The Appalachain Trail is a hiking trail that extends roughly 2,179 miles from Springer Mountain in North Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. There are several approaches to the Appalachian Trail, one of which is the Southern Terminus Approach Trail. If you are not sure what to expect on the Appalachian Trail, hiking this prelude trail is a great way to get acquainted with the terrain.
The Southern Terminus Approach Trail is located in the Amicalola Falls State Park and begins at lower parking lot (long-term parking) at the top of the falls. Follow the cement sidewalk that takes you across the top of the falls and take a left at the bathrooms and once you get past the bathrooms, take another left. You will then see on your right-hand side an archway crafted out of stones. This signifies the start of the Southern Terminus Approach Trail.
The Southern Terminus Approach Trail clings to the Eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains and takes you up and down across several mountains tops until you reach the beginning of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain.
The Southern Terminus Approach Trail will take you down into valleys, along the sides of mountains, and along ridges with breath-taking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains that vanish from sight, as they seem to continue north forever. The Southern Terminus Approach Trail is approximately 7.4 miles in length and can be a strenuous for amateur hikers since it is largely uneven. The Southern Terminus Approach Trail rambles on through Georgia’s hardwood forest which consists of maple, White and Red Oak, American Holly trees, and a sprinkling of evergreens.
For the first 3 miles, the Southern Terminus Approach Trail inclines gently and then drops into a valley. The trail then picks up momentum, climbs sharply to the top of the ridge, and then traverses Frosty Mountain, Woody Knob, and Nimblewood Gap. After this sojourn, the Southern Terminus Approach Trail crosses over one remaining mountain, Black Mountain, and then stops at the summit of Springer Mountain. Nestled in the gap on the backside of Black Mountain is the first AT shelter with a logbook for boy scouts and water further down in the valley.
After the AT shelter at Black Mountain, the trail continues for less than a mile to the top of Springer Mountain. The Southern Terminus Approach Trail snakes upwards through the trees and wraps around the West side of the mountain and ends at a large rock with a plaque announcing the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. Built into the side of the rock is a drawer in which a logbook for hikers is stashed. Feel free to add your signature to this book and read inscriptions from other fellow hikers. The Southern Terminus Approach Trail takes approximately 6 to 7 hours depending on the pace you choose to hike at.
Georgia Trails, Southern Terminus Approach Trail, http://georgiatrails.com/gt/Southern_Terminus_Approach_Trail