Top Hiking Trails Near The Appalachian Mountains


If you are searching for a challenging hiking trail, there aren’t many that can beat the famous Appalachian Trail. Established by Benton MacKaye, this route is a must experience wilderness adventure. It crosses 2,000 miles and fourteen states, so full hike can take a number of months. If you do not have time for a thru-hike, you can witness the many natural beauty the Appalachian Trail provides in little pieces. Whether you have a day or a week to indulge in a trip, there are several places for you to discover. Right here are our recommendations on some not-to-be-missed areas of the famous route.

Georgia – Springer Mountain, 75 miles 

This part of the route at the southerly end of the main trail might not get as much focus as others, but it is still excellent. From north Georgia to southerly North Carolina, woodlands of mountain laurel lead to grassy knolls which head down into peaceful, valleys of oak trees. The Benton MacKaye Route is less than a half-mile from Springer’s top and is in fact the initial Appalachian Trail walkway. Although this area is a much longer trip, it is typically the initial one for thru-hikers that prefer milder southerly environments in springtime and allow them to plan for the most difficult areas at the north end.

North Carolina – Nantahala Hills, 29 miles

Although this area includes a few of the very best fire towers in the East, it stays among the much more singular path. From Winding Staircase Gap at Highway 64, head north to travel through the Nantahala Chasm, Little Tennessee River Valley as well as Fontana Lake prior to coming to the Nantahala Center. Over the crest of the Nantahala and Cowee Ranges is the Southern Nantahala Wilderness, which has a side tracks for much shorter journeys, like Big Indian Loop or Beech Gap. The Wilderness Preservation Corps often services trail reconstruction during the summer season to help preserve the trail.

Tennessee – Great Smoky Mountains 

As the nation’s most seen national forest, this is a timeless Southern backpacking journey. Appointments are needed for campgrounds, and weekdays are usually much less crowded than the weekends. Hiking paths follow ridges and streams, providing fire tower views, swim holes and lead to Clingman’s Dome. The routes are steeper, much longer, and higher in elevation than other parts of the main trail. Weather condition in springtime can consist of rainstorms, snow storms and hailstorms.

Tennessee – Iron Mountain to Cross Mtn, 17 miles

Tennessee’s Iron Mountain ridgeline winds through Cherokee National Forest. You will certainly run into an apple orchard near Weedy Gap and stop overnight at the Roan High Knob, the highest possible altitude stop on the main trail. 

Virginia – Mau-Har Loophole, 14 miles

With panoramas and 40 foot waterfalls paired with swimming spots, this could be the best over night hike. This is a more difficult trail that includes altitudes of over 7,000 feet. Hikers will certainly travel through 3 Ridges Wild as well as observe outstanding views like Hanging Rock Panorama on Hill and Smokeshaft Rocks Vista. You can camp right by a stream for easy accessibility to water. 

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