Location: Fannin County/Gilmer County Line-Access through Blue Ridge GA and Ellijay GA -2 Mile Hike
The above video is a little look at Springer Mountain, which is the start of the Appalachian Trail, as well as the Benton Mackaye Trail Systems.
Note from the Solivagant: “This nearby hike is a good one for me because it kicks my butt! Every review I read about this hike is that it is an easy hike, and the mileage would certainly suggest that. It’s only one mile up and one mile back, but it’s the “up” part that is still tough. I’m a slow hiker, but throw in some elevation, and I am a snail. Now, my poles have helped me get faster, as well as my mantra “I am not in a race, I am not in a race” helps too. But this hike is a knee workout for real. So wrap them if they get sore, grab poles for this hike, and just plan to go slow & steady.”
Springer Mountain rides the Gilmer /Fannin County lines in North Georgia. You can get to Springer Mountain from Blue Ridge or Ellijay. I have attached a map that gives you specific directions. You are taking paved roads all the way until you get on the Forest Service Road 42, which is a chunky gravel road.
Those familiar with North Georgia Forest Services Roads know, that they can get rough and sometimes impassable. I drive a MIATA, so you can use me as a judge on some of these roads. People fear you have to have a four-wheel drive vehicle, but this is not the case everywhere. This road however, is in good shape. Great shape actually. It’s just slow-going. You are on this road for almost seven miles until you get to the trailhead parking lot. You can’t go much more than 10-15 mph so this takes me the longest. I feel like I am on this road for 30 minutes – so keep that in mind! Once you get to the parking lot, the little hike to the summit is back across the road and up. If you head to the left, through the woods from the parking lot, you will be hiking towards the Three Forks parking area (a 4.2 mile hike) . But today, we are focusing on going across the street and up to the Springer Mountain AT Start.
The trail is rocky and rooty so you have to pay attention. You start gaining elevation right away and get in a couple good views, especially in Winter, relatively soon on this trail. The foliage is so gorgeous. So many unique trees along this trail. And the rocks and roots are incredible. It was hard for me to just hike, I always like taking pictures of all this beauty! It’s an old growth area, and you can really feel that here. Once you get to the top, you more than likely will meet other hikers, maybe some finishing the AT! Check out the plaques embedded in stone and the time capsule buried in the rocks, and be sure to walk and see the Benton Mackaye Memorial plaque as well, found on a little branch trail up there that stems off from the main trail (it is well-marked with signs). It’s beautiful. The energy up there is so positive. You can hang out on the large rocks, enjoy the view and for me, one of the best parts is the ability to meet thru-hikers and hear stories. The history of this trail is awesome. So many people now embark on the long journey, and not many of them don’t come back a changed person from the experience. They cross this point with joy and celebration, and you can feel it in the air! Enjoy some Photos Below: