Smoky Mountain portion of the Appalachian Trail

3 Fascinating Things to Know About Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Many of our guests are pleasantly surprised to discover that the Appalachian Trail crosses Interstate 40 just a few miles from our Smoky Mountain campground! This iconic hiking trail runs for 2,180 miles from Maine to Georgia, with 94 of those miles in Tennessee! It also travels for an additional 160 miles along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. While you might not want to hike the entire distance, it can be fun to experience a part of the trail near our campground! Here are 3 fascinating things to know about hiking the Appalachian Trail:

1. Longest Hiking-Only Footpath in the World

The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, traveling through 14 states with an elevation change of 464,500 feet along the journey! The trail runs from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, which is the tallest mountain in the state. While some folks consider hiking the Appalachian Trail a “bucket list” activity, others enjoy experiencing the day hikes along the trail! The only thing that you need to decide is how many miles you want to hike before coming back to relax by the campfire!

2. Tennessee Features the Highest Point of the Appalachian Trail

Another interesting thing to know about hiking the Appalachian Trail is that Tennessee features the highest mountains along the trail, including several that are more than 6,000 feet tall! The highest point of the Appalachian Trail is Clingmans Dome, which also happens to be the highest mountain in Tennessee and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi! On clear days, views can expand over 100 miles from the top of this 6,643-foot tall mountain!

3. Trail is Managed by Multiple Entities

The trail is managed through a unique “cooperative management system” that involves the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, numerous other federal and state agencies, the non-profit Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 volunteer-based trail-maintaining clubs. Since the Appalachian Trail is the longest single unit of the National Park System and has more than 3 million visitors each year, it is essential for hikers to help keep the experience enjoyable for others by leaving no trace behind!

Accessing the Appalachian Trail from Our Campground

Pigeon River Campground in the Smoky Mountains.You can experience hiking the Appalachian Trail near our campground simply by heading east on Interstate 40 for 5 miles and taking exit 451. Take the first right off the exit and cross the Pigeon River on Tobes Creek Road, then you’ll see a pull-off on the right where there is parking available for several cars. From there, the trail heads right up the hill via some stone steps. After a day of hiking, you can look forward to returning to our campground for a relaxing evening under the stars. We also have many campground amenities for you to enjoy, including a swimming pool, recreational equipment, a convenient general store, and much more!

Check out all of the information about our campground near the Appalachian Trail today to plan the ultimate camping adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains! We look forward to seeing you soon!