Where is the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee?

The Appalachian Trail enters Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail runs along the eastern border of the state weaving in and out of North Carolina many times before it finally exits the state to the north into Virginia.

The Appalachian trail is a total of 2,189 miles and runs through 14 states from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt.Katahdin in Maine. It is the most popular thru-hike in the eastern half of the U.S. An estimated 2-3 million hikers hike at least a portion of it each year, very few of those actually go the distance and hike the whole trail.

How long does it take to hike the Tennessee portion of the A.T.?

It takes most hikers about 7 days to hike the GSMNP section hike of the Appalachian Trail. Clingman’s Dome is a good halfway point if you want to break this up and just have a 3-4 day hike. You may be familiar with Clingmans Dome, it is the highest point in Tennessee at 6,643 feet above sea level.

How long is the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee?

There are 94 miles of the A.T. in Tennessee, but there are over 160 additional miles that run along the border of North Carolina. 71 of these miles run through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The southern trail entrance to the park is at Fontana Dam, it exits to the north at Davenport Gap. For more info on the Tennessee portion of the A.T., see this article.

Which state has the longest portion of the Appalachian Trail?

A whopping 554 miles of the A.T. passes through Virginia. This is more than any other state by far. According to Appalachiantrail.org, In Shenandoah National Park, you can cross the A.T. more than 30 times without getting out of your car.

Which state has the hardest section of the Appalachian Trail?

I have never hiked the A.T. myself so I had to do a bit of extra research on this one and gather some information from various sources on the internet. According to several different articles, forums on the A.T., and Appalachiantrail.org, the award goes to Maine. Maine is a rugged a remote portion of the trail and the most famous 1 mile section of the A.T. that is extremely difficult due to the rocky terrain and massive boulders is Mahoosuc Notch. Beginners are encouraged not to try this on their first trip.

How difficult is it to hike the Appalachian Trail?

It’s no walk in the park, only advanced backpackers should even attempt it. You can of course complete it by section hiking the Appalachian Trail and make it much easier to digest.

If you do it this way and have the time to do it several times a year then you could possibly do it all in a few years… maybe longer. However if you want to hike the whole trail in one go you are looking at anywhere from 5-7 months if you are a seasoned hiker and know what you are doing.

How many miles a day should you hike on the A.T.?

This is all going to depend on your skill level. A seasoned hiker with a lot of experience could possibly hit 25 miles a day. More likely 8-12 miles/day is going to be a more realistic estimate. You have to factor in things like weather and unexpected hold ups.

Things aren’t always going to go the way you want them to. My suggestion is that when you are planning out your trip to estimate on the lower side, if you are ahead of schedule then great!

I am no expert on thru-hikes and have not done the Appalachian trail myself but I scoured the web and answered some of these common questions the best I could. If you are still curious then there are many great books on Amazon about the Appalachian Trail that go into great detail about the thru-hike.

Written by Mark Stone

Mark is a native Tennesseean that frequently visits the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg area. He enjoys exploring National Parks, writing, and spending time with his family.


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