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Hiking Three Forks to Springer Mountain – Appalachian Trail Day Hiking

Have you ever been on the Appalachian Trail? Many people dream of hiking this long and beautiful national scenic trail that runs from Maine to Georgia. The trail is approximately 2,200 miles and spans across 14 states. In fact, the southern terminus of the trail is at Springer Mountain, right here in Ellijay, GA.

If you’re looking to experience a hike on the A.T., try Three Forks to Springer Mountain. This hike is 8.6 miles round trip, making it the perfect day hike adventure. The hike may seem long, but the mostly level terrain makes it only moderately difficult. This hike is great if you are looking to spend a day outdoors, having a picnic lunch, and to have A.T. hiking bragging rights.

Our trail hike started at Three Forks, which is located in Blue Ridge, GA. If you're following this one, you’ll access the trailhead by driving on a service road for 5 miles. Be warned- make sure your vehicle is able to drive for a longer distance on gravel (forest service road). The drive is a bit bumpy, but the beautiful river scenery follows you the entire drive in.

The hike starts by the river, where the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Appalachian Trial intersect. These two trails intersect throughout this hike, so make sure to follow the white blaze to stay on the A.T.

The trailhead starts out in the lush Chattahoochee National Forest with serene Chester Creek running through it. You’ll cross it by going over a wooden bridge. The path is easy to follow and rather clear. Be sure to have your phone or camera to capture the beauty all around you.

Speaking of things to bring, you’ll want to have a backpack to carry plenty of water and snacks, a first-aid kit, and headlamps. For a full list of what to pack for a hike like this one, see Atlanta Trails’ Hiking Gear List.

The first part of the hike is around 3 miles, covered in mountain laurel and mossy trees. If you visit in the late-Spring, you will probably see flowers blooming on the laurel. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the Pacific Northwest. As you increase in elevation, the landscape will change to a dryer, more rocky terrain. At this point in the hike, you’ll reach the Springer Mountain Trailhead. Once you’ve gotten here, it’s about .9 miles till the summit!

Once you reach the rocky surfaced summit of Springer Mountain, you can take a break, eat a snack, and relax overlooking the beautiful North Georgia mountains.

At last, you’ve reached the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail, North America’s longest hikers-only trail.

Arguably one of the best parts about hiking out and back trails is seeing the parts that you didn’t notice the first time you passed through.

Discover the beautiful mountain ecosystems and scenery up close. Three Forks to Springer Mountain is a hike that is somewhat lengthy but very rewarding. You finish by crossing Chester Creek again and finding your way back to the gravel road. If you’re considering venturing out on this hike in the Chattahoochee National Forest, always remember to pack in and pack out to leave no trace. To learn more about forest reservation, visit


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