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REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page.

Hightower Gap to Springer Mountain and back

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: near Suches, GA   Hike: Hightower Gap to Springer Mountain and back  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Mar 19 2022  8:00 am >> Sat, Mar 19 2022 3:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 6:20 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Wed, Mar 9 2022 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Wed, Mar 16 2022 10:00 pm
Event Duration:7 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Distance:17.2 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Gary 'L'
Mark B
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 4 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


This iconic hike along the Appalachian trail is the same that northbound thru-hikers take on the first day of their 2190 mile trek from Georgia to Maine, but we will be hiking it both southbound and northbound. The hike passes near AT trail shelters at Hawk Mountain, Stover Creek, and Springer Mountain. It passes near Long Creek Falls on Benton McKaye. It also passes through Three Forks, named for the confluence of Stover, Chester, and Long Creeks marking the source of Noontoola Creek, a renowned trout creek.

Note: This is a demanding D5 hike. We will maintain a minimum pace of 2.75 mph on grades as steep as 14%. The vertical ascent is estimated to be 3284 feet. If you have not recently completed a D5 hiking event, you can expect that we will contact you to better understand your fitness for this hike.

We will begin the hike at Hightower Gap where there is limited room for parking (6 cars). Carpool is recommended. We will proceed southbound 8.6 miles to Springer Mountain where we will take a short break at the Appalachian Trail Southern Terminus plaque. We will return northbound to Hightower Gap. If time permits we may detour to visit Long Creek Falls, adding 0.2 miles to the hike.

Required Items to Bring:

Hiking Boots 

Food and Snacks (1 lunch and/or snacks you prefer)

Water/Liquids for hydration

Fun, positive attitude!

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

  • Hiking Poles
  • Sunscreen
  • Cash for Carpool

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Google Maps Link for directions to Hightower Gap


From MARTA Mansell Park & Ride Lot

North on GA 400/ US 19 for 36.7 miles

Turn left onto US-19 N/S Chestatee

After 5.1 miles, Turn right onto Georgia 9 N/Morrison Moore Pkwy

Turn left onto Mechanic St SE

Turn left onto E Main St

Turn right onto U.S. 19 BUS N/N Grove St

At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto U.S. 19 BUS N, go 8.4 miles.

Turn left onto Camp Wahsega Rd (Just after passing Lumpkin County High School and Camp Glisson Rd.)

Reach Camp Merrill and make a sharp right onto Cooper Gap Rd (Road becomes unpaved.)

After 2.9 miles, reach an intersection and turn left onto Appalachian Blue Ridge Rd/Forest Service Rd 42.

After 3.2 miles, reach Hightower gap parking (Capacity - 6 cars)



Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):121Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 6:20 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $48.40 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.


Please let us know if you have a high clearance vehicle that we can use for carpool.

If using your car, be aware that this event involves travel on 6 miles of unpaved forest service road which typically may have debris and uneven surfaces.

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

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