Twenty one miles from the Dahlonega square is a bronze plaque set into the stone of Springer Mountain. On a tree overhead is a 2”x6” white blaze, the first of 165,000 on this single track footpath that begins in Georgia and ends in Maine. Dahlonega is the closest Georgia town to the famed Appalachian Trail, yet many local folks have never seen it or walked on it.
An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people attempt to hike the entire length every year, either beginning on Springer Mountain and heading north or starting on Mount Katahdin, Maine and ending on Springer. Most heading either direction pass through Dahlonega and many come back. The “AT” is an important part of the local economy and the local lore. Some, such as myself, now live in Dahlonega because the trail is nearby.
If you would like to experience a small part of the trail yourself, the parking lot near Springer Mountain is located on Forest Service 42 (Cooper Gap Road) and from there, it is an easy one mile trek to that bronze plaque and the first white blaze. The view from Springer is spectacular with a view south to Mount Oglethorpe.
The AT is also easily accessible from Woody Gap parking lot, 14 miles from Dahlonega’s Historic Public Square, or from Neels Gap parking lot, 22 miles from the Square.
So, take advantage of the warming spring temperatures, the new colors of the trees, and the later daylight. Visit this incredible resource that traverses the northern boundary of our county and get a taste of what a 2,189 mile journey is like. Who knows, you may catch the bug and not stop until you summit Katahdin!