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Dayhike the GA AT - Section 1: Springer Mtn to Hightower Gap

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Chattahoochee National Forest
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Feb 15 2009  10:30 am >> N/A  (Carpool Departure: 8:00 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Thu, Jan 22 2009 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Feb 14 2009 8:00 pm
Event Duration:per itinerary
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Trip Leader(s):
Richard A. Zalik
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:20
Minimum Group Size:5
Number Registered So Far: 13 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

This is first in a series of dayhikes that will cover the entire Georgia portion of the Appalachian trail...from Springer Mtn to Bly Gap, just past the NC state line.

For details on the other hikes in the series, visit the AOC forums...

Dayhike the GA AT thread

...or just watch the AOC calendar. We hope to get through them all by mid-April. And there is an AOC GA AT backpacking series being offered as between all these events, there should be plenty of opportunites to cover the entire trail.

Section 1: Springer Mtn to Hightower Gap

Starting it off, we have one of the less strenuous sections (relatively speaking), but it should still have some challenging climbs and scenic views..

After dropping off some cars at Hightower Gap for the shuttle, we will proceed further down FS42 to parking for the trailhead (elev ~3350'). We will begin by "backtracking" .9 mi, up to the top of Springer Mountain (3782')...we will enjoy the views from the summit, take photos, etc and then begin hiking north on the AT from its southern terminus.

We hike mostly downhill for the first 4 miles...from Springer to Three Forks (~2600'). About a mile further is a short side trail to Long Creek Falls, so we'll definitely check that out.

From near Three Forks, we climb about 800 feet over the next 3 miles as the AT skirts Hawk Mtn. During this stretch the Benton MacKaye trail (had to mention him) branches off to the north while the AT heads due east. The next mile or so is mostly downhill to Hightower Gap (2854'), where we will end this first section.

We will ride back to the Springer trailhead in the cars we dropped off on the way in. If the weather cooperates, we will hike the .9 mi/400 ft back up Springer to watch the sunset from the summit. After enjoying the fading light, will head back down to the cars, and towards home.

Mileage breakdown:
- FS42 parking to top of Springer Mountain: .9 miles
- Springer Mtn to Hightower Gap: 8.1 miles
- side trail to check out Springer Mtn shelter (r/t): .2 mi
- side trail to Long Creek Falls (r/t): .1 mi
- side trail to Hawk Mtn shelter (r/t): .4 mi
- extra Springer hike for sunset (r/t): 1.8 miles

Total distance: ~11.5 miles.
Total ascent: 2500+ feet.

Click on elevation profile for larger version:

  • part of the drive to the trailhead will be on FS42, a fairly well graded gravel road.
  • If rain is forecast, the hike will be rescheduled (hopefully within a few weeks).
  • Because this a mountainous D5 hike in the winter, this event is for advanced hikers only. We are going to keep a fairly quick least 2.5mph avg. So if you have not have recently completed some AOC D5 (or tough D4) hikes, I will be contacting you to determine your level of experience and if this is the right hike for you.

  • Required Items to Bring:
  • emergency rain gear (even if chance of rain is minimal)
  • winter clothing (hat, gloves, etc)
  • at least one liter of water
  • trail snacks/lunch
  • hiking boots or trail shoes
  • headlamp/flashlight (for hiking down from springer after sunset)
  • Recommended Items to Bring:
    Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • trekking poles
  • camera

  • How to Get There:
    Event Directions:From Woody Gap on GA60, drive NW 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Cooper Gap Road, proceed 12.5 miles to Hightower Gap. (Cooper Gap becomes FS42 a couple miles in, so it is bascially a straight shot from GA60)
    Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):156Mile(s)
    Carpool Departure Time: 8:00 am
    Carpool Location:   Log in for location
    Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
    Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $62.40 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.

    * We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

    Cost Includes:NA

    Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.
    *Note: NA