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 going to arrive at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, make an advance reservation with a shuttle service (listed below). The shuttle may pick you up at the airport or have 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 (No access to shopping, etc.) One stop earlier is Sandy Springs. At Sandy Springs station there is shopping including a REI and Target, plus many restaurants and shops. REI offers a shuttle service seasonally. Contact REI at (770) 901-9200 to confirm availability and fees.
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.
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 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 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.
Getting from Gainesville to Approach Trail
When you get to Gainesville, a taxi driver will probably be at the bus or train station and will be more than happy to take you to the Approach Trail trailhead at Amicalola Falls State Park. Your other option is to make a reservation for a shuttle pickup.
Uni Taxi in Gainesville, (770) 297-0255
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.
Transportation in the North Georgia Area: (updated 1/22/19)
See below for service providers willing to provide transportation for hikers for a fee. In some cases the provider may be a non-profit or volunteer, and will ask for a donation. The operator will specify a donation minimum to cover his costs and extra is appreciated. Note these are not free rides.
Alpine’s Hiker Shuttle Services
Jimmy “Alpine” Ingram
Serving hikers Appalachian Trail from Atlanta Ga to trail heads or anywhere on the AT from Springer Mt. to Damascus VA.
AT Hiker Shuttle
Bret "Suches" Eady
SOBO Thru Hike 2017
Specifics: We specialize in getting you to or from any trail head from the Atlanta Airport to the Fontana Hilton. We also help with slack packing, section hiking, and resupply. Dogs are welcome.
Specifics: Metro Atlanta to and from Amicalola, Springer USFS 42, and other AT trail heads as far as Fontana Dam. Dogs are okay! PayPal or Venmo preferred.
Crown Mountain Limo & Group Transportation, Inc.
Specifics: Transportation for hikers.
Specifics: Willing to take hikers from Atlanta to Springer or Amicalola. Call for rates.
Dial-A-Bus / Lumpkin County Transport
(706) 864-6900 – or – 1-888-808-5021
Specifics: Provides service within Lumpkin County only: Dahlonega to Woody Gap or Neel Gap. – about $1/mile. Requires 24 to 48 hour advance reservation.
Atlanta to Davenport Gap
Neel Gap to Franklin and points between
Dawson, Dahlonega, Cleveland, Helen Georgia
706-300-7143 -or- www.Paddystaxi.com
Specifics: Transportation for hikers.
Specifics: All of North Georgia, MARTA pickup in Atlanta. Sometimes can do last minute shuttles
Perimeter REI, 1165 Perimeter Ctr Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30338 operates a shuttle seasonally.
Check their Classes & Activities Calendar or contact the store for details. REI Perimeter website
Specifics: Most experienced shuttle driver based near Springer Mt., shuttles hikers from ATL, Gainsville, Amicalola Park, Springer Mt. and all trailheads up to Davenport Gap. Section hikers and BMT hikers welcome.
Face Book: Ron’s Appalachian Trail Shuttle
Cell: (706) 669-0919
Specifics: Please leave a message with your phone number if you get voice mail. Coverage area from Atlanta airport to Fontana Dam and points in between. Dogs welcome; extra stops OK. Fuel on request.
Specifics: Will pick up at the Atlanta Airport, Amtrak Train Station, or Greyhound bus Station and will take to Amicalola Falls State Park or to Springer Mtn., (USFS 42). Will also transport to other major trail heads, but only from Atlanta. (For example, I can't pick up at Neel Gap and drop off at Woody Gap).
Suches Hiker Shuttles
Specifics: Serving the Atlanta Airport and trail heads as far north as Fontana. Dogs are ok. Will deliver pizza, beer, wings, first-aid and stove fuel.
Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center
Hwy 76 E, Hiawassee, GA 30546
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy maintains a list of Shuttles and Public Transportation options over the entire length of the AT.
This listing is provided as an information service for A.T. hikers and does not constitute an endorsement by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC) of the dependability or safety of the individual service providers. While some service providers may be members of GATC, they are not representatives, employees or agents of GATC and their services are not in any way affiliated with GATC. GATC does not inspect, warrant, monitor, review or supervise the activities of the shuttle operators, and hikers should at all times use their own judgment in dealing with them.
The information provided here is subject to change and is beyond the control of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.