How to Get To Springer Mountain

“Where’s Springer Mountain? You mean the Southern Terminus of the AT? That’s easy… it’s in Georgia. In the woods. Actually wait I don’t know.” Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Luckily, this particular trailhead happens to be popular enough that there are quite a few ways to get there….  it just takes some piecing together.

**Important Note for 2019**

More than ever, the ATC strongly recommends NOBO hikers begin their journey at Amicalola State Park rather than driving the dirt road to the Springer Trailhead.

Both the eastern and western routes to Springer can be hazardous in winter, and conditions can be poor during the spring freeze/thaw cycle, especially during wet years. Both routes can develop deep ruts that can turn into a quagmire that creates hazards, especially for passenger cars. The more traffic, the deeper the ruts, and the more difficulty the Forest Service has re-grading them.

There is also the concern that on busy days, the Springer Mountain parking lot fills up and cars line the narrow forest service road in both directions, creating safety hazards.

The ATC is now encouraging AT thru-hikers to start at Amicalola Falls State Park instead of Springer Mountain. Hikers can avoid poor road conditions or getting vehicles stuck, as well as avoid contributing to worsening road conditions and clogged parking.

Another factor the ATC has brought up is that by starting at the Springer parking lot and hiking to the summit and back, you are traveling a popular section of trail twice, in effect doubling the traffic. Taking the approach trail one-way from Amicalola Falls State Park can help reduce the foot traffic in addition to car traffic.

Hikers starting at Amicalola Falls State Park can drive on paved roads and at lower elevations, they can pick up their hangtag and participate in a brief thru-hiker orientation, as well as learning about trail conditions and updates. They can weigh their pack one final time and sign the register, and finally, get a photo under the stone arch before hiking past beautiful falls.

The Basics

1) Amicalola State Park: Hikers starting here will complete the Approach Trail, which is about eight miles heading north to the summit of Springer.

2) Springer Mountain Parking Area: One mile up Springer and back to the parking lot. Seriously though, see above.

The cost of getting to Springer varies entirely on your trip strategy. Hikers who plan to utilize a shuttle service should budget anywhere from $40-$100 for the ride. Factors include pickup location, number of people traveling, and what service you use. MARTA, Greyhound, and AMTRAK tickets will run between $10-$40 depending on distance of trip.

Starting Locations:

*Recommended: Amicalola State Park: 418 Amicalola Falls Lodge Rd, Dawsonville, GA 30534 

Springer Mountain Parking Area: 34.637467, -84.195317 // N34 38.248 W84 11.719

Nearest Airport:

Atlanta International Airport (ATL) (89 miles south of Springer)

Nearest Town with Public Transportation:

Gainesville (48 miles south of Springer)
Super 8
Hilton Garden Inn
Motel 6

Nearest Decent-Sized Town:

Dahlonega (22 miles south of Springer)
Barefoot Hills (Formerly Hiker Hostel)
Holiday Inn Express
Quality Inn

Getting Anywhere from the Atlanta Airport 

To reach Gainesville from the Atlanta airport, you will need to take the MARTA to the Greyhound stop, or airport shuttle to the AMTRAK station. If you have a bigger shuttle budget, many shuttle services will pick you up from the Atlanta Airport or the North Springs MARTA stop.

  • Airport → North Springs MARTA Stop: North Springs MARTA is a popular place to be picked up from shuttle services. (See below.) MARTA provides bus and train services to the Atlanta area, and can be found at Ground Transportation at the Atlanta airport.

Shuttle Services

Have your credit card handy in case services want payment over the phone. Call early to make sure you can get the shuttle on the same day your flight gets to Atlanta. Nearly all of the listed services will pick you up from the MARTA North Springs station, Gainesville Greyhound or AMTRAK depots, or the Atlanta airport.

Richard Anderson:  Pickups at Atlanta Airport, Gainesville public depots, and many points along the AT. Will shuttle to points in North Carolina, and offers options for slackpacking and section hikers. Accepts texts, emails, and calls.
Cell: 404-408-2524; Home: 706-276-2520

Barefoot Hills (formerly Hiker Hostel: Offering shuttle services from the North Springs MARTA station all the way to trail crossings along the Georgia section of the AT.

Suches Hiker Shuttle:  Based out of Suches, Georgia. Dogs allowed.

Survivor Dave will pick you up at transportation depots or MARTA stop.
678-469-0978. Call between 8am-8pm EST. No email reservations.

Ron Brown: Based out of Ellijay, Georgia. Timely response time to email, also accepts texts.
Home: 706-636-2825; Cell: 706-669-0919 

Hank Carter: Based out of Atlanta, GA. Rides to and from airport and public transportation. Pets are allowed and and he can stop for groceries and some supplies if needed.
(678) 525-3497

David Tyler: Rides from Atlanta to Springer or Amicalola

Alpine’s Hiker Shuttle Services: Service to Springer and Amicalola from public transportation depots and Atlanta.

Scott Dowling: Pickups from Atlanta or MARTA stations, as well as Gainesville AMTRAK or Greyhound stations.

Sally and Joyce: (reader submission) They live outside Hiawassee and can be reached before 7pm EST at 706-896-9339 or at [email protected]

Bill’s Wheels: Full-service shuttle with multiple pick-up options. Note: Site has not updated for the 2017 season.

Driving Directions:

Dahlonega to Amicalola State Park

From Dahlonega, take Hwy. 52 West about 20 miles to Amicalola Falls State Park. Parking is available at the visitor’s center.

The Hike: The trail departs from the iconic arch and follows blue blazes past the towering waterfall and through the state park, intersecting with several other trails. There are a few shelters along the way. You will reach Springer after about eight miles of hiking. Continue north to begin your journey.

Dahlonega to Springer Mountain Parking Area 

*NOTE:* User input has mentioned poor conditions for this route. Seriously. Start at Amicalola.

Head west on Highway 52 for about nine miles. Turn right by a sign for Nimblewill Baptist Church. After about two miles, turn right onto Forest Service Road 28-1 by a sign for Nimblewill Gap.  In about two miles, the road forks and you head left onto Forest Service Road 77 and drive for about five miles to Windingstair Gap. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 42 and drive for about two miles before you see the parking area on your right. 

Alternately, drivers can stay on 52, turn right onto Roy Road, then right onto Doublehead Gap Rd.

Keep in mind that weather and changing road conditions can alter routes at any point. It’s a rough road, so be sure to do your research before heading out. For alternate driving directions, check out the Forest Service page here.

The Hike: From the Springer Mountain Parking Area, follow the white blazes south for about one mile to the summit of Springer. Turn around, and head back to the parking lot, wave at the people who are probably still standing there, and continue north.

There you have it! Hopefully nobody’s hike was ever cancelled because they couldn’t find Springer Mountain, but you never know. If we left out any helpful info or your favorite shuttle service, feel free to leave it in the comments.

 

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Comments 18

  • JASH : Jan 11th

    Great article about resources to get you to Springer Mountain.

    Reply
    • V : Jun 22nd

      Awesome info
      PAddys taxi is a good reliable taxi service that offers trail transportation
      706-300-7143
      As well as general taxi service in dahlonega and cumming ga

      Reply
  • Jody Chancey : Jan 13th

    Great information. I will be hiking from Navarre, FL and will approach Springer from the Pinhoti and Benton MacKaye trails.

    Reply
    • Ash : Jan 20th

      I’m also from Navarre Fl and going to hike from the falls in may.

      Reply
  • Haiku : Jan 21st

    I took Uber from Marta North Springs last year! It cost only $40. Yes, my driver actually took me on the dirt roads all the way to the parking lot at Springer. Get some other people in on it and it will be super cheap.

    Reply
  • Neon : Dec 2nd

    Hikers Hostel has been bought and turned into a more upscale joint with upscale pricing. The $80 hiker special is now $210 for example.

    Reply
    • Maggie Slepian : Dec 4th

      Thanks for this info!

      Reply
  • Roger Robinson : Feb 3rd

    Hi is there any info on getting to Dahlonega ?
    all i see is getting to Gainsville , which is the prefered town
    Or it it that Only Gainsville has Public Transport ?
    Thanks

    Snailtrainer

    Reply
    • Wayne Blake : Apr 8th

      I run a hiker transport if I can help give me a call 7069737382

      Reply
    • Keith : May 30th

      There is no public transportation in or to Dahlonega;

      Reply
      • Misty : Jun 22nd

        There is Transportation in Dahlonega. It’s Paddy’s Taxi!

        Reply
      • Vpaddys taxi : Jun 22nd

        PAddys taxi has been in dahlonega for over 10 years and offers taxis transportation
        706-300-7143

        Reply
  • Jennifer : Mar 9th

    Update for 2018: Hank Carter has moved out of the Atlanta area and is no longer providing transportation.

    Reply
    • Harmony hiker transport : Mar 27th

      We provide transportation on the Appalachian trail anywhere in the state of GA 7069737382

      Call HD

      Reply
  • Smokestack : Jan 22nd

    You should change the instructions for driving to Springer. The roads going in from Nimblewill Baptist Church are and have been in terrible condition. The amount of dirt road is about 12 miles. A much better approach is to stay on 52 and turn right onto Roy Road and then right onto Doublehead Gap Rd. FS 42 will be a right turn with only 6 miles of dirt FS road. This section of FS 42 is generally in good condition.

    Reply
    • Kathy : Jan 29th

      Hey Smokestack, we were here at Amicalola Lodge, are these directions that will get us to Springer?

      Reply
  • Brittany and Thomas Harvell : Feb 6th

    We live 10 minutes from the airport and can offer weekend transport from Atlanta to anywhere along the AT as far as Fontana Dam, or to other trails in Georgia and the GA/TN/NC tri state area. Dogs and stops welcome.

    We also offer lodging if you have a late flight or would like to stay in Atlanta a couple days before heading out.

    Call or text 7048386747

    Reply
  • jennifer Stoneman : Feb 6th

    Where can people leave a car if they are driving from the midwest and are going tight to the trailhead.
    Thsnks
    Jen

    Reply

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