From: October 21 to October 29, 2017

Destination: Dahlonega, Georgia

  • Slackpacking Georgia - FULL

    The Appalachian Trail truly has mythic status and for many of us, hiking it is a dream. But then we look at the reality of it and find the prospect of carrying a 40-50 pound pack on our back and sleeping on the ground rather daunting. Solution? Slackpacking! We cover the same distance as backpackers, but at the end of the day we return to a beautiful hostel with comfortable beds and hot showers as we traverse the Georgia section. We cover significant mileage on this trip so it still requires being in excellent shape. Maximum group size: 13
  • A note on the itinerary: Some of these days are quite long and there will be limited downtime. Although you can always choose to spend the day at the hostel, there are no scheduled days off. If you want a more relaxing trip, we highly recommend Waterfalls and Wineries or Lodge to Lodge on the Appalachian Trail.  To get a good sense of the up and down nature of the trail, visit this website and click on Georgia Appalachian Trail Elevation Profile.

    Saturday, October 21: We'll meet at the Atlanta airport at 1 pm. From there we'll take the metro to the spot where the shuttle picks us up and transports us to the Hiker Hostel, our home for the week. That evening we'll get to know each other and also review everything we need to know for our upcoming adventure to keep us safe and healthy.

    Sunday, October 22: Springer Mountain to Hightower Gap
    We start our hike at Springer Mountain (3,782 ft), the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. There are a couple of plaques at the top of the mountain and sweeping views of the Cohutta Mountains. And since it is the official start, its where we start. However, we cannot actually drive to Springer Mountain so we will need to first backtrack less than a mile from the first access point. Today's hike is mostly a long gradual descent followed by a not quite as long gradual ascent to the top of Hawk Mountain at 3,200 ft, before descending to Hightower Gap at 2850 ft. We'll see an AT shelter today as well as a beautiful waterfall. 9.3 miles. Elevation gain 1600 ft,  loss 1310 ft

    Monday, October 23: Hightower Gap to Woody Gap.
    Our hike today is definitely more strenuous, with several steep ascents and descents as we climb up and over Sassafras Mt, Justus Mt, and Ramrock Mountain. Fortunately the toughest part is during the first half and after that it mellows out a bit. This part of the trail is the perfect introduction to the up and down nature of hiking in the northern Georgia mountains. 11.8 miles. Elevation gain 3400 ft,  loss 1450 ft

    Tuesday, October 24: Woody Gap to Neels Gap.
    The high point of today's hike, both literally and metaphorically, is Blood Mt. At 4,461 ft it is the highest point of the Georgia section. There are a couple of warm ups first as we go up and over Gaddis Mt and Turkey Stamp Mt before the final 900 ft climb to the top. Blood Mt is full of history and we'll be glad to take a rest as we ponder the history that gave it its name. From there it's all downhill to Neels Gap and the great little outfitter store where we can buy maps, tshorts, or anything else you've decided you need. 10.7 miles. Elevation gain 2800 ft,  loss 2480 ft

    Wednesday, October 25: Neels Gap to Hogpen Gap
    After the last 3 days, we will be ready for this relatively short day! Known for open ridge tops with excellent views and fall wildflowers, the well-graded trail makes this a pleasant hike. However, its not flat. The trail starts with a 900 ft climb up Levelland Mt and ends with a hard climb out of Tesnatee Gap. We should be able to complete this part by early afternoon, so today is the perfect time to visit the nearby charming town of Dahlonega. You'll have a few hours to explore town after we drop you off, and dinner is on your own tonight. 6.9 miles Elevation gain 1800 ft,  loss 1400 ft

    Thursday, October 26: Hogpen Gap to Unicoi Gap
    Today's hike starts and ends with traversing over humps; you definitely are going up and down but it is not nearly as steep as previous days. In between it is more undulating, with smaller ups and downs. It is a long day, though, and we'll be glad to see our shuttle waiting for us at the end. 13.6 mile

    Friday, October 27: Unicoi Gap to Dicks Creek Gap
    Are we really hiking 16 miles today? Maybe, maybe not. The first section is 4 miles and includes two climbs that are over 1,000 feet, with another optional 500 ft climb to the summit of Tray Mt. Luckily, there is road access at Tray Gap.  Starting here will cut 4 miles and about 1500 feet of elevation gain off of today's hike, making it a 12 mile day instead.  These 12 miles go through remote wilderness as it traverses from the second highest mountain on the section to the lowest gap on the trail. Today we come to understand the meaning of PUDs (pointless up and downs) as we go up and down and up and down and up and down etc for an elevation gain of 1900 feet. 16.1 miles. Elevation gain 5200 ft,  loss 4000 ft

    Saturday, October 28: Dicks Creek Gap to Bly Gap
    Today, we will complete the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail!  From Dicks Creek Gap, we'll start a steady ascent of Little Bald Knob, Buzzard Knob and As Knob.  With just 3.2 miles to go, we'll cross Blue Ridge Gap where there is a Forest Service road.  We'll continue to climb as we approach NC and celebrate when we see that little sign denoting the the state line.  We can continue another 0.1 miles to Bly Gap, which is a definite highlight with nice views to the West and a very distinct tree in the gap itself.  Because there is no road at the state line, we'll backtrack 3.2 miles to the road at Blue Ridge Gap.  You are now eligible for a Georgia Thru-Hiker patch!  Simply fill out the form from the Georgia ATC's website and send it in! Tonight we'll go into town to celebrate our accomplishments (and our well-toned quads!) with a final farewell dinner. 12.2 miles 

    Sunday, October 29: You are free to leave anytime after breakfast. If you are flying out, we will have you back to the Atlanta airport by 11 am and you can plan a flight out after 12:30
  • Price: $1425  (see this page for discounts). Deposit $300. There is one private room available for an additional $250; 2 container cabins for $440 each; and a small log cabin for $520 (1). You can see pictures of the container cabins on the Hiker Hostel website. Please make sure you understand our cancellation policies.

    Trip Includes

    • Two experienced AGC guides
    • Eight nights lodging
    • All meals from dinner on Saturday through breakfast the following Sunday with the exception of one dinner
    • All transportation within Georgia including round trip transport from the Atlanta airport and daily shuttles

    What's not included:  Airfare to/from ATL, one dinner, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities. 

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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    We can always accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free, and omnivore diets. On most trips we can also accommodate lactose-free, vegan, and other restricted diets, although in some locations the availability of special food may be limited. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking the entire Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail
  • Returning to a comfortable bed and hot shower at the end of every day
  • Enjoying sumptuous meals (that you don't have to cook!)
  • Luxuriating in the fall foliage of northern Georgia
  • Carrying only what you need for the day on your back

Register for this trip today

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