Appalachian Trail State Profile: Georgia

 The AT in Georgia is 79 miles long, starting at Springer Mountain outside Dahlonega, and stretching to the North Carolina border right before Bly Gap.


Long, sweeping climbs to get your hiker legs under you. The trail is wide and smooth, and mostly well graded… with a few butt-kicker climbs that will feel especially tough for NOBOs just getting their trail legs under them.


Mile 0: Springer Mountain

You know this one.

Mile 28: Blood Mountain

The view from atop Blood Mountain. Photo courtesy Zoë Symon.

A landmark climb that might feel decent on the way up and brutal on the knees on the way down. This is the first major climb for NOBO hikers.

Mile 31: Mountain Crossings

Photo via Preston Elliot.

You will be glad to see this full-service outfitter and hostel after your descent from Blood Mountain. Home of the famous shakedowns and the first place NOBOs come to for warmth and accommodations. Located right on the trail at Neel Gap.

Mile 35: Wolf Laurel Top

One of the best place to camp and catch a sunrise. Take a break from shelter life and pitch a tent up here.

Mile 52: Helen

photo via

Many hikers hit Hiawassee as their first trail town, but for those looking to jump off a little earlier, Helen is a charming stop. Helendorf River Inn has a solid thru-hiker rate with quality accommodations. Bodensee offers superb German food, and there are plenty of unique shops and places to eat. Resupply at Betty’s Country Store.

Mile 58: Tray Mountain Shelter

View from Tray Mountain shelter. Photo: George Turner

The views from the campsite are incredible, and it’s worth the .2 off-trail hike to get there.

Mile 69: Hiawassee

Enjoy one of your first (of many) AYCE buffets in Hiawassee, plus a good resupply, and a stay at the hiker-friendly Budget Inn. This is an easy hitch from Dicks Creek Gap, plus many places offer shuttles. Daniel’s Steak House and Georgia Mountain Restaurant will fix that newfound hiker hunger.

Mile 69: Top of Georgia Hostel

For many hikers, this is their first taste of staying in a hiker-focused establishment on the AT. This hostel employs former thru-hikers who will be eager to impart their sage wisdom on NOBOs and celebrate with SOBOs. They have a separate suite for hikers with dogs (dog beds included!), as well as gear and food available to purchase. Named one of The Top Hostels on the AT in 2016.

Mile 73: Plumorchard Gap Shelter

Photo via

The last shelter before the North Carolina border is spacious, scenic clearing off the trail, and the first place many NOBO hikers start to feel settled into the thru-hiker life.

Hike the Georgia AT in 90 seconds

Video: Josh Johnson

Straight from the thru-hikers

A underrated state that will put you in the right mindset for your thru hike, plus huge crowds of (NOBO) thru-hikers – Justin Jay

An enjoyable, interesting take on Freshman Year. I remember it being some of the hardest trail due not having my legs and the really quite shocking realization that walking the AT and going for a fun hike were two different things and that the difference between them is vast and treacherous – Rhys Hora

The landscape was easy and well manicured compared to much of the rest of the trail. Also, we were SOBOs and hiking in not peak season, but everyone was extremely friendly and accommodating. – Ashley Michael

Why are there no switchbacks? Lots of water, many off trail shelters/campsites, and so much trail magic…. plus Sassafrass kicked my ass. – Shutterbug

Must read: Georgia’s Best Day Hikes on the Appalachian Trail​

Georgia Dispatches

Even More

All mileages taken from The 2018 AT Northbound Guide, by David “AWOL” Miller

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Comments 2

  • Clay Bonnyman Evans : Oct 4th

    Not saying it was *fun,* but the short, steep brutal climb known as Jacob’s Ladder certainly disabused me of any notions that the AT was going to be “easy” because the mountains are older and more worn down (as we’re literally taught in school in the Rocky Mountains).

    And it’s the beginning of a great adventure!

    ~Pony AT’16


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