AT Approach Trail
ElevationAscent: 2,083' 635 m
Descent: -870' -265 m
High: 3,766' 1,148 m
Low: 2,552' 778 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)
Popular runs nearby
Long Creek Falls
2.0 mi 3.2 km • Out and Back • 264 ft Ascent 80.42 m Ascent
Appalachian Trail: Woody Gap to Gooch Gap Mountain Shelter
10.3 mi 16.6 km • Out and Back • 1,490 ft Ascent 454.15 m Ascent
Woody Gap and Dockerty Lake Loop
20.3 mi 32.7 km • Loop • 3,301 ft Ascent 1006.11 m Ascent
Weaver Creek to Rocky Mountain
6.7 mi 10.8 km • Loop • 1,525 ft Ascent 464.71 m Ascent
Blood Mountain Loop
6.6 mi 10.6 km • Point to Point • 1,424 ft Ascent 434.06 m Ascent
12.7 mi 20.4 km • Loop • 3,326 ft Ascent 1013.7 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“The unofficial southern start to the Appalachian Trail beginning at Amicalola Falls State Park.”— Dan Timko
The trail departs from the trailhead located just above the crest of the falls, at the same trailhead for the Len Foote Hike Inn Trail, which forks right after roughly a third of a mile on a green-blazed trail. The Approach Trail forks left and is marked with blue blazes from the start until it meets Springer, where it turns to the white blazes of the AT.
The trail soon exits the Amicalola State Park boundary and enters the Chattahoochee National Forest. The trail gains elevation steadily over its entire length, with constant climbs and descents throughout. Most of the route is through thick forest, with gorgeous views popping up through clearings along the way.
At about 4.25 miles, the Len Foote Hike Inn Trail intersects back with the Approach Trail. The Len Foote Hike Inn is roughly 1 mile down this trail off of the Approach Trail.
At 4.9 miles, the trail crosses Nimblewill Gap and a gravel road. There is a small plaque here commemorating the crash of a small plane in 1968.
After Nimblewill, you climb for a few hundred feet to Black Mountain. You'll then descend into Black Gap. Here, you'll find an AT shelter and another path to a seasonally available water source. This is the only shelter on the Approach Trail, although there are numerous campsites.
The final section of this trail is roughly 1.5 miles and climbs close to 500 ft in elevation. At the summit, you'll find some fantastic views as well as two plaques recognizing the official start to the Appalachian Trail.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes