Slackpacking Georgia

Destination: Dahlonega, Georgia

| Activities: Hiking and Slackpacking

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 comfortable beds, hot showers, and freshly-prepared meals, to help inspire our traverse of the Georgia section. We cover significant mileage on this trip so it still requires being in excellent shape. Maximum group size: 12

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 foliage of northern Georgia
  • Carrying only what you need for the day on your back

Departures and Prices

May 28 to June 05, 2022
$2125.00 - FULL
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October 08 to October 16, 2022
$2125.00 - Limited Availability
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Inclusions

  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Eight nights lodging in a beautiful vacation home shared by the group
  • 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 to/from either the North Springs station of the Marta and/or the Atlanta airport as well as all daily shuttles

What's not included: Travel to and from Atlanta, alcoholic beverages, snacks, optional guide gratuities and travel insurance.

Trip Documents

Trip Intro

This trip is rated a 5 because it involves hiking from 7 to 16 miles a day (see the itinerary for daily mileage) and requires being in excellent physical condition. There is one opportunity on the last day of hiking to make that day’s mileage a bit less, otherwise, mileage will be as listed in the itinerary. The lodge you will be staying at is both large and beautiful so taking a day off is always an option. Trips that are rated 5 require a high degree of fitness. Adding some specific conditioning such as strength training, endurance training, and longer aerobic workouts is both highly recommended and necessary. If you have any questions about your fitness level, please contact the office.
Rating: 1 2 3 4[5].

This is a hiking trip on the first section of the legendary Appalachian Trail. You will be hiking in the mountains with constant elevation gain and loss on a trail that is rocky at times. On most days there is little time (or energy) at the end of the day for other activities, except a midweek afternoon trip into the delightful small town of Dahlonega for browsing and dinner.

We will spend eight nights at the Retreat on the Ridge , a luxurious 7-bedroom 5.5 bath majestic mountain home where you can enjoy the north Georgia mountains in luxury, style, and convenience. The rental is seven miles north of downtown Dahlonega with spectacular panoramic views, a saltwater pool, and a fire pit. In the main house there are six bedrooms for participants that are a mix of single and shared rooms, plus a bunkroom where there are discounted spots. There are three single rooms available. In the main house there is one with its own bathroom and two with shared bathrooms. These are available for a single supplement ($300); otherwise, rooms will be assigned randomly.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
We'll meet at the Atlanta airport at 1PM and together take the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority aka the local metro system) Redline to the North Springs station. Here the shuttle will pick us up and transport us to our lodging, a large vacation home, for the week. Tonight we'll get to know each other and review everything we need to know for our upcoming adventure to keep us safe and healthy. (D)

Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 2
We start our hike at Springer Mountain (3,782 feet), the famous southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Several plaques adorning the mountaintop and sweeping views of the Cohutta Mountains positively beg for photos to be taken. Since we cannot actually start at the summit, we will need to first backtrack a mile from the nearest access point. Today's hike is a long gradual descent followed by a not quite as long gradual ascent to the top of Hawk Mountain (3,200 feet), before descending to Hightower Gap (2,850 feet). We'll see an AT shelter today as well as a beautiful waterfall. (B, L, D)

Hiking Distance: 11.1 miles. Elevation Gain: 1600 feet, loss 1310 feet
Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 3
Our hike today is definitely more strenuous, with several steep ascents and descents as we climb up and over Sassafras Mountain, Justus Mountain, and Ramrock Mountain. Fortunately, the toughest part is during the first half of the day and after that, the trail 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. (B, L, D)

Hiking Distance: 10 miles. Elevation Gain: 3400 feet, loss 1450 feet
Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 4
The high point of today's hike, both literally and metaphorically, is Blood Mountain (4,461 feet). Blood Mountain is the highest point of the Georgia Appalachian Trail section. There are first a couple of warm-ups first as we go up and over Gaddis Mountain and Turkey Stamp Mountain before the final 900-foot climb to the top. Blood Mountain 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 a great outfitter store where we can buy maps, t-shirts, or anything else you've decided you need – ice cream anyone? (B, L, D)

Hiking Distance: 10.7 miles. Elevation Gain: 2800 feet, loss 2480 feet
Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 5
After the last 3 days, we will be ready for this relatively short day! This section is known for open ridge tops with excellent views and wildflowers and the well-graded trail for today makes this a pleasant hike. Don’t be fooled, however, it’s still not a flat! The trail starts with a 900-foot climb up Levelland Mountain and ends with a challenging climb out of Tesnatee Gap. We should be able to complete this part in a half day, which gives us the perfect opportunity to fill our afternoon with a visit to the nearby charming town of Dahlonega. Your guides will drop you off and dinner will be on your own tonight. (B, L)

Hiking Distance: 6.4 miles. Elevation Gain: 1800 feet, loss 1400 feet
Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 6
Today's hike starts with ‘humps’ and ends with ‘humps’ with (you guessed it!) lots of humps in-between! Luckily today is not as steep as previous days but still has plenty of undulating smaller ups and downs. Today is when you become intimately familiar with PUDs and MUDs (pointless ups and downs and mindless ups and down)! It is a long day and we'll be glad to see our shuttle waiting for us at the end. (B, L, D)

Hiking Distance: 13.6 miles Elevation Gain: 2,654 feet
Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 7
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-foot climb to the summit of Tray Mountain. Luckily, there is road access at Tray Gap for those wishing to skip the first 4 miles. Starting at Tray Gap makes it a 12 mile day instead of a 16 mile day. The last 12 miles go through remote wilderness, traversing from the second highest mountain in the section to the lowest gap on the trail. (B, L, D)

Hiking Distance: 16.1 miles. Elevation Gain: 5200 feet, loss 4000 feet
Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 8
Today, we will finish 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 North Carolina and celebrate when we see that little sign denoting 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! You can purchase a patch from the Georgia ATC's website. Tonight, we'll go into town to celebrate our accomplishments (and our well-toned quads!) with a final farewell dinner. (B, L, D)

Hiking Distance: 12.2 miles Elevation Gain: 2,867 feet
Overnight: Retreat on the Ridge
DAY 9
What?! No hiking today? Unfortunately, it is true but what a week we’ve had. You are free to leave any time after breakfast. If you are flying out, we will have you back to Atlanta airport by 11AM and you can plan a flight out after 1PM. (B)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

4.9

(52 reviews)
5 Food
4.8 Lodging
5 Safety
5
(46)
4
(6)
3
(0)
2
(0)
1
(0)
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Maya L.
0 months ago

The guides were excellent, as always; the participants were kind and friendly: the accommodations beautiful and the food outstanding. The only reason I didn't rate it excellent is that the terrain was not spectacular, but that's certainly not AGC's fault...

Leigh H.
0 months ago

The chance to get away, be in nature and not be in charge or have to think about anything! :)

Pam F.
0 months ago

beautiful north Georgia mountain hiking

Laurie F.
0 months ago

Chance to meet and interact with such a diverse group of women; achievement of a personal goal; learning new hiking tips and skills; opportunity for together AND alone time; incredible sunrise view from lodge

Judith S.
0 months ago

Ursula F.
4 months ago

Great hiking, interesting women to talk to, comfortable lodging, fabulous food and excellent guides.

Pamela H.
4 months ago

Great house, great food, and great hiking.

Karen I.
4 months ago

Excellent trip! The guides were fantastic, food was delicious, and the participants were great. I would recommend that you provide a massage therapist to come into the house on the half day, for those that would like a massage. One of the other participants found a great one! I also had a massage with her, and would greatly recommend her. "The Art of Healing". 833-239-6744. or 404-9441922. I think her name was Edie

Suzanne W.
4 months ago

The trip and the guides were fabulous - I would rate the trip 4 1/2 if I could because of accommodation issues (see below).

Gayle G.
4 months ago

Excellent. All details were mapped out ahead of time and the plan was executed on schedule.

Nancy W.
4 months ago

Not enough superlatives to describe how wonderful this trip was. Claire and Gina were amazing, so capable, tireless and fun. They made the experience incredible.

Carrie N.
4 months ago

Top notch badass guides Claire and Gina!!

Amy S.
4 months ago

Well planned and organized. Great team of guides, tasty food, and beautiful accommodations. Trail sections were carefully selected for mileage and elevation each day.

Lucy N.
11 months ago

Christine P.
1 year ago

Darby S.
1 year ago

Over shot my expectations. The trail was challenging every day - but allowed for an experience beyond my imagination. Great people and amazing views and memories to go along with them. Loved Dahlonega and that 'rest day' made for a nice reprieve and something to look forward to.

Andrea B.
1 year ago

Actually better than I hoped. The lodging was very peaceful and the group instantly bonded.

Heidi W.
1 year ago

Durena B.
1 year ago

And more!

Rachael S.
1 year ago

The accomodations were unbelieveable! Having a 'dip pool' each night for our feet was really amazing.

Heidi W.
1 year ago

I loved hiking all day. The accommodations were great. Our guides were terrific. The food was delicious.

Stacy N.
1 year ago

Wonderful food, well matched with other hikers, paced well, guides were excellent and took great care of us.

Michaelyn C.
1 year ago

The guides, Leigh and Gina, are top notch. Very professional, kind, attentive, and non-judgmental.

Lisa B.
1 year ago

The guides, accommodations, food and the trail. It was awesome

Kelly W.
1 year ago

The guides were phenomenal, and the place we stayed was breathtaking. I didn't expect such amazing meals and the feeling of being cared for all week.

Carol L.
2 years ago

The only thing that I would have changed is the 16 mile day for the 6.7. Wed. we had good weather when the 6.7 mile day was scheduled and rain and cold for the 16 miles day.

Debbie D.
2 years ago

Mary A.
2 years ago

Great guides

Tara M.
3 years ago

This trip is incredible. Highlights: 1. Hiking the entire GA section of the AT (please have more trips where we complete an entire section on the AT!) 2. The leaders are awesome--I don't know how they do it! 3. AGC draws a wonderful group of women. I left this trip and the last one inspired by their stories and everything they have accomplished. 4. I loved that each day was a challenge but one I could complete. I had such a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

Ellen I.
3 years ago

Over the top wonderful guides; very very challenging; wonderful food; great lodging-although a long ride to some trail heads (a price I am willing to pay for slackpackinh); good group

Jacqueline R.
3 years ago

Since this was my first trip with AGC I wasn't sure what to expect. I found everything completely organized, which of course made me feel safe with my decision, and I actually completed the AT in Georgia!!!!! For me the highlight was the hardest day - just that I walked 16.7 miles is amazing. Would I do that day again? NO! LOL

Doris E.
3 years ago

The thrill of completing my most challenging hike ever, the entire Georgia section of the AT (80 miles in 7 days, 20k ft elevation gain, 20k loss) in the quiet, cool autumn beauty of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest with a terrific group of AGC women and AGC guide team. Thank you thank you thank you!

Lynne M.
3 years ago

The trip, the accommodations, the guides, the food, the shuttling, the teamwork and camaraderie all exceeded my expectations. The weather was challenging, and the trail itself was much more up and down than I expected.

Terri R.
3 years ago

Diana W.
3 years ago

I have done multiple day hikes in the Grand Canyon so felt prepared for this trip. It was harder than I expected with a quicker pace than I anticipated.

Diana M.
3 years ago

The entire trip from beginning to end. A personal highlight was reaching Springer Mountain and the North Carolina border. Another personal highlight was hiking 16.5 miles in one day.

Denise M.
3 years ago

I never in a million years expected that the group of ladies we hiked with would come together so well. What a fun group

Patricia C.
3 years ago

The trip met all of my expectations and my expectations were very high. Fabulous guides! Great group of ladies.

Peggy W.
3 years ago

Positive attitudes of leaders and all participants

Sue H.
3 years ago

Scenery, good food, pleasant accommodations, great guides

Wendy W.
3 years ago

I developed an affection for the AT I hadn’t experienced before, even though I have hiked on it before. I also liked all the laughing we did! It was a great group.

Jennifer K.
3 years ago

Well organized. Great accommodations and meals prepared by the guides were spectacular in the evenings and on the trail. Guides were knowledgeable and never tired! Amazing!

Ellen C.
3 years ago

The guides, hostile, other women, and the beauty of the AT trail.

Kelli V.
3 years ago

I really enjoyed getting to know the other women. They were encouraging, funny and strong.

Dina R.
4 years ago

highlights - first class service on the trails and at the residence. Both guides were extraordinary in their expertise, calm approach, detail oriented, caring, delivering to everyone a sense of belonging and wellness. They were gentle minded and truly experienced and resourceful and prepared.

Tyler P.
5 years ago

Karen G.
5 years ago

Hiking the last 12 miles of the AT in North Georgia!

Ruth S.
5 years ago

When I signed up for the trip, I had some reservations about my ability to complete a 4/5 hiking adventure. With Leigh leading the hike, I felt safe and confident that I was up to the challenge. Completing the entire 80 miles to the NC border was a very exciting moment! The fall colors were spectacular!!! The upbeat, positive energy of the group of ladies, and their wonderful sense of humor, made it an enjoyable group adventure. The Hostel was clean, warm, inviting and felt like home away from home. The food was fresh, delicious, healthy and plentiful. I feel very blessed to have been a part of this experience.

Angelina G.
5 years ago

Went to hike and that's what we did.

Debbie F.
5 years ago

Anonymous
5 years ago

Awesome trip! Great group of women, great guides, great everything. The only suggestion I would have for improvement would be to make the hiking poles mandatory (rather than just highly recommended). I bought them at the last minute and wouldn't have been able to make the hike without them. And please mention in the brochure that a washing machine is available, I would have brought less clothes if I had known that.

Alice R.
5 years ago

The beautiful scenery we experienced was a highlight for sure. Every day contained breathtaking views and peaceful forest paths. I wanted difficult hikes and each day was challenging but not overly so. I also enjoyed meeting and spending time with the other women from all over the world. The food we ate surprised me - it was well above the standard I was expecting. Leigh and Karen are great cooks. The hostel was also nicer that I was expecting. It was exceptionally clean and much more spacious than anticipated.

  1. Where do we eat?

    The guides will be cooking breakfasts and most dinners in the vacation home. Before you leave in the morning the guides will put out lunch 'fixings' and you'll take a packed lunch. You'll go out for one dinner where you can order off the menu; other nights you'll relax in the lodge and have dinner there.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise you'll be randomly assigned to one of the remaining rooms.
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