The Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail is on Springer Mountain on the eastern edge of Gilmer County. The Trail continues north for 2,179 miles through 14 states to its Northern Terminus at Mount Katahdin in Maine. A cool interactive map of the AT trail will fuel your imagination as you plan an outing. To see how far it is between two points on the AT, check out this distance calculator.
The Southern Terminus of the Benton MacKaye Trail is also on Springer Mountain on the eastern edge of Gilmer County. This trail continues north for 288 miles to Davenport Gap on the Northern edge of the Great Smoky National Park near I-40.
The Duncan Ridge Trail connects the Appalachian and Benton MacKaye Trails to form a challenging 55+ mile loop requiring 4 – 8 days to complete. The terrain for much of the route is rugged and remote.
The Pinhoti Trail has its northern terminus near mile 70 of the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Cohuttas. From there, it extends 335 miles to the southwest to Weogufka (yes, I spelled it correctly), in East Central Alabama. 164 miles of the trail are in Georgia, with the remaining 171 in Alabama.
The Cohutta Wilderness Area contains 39,677 acres (about 60 square miles) of rugged mountain terrain. The area contains the headwaters of the Jacks and Conasauga Rivers, both of which contain native trout. The area has an extensive trail system with several loop hike opportunities available. Many of the trails require river crossings, so keep an eye out for heavy rains, which can make those crossings dangerous or impossible.