Springer Mountain

  • Highlights: Hike-in lodge, wildflowers, AT southern terminus 
  • Distance: 8.8 mile out and back
  • Elevation change: 1,565 feet
  • Difficulty level: Strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: Amicaola State Park, Top of Falls parking area, park entrance fee required 
  • Website: Len Foote Hike Inn
  • Beer Pairings: Terrapin Brewing—Hopsecutioner IPA & Golden Ale

The Hike:

There are several ways to reach Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The AT Approach Trail is a strenuous 16-mile out and back hike from Amicaola Falls. However, if you spend the night at the Len Foote Hike Inn, the hike to Springer is an 8.8 mile out and back. We spent two nights at the Hike Inn and after a substantial breakfast, we picked up a bag lunch at the Hike Inn and hit the trail.

The hike begins literally at the front door of the Hike Inn. Turn right on the Len Foote Trail for one mile to the junction with the AT Approach Trail. Turn right and the summit of Springer Mountain is 3.4 miles ahead. We encountered several groups of hikers who were beginning their journey on the AT. Wildflowers line the trail and there is a steady uphill as you climb to the 3,782 foot summit.

Springer Mountain doesn’t have great views but two plaques commemorate the southern terminus of the AT. The AT register is tucked away in a small compartment on the side of a boulder. There are several campsites on the summit. We chatted with a few hikers who were on day one of their northbound AT adventure. We were excited for them but were happy to return to the Hike Inn for a hot shower, a cold beer, and a nice dinner.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

The Hike Inn does not serve alcohol as they are part of the Georgia State Park System. However, discrete use of alcohol in private areas is tolerated. The guest rooms do not have refrigerators, so we suggest packing an insulated cooler bag, several cans of your favorite brew, and icing them down upon arrival. Ice is available in the dining hall. 

Terrapin Beer Company in Athens GA has been making great beer since 2002. Hopsecutioner IPA is their best selling beer and when you can only bring a few beers, this one should be on the list. Made from six varieties of hops and three types of malts and at 60 IBUs it has the perfect balance of bitterness. Golden Ale is “an easy drinkin’ ale” and it is a refreshing beer after a great hike. 

The Len Foote Hike Inn is a backcountry lodge providing meals, private guest rooms, hot showers in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia. The lodge is only accessible by a 5-mile hike. The lodge practices environmental sustainability from composting toilets to solar panels on the roof. The staff is friendly and helpful, the food is good, and our fellow hiking travelers were fun.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.