This state park, an hour north of Atlanta, is known for two things. One is the 729 ft waterfall (one of the 7 wonders of Georgia). It's the highest waterfall in Georgia and from at least one source, it's the highest cascding waterfall in the US east of the Mississippi River. A few miles up from the visitors center there is a parking lot just below the falls. From there is a trail up a wooden staircase that takes you immediately in front of the falls (great view of the falls), from there the staircase goes up to the top of the falls. With about 600 steps it gets kind of tiring.
The second thing this park is well known for is the Appalachian trail. A trail that goes up the easter states, about 2200 miles to Maine. Every year many ambitious hikers start their journey here. Most start their hike here, 8.5 miles away from the start of the Appalachian trail.
If you're lazy or if you don't have much time (I'd like to say my case was the latter) you can get much closer the start of the Appalachian trail at the top of Springer mountain by car. It is about a 45 min drive (last 6 miles is a dirt road) from Amicalola Falls State Park. There's a parking spot next to the Appalachian trail, 0.9 miles from its start. The trail towards the peak is across the street from the parking lot. The hike is easy and quick. There's a couple of plaques indicating the start of the trail (and the fact that there's 2,175 miles to go to the other end), as well as a register at the top. Also, there is a great view of the surrounding areas from the top. There are no fees.
This is where through-hikers of the 2,175 mile long Appalachian trail start their journey. The actual start of the Appalachian trail is 8.5 miles away on the top of Springer mountain, but most people start here. Most through-hikers (and you'll notice them because they'll be carrying 40 pounds worth of equipment on their backs) start in early spring so that they could make it to Maine before it gets too cold. It's a nice hike, through wooded areas, but it's one way so if you're not planning on continuing on to the Appalachian Trail, you'll have to make turn back on the same trail.
The Hike Inn serves family style dinner each night and breakfast each morning. The food is pretty simple, but after hiking so many miles, it seemed really good to us.
The Springer Mountain summit is the southern terminus of the Appalacian Trail. Springer Mountain is either the beginning or end of the trail, depending on whether you are hiking north to south or south to north. The Appalacian trail is over 2,000 miles long and runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. This plaque on Springer Mountain marks the official start, or end, of the Appalacian trail.
Favorite thing: The Appalacian Approach Trail and the Hike Inn Trail begin as the same trail. After about a mile, the trails split and the Hike Inn trail leads 4 more miles to the Inn.
Favorite thing: The Appalacian approach trail is 8.3 miles from Amicalola Falls State Park to the summit of Springer mountain. The trees are dense in most areas, but in some spots there are openings where you can see the 3 and 4,000 foot mountains in the area,
Favorite thing: This plaque is located on the summit of Springer Mountain, the southern entry point for the Appalacian trail. From here, it is over 2,000 miles to the northern terminus of the trail, on Mount Katahdin in Maine.