East Tennessee Outdoors: Top Ten Best Hiking Trails – Part 3

Published 2:24 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2020



We have been counting down the top ten best hiking trails in east Tennessee. Here are the final three.

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3. Any Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited park in America for two main reasons: it is the closest national park near the major population centers of the northeast and east coast of America, and it offers such a variety of outdoor activities that you are bound to find one that will suit your needs.

Though the Coronavirus has caused all of the park’s bathrooms, stores, and other facilities to close during the pandemic, the park still offers hiking trails for every age and ability.

Whether you want to hike into the backcountry of the park or just take a short walk with your family, the park has it, and you will never know what you may see.

Wildlife is in abundance as are the hundreds of types of butterflies and birds that inhabit the park. Take your camera because you do not know what you may encounter.

For that reason, you may also want to pack a can of bear spray and make plenty of noise to scare away the bears. Many of them are used to humans, but during the spring they can be a little more aggressive as they come out of hibernation. (Easy- Hard)

2. Cherokee National Forest Trails and Overgrown Roads

The Cherokee National Forest is owned by the Federal government and is comprised of over 600,000 acres of land along the North Carolina/Tennessee border.

The National Forest in East Tennessee is part of the North Cherokee, and it has an abundance of trails and logging roads.

Most of the Cherokee’s trails can be hiked by any hiker with a modest ability as they wind through the mountains like a giant snake.

My favorite part of this area, however, is the backcountry roads. Areas that have been logged in the past are found throughout the Cherokee.

Once the logging ends, the logging roads are closed to any motorized vehicles. These roads offer access to government lands during a forest fire, and they are also excellent trails that allow any hiker access to an abundance of wildlife.

On an average day of hiking, you may see deer, grouse, bear, turkey and a large variety of other creatures both big and small.

Some of these roads stretch for miles, and you can find a list of these old roads by contacting the National Forestry Service. You are not supposed to camp overnight on these roads, but they make the best day trips that I know. (Easy-Moderate)

1.Any Part of the Appalachian Trail

The best hike in East Tennessee has to be any part of the Appalachian Trail. After all, this trail is world-famous and stretches from Maine to Georgia, a total of about 2200 miles.

I have walked the trail in other states, but to me, the most scenic part of the trail is our area, especially the stretch that connects The Roan Mountain and Watauga Lake.

There are parts of this trail that are not for the beginning hiker, but you will also find short sections that will allow you to build yourself up for other more technical parts of the trail.

Overall, in my eyes, it does not get any better than this. (Easy-Hard)

Our area is blessed with some of the best hiking in America. With many of us being forced to stay at home, these trails offer a great opportunity to get out and explore an area you have never seen before and maybe even make a memory.