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Slackpacking Georgia

Destination: Dahlonega, Georgia

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

Departures and Prices

October 26 to November 03, 2019
$1850.00 - FULL
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May 30 to June 07, 2020
$1895.00 - FULL
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October 10 to October 18, 2020
$1895.00 - FULL
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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 from the Atlanta airport and daily shuttles

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

Details

This trip is rated a 4, 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. On two days there are shorter options and the rating of 4 is appropriate if you choose these or if you prefer to just take one or two days off from hiking. You can always choose to stay at the lodge for the day. 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 suggested.
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. It's seven miles north of downtown Dahlonega with spectacular panoramic views, a saltwater pool, and a firepit. There are six bedrooms for participants that are a mix of single and shared rooms, plus a "bunkroom" with four beds (two singles and one bunkbed). There is a discount for the bunkroom, and two single rooms (one with its own bathroom and one with a shared bathroom) 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 1 pm. From there we'll take the metro to the spot where the shuttle picks us up and transports us to our lodging, a large vacation 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.
DAY 2
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. 11.1 miles. Elevation gain 1600 ft,  loss 1310 ft
DAY 3
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. 10 miles. Elevation gain 3400 ft,  loss 1450 ft
DAY 4
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
DAY 5
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 in a half day so today is the perfect time to visit the nearby charming town of Dahlonega. We'll drop you off and dinner is on your own tonight. 6.4 miles Elevation gain 1800 ft,  loss 1400 ft
DAY 6
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
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 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
DAY 8
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
DAY 9
You are free to leave anytime after breakfast. If you are flying out, we will have you back to the Atlanta airport by 11:00 am and you can plan a flight out after 1:00pm.

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

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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/20/2018-10/28/2018


Great guides

Slackpacking Georgia 10/20/2018-10/28/2018


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/20/2018-10/28/2018


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

Slackpacking Georgia 10/20/2018-10/28/2018


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

Slackpacking Georgia 10/20/2018-10/28/2018


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!

Slackpacking Georgia 10/20/2018-10/28/2018


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/20/2018-10/28/2018


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


Positive attitudes of leaders and all participants

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


Scenery, good food, pleasant accommodations, great guides

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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!

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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

Slackpacking Georgia 10/21/2017-10/29/2017


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/15/2016-10/23/2016


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

Slackpacking Georgia 10/15/2016-10/23/2016


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/15/2016-10/23/2016


Went to hike and that's what we did.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/15/2016-10/23/2016


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/15/2016-10/23/2016


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.

Slackpacking Georgia 10/15/2016-10/23/2016


  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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