There might be no backcountry spot, no trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as hiked or sought after as the Appalachian Trail. In all, just a hair over 71 miles run through the Great Smoky Mountains. That’s just a fraction of its total: 2,143 miles. It’s a destination for many coming in to Sevierville every year and a point of emphasis for local nature lovers, of which there are many.
You’ll find the trail’s highest peak located in the national park, Clingman’s Dome (6,643 feet). There are just so many marvels of the Smokies to be found along the AT. Tree species are in high count for those naturalists in all of us. Rock facings that will leave even the most well-traveled of geologists in awe and wildflowers the likes of which are seen on magazine covers and books.
If you’re looking for a spot a little less crowded than most of the trail, head over to the northern side before venturing to sections like that between Newfound Gap and Charlies Bunion.
The Appalachian Trail is the only trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that’s marked by white blazes on trees or rocks, just look for the white streaks of paint and you’ve found one. Therefore, you’ve come to a portion of the AT.
For safety purposes, plan out your trip on AT before setting out, and keep a few other things in mind while planning, like preparing yourself mentally for the trip, making sure someone knows your route and where you’re going, caring a trail map and using it, taking a cellphone for precautionary measures, and being aware of those on the trail around you. Those suggestions, and some common sense can go a long ways in making sure your trip is a memorable one.
The Appalachian Trail is managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, state agencies too numerous to list and volunteers that number in the thousands. Annually, over 6,000 volunteers contribute more than 195,000 hours toward protecting, helping maintain, and marketing the Appalachian Trail. The AT is calling, happy hiking!