Springer Mountain

Coordinates: 34°37′36″N 84°11′37″W / 34.6266410°N 84.1935399°W / 34.6266410; -84.1935399
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Springer Mountain
Springer Mountain viewed from East Ellijay
Highest point
Elevation3,770 feet (1,149 m)[1]
Prominence1,142 ft (348 m)[2]
Coordinates34°37′36″N 84°11′37″W / 34.6266410°N 84.1935399°W / 34.6266410; -84.1935399[1]
Springer Mountain is located in Georgia
Springer Mountain
Springer Mountain
Location of Springer Mountain in Georgia
Parent rangeBlue Ridge Mountains
Topo mapUSGS Noontootla
First ascentunknown
Easiest routeAppalachian Trail

Springer Mountain is a mountain located in the Chattahoochee National Forest on the border of Fannin and Gilmer counties. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Georgia, the mountain has an elevation of about 3,770 feet (1,149 m).[1] Springer Mountain serves as the southern terminus for the Appalachian and Benton MacKaye trails.


The origin of the name of Springer Mountain is unclear. One possible origin was that it was named in honor of William G. Springer, an early settler appointed in 1833 by Governor Wilson Lumpkin to implement legislation to improve conditions for the Indians. Another possibility was that Springer Mountain was named for the first Presbyterian minister to be ordained in Georgia, John Springer, who was ordained in 1790.[3]

The mountain has been called Springer since at least 1910. As late as 1959, some residents of Gilmer County were still calling the peak Penitentiary Mountain. According to the Gilmer County Historical Society, the name was officially changed by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC). It is unknown why the mountain was named Penitentiary.[4] There is no known Cherokee name for the mountain.[5]


Springer Mountain is a north–south-trending loaf-shaped mountain located on the border of Gilmer and Fannin counties.[6][4] The summit has an elevation 3,782 feet (1,153 m) above mean sea level.[2] Springer Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains that extend from Georgia to Pennsylvania. Springer Mountain divides the northern and southern extensions of the Blue Ridge in Georgia, with one branch heading northwest to the Cohutta Mountains and the other branch heading southwest to Mount Oglethorpe.[4] Springer Mountain is located inside the Chattahoochee National Forest, as well as the Ed Jenkins National Recreation Area.[7]

The mountain is located about 17 miles (27 km) east of Ellijay, 14 miles (23 km) northwest of Dahlonega and 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Suches.[6] Mount Oglethorpe, the original southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, is located about 14 miles (23 km) south of Springer Mountain.[4] Other nearby geographical features include Black Mountain, Tickanetley Creek and Winding Stair Gap.[6]


Appalachian Trail[edit]

Appalachian Trail plaque at top of Springer Mountain

In 1958, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail was relocated from Mount Oglethorpe to Springer Mountain. The reason for this relocation was because of increased development around Mount Oglethorpe.[8] Springer Mountain was considered to be less dramatic than Mount Oglethorpe, but because of its remoteness, Springer Mountain was also considered to be less susceptible to development.[5]

One way to climb Springer Mountain is from a parking lot on Forest Service Road 42, located 0.9 miles (1.4 km) north up the Appalachian Trail from the summit. Hikers desiring to hike north from Springer Mountain would begin by hiking 0.9 miles (1.4 km) south on the Appalachian Trail before turning around to hike north. At the peak of Springer Mountain is a bronze plaque with the Appalachian Trail logo, a register for hikers to sign, and a benchmark.[9]

In addition to the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain can be reached from the south via the Appalachian Approach Trail.[10] The approach trail starts at the visitor's center of Amicalola Falls State Park and is 8.5 miles (13.7 km) in length.[9]

Benton MacKaye Trail[edit]

Springer Mountain is also home to the southern terminus of the Benton MacKaye Trail. The trailhead for the Benton MacKaye Trail is located around 0.3 miles (0.48 km) north of the summit.[11][12][13]


The nearest shelter from the summit is the Springer Mountain Shelter, located about 0.2 miles (0.32 km) north of the summit. A water spring is located near this shelter.[14][15] Another nearby shelter is the Black Gap Shelter, located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of the summit on the Appalachian Approach Trail.[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Springer Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2024-05-17.
  2. ^ a b "Springer Mountain, Georgia". Peakbagger.com.
  3. ^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 210. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.
  4. ^ a b c d Logue, Victoria. The Story Behind Springer. 1990. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Luxenberg, Larry (1994). Walking the Appalachian Trail. Stackpole Books. p. 3. ISBN 9780811730952.
  6. ^ a b c United States Geological Survey (26 May 2016). Noontootla, GA quadrangle (Topographic map). Reston, VA: United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 26 May 2016 – via TopoQuest.
  7. ^ "Map of the Blue Ridge District, Chattahoochee National Forest" (PDF). U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  8. ^ Adkins, Leonard. Along the Appalachian Trail: Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. 2012. ISBN 978-0738591032. pp. 11.
  9. ^ a b Springer Mountain Trailhead. usda.gov. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b AT Approach Trail: Hiking Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain. atlantatrails.com. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  11. ^ Benton MacKaye, Sec. I. georgiatrails.com. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  12. ^ Champlin, Eric. Springer Mountain Loop Trail: Hiking the Appalachian Trail & BMT. atlantatrails.com. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  13. ^ Parham, Jim. Day Hiking the North Georgia Mountains. 2012. Milestone Press. ISBN 1889596264. pp. 155.
  14. ^ AT Springer Mountain to Woody Gap. 14 September 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  15. ^ Trail Guide. Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. Retrieved 26 May 2016.

External links[edit]