There are abundant opportunities to explore and connect with nature along the Georgia Appalachian Trail. Whether you're planning your first day hike or preparing for an extended section or thru hike, the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club can help. The GATC has developed a YouTube channel with videos designed to help you prepare for a hike in the north Georgia mountains.
As a member of GATC, you can participate in the many day hikes, backpacking trips, and hiking seminars offered throughout the year. We also offer valuable information about hiking etiquette, safety tips, shuttle lists, suppliers, water sources, and hunting seasons to help you plan your hike.
If you're new to hiking and backpacking or want to improve your skills, you can start with these two sources. For a good hiking primer that equips you with what you need to know and what you can expect while hiking on the Appalachian Trail, look at the Hiker Resource Library developed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Another resource to consider that was developed by the ATC is the ebook "Step by Step, An Introduction to Walking the Appalachian Trail."
Planning Your Hike
Before you take your first step, take some time to assess your skills and answer the following questions to help prepare for your hike:
What is my physical condition?
Hiking in the woods is more strenuous than walking around your neighborhood; you may also be surprised to discover that your pace is slower on trails. Assessing your physical condition before your hike will help you select an appropriate hike and give you a more enjoyable experience.
How far should I hike?
GATC monthly adventures include day hikes ranging 5-15 miles to overnight backpacking trips ranging from 7-10 miles a day. Backpacking trips require additional equipment and may include a tent, sleeping bag, food, stove, extra clothing, and of course, a backpack.
When am I going?
Do you prefer more solitude and cool weather hiking conditions, or do you enjoy meeting more people along the trail and warm weather hiking? What's your tolerance for insects and gnats? The time of year you hike affects the condition of the trails and your overall hiking experience.
Where am I going?
If venturing off on your own, study the Georgia Appalachian Trail Guide to plan your hike or backpacking trip. Or select from one of the many monthly Adventures offered by GATC and led by our experienced trip leaders.
Practice Leave No Trace
The Appalachian Trail in Georgia is one of the most heavily traveled sections along it's 2,200 miles. Good familiarity with the principles of Leave No Trace and using them will help preserve the trail for everyone's enjoyment. Have a look at these videos that will help you understand the basic concepts:
Plan Ahead & Prepare
Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Leave What You Find
Minimize Campfire Impact
Be Considerate of Others
GATC Trail Ambassador Program
GATC members volunteer as Trail Ambassadors to provide assistance to the hiking community along the Georgia portion of the AT. Their mission is to help visitors on the trail by answering questions and providing information to assure a harmonious wilderness experience. Trail Ambassadors are also specifically trained to assist in protecting and preserving the trail while offering hikers valuable guidance. Trail Ambassadors are physically present on the AT and recognizable by their shirt with emblazoned with the Trail Ambassador emblem.
Georgia Thru-Hiker Patch
Congratulations! If you've hiked the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail, you're eligible for a Georgia Thru-Hiker patch!
You do not have to be a member of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club to receive your patch.
You may complete the required information and purchase the patch from our online store by clicking here.