Regional Guide

Smoky Mountains Hiking

The granddaddy of the east, of course, is the Appalachian Trail, which cuts through the Smokies for 70 miles. Park your car in the Newfound Gap Parking Area and walk the AT north or south for a pleasant walk or day-long hike along the Smokies' crest.

In the Black Mountain area, don't miss out on the Mount Mitchell Trail, which crosses sections of Mount Mitchell itself, as well as the South Toe River area.

The Shining Rock Wilderness in Haywood County is some of the most popular hiking terrain in western North Carolina, with trails that offer camping, nature study, a wide range of spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys from ridges and balds, and many peaks between 5,000 and 6,000 feet.

Climb the Ramsay Cascades Trail, which rises steadily for four miles into one of the largest pockets of virgin forest in the national park and eventually emerges at the base of 90-foot-high Ramsay Cascades.

Set off on a two-night backpacking loop. The Maddron Bald Loop takes you past waterfalls and into virgin forest with some of the park's tallest trees. You'll also have some of the park's most stunning views staring you in the face.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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