Five Overnight Hikes in North Georgia We LOVE

By Alexander Popp 

alex@worldsbestadventures.com  

 

 North Georgia is blessed with some of the best backpacking in the South.  

With the start of the Appalachian Trail in Dawson County and the countless mountains that are spread so abundantly throughout the top half of our great state, North Georgia has something for hikers and backpackers of any skill level.  

But with so many mountains and trails to choose from, it’s hard for a new backpacker to know which route fits their needs.  

So here are five of our favorite 2-day/1-night backpacking trips in North Georgia, that virtually any new backpacker can handle.  

 

Len Foote Hike Inn  

A Mountain View from the Len Foote Hike Inn
A view of the North Georgia mountains from the Len Foote Hike Inn.

Possibly one of the most interesting backpacking trips in the South, the Len Foote Hike Inn is a Hike-In Backcountry Lodge in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, known for its breathtaking views, delicious food, and homey accommodations.  

Hikers trek up to the Len Foote Hike Inn Backcountry Lodge in the North Georgia Mountains.
Hikers trek up to the Len Foote Hike Inn Backcountry Lodge in the North Georgia Mountains.

Guests park at Amicalola Falls State Park, before trekking a 5-mile trail to the Hike Inn. For someone that’s new to backpacking, hiking, and camping, this trip is a great introduction.    

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate   

Length: 10 miles out and back  

Permit/Reservation Required: Yes. The Len Foote Hike Inn requires hikers to make reservations ahead of time for their stay by visiting the website, http://hike-inn.com/. Note: Reservations fill up quickly, so please plan your trip well in advance. 

Dogs Allowed? No. Pets and smoking are not allowed at the Len Foote Hike Inn.  

Good for Kids? Yes. This hike is one of the best starting camping/backpacking experiences that you can give a young person.  

More Information: Len Foote Hike Inn 

 

Springer Mountain to Hawk Mountain  

Each year, thousands of backpackers make their way to Amicalola State Park in Dawson County, Georgia, and Springer Mountain, just a few miles north, to start the 2,198-mile trek north to Maine on the Appalachian Trail. 

A copper plaque marks the beginning of the Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain
A copper plaque marks the beginning of the Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain in North Georgia.

Springer Mountain, the trail’s southern terminus, is where most backpackers start their Thru-Hike and is a great place for new backpackers to test out their gear, skills, and readiness for tougher trails. 

This hike takes you a little over 8 miles on the start of the Appalachian Trail to Hawk Mountain Shelter, a backcountry double-decker wooden shelter, that has a picnic table, bear cables, and a composting privy.  

This hike can be shortened considerably or transformed into a 3- or 4-day trip (5.6 miles out and back) by stopping at the Stover Creek Shelter.  

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate 

Length:16.2 miles out and back  

Permit/Reservation Required: No.   

Dogs Allowed?  Yes.  

Good for Kids? Possibly, depending on the kid.  

More Information: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest – Springer Mountain Trailhead 

 

Tray Mountain  

If you like a challenge, this trek is a really good choice to try out. Starting from Unicoi Gap off Hwy. 75 in Helen, Georgia, you’ll hike 6 miles up and over Rocky Mountain and Tray Mountain, climbing nearly 2,000 feet of elevation over that distance.  

But the work will be worth it, as you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the North Georgia mountains at multiple locations.  

Tray Mountain Shelter sleeps 7 hikers, has multiple spots for tents, and has bear cables, a composting privy, and a piped spring nearby.  

Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult 

Length: 11 miles out and back 

Permit/Reservation Required: No.  

Dogs Allowed? Yes.   

Good for Kids? Possibly, depending on the kid.  

More Information: AllTrails – Tray Mountain Shelter  

 

Raven Cliff Falls  

If you’ve seen any of our social media over the last year, then you know that we’re huge fans of backpacking and hiking trails with waterfalls. In our mind, a backpacking trip without seeing a waterfall of some sort is kind of like, “What’s the point?”  

Well maybe not that much, but it’s safe to say that waterfall backpacking trips are some of the best kinds of trips, and this one is no different.  

Raven Cliff Falls is a sight to behold and the hike up to them is peaceful, beautiful, and filled with smaller waterfalls and streams.  

This area is one of the most popular hikes in North Georgia, so all hikers should be wary of the impact their passing might have on the environment. Leave No Trace and Bear Wise practices should be strictly adhered to.  

Difficulty: Easy 

Length: 5 miles out and back  

Permit/Reservation Required: Yes, a $5 Parking Pass is required. Camping is first-come, first-served and this area is very popular on weekends.  

Dogs Allowed? Yes. 

Good for Kids? Yes, this is a fairly simple and easy trail and provides many things to see along the way including multiple large and small waterfalls.  

More Information: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest – Raven Cliffs Trailhead 

 

 

Fort Mountain – Gahuti Backcountry Trail 

A view from Fort Mountain in Northwest Georgia.
A view from Fort Mountain in Northwest Georgia. Photo courtesy Fort Mountain State Park.

Found at the Southwestern edge of the Cohutta Wilderness in Northwest Georgia, Fort Mountain State Park has been a popular location for hiking, camping, and sightseeing for decades, due to its impressive lookout tower, trail system, and water features.  

The Gahuti Backcountry Trail, which circles the perimeter of the park, has been the main feature of that draw since the 1970s. This trail will take you past 3 reservable backcountry campsites, and a side trail will take you to the peak of Fort Mountain.   

This trek can easily be tackled as a day hike or can be extended to a multi-day, multi-night trip.  

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate  

Length: 8.5 Mile Loop 

Permit/Reservation Required: Yes. Reservations can be made by visiting https://gastateparks.org/FortMountain

Dogs Allowed?  Yes. 

Good for Kids? Yes. 

More Information: Georgia State Parks – Fort Mountain

 

Learn more backpacking tips from World’s Best Adventures! If you like these tips and want to learn more, join World’s Best Adventures on a trip this spring. We take beginning backpackers, families, groups, and hikers of all skill levels on guided backpacking trips to some of the most beautiful locations in North Carolina. Learn more here.

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