Springer Mountain is the world-famous launching point for America’s most legendary adventure: thru-hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail (AT). The AT extends from Georgia to Maine in an epic traverse along the full length of the Appalachian Mountains. The good news? You don’t have to hike nearly that far to get a sense of the beauty of the range—or the limitless adventure the Springer Mountain area has to offer.
Springer Mountain lies within the Ed Jenkins National Recreation Area, a subset of the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest that was first established in 1991. It was designated as the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail in 1958. The Springer Mountain area is part of the historic homeland of the Yuchi/Uchee (S’atsoyaha) and Cherokee (Tsalaguwetiyi) peoples.
Springer Mountain is a year-round adventure epicenter. Summer tends to be the most popular time, as the peak’s 3,782-foot elevation provides a welcome respite from Atlanta’s sweltering humidity. For a quieter experience, come in spring or fall: Trillium, azalea, and other flowers begin to bloom during April in May, and foliage peaks in late October.
And if you really want the place to yourself? Visit in winter, when trailheads are empty and leafless trees reveal new views across the Southern Appalachians. (Snow and ice are possible when temps hover near freezing, so bring traction and plenty of layers.)
From the Kennesaw area, hop on I-575 North. Exit near Tate to get on Hwy 53 E. Follow Hwy 53 E for about 12 miles before turning north along the Steve Tate Highway toward Amicalola. You can find parking at Amicalola Falls State Park, or along Forest Service Road 42 farther north (the parking area’s coordinates are 34.637522, -84.195078).