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  1. #1
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    Default Section Hiking Question. Where to start my research?

    Hello all,

    I live in San Diego and work about 15-20 minutes from the start point of the Pacific Crest Trail. I have extensive knowledge section hiking this trail and know enough about California to be able to plan most hikes along the way, but my brother and I are planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail in the spring for about a week and we're clueless about the area.

    Does anyone knew of any towns within the first 100 miles or so of the AT where I'd be able to get off of the trail and back to civilization? I'm a teacher and need to be back to teach class, so I'll probably have 5 days to spend on the hike, but I probably could extend this by a couple days if necessary.

    I figure we'll be going between 15 and 20 miles a day (we're both in great hiking shape). 15 miles a day puts us almost exactly at the Georgia-North Carolina border, 20 miles a day puts us on the tip of Albert Mountain. Any tips on getting off the trail at or around these mileages?

    Thanks a lot for any help you can give!

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Shuttle service was able to drop us off at the Georgia border

    Some are not as comfortable with the road as others.

    There are a lot of road crossings at that end of the trail.

  4. #4
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    http://www.summitpost.org/appalachia...e-chart/593282

    should help.

    almost every "gap" is a road crossing where a shuttle can pick you up.


    Also:

    http://www.atdist.com/
    Last edited by Ethesis; 09-17-2017 at 12:50.

  5. #5
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    Free maps are available too online.

  6. #6

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    Theres lots of people that shuttle...and can get you to an airport or greyhound bus station.

    However, there is no public transporation infrastructure in the southeast like in CA or northeastern US, so expect it to be kind of long distance and pricey.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 09-17-2017 at 12:51.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tflaris View Post
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  8. #8
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    Hey all,

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, I'll start looking into some of the recommendations I saw here. Thanks again!

  9. #9
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    The southern terminus at Springer Mountain is near the towns of Dawsonville and Dahlonega. It is accessible from GA 400 north from Atlanta.

    Averaging about 15 miles a day will get you near Dicks Creek Gap, just short of the Ga/NC border and it is about 16 miles west of Clayton, Ga which is on US 23/441 which can take you straight south to GA 365/I-985 south to Atlanta.

    If you are closer to Winding Stair Gap (US 64) you are just west of Franklin, NC which is also on US 23/441 which you can take straight south to Atlanta.

    For the end of your trip, Ron Brown in Franklin, NC, owns a motel and runs shuttles and could be of great use and information.

    There are numerous ways and shuttles to get from the Atlanta airport (ATL) to Springer. Some of them involve taking Marta (the transit rail system) from Atlanta to the North Springs station.

    Keep us posted on your planning, it's a great section.

  10. #10
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    This may be a helpful website: http://www.atdist.com/

  11. #11

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    There are two towns which are common stops, Hiawassee, GA at mile 70 and Franklin, NC at mile 109. It cost me $80 for a shuttle from Hiawassee back to Gainesville (the closest town with a Amtrak and bus station). Franklin is a little more remote, so getting to anywhere you can get back home from will likely cost bit more. As noted by others, the trail has a lot of road crossings and shuttle drivers can pick you up (or drop you off) at most of them - for a price. Cell coverage can be spotty, so if you really need to make a call, do it from a height of land.

    If your used to western trails, you will be in for quite a shock as to how much more difficult the AT is. 15-20 mile days maybe a bit more then you can comfortably handle. Weather in the spring can also be a factor, as it is often very wet and cold. Shelter spacing can also influence daily mileage.

    The AT is very crowded from March to the end of April. Early May is a good time for a week long trip as the weather will be more moderate and the shelters and other campsites much less busy. And by May, the pollen levels maybe down to tolerable levels, which can be quite extreme in mid to late April. Tree pollen got to me this spring when I was down there in late April.
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  12. #12
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    Hello everyone,

    Once again I'd like to give a big THANK YOU to all the awesome people that took time to post. I really needed to know where the closest towns were where I could get off the trail, and a couple of you gave me the exact information I needed. A big thanks to everyone who also suggested different books or websites to use as references; I'll be sure to check those out.

    As of now it looks like I'll take a couple of extra days and hike to Franklin, NC at mile 109 and set up a shuttle ride when the start of the hike gets a little closer.

    A bit of random info here: my mom was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer over the summer and passed away from it 3 and a half weeks later. She introduced me to my love of the outdoors and we used to hike small parts of the AT when we lived in Maine. She had other health problems and we made a promise to each other to hike parts of the AT together once she got better. This trip will be a nice little tribute to her.

    Thanks again for your help everyone, it really means a lot.

  13. #13
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    Get hold of some decent state maps or the DeLorme Gazeteer for the state you're interested in. They'll almost certainly show the AT, along with all its road crossings and nearby towns. The DeLorme Gazeteer is a section hiker's best friend.

  14. #14
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Stay informed about the pace of cleanup after the hurricane. It may be slow and you may need to choose a section further north. Georgia apparently is virtually impassable right now. The early NOBO hikers next year will have good information on the trail conditions.
    Don't overlook Asneville, NC as an exit airport.
    Good luck.
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuaeweston View Post
    This trip will be a nice little tribute to her.
    Joshua - so sorry about your loss, it's great that you have fond memories of your mother introducing you to the outdoors.

    I hope your hike goes well. Franklin is a great trail town to end your hike - be sure to grab a t-shirt at Outdoor 76 (a good outfitter on Main St) and then walk down a couple blocks for a celebratory beer (or 3) at The Lazy Hiker brewery!

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