Out-of-state hikers who come to Georgia will probably arrive in either Atlanta or Gainesville, GA. Gainesville, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, is the closest town to the trail served by public transportation. Amicalola Falls State Park is about 38 miles from Gainesville.
If you are arriving at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, make an advance reservation with a shuttle service (see below). The shuttle may pick you up at the airport or ask that you take public transportation (MARTA) from the airport to a station outside the city. This is easily done since there is a MARTA train station in the airport terminal.
The MARTA station farthest north from the airport is North Springs, however there is no direct access to shopping or services. One stop earlier, near the Sandy Springs station, there is shopping including an REI and Target, plus many restaurants and shops.
It you are traveling by train or bus, you may arrive in Atlanta or Gainesville. Again you will need a shuttle to the trail or Amicalola Falls SP. Be sure to make a reservation for a shuttle.
Lists of shuttle operators along the trail are maintained on the following websites:
Gainesville from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
If you decide to travel between Gainesville and the Atlanta Airport, AMTRAK and Greyhound Bus Lines operate connecting services. The easiest and least expensive way to get from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to the bus station in downtown Atlanta, or to the AMTRAK station in Midtown Atlanta is to use the Atlanta public transportation system, MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority).
By Greyhound Bus:
Atlanta Bus Station
232 Forsyth St
Atlanta, GA 30303
Atlanta Airport to Atlanta Greyhound Depot:
- Take the MARTA train from the airport to Garnett Station (S1). Go out Garnett Station, turn left to Forsyth St. The bus depot is to your right on Forsyth St.
- OR take Atlanta Airport Shuttle bus to bus depot.
- OR take taxi to bus depot.
Call Greyhound at 1-800-231-2222 or log on to their website (Greyhound.com) to confirm the latest schedule and fare information.
By AMTRAK train:
Atlanta Airport to AMTRAK station:
- Take MARTA train to Arts Center Station (N5), transfer to MARTA bus #110 at the Arts Center Station ; or walk to left uphill on 15th Street to Peachtree Street and walk one mile north (left) on Peachtree Street to AMTRAK station. The small AMTRAK station is on your left just after crossing over Interstate 85 on Peachtree Street;
- OR take Atlanta Airport Shuttle bus to AMTRAK station.
- OR take taxi, Uber or Lyft from airport to AMTRAK station.
Call AMTRAK at 1-800-872-7245 or log onto their website (Amtrak.com) to confirm the latest schedule and fare information.
MARTA bus routes and schedules are subject to change. Verify all information directly with MARTA prior to planning your trip at their website: itsmarta.com
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport website also maintains a list of shuttle provider services connecting the airport to Gainesville, Georgia.
Approach Trail To Springer Mountain
The usual approach is to start at Amicalola Falls State Park off paved GA Hwy. 52 and hike the 8.8 mile blue-blazed Approach Trail to Springer Mountain.
Driving to the Approach Trail
From Dahlonega, Georgia (about 60 miles north of downtown Atlanta via GA Hwy. 400) take GA Hwy. 52 west approximately 20 miles to Amicalola Falls State Park. Parking is available near the visitor center. There is a small daily entrance fee. If you want to leave a vehicle at the park while you hike you must register your car at the visitor center and there is a fee to do so.
Driving to Springer Mountain
The shortest approach involves driving north of Springer to where the AT crosses USFS Road #42, then hiking south on the white-blazed AT one mile to the summit of Springer Mountain. Note that you cross USFS 42 and follow the white blaze trail south to the summit before backtracking to the parking area and on northward.
From GA Hwy. 52, 9.5 miles east of Amicalola Falls State Park or 8.5 miles west of Dahlonega, turn right on Nimblewill Church Gap Road at Grizzle's old store (closed, sign for store is damaged).
Go 2.0 miles and turn right on USFS Road #28 (look for sign that points to Georgia Wildlife Management Area on left and sign to Jones Creek Road on right).
After 2.2 miles, bear left at fork onto USFS Road #77 and go 5.1 miles.
Take hard left onto USFS Road #42 and go 2.7 miles to AT, passing a Benton MacKaye Trail crossing (diamond blazes) along the way. There is a large parking area on the right side of the road. To reach the summit, cross the road and follow the white blazed trail southbound.
- Alternative Route -
From GA Hwy. 52 in Cartecay (12.1 miles west of Amicalola Falls State Park or 7.4 miles east of Ellijay), turn on Roy Road between the Methodist Church and Stanley's Grocery and go 9.7 miles to end of road.
Turn right onto Doublehead Gap Road and go 2.2 miles to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church (these are paved roads).
Turn right onto gravel USFS Road #42 and go 6.8 miles to the parking area on left side of road. To reach the summit, cross the road and follow the white blazed trail southbound.
NOTE: These Forest Service roads can be quite rough, and may be impassable by car or van in winter or very wet weather. Contact the Chattahoochee National Forest Toccoa Ranger District in Blue Ridge, Georgia (706) 632-3031 for current road conditions.
Available at the major paved road crossings: Woody Gap (GA Hwy. 60), Neel Gap (US Hwy. 129/19), Tesnatee Gap (GA Hwy. 348), Hogpen Gap (GA Hwy. 348), Unicoi Gap (GA Hwy. 75/17) and Dicks Creek Gap (US Hwy. 76). Limited parking, max 14 days, is available in the Springer Mountain parking lot on FS 42. For extended backpacks, cars may be registered and parked at Amicalola Falls State Park. Contact the park for more details.
North on GA 60, 2.2 miles, 56 Firewater Lane, Suches, GA 30572
Open for medical needs Monday - Friday, 8:30 to 5:00
Hospitals and clinics are also available in Dahlonega, Blairsville and Hiawassee.
The information provided here is subject to change and is beyond the control of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.