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Hello everyone - Tips on section hiking the AT?

Good morning, I’ve been car camping for a while now and I feel I’m ready for the next step and i want to start doing the AT in sections what’s the best way to do it? I live in Orlando so Ive been looking to start over Georgia area and start working my way up to the Carolinas, does anyone knows of a trail that I could do that could be done in less than a week? And any tips would be highly appreciated 

12 Replies

@Andresr5 - I started in Florida, as well.  And Georgia is a good place to start.  The first sections gave me a thrill to finally start my hike, and are relatively easy, if somewhat rugged.  If you average 12 miles a day, to pick a number at random, you could get to Dick's Creek Gap near Hiawassee in around six days.  If you decide to do the Approach Trail, just add another day.  If you're not really used to day to day hiking in the mountains, plan for shorter days, rather than longer ones.  You might even want to consider shorter starting hikes of two or three days to get in practice.  How's your gear?  The lighter your pack, the smoother the hike will go.  This could be a much longer conversation! 😀

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@Hikes_in_Rain - What do you think about springer mountain? I’ve read that is an eight days hike and about 83 miles, have you done it?

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I think the approach is only 8 miles, best to get a few apps and maps to plan out your trip, the way so many roads cut through the AT you can plan almost any distance you desire.

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
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I just called my trip at mile 52.3 unicoi gap my hiker partner couldn’t keep going, day one was great it was impressive to see where I was and how pretty everything was that night we stayed at gooch gap shelter (tent site not shelter itself) there was about 4 people in the shelter and about 8 tents so it was great time, second day we hiked from gooch to neels gap about 18.6 miles it was rough for me specially when approaching blood mountain, my hiker partner got destroyed by it, we stayed at a campsite behind neels gap, day 3 we hiked about 8miles easy to me, very very easy to me, challenging to my partner, to low gap shelter we stayed at the campsites before the actual shelter only about 5 people there that got behind us, day 4 we hiked about 12 miles from low gap to unicoi I was flying through that section today such an easy hike as my partner struggled again, as we were approaching the gap we had a conversation and got to the agreement it was best for him to stop! Amazing experience and can’t wait to go back for more, once again thanks for all your help I think I owed you a breakdown of it 

I started at Springer;  haven't hiked the approach trail, although I now plan to.  There's a good parking lot less than a mile from Springer.  That's where I started.  Hiked southbound up to Springer, got some pictures, and headed north again.  I've done all of Georgia, but it wasn't a continuous hike.  This was back in the early 90's, and I was still working then. Couldn't take more than a few days at a time.  That's where I earned my trail name, in fact. Rained a lot!  Sounds like you'd want to do the whole Georgia section at once, which is a great goal!  There's no road crossing at the GA/NC border, though.  You'd have to keep going to Deep Gap, on FS71, which is a long and beautiful drive. It's a great hike.  If you decide to do it, be sure to get your Georgia Thru-Hiker's patch from the GA Appalachian Club.  It's worth it.GA AT Thruhiker Patch.jpg

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Thank you so much for your help!!🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

You're more than welcome!  I'd love to read your report when you finish.  Anything I can do, just let me know.

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I sure will, I’ve been training and getting ready for it I’m packing fairly light under 26lbs and I’ve never been so readyyyyy! I’ll keep you posted though!

The two navaids @nathanu mentioned, are probably the best out there 

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes