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Dahlonega, Georgia
Southern Gateway to the Appalachian Trail


Virtual Trail Fest Schedule

All events will be streamed online at the times listed.
Use the registration link for each event to register. Limit 500 participants.

Click here for the Trail Fest Silent Auction
Outdoor gear, Hike Inn, AT pottery, wine, and cider


 
Saturday

  • Silent Auction is open
  • 10:00     "Walks of Discovery"
  • 12:00     "Maintaining the Appalachian Trail in Georgia"
  • 1:00     "Thru Hiker Panel"

  • 2:00     "Going Again: Mighty Blue Back on the Appalachian Trail"
  • 3:00     "Gourmet Backcountry Cooking"
  • 4:00     "How to Pack Your Backpack"
  • 6:00     "Sans Abri Band"
  • 8:00     "Adventure Film Festival"
  • Sunday

  • 1:00     "Thru Hiker Panel"
  • 2:00     "Grandma Gatewood's Walk: A discussion about the inspiring pioneer who saved the Appalachian Trail"
  • 3:00     "The Art of the Bear Hang"
  • 4:00     "The Ins and Outs of Trail Running"
  • 4:00     Silent Auction Ends

  • Speakers


    Mark Clegg
    "Walks of Discovery"

    Mark Clegg

    Date: Saturday
    Time: 10:00 am

    Register here
    As detailed in his book, "Mountain Miles - A Memoir of Hiking the Southern Appalachian Trail" and his upcoming book on walking the length of Hadrian's Wall in England, Mark focuses on the local history, topography, flora and fauna, and the people he encounters on long hikes.  Re-connecting with old friends, the joy of food and drink along the path, and exploring family history related to the areas near the trail are also topics examined.

    Mark Clegg book

    Author of:
    Mountain Miles: A Memoir of Section Hiking the Southern Appalachian Trail
    Amazon.com


    Ben Montgomery
    "Grandma Gatewood's Walk: A discussion about the inspiring pioneer who saved the Appalachian Trail"

    Ben Montgomery

    Date: Sunday
    Time: 2:00

    Register here
    Grandma Gatewood was the first woman to solo thru-hike the entire 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail, in 1955. She was 67 years old, a mother of 11, grandmother of 23, and survivor of an abusive marriage. She pioneered what's now called ultra-lite hiking, carrying a homemade knapsack with a blanket, rain curtain, and few odds and ends, and wearing ordinary sneakers, relying heavily on the hospitality of strangers and her own resourcefulness. She was the first person to hike the trail twice (1957) and three times (1964).

    Montgomery is the founder of the narrative journalism website Gangrey.com and a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting. He won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for the series For Their Own Good, about abuse at Florida's oldest reform school. His book, Grandma Gatewood's Walk, was a New York Times Bestseller and won a National Outdoor Book Award. He has written three other books: The Leper Spy (2016), The Man Who Walked Backward (2018), and A Shot in the Moonlight (JAN 2021). He lives in Tampa.
    Grandma Gatewood book

    Author of:
    Grandma Gatewood's Walk
    The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

    Amazon.com


    Steve Adams
    "Going Again: Mighty Blue Back on the Appalachian Trail"

    Steve Adams

    Date: Saturday
    Time: 2:00

    Register here
    Steve Adams came late to hiking at the age of 61, with his first-ever hike of any description being the Appalachian Trail. He completed that in 2014, wrote three books about the experience, started a podcast that has been downloaded more than 1,000,000 times, and repeated his AT thru-hike in 2019, having also done the Camino De Santiago in 2018.


    Hiker panel
    "Thru Hiker Panel"



    Date: Saturday
    Time: 1:00

    Register here
    A panel of thru hikers will answer questions from the audience about the experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Whether you are planning a thru hike, a section hike, or just curious about the logistics and challenges, listen in as these folks who spent months on the trail answer questions and relate anecdotes from the trail.


    Hiker panel
    "Thru Hiker Panel"



    Date: Sunday
    Time: 1:00

    Register here
    A panel of thru hikers will answer questions from the audience about the experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Whether you are planning a thru hike, a section hike, or just curious about the logistics and challenges, listen in as these folks who spent months on the trail answer questions and relate anecdotes from the trail.


    Music


    Sans Abri Band
    Sans Abri Band

    Shenanigans Irish Pub
    Parking Lot Concert
    Dahlonega, GA

    Date: Saturday
    Time: 6:00-8:00 pm

    Register here
    The literal translation of "Sans Abri" is "without shelter."  The French use it as a term for "homeless".  Josh Erwin and Michael Paynter found themselves with a handful of new songs that didn't have a home in The Packway Handle Band, the acclaimed bluegrass-based group from Athens, GA, that they co-founded.  Sans creates a sound that steps away from their bluegrass roots and sometimes even finds itself wading into Americana waters. Expect bluegrass standards, catchy originals spotted throughout the set, bluegrassified covers, and even a country song or two when they take the stage.

    Sans Abri has tours the deep south intermittently hubbing out of their home base of Atlanta, GA. The band's performances have a professional and skilled musical sensibility that only comes with the years that Erwin, Paynter and Harris have spent playing music together. Those who give Sans Abri a listen will surely be pleased that these songs have found a home.


    Film Festival


    Merrell Film
    "Adventure Film Festival"



    Date: Saturday
    Time: 8:00 pm until....

    Register here
    DTF presents adventure films from REI, Merrell, and Hirsch. Lay in a supply of your favorite movie snacks and fix a pitcher of drinks, settle back, and join us for a evening of adventure from around the world.


  • The Triple Crown of Hiking
  • Celebrates Will "Akuna" Robinson's incredible achievement of being the first African American male on record to complete the Triple Crown of Hiking

  • We Hike to Heal
  • Kenya and Michelle Jackson-Saulters found each other and then combined their passions to create The Outdoor Journal Tour. Through a series of events called We Hike to Heal, their goal is to empower women through journaling, meditation, and spending time in the outdoors. Now, women across the country use their model and Kenya's teachings to find their own healing on local trails and in community with one another.

  • Walk in the Park

  • Raven

  • Safe Haven

  • Heart of the Valley

  • Today Dream

  • Frank and the Tower

  • Time Travelers

  • Fastest Know Time

  • Engaging the Curve


  • Workshops


    Tom Lamb
    "Gourmet Backcountry Cooking"

    Tom Lamb

    Date: Saturday
    Time: 3:00

    Register here
    On short backpack trips, ever wanted more than a package of freeze dried food? This workshop will cover backcountry baking and hearty, healthy meals cooked on a fire or a stove. Skillet pizza; baked, stuffed cornish hens; blueberry muffins; hobo dinners; cornbread; no cook strawberry cheesecake; and more!

    Tom Lamb is the chairman of the Dahlonega Trail Fest. He taught backpacking, camp cooking, canoe camping, advanced backpacking, and other outdoor classes at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for 25 years before moving to Dahlonega. He now devotes his retirement years to maintaining the Appalachian Trail with the Georgia Applachian Trail Club and canoeing around north Georgia.


    Zach Dibble
    "How to Pack Your Backpack"

    Zach Dibble

    Date: Saturday
    Time: 4:00

    Register here
    An REI Outdoor School instructors will prepare you for this backpacking season by making your pack more comfortable and manageable than ever before! We'll start by teaching you what to look for in a proper fit. You'll also learn how to load your pack to balance the weight for specific trail conditions and better organize your gear. Then we will show you how to make adjustments on the trail to keep your back from aching and allow you to get more out of your experience in the wilderness.


    Zach Dibble
    "The Art of the Bear Hang"

    Zach Dibble

    Date: Sunday
    Time: 3:00

    Register here
    Learn the essentials of camping in bear country. A professional instructor from REI will discuss bear awareness and avoidance strategies. The instructor will also virtually demonstrate a variety of bear hang techniques and food storage options. This class is a must for anyone planning at trip into bear country.


    Merrell runner
    "The Ins and Outs of Trail Running"

    Annie Olson

    Date: Sunday
    Time: 4:00

    Register here
    Annie from Merrell will be covering the best practices for trail running. She has been running on the trail for the past 4 years. With her personal experience and her expertise in the industry, she's going to go over the best way to find the perfect trail running shoe. What to look for, what makes up a great trail running shoe and her personal favorites.


    Bill Bryant
    "Maintaining the Appalachian Trail in Georgia"

    Bill Bryant

    Date: Saturday
    Time: 12:00

    Register here
    Learn the ins and outs of trail maintenance. All 2,198 miles of the AT is maintained by section maintainers, volunteers of local clubs. The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club maintains 128 miles of trail in the state. GATC member Bill Bryant will go through the safety concerns, tools, and techniques used by maintainers.

    Bill currently serves as Information and Education Director for the GATC and is Chair of the Trails and Camping Committee for the ATC`s Stewardship Council.  He and wife Margaret are Section Maintainers in Georgia.  Bill was an ATC Ridgerunner for three years and has been a Trail Ambassador with the GATC for several years.  A section hiker, Bill has completed more than 1,600 miles of the A.T., from Georgia through Pennsylvania with more hikes to come.  Bill served with the US Navy for 6 years and worked for AT&T before retiring from Hewlett-Packard in 2014. Bill has 4 children and three grandchildren who keep him busy away from the trail.


    Suggested Activities- On Your Own


    Ramrock Mountain

    Click on the photo to see a high res photo with Atlanta and Stone Mountain
    HIKE

    Ramrock Mountain

    14 miles north of Dahlonega Square

    This section affords a 3 mile round trip to Ramrock Mountain or a 7 mile roundtrip to Gooch Gap. At mile 1.5, the top of Ramrock Mountain affords views south as far as the Atlanta skyline and Stone Mountain on clear days. This is an easy section with one steep ascent of Ramrock Mountain. For a longer hike, continue hiking to the west to FS 42 at Gooch Gap 3.5 miles from Woody Gap. Woody Gap has a paved parking lot on both sides of the road. There is a privy toilet on the east side.

    From Dahlonega Square- 14 miles. Take Main Street east .6 mile to intersection with Morrison Moore Parkway. Turn left and remain on Morrison Moore/Hwy 19/60 to Stonepile Gap in 7.3 miles. At the roundabout at the pile of stones, take Hwy 60 straight ahead 5.3 miles. Paved parking for Woody Gap on both sides of road is marked with AT crossing signs.


    paddling
    PADDLE

    Chestatee River

    1 mile south of Dahlonega Square

    Rent a canoe or kayak or bring your own. Appalachian Outfitters will handle your boat rental or shuttle your boat for $10. The river trip is a easy 6 miles with some fun class I rapids and good for beginners. AO is open for trips Thursday through Monday through September.

    Appalachian Outfitters is having the usual Used Canoe and Kayak and paddling equipment sale on September 26 at 9 a.m.


    bike
    "MOUNTAIN BIKE

    Jake Mountain

    13 miles from Dahlonega Square



    Jake Mountain Trail starts at an intersection with the Bull Mountain Connector near the Jake Mountain trailhead. The trail starts with a slight climb and then a big descent into Jones Creek. There is a ford across the fairly large Jones Creek. The trail on the north side of the creek is pretty steep. The rest of Jake Mountain is rolling singletrack with intersections. Stay straight to end the trail on USFS Rd 28. The trail links to Black Branch via Beaver Pond and USFS Rd 28A.

    From Dahlonega Square- 11 miles to Jake Mountain Trailhead. Take Main Street west .6 mile to Morrison Moore Parkway (Hwy 52/9). Turn right and follow to the convergence of Hwy 52 and Hwy 9 in 3.6 miles. Bear right onto Hwy 52. In 4.6 miles, turn right onto Nimblewill Church Road at the old Grizzle's Store. In 1.7 miles, turn right into Jake Mountain Trailhead (NF 299) parking at sign. The trail leaves the road at the end of the driveable road or on the left immediately upon entering the parking lot.


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    Contact us at: info@dahlonegatrailfest.org  
    Updated on September 11, 2020
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