done it? I already consider myself in pretty good shape but dont want to destroy myself on day 1!


The approach trail is fairly tough, depending on age and endurance level of course, it took me 5 hrs. at age 49, but from Springer to Hawk MTN shelter is a fairly easy hike. I think there is around 2700 ft of elevation gain from AFSP approach trail to the top of Springer, not to much to Hawk MTN. Happy trails!

CrumbSnatcher
12-08-2010, 21:39
i wonder if most of the SOBO's do the approach trail?

HiKen2011
12-08-2010, 21:43
i wonder if most of the SOBO's do the approach trail?


My guess..........yes. Then head home from the park, after an ayce buffet first of course. Probably easier for them to get a ride home from there I would think??????

CrumbSnatcher
12-08-2010, 21:48
My guess..........yes. Then head home from the park, after an ayce buffet first of course. Probably easier for them to get a ride home from there I would think??????
plus a way to stretch the journey just a little longer

FatMan
12-08-2010, 22:06
I will most likely will never thru, but if I did I would definitely include the approach trail. I have walked the approach trail many times and I still get that tingle when I reach the first white blaze, and being that I live right on the trail I see white blazes nearly everyday.


In 2013 I plan on "Blue Blazing" the blue blaze Approach Trail by staying at the Len Foote Hike Inn my first night.

A most excellent plan.


I did the approach trail last year and enjoyed it. The falls were worth the visit. The trail from the top to the base of Springer was simple enough, but climbing up Spring and anticipating seeing the first white blaze was way kewl! I remember as I hit the FS road thinking "I wouldn't want to approach Springer any other way than the Approach Trail." To walk back a mile on the AT to start seems a bit redundant. The hike my way to it had a bit of anticipation that was way awesome for me.

If you don't want to do the approach trail and you don't want to back track there is another option to the top of Springer. Drive another 1.6 miles past the FS42 Springer parking lot to Big Stamp Gap where the BMT crosses FS42. Take the 1.5 mile BMT hike to the top of Springer.

writeronthestorm
12-08-2010, 22:14
Hell yes I'm doing it. I can't wait.

Tuxedo
12-10-2010, 13:28
I have done both the approach trail and a fs road ride and my $.02. Generally speaking the approach trail is a great way to start a NOBO hike, its a small taste of the next 1500mi. I don't think there's a wrong answer here so yes hike your own hike it is a trail. It's well maintained and a bit of a spoiler alert you won't find Scratz's canned ham.

Any hiker of the AT thats hiked more then a week usually cringes at the thought of blue blazing more then .3 from a white blaze... cough**8.8mi blue blazes**cough

Conclusion all decisions made no mater how many miles hiked in the past or plan to hike in 2011, not hiking is the only wrong way to hike. All gear choices trade one set of complications for another so no wrong choice(cept don't pack your dads 15yr old whisperlite to save $50... my $.02). On a AT thru you cross all kinds of colored blazes leading somewhere and the approach leads to the AT and that makes it the best of all.

doppler10
12-10-2010, 16:21
I did it this year and I was thankful I did. Not only because the falls are beautiful, but because any extra miles you can get in before hitting the ridiculously steep inclines(Wildcat, Rocky, and Unnamed knob, of all things.....seriously, if you go up 600 plus feet in a mile the stupid mountain deserves a name, just my feeling) found throughout GA are helpful.

hobbs
12-13-2010, 01:38
i am going to do the approach trail i would like the most vivid expeoriance of this trip and memory of it kicking my tail!

Sassafras Lass
02-14-2011, 13:16
I did it this year and I was thankful I did. Not only because the falls are beautiful, but because any extra miles you can get in before hitting the ridiculously steep inclines(Wildcat, Rocky, and Unnamed knob, of all things.....seriously, if you go up 600 plus feet in a mile the stupid mountain deserves a name, just my feeling) found throughout GA are helpful.

Honestly that's not too bad - Alum Cave Trail up Mt. LeConte avgs. 540 ft. per mile, that's what I'm used to hiking. Maybe it won't be too hard starting out, then.

coheterojo
02-14-2011, 13:30
I did it. I'd do it again. The falls are beautiful and so is the trail. I hiked the Trail because I like to walk in the woods. These are some really nice woods. Why miss them?

Flaco

zeus307
02-14-2011, 15:40
You got to do the approach trail!!! It is a challenge and fun. That way you can say you did it at a later date. It is not that bad to do.

NCcummins
02-14-2011, 21:53
I did it in October, and plan on doing it again March 12th when I start my hike. I also don't want to make my mom drive up the forest road. Each to their own, but I would suggest doing it. It's a great trail, and an awesome way to start your hike I think.

ChinMusic
02-14-2011, 22:25
...and plan on doing it again March 12th when I start my hike. I also don't want to make my mom drive up the forest road.
Best reason so far. Great son.

Jelly-Bean
02-14-2011, 22:38
I am not planning on the approach trail. I've been training and just don't see the point.

Wobegon
02-14-2011, 23:14
I'll be doing it, because it will be easier for my ride to drop me off and I hear the falls are really beautiful. Also, I think the trail should be summit to summit so you should probably hike to the top of the starting peak.

We'll already all be out there 4-6 months anyway, what's one more day to hike the approach and earn your way to that first white blaze?

No Belay
02-15-2011, 13:53
The approach trail falls are fantastic. The 650 steps suck. If your boots are broke in, do it. If you haven't had time to get them accustomed to your feet and vice a versa, I'd think twice about it. Walking stairs is a lot different than what you'll experience on the trail for quite awhile. When I hiked in 2009, there were 4 hikers in my "bunch" that developed blisters from the falls approach trail and all but 1 of them, OJ, dropped before Neels.

Savor Happy !
TaTonka

CrumbSnatcher
02-15-2011, 16:19
I am not planning on the approach trail. I've been training and just don't see the point.
i wouldn't think of missing the approach trail. theres more bears,mountain lions, & hostels on the approach trail than all of the appalachian trail combined:rolleyes: your loss

10-K
02-15-2011, 16:32
I've hiked the AT but didn't bother with the approach trail. At one point I kinda regretted it but I'm over it.

It's not the AT and there's no shortage of hills to climb between Springer and Baxter St. Park.

takethisbread
02-15-2011, 17:09
I've hiked the AT but didn't bother with the approach trail. At one point I kinda regretted it but I'm over it.

It's not the AT and there's no shortage of hills to climb between Springer and Baxter St. Park.

I think my biggest regret might be gulf hagas. Approach trail was nice, but not special.

10-K
02-15-2011, 18:56
I think my biggest regret might be gulf hagas. Approach trail was nice, but not special.

ha..me too. I distinctly remember making the conscious decision not to take the side trail to Gulf Hagas and feeling like I really should.

I was about tired of hiking by that point.

pattydivins
02-15-2011, 20:02
I am confused, are you saying that Gulf Hagas was not not worth the trip?

Praha4
02-15-2011, 21:18
I've hiked the approach trail 3 time... in Aug-o9, April-10, and July-10.

the difficulty really depended on the heat and humidity, with the summer months being the worst. The falls are beautiful, you can stay a night at the lodge before starting ur hike, log in at the visitor center, weigh ur pack at visitor center, get a picture at the "arch" behind the visitor center....

and I just find hiking the 9 mile approach trail preferrable to backtracking up to Springer Mtn terminus from Big Stamp Gap.

u also never know what kind of gear you will find laying along the approach trail from new hikers struggling with too much pack weight.

takethisbread
02-17-2011, 11:27
I am confused, are you saying that Gulf Hagas was not not worth the trip?


No we are saying we regret not going there. its a 5 mile loop trail off the AT

i think its pretty great if the weather is nice

Oleskool
02-17-2011, 12:17
Will be doing it in the morning, going to walk up Katahdin, might as well walk up springer.

Thatguy
02-17-2011, 12:27
Last year when I started I wanted the whole "AT Experience."

I stayed at the Amicalola Lodge and really enjoyed talking to the other hikers and looking at the beautiful views. I did the approach trail and walked through the arch. I did the steps and took manyy picutures of the falls. I had injured my back that morning at a friend's house, which took me off the trail later. I was too excited to acknowledge the pain I was feeling. I kept hoping it would go away, but it didn't.

I can honestly say I met some absolutely fantastic people on the approach trail. A man I met told me he didn't just want to hike the trail...he wanted to experience it...all of it. He finished and I'm glad we still keep in touch.

10-K
02-17-2011, 12:31
I'm doing a BMT thru hike in April and had briefly considered doing the approach trail then since both the BMT and AT start at the same place.

I quickly came to my senses and am going to start on top of Springer now... :)

The approach trail is not the AT *or* the BMT, why bother?

Oleskool
02-17-2011, 12:34
The approach trail is not the AT *or* the BMT, why bother?


Because you love hiking? And a 8mile trail is a great excuse to stay outside just that much longer?

Curly Rambo
02-17-2011, 12:47
I didn't do it - and it was fun to come back a couple of years later after my thru-hike and do it then. You relive the experience and get to see something new :)

10-K
02-17-2011, 14:09
Because you love hiking? And a 8mile trail is a great excuse to stay outside just that much longer?

:)

Get back with me after you hike a few hundred miles.....

jersey joe
02-17-2011, 15:04
I see both sides of it, it isn't the AT, so if you are setting out to hike the AT as 10-k says, why hike the approach trail? Then again, another 8 miles isn't a big deal. Especially if it is at the beginning of a long thru hike.

For me I had to hike the approach trail after reading about it in "A Walk In the Woods". If it weren't for Bryson's book, I likely wouldn't have hiked the approach trail. Plus it made a really good drop off point when my brother brought me to the trail head. You can weigh your pack and get some good pictures going through the arch.

Jelly-Bean
02-17-2011, 15:11
I'm doing a BMT thru hike in April and had briefly considered doing the approach trail then since both the BMT and AT start at the same place.

I quickly came to my senses and am going to start on top of Springer now... :)

The approach trail is not the AT *or* the BMT, why bother?

I agree! I hike multiple trails in Alabama, I see beautiful waterfalls. I can't wait to get on the actual trail and hike the AT. I can hike here the week before I leave for Springer on any trail. I don't want to delay my hike any further by doing the approach trail.

Oleskool
02-17-2011, 17:29
[QUOTE=10-K;1115947]:)

Get back with me after you hike a few hundred miles.....[/QUOTE


I have, looking forward to more and more and more. Its a hobby, its fun, I love it. Ill take it in 8 mile, 50 mile or 2000 mile chunks.

We more often regret the things we didn't do not the things we did. :):):sun

Oleskool
02-17-2011, 17:42
But that's just me. HYOY. The less people hike the approach trail, the better the trail is for those who do.

Attila
02-17-2011, 18:26
This is what I found at Black Gap Shelter:http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=38519&catid=member&orderby=title&direction=ASC&imageuser=24923&cutoffdate=-1[/IMG]

Attila
02-17-2011, 18:27
Sorry, Let me try to attach my picture again.

Attila
02-17-2011, 18:33
I've hiked the approach trail 3 time... in Aug-o9, April-10, and July-10.

the difficulty really depended on the heat and humidity, with the summer months being the worst. The falls are beautiful, you can stay a night at the lodge before starting ur hike, log in at the visitor center, weigh ur pack at visitor center, get a picture at the "arch" behind the visitor center....

and I just find hiking the 9 mile approach trail preferrable to backtracking up to Springer Mtn terminus from Big Stamp Gap.

u also never know what kind of gear you will find laying along the approach trail from new hikers struggling with too much pack weight.

This is what I found at Black Gap Shelter:

Attila
02-17-2011, 18:37
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=38519&catid=member&orderby=title&direction=ASC&imageuser=24923&cutoffdate=-1

Attila
02-17-2011, 18:41
I give up... How do I attach pictures to Reply?

tirebiter
02-17-2011, 19:12
I'm doing the approach trail just to get a real early sense of just how physically unprepared I am. :D

takethisbread
02-17-2011, 19:48
I'm doing the approach trail just to get a real early sense of just how physically unprepared I am. :D

I've seen quitters on the approach. It's a 4 hour hike, people over do it though with toughness. It's no harder than what follows.

gipcgirl
02-17-2011, 20:43
I've seen quitters on the approach. It's a 4 hour hike, people over do it though with toughness. It's no harder than what follows.
I did not do it last year on my thru and I regretted it, thankfully I am able to have a 2nd chance and I am definately going to do it. My ATeam last year had a saying which I will always remember.
APOTE = A part of the experience. We used it a lot.
Just do it you may not get another chance.

Mags
02-17-2011, 20:46
Because you love hiking? And a 8mile trail is a great excuse to stay outside just that much longer?

That's why I did the approach trail when I did the BMT. :)


:)

Get back with me after you hike a few hundred miles.....


How about a few thousand? :D

In fairness, coming from CO, I did not know when I'd be back to the southern Apps. To me, the approach trail to Springer Mtn is part of the AT lore. Figured a BMT hike was a great time to see it.

It was nothing that spectacular, but it was nice. And, it made the logistics of starting easier.

FWIW, I did not find the approach trail hard at all. Thought it was fairly mellow.

silence
02-27-2011, 17:59
perfectly said. You actually changed my mind with this.

Turtle Feet
02-27-2011, 23:02
Here's a question....

I know there's a registration process at the ranger station at near the start of the Approach. If you start at the top of Springer instead (and backtrack to the first blaze) how do you 'register' as a thru-hiker?

tf

HiKen2011
02-27-2011, 23:25
Here's a question....

I know there's a registration process at the ranger station at near the start of the Approach. If you start at the top of Springer instead (and backtrack to the first blaze) how do you 'register' as a thru-hiker?

tf

Not really sure??????? I guess so long as you register here, with Mountain Squid, you should be good to go!

CrumbSnatcher
02-27-2011, 23:35
register at neels gap

WaitingInTheWeeds
02-28-2011, 03:30
Grumble, grumble...looks like I have to push back my start date a teenie bit. My dad is coming home from Kuwait and wants to spend some time here before he has to go back. On the upside it gives me a chance to spend some time with him and collect an extra paycheck. On the downside it gives me less of a margin of error if I want to make it to Katahdin on time before the park closes...I swear if I get there and the park is closed I'm gonna punch a moose in the face; wait didn't I see that somewhere before....;) My new tentative start date is April 14th or 15th.

jesse
02-28-2011, 05:06
Grumble, grumble...looks like I have to push back my start date a teenie bit. My dad is coming home from Kuwait and wants to spend some time here before he has to go back. On the upside it gives me a chance to spend some time with him and collect an extra paycheck. On the downside it gives me less of a margin of error if I want to make it to Katahdin on time before the park closes...I swear if I get there and the park is closed I'm gonna punch a moose in the face; wait didn't I see that somewhere before....;) My new tentative start date is April 14th or 15th.

I wouldn't give finishing a second thought, when you haven't even started.

BOATS
03-01-2011, 14:56
I agrree with most. I did the Georgia section a couple of weeks ago. Stated at the falls even though I told myself that I was not doing Blue's. I did not want to miss the falls and am glad I did the approach. It is not a hard hike but it is not easy either when packed with winter gear. Stayed the first night (started late afternoon) on Frosty mtn and made it to Black Gap shelter first light next AM for breakfast. Water was a little scarce. Trail from black gap to the terminus is nothing but up hill but not bad. There is also a reason why they call a hill Blood Mountain. The scabs on my knees are proof. Had to get back home for family reasons and postpone my thru hike for now Good luck!!!

blitz1
03-02-2011, 10:58
after reading all these, I've decided I'll do the Approach Trail. With all the miles we're going to do anyway, what's a few more? And it makes it easier on my driver...

Muzzy
03-02-2011, 20:39
Since I am paying a friend gas money to get me there and back, It is cheaper for me to do the approach trail. Plus, what is one extra bit of hiking when there are 2k+ miles left to go?

WaitingInTheWeeds
03-03-2011, 01:31
Since I am paying a friend gas money to get me there and back, It is cheaper for me to do the approach trail. Plus, what is one extra bit of hiking when there are 2k+ miles left to go?

..agreed..and who wouldn't want to start the trail w/ a waterfall.

Like many others, for me its a matter of convenience. My plan is to leave my car at Amicalola until I can get back to it in October. I realize the potential for vandalism exists, but does anyone know if it is really a problem at Amicalola? If so, I many need to rethink things. (sorry my ? is a bit off topic)

HoneyBear
03-03-2011, 06:50
I thought I already put my boyfriend on the list for 2011 NOBOs yesterday. He started on the 13th on the approach trail and just finished the Smokies. My post from yesterday seems to have vanished. His name is Rockhound and he is having a great hike. Could you add him to the list Mountain Squid?

Flutewalker
03-03-2011, 10:06
I am doing the approach trail. I like the idea of starting the AT from the top- with out back-tracking. I am in no hurry- so why not?

Rav4Ron
03-03-2011, 11:35
You can do anything that you feel, it's your hike! I think the trail from the visitor's center at Amicalola was changed to a series of stairs that need to be ascended in order to reach the top of the falls. I think from what I understand something like 425? I guess some say it is really not that hard. If you don't want to begin by having to climb all those stairs right at the start, from what I learned if you are being driven to Amicalola you can bypass them by being driven to the top of the falls and you can then pick up the Approach Trail from that point, and begin your journey to Springer Mountain from there. You can also backtrack to Springer. The choice is yours. If you are not worried about not beginning at the stone archway at the visitor's center, and don't worry about what other hikers think, begin where you choose to. The official Southern Terminus for the AT is at Springer, so it really doesn't matter which route you choose to get there.:sun
The old approach trail is now called the east ridge trail. The new trail goes up the waterfall 729ft. There are 604 stairs to climb to get to the top of the waterfall.

Rav4Ron
03-03-2011, 11:40
I posted the wrong way sorry. The old approach trail goes around the waterfall and comes out at the top of the waterfall. This trail is now called the East Ridge Trail. The New Approach Trail goes up the 729ft waterfall and has 604 stairs to get to the top. I hope that clears things up for everyone.

art gypsy
03-03-2011, 12:55
I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't done it. I have hiked it twice and have some beautiful pics posted on trail journals. I hiked it in the snow in Dec. Since it will be raining this time and I have already delayed my start by 4 days, I will skip it this time.

sherrill
03-03-2011, 13:44
So, for you purists, think about this: If you ride up FS42 and hike the .9 to Springer, you actually start hiking the AT at the parking lot.

stevew
08-28-2011, 20:14
poking around on the internet can lead you to sites you don't originally start out for....which is how I find myself reading this topic today. I bet there are other older discussions on this same subject, but I just got here and haven't looked around too much yet.

I have never thru hiked the AT. It's an appealing idea for me, but not something I can schedule to do. However, I have backpacked some over the years. Usually two, three, four day stuff. And I've spent some time in the area of Amicalola Falls State Park. Back sometime around 1975, two uncles took me there for my first experience. A section from the park (including the approach) on to Unicoi gap. Five days I think, maybe six. It was a long time ago. We left our vehicle at the park, and then hitch-hiked back there from Unicoi when we stumbled out of the woods.

Since that time I've been back to north Georgia many times, spent many vacations camping in the area and riding around on the forest roads in my jeep. I've been to the trail head by way of the forest road and the parking area. That parking lot drop-off isn't anything remotely convenient for someone to leave a loved one standing, and then find their way back to asphalt pavement. So yes, I agree with the idea that it's much easier for your mom to take you to the park instead of the official trail head.

About five years ago, I took my wife back to Amicalola Falls to camp. We packed for an over-nighter and went up the approach trail to camp by the bronze plaque on the summit of Springer Mountain. So, I've walked the approach trail up to the start of the AT twice. I don't recall any instruction about taking stairs. I went through the arch and up the switch-backs behind the visitor center. It still lead to the top of the falls.

I read all the replies to this topic. I thought I'd add my impressions of what's been said so far.

I guess some of the folks reading this discussion would not have ever been to Amicalola Falls State Park. The park exists for it's own merits and is only coincidently near the AT. The area used to be remote, but now it's really just the back yard for metro Atlanta. Hikers may have invested a lot of time and effort in planning a AT backpack. Some of them don't see the park or approach trail as a legitimate part of the AT. There's a few posted comments above mine that strike me that way. They don't impress me as having a good attitude about backpacking in general. But again, I just got here.

I've always considered the approach trail as part of the Appalachian Trail system. I've always considered it THE way to get to the AT. I guess I can understand a difference of opinion. I would always recommend it as the way to plan a big hike. And for someone like me who doesn't like to feel hurried, it would take up my whole day "one".

I'd bet the really experienced participants of this forum know very well that many novice backpackers take way too much load. I think a reason that the approach trail has a reputation (apparently) is because so many green hikers have their first experiences, with a heavy pack, on this section. Maybe some of them have only a romantic idea of what a multi-day (multi-week) walk in north Georgia is going to be. Maybe some of them don't really have the disposition to enjoy the actual doing. And as I recall, you start ascending immediately and continue that for the whole route to the plaque. If you're going to have a problem with gear, boots, or conditioning, or attitude, you'll very likely find out right away.

For me, both back then when I was a young man, and later with my wife in middle age, the bronze plaque bolted to the granite outcrop....that says you've arrived at the terminus of the Appalachian Trail....is really cool. I bet nearly everyone has their picture taken there, standing with their hiking staff, looking out at the peaks in the distance. My old pictures have me looking a little worn out, but proud of my effort to get there.

jersey joe
08-29-2011, 13:01
So, for you purists, think about this: If you ride up FS42 and hike the .9 to Springer, you actually start hiking the AT at the parking lot.
Purists have no issue with hiking parts of the trail twice, we have issue with not hiking parts of the trail at all!

The Face
08-31-2011, 23:15
The approach trail is for suckers.

If you want to count trails that aren't the AT as the AT, we should start counting all the miles I walked home from bars. And all the library visits I made to town. And all the long treks for water. And that time I got lost in PA. Why not count the shakedown hike I did in New Mexico? I also ran from the cops once when I was in college. That should definitely count.

I would worry about walking the AT if your goal is to walk the AT. The not AT isn't really the AT.

-The Face NOBO 2011

ChinMusic
08-31-2011, 23:16
Quite a straw man you created there The Face.