Fall is here and with its arrival comes some great weather for hiking. Aside from cooler temperatures, bright colors are dotting landscapes and trails across the country, which make for one heck of a walk in the mountains. One of our favorite places to explore on foot is the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. This national park has dozens of great trails for all levels of hikers. Below, we’ve shared a list of the best in the Smokies, courtesy of hikinginthesmokys.com. Happy Trails!
Gregory Bald: Offering stunning year-round views of Cades Cove, Fontana Lake, and the eastern crest of the Smokies, this trail is most famous for the “spectacular flame azaleas that bloom on its summit from mid to late June.” Hikers will see a rainbow of colors including fire red, wine red, orange, salmon, white, pink, and multi-colored azaleas. Beware of timber rattlesnakes on this trail!
Mt. Cammerer: Located on the edge of an outcropping overlooking Pigeon River Gorge, this trail offers awesome views. For the best vantage point, check out the deck of the stone fire tower which provides hikers with 360-degree panoramic views. The roundtrip length of this trail is 11.1 miles with the highest elevation being 5,054 ft. Towards the end of the trail is an octagonal fire lookout atop the summit of Mt. Cammerer. It was built by locals in the late 1930s.
Rocky Top: The first five miles of this hike up the mountain are tough, but the reward is worth it. Spence Field offers great views of the North Carolina side of the Smokies. From Spence Field, continue along the Appalachian Trail for another 1.2 miles. Rocky Top offers some of the best panoramic views in the park. The trail is 13.9 miles in length, roundtrip with the highest peak being 5,527 ft. This is a strenuous trail that beginners should consider after gaining some experience.
Andrews Bald: A short, but rugged hike, this trail offers “spectacular views of the southern Smokies.” It’s a great spot for stretching out on a blanket or having a picnic. Only a 1.7 mile hike to the end, this moderately challenging trail will take hikers through spruce-fir forests to grassy meadows near the Southern Appalachian mountains. This is a popular hike, so, be sure to hit the trail as early as possible.
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