Parking on the GA Appalachian Trail

Section 17 - Hightower Gap to Springer Mountain Displayed from North to South

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  Georgia Appalachian Trail Club trail_info @ Bly Gap, N.C. to Springer Mountain

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Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
Hightower Gap
  Poor            Great

Hightower Gap is located at the junction of USFS 42 and USFS 69. Limited parking is available. 1/30/2006
From the intersection of Coopers Gap Road (AKA FS 42) and GA 60 which is 0.5 miles south of Suches and 1.5 miles north of Woody Gap (Mile 0.0), go west on the former. This turns south. About 3.5 miles from GA 60, stay on Coopers Gap Road which goes right. Stay on Coopers Gap Road for another 5.3 miles to an intersection of forest roads in Coopers Gap. Continue straight ahead (west) on FS 42 which according to the attached map changes name to Appalachian Blue ridge Road. Hightower Gap is 3.7 miles further at the intersection with FS 69. Total distance from Suches is 13.0 miles. Note: The only street signs are a Coopers Gap Road sign at the intersection with GAA 60 and then an occasional USFS 42 sign. There is a small parking area good for 3-4 cars in the gap. Roadside parking for a few more cars is available. The northbound trail to Section 16 goes east. At this point it is south of FS 42. The southbound trail to Section 17 goes west. 4/2/08 See directions 1
at @
General Notes: 1. Reaching all the access points in this section except Woody Gap involves driving on Forest Service dirt or gravel roads. The condition of these may vary. 2. If coming from Dahlonega there may be more direct ways to reach some of the access points in this section. Use the Google maps to get direction via these other routes. 01/03/10

Update: As of Oct. 2011, USFS 42, the main access road to most of the areas mentioned in this section, was in good shape.
dlcul @
Here is a route from Dahlonega that involves less driving on gravel roads. US 19/GA 60 bypasses Dahlonega to the east. Business US 19 (AKA Historic US 19)/ GA 60 makes a loop through town and rejoins the main highway north of town. From this northern intersection go west on Business route from about 2 miles, then go right on Camp Washega Road. There is a sign for Camp Merrill here. Follow the paved road for about 8 miles to a T intersection at the entrance to Camp Merrill. Go right on Coopers Gap Road (USFS) which almost immediately becomes a gravel surfaced road. It is well graded and passenger cars should be able to negotiate it easily(at least as of Fall 2011). The road climbs to meet USFS 42 in Coopers Gap in approximately 3 miles. Go left (west) on USFS 42 for 3.7 miles to the intersection with USFS 69 (no signs) at Hightower Gap. See above for parking. 11/06/11 1
dlcul @
Hickory Flats
  Poor            Great

There is road access ("Logging Road" in the Databook, actually "Hickory Flats church pavilion and cemetery") to the trail at mile marker 5.8 (northbound from Springer) or 2.3 (southbound from Hightower Gap). There is a gravel to the right as you approach Three Forks on FS 58 (from the FS 42 direction). Follow this road to Hickory Flats. Hikers are welcome to use the facilities. Parking for many vehicles, tenting available all around, 4-holer privy, covered open-sided pavilion, no water (get water at Long Creek Falls). 2/5/2006
yugrekih @
Follow directions to Hightower Gap (Mile 0.0) Continue on FS 42 which. In about 3 miles (according to my odometer which had no tenths of a mile option), go right on FS 58. Immediately to the west on the side of FS 42, there is a sign for the Ed Jenkins Recreation Area.. In approximately two miles look for a gravel road going to the right. Coming the other way (southbound) there is a sign for the Hickory Flats Cemetery, but there is no sign northbound. I did not drive the cemetery access road and Google does not recognize it as a road, so I don't know the distance from the intersection. . The trail crosses about 0.2 miles from the end of the road at the cemetery. There is a large field to the left (west). There is a dirt parking area just to the north of the trail crossing. The marker on the attached map marks the trail crossing. The parking area at the trail crossing is visible on the satellite view just to the north of the arrow. The cemetery is at the end of the road. at the crossing the northbound tril goes right (east) while the southbound trail goes left (west) and skirts a large field. 11/20/11 6-8 in area just north of trail crossing, more at cemetery 0.2 miles north 1
dlcul @
Three Forks
  Poor            Great

USFS 58 crosses the AT. 1/30/2006
From Atlanta, take I-75 North to I-575 (becomes 515) to Elijay. Turn right onto Hwy 52 East toward Cartecay. Drive approx 6 miles to Cartecay. Turn left on Big Creek Road. Drive approx 15 miles to end of pavement. A couple hundred yards down gravel part of road, you will come to a white church. FS 58 is first gravel road to the right past the church. Drive approx 5 miles to Trail Junction at Three Forks. 2/1/06 FS 58 is currently closed between the church and 3 Forks. Take Springer Mtn route. Aprox 3 miles past the FS42 parking lot, you will come to 5 way intersection. Take FS 58 to the left. Thee Forks and the trail crossing are 2.6 miles further.. 2/2/2006
ox97game @
Here are two option from Suches.

1. Follow directions to Hightower Gap (Mile 0.0) Continue on FS 42 which. In about 3 miles (according to my odometer which had no tenths of a mile option), go right on FS 58. Immediately to the west on the side of FS 42, there is a sign for the Ed Jenkins Recreation Area.. Go 2.3 miles further on FS 58r to the Three forks area and the trail crossing. There is a small sign for the Appalachian Trail at the trail crossing.

2. Follow GA 60 north for 15.5 miles. Just past the community of Sugar Grove, go left on Doubletree Gap Road. In 5.7 miles turn left on FS 58 and continue 5 miles to the trail crossing. This route is longer but has more paved road. Total distance from Suches is 26.2 miles. I have not driven this option.
See General notes at Mile 0.0. At the crossing the northbound trail goes east, the southbound goes left. There are two or three small parking pull-offs in the immediate vicinity, the largest a couple of hundred feet to the north. Roadside parking is available. The day I was there was a beautiful October Day and the area was crowded. 11/20/2011 5-6 in parking pul-offs, many more roadside 1
dlcul @
Alternate path to Three Forks is to take SR 52 to Nimblewill Church Road. Bear left onto Nimblewill, then turn right when reaching a tee near a white church. You will quickly turn left onto FS 28-1 (has a Bull Mtn. parking lot sign). Take this gravel road for approx. 3 miles until FS 77 (Winding Stairs Rd) veers off to the left. Take FS 77 for maybe 9 miles until it dead ends into FS 42. There is a sign that says Springer Mountain parking lot (I think it was about 4 miles or so) off to the left. Pass this and you will quickly come to FS 58, also off to the left. There is a sign saying Ed Jenkins Rec. area. Bear to the left here. The parking area is 2 or 3 miles further up the gravel road. FS 77 starts off in relatively decent condition but gets a bit rough near the end. Passenger cars should be able to navigate it, but it's very slow going over the rough part. The rest of the roads aren't too bad to navigate. 05/05/13 many with roadside parking 1
mike1111962 @
  Poor            Great

There is a parking area. 1/30/2006
From Atlanta, take I-75 to I-575 (turns into 515) to Elijay. Turn east (Right) on Hwy 52 towards Dawsonville/Dalohnaga (away from Elijay). Go about 6 miles east, past the town of Cartecay, to Big Creek Rd. Take Big Creek Rd approx 12 miles to FS 42. There is a white church on the left and a FS sign on the right. Road is gravel and has sign marking Springer Mtn 6.5 miles. Parking lot will be on left at trail crossing. Road is narrow and bumpy. Will take approx 20-30 min to drive to the parking lot. 25
ox97game @
See General notes and directions in the listings for Hightower Gap (Mile 0.0). Continue west on FS 42. According to the Google map and directions this changes names from Appalachian Blue Ridge Road to Hightower Gap Road to Winding Stair Gap Road to just plain FS 42. Except for an occasional FS 42 sign, there are no signs with any of these names on them. Continue 6.2 miles further from Hightower Gap to a parking area on the right. IN the past a fee apparently has been charged to use this lot but in October 2011 there were no signs or pay stations that would indicate this is still the case. On a beautiful October Saturday, the lot was packed. The southbound trail crosses the parking lot towards the information board, crosses road and begins the climb to the southern terminus of the AT at the summit of Springer Mountain. The northbound trail towards Three Forks enter woods at eastern end of parking area. 01/03/10 1
dlcul @
Probably 20 parking spots or more, but on the weekends it is full and some parking on the forest service road. 03/11/12 1
attysharris @
the road from Dahlonega to Camp Merill via Wahsega paved for 8 miles. Roadblocks at camp entry . Then Cooper' Gap/ FS 80 road is at the T-intersection on right. follow 3 miles to AT In Buick van used 2nd gear--still started to overheat 3/4 way up to meet AT at FS 42. VERY rough & UPHILL 04/27/14 1 1
kingpete @
Springer Mountain
  Poor            Great

This is the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. Springer Mountain may be hiked to from the parking area at USFS 42 from the north or from Amicalola Falls State Park from the south (8.8 miles) 2/4/06
yugrekih @
09/21/09 1
dlcul @
Amicalola Falls State Park
  Poor            Great

From GA 400 take GA 53 towards Dawsonville. Turn right on Hwy 183 (Elliott Family Parkway). Continue on Hwy 183 until it dead ends at GA 52. Turn right on GA 52. The entrance to the park is on the left in about a mile. The AT long term parking lot is across the street from the visitors center.

To get to the access trail, cross the street to the visitors center. As you get close to the visitor's center, follow the cement sidewalk to the right then turn left. After the bathrooms, turn left again then a right hand turn just before the interpretive talk area. An archway marks the beginning of the trail.
Southern Terminus Access Trail to the AT - 8.8 miles

This trail begins at the Amicalola State Park Visitor Center. It climbs to the top of Amicalola Falls (the trail is also called the East Ridge Trail) then crosses the road to the lodge and then climbs through the Amicalola watershed to Springer Mountain. 01/25/08
at @

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