Cooper Gap to Woody Gap On The Appalachian Trail

In my quest to hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, I had left out a short section due to bad weather on my Springer Mountain to Cooper Gap trip. This trip was a very short, out and back trip from Woody Gap to Cooper Gap. We hiked it on the last weekend in October 2014. The one way distance was ~7 miles, so it was about ~14 round trip.

The Start

The Woody Gap trailhead is one of the best access points on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. It is well-maintained and accessible with good bathrooms and plenty of paved parking along the highway. There’s also a great view all the way around.

I drove up from Atlanta and met my brother at the trailhead. Even though it was a *beautiful* Friday afternoon in October, the trailhead seemed busy but not too crowded at all. Light was fading pretty fast, so we got our packs it started hiking downhill from the trailhead.

This section of trail is pretty typical as the rest of the trail in Georgia. It generally wraps around summits, and follows little ridge lines. It’s a lot of up and down and elevation change, given the distance traveled

Section from Woody Gap to Cooper camp has a few intersecting trails and forest service roads, but it still has the fairly remote feeling.

The Camp

We set up camp on a pre-established campsite along ridgeline. We didn’t see much traffic along the trail, and so had the area to ourselves.

Lessons Learned

This was my first straightforward trip along the Appalachian Trail where everything generally went as planned.

One thing that I did learn was to pay attention to the loss of daylight. I generally forget just how quickly it gets dark when you’re away from the city.

That last 30 minutes of day line can seem like you have plenty, but when you still need to set up the tent, Make the fire, and cook supper – it can be not nearly enough. I think for future trips I will try to get the camp a lot sooner with plenty of daylight to spare.

This section of trail was pretty typical. It could really be any section of the trail and Georgia. It’s the classic green tunnel.

The section around Woody Gap is fairly high elevation, but a lot of the far off views are obscured by trees. But in the fall you get this nice mix of shade with gaps in the trees to see off.

Our campsite on a ridgeline, was pretty slope-y, it still had a nice flat spot for our four person tent.

There were not a lot of water sources. But this little Creek was lovely and well positioned.

There’s probably not a single hike in Georgia that’s not absolutely lovely and October.

By Nate

I'm Nate Shivar - I live in Atlanta and love exploring the city, outdoors, books & Internet. Read about me, my Now page, or my work.

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