Updated: Aug 13
Sometimes, we get in a little over our heads when we go hiking. My family and I usually look for trails rated moderate to strenuous when we search the area, especially in the mountains so we can face challenging terrain we didn’t have when we lived in Florida. The problem is, we still have our Florida-legs. For us, this moderate hike definitely leaned toward strenuous.
Trailhead parking is across Georgia Highway 76, where it crosses the Appalachian Trail. Blue signs along the highway point to a designated recreation area with picnic tables.
During early April, this hike was dry. The evidence of stream beds was there, but very little water graced the trail.
After reading online about how the beginning of the hike to Powell Mountain was all uphill, I was a little surprised to see that wasn’t true. In fact, the beginning didn’t feel difficult at all. This is how the trail confused us. We got complacent. Then it kicked our butts.
The Appalachian Trail is known for its ups and downs, and this section was no exception. We headed up steep inclines with the aid of trekking poles. Prior to this hike, my kids determined they didn’t need poles. They’ve since changed their minds. That’s how difficult some of these uphill climbs were.
Since the trees hadn’t filled in yet from their dormant winter rest, we had great views of distance mountains for most of the hike. It was warm, but cooled as the elevation increased.
Just over 2.5 miles into the hike, there’s a short blue-blazed vista trail that leads to a scenic overlook. When the trees fill out in the summer, this is probably the only overlook from the trail, but it’s worth it any time of the year. It offers a panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and a lake below.
This trail is quite rocky and rooted, so be prepared with a good pair of hiking shoes. Some of the descents were so steep we broke into a light job because it was easier on our knees going downhill.
The hike up to Powell Mountain on the Appalachian Trail does not finish at a summit or overlook. When we trekked the 3.5 miles up the mountain, we only knew we’d reached the turnaround point of the hike because of our AllTrails App. The hike was well worth the effort, and beautiful to boot.
Location: Highway 76, Hiawassee, GA
GPS Coordinates: 34.912167 -83.618967
Length: 7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Restrooms Available: No
Cell Reception: None
Estimated Time: 4 hours (approx.)
Looking for other fun hikes in North Georgia? Check out Trail Guide: Amicalola Falls and Trail Guide: Byron Reece Trailhead to Blood Mountain Shelter via the AT.