The Bill Bryson book is a best-seller, and the Robert Redford film is out. Want to have your own walk in the woods? Several Milestone Press guidebooks include hikes along the Appalachian Trail; they’re a great source for the best day hikes and overnight backpacking trips on the AT through the Southern Appalachians—the mountain range depicted so well in the movie.
Not everyone can commit months to completing the AT, but a day hike or a backpacking overnight lets you to see the views, try out the shelters, and experience the sounds and sights of the trail. The guides below offer something for all ability and experience levels.
Hiking the Carolina Mountains by Danny Bernstein lists a total of 57 day hikes, 8 of which are on the AT in North Carolina.
- To Wesser Bald firetower near the Nantahala River–11 miles
- From Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park–8 miles
- To Shuckstack Firetower in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Fontana Dam–12 miles
- Over the grassy bald of Max Patch near Hot Springs–10 miles
- To Lovers Leap just outside Hot Springs–5 miles
- From Sam’s Gap just off I-26 north of Asheville–8 miles
- To Grassy Ridge in the Roan Mountains–5 miles
- To Roan High Knob–5 miles
Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains by Danny Bernstein describes a total of 72 day hikes; 5 are along the Appalachian Trail.
- From Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including Mount LeConte–13 miles
- To Charlie’s Bunion from Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park–10 miles
- To Rich Mountain firetower above Hot Springs–13 miles
- To Big Bald from Sams Gap just off I-26 north of Asheville–13 miles
- To Hump Mountain and Yellow Mountain Gap north of Asheville–8 miles.
Day Hiking the North Georgia Mountains by Jim Parham includes 65 day hikes, 16 of them on the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia.
- Whiteoak Stomp west of Clayton–5 miles
- To the source of the Chattahoochee River near Brasstown Bald–5 miles
- To the summit of Tray Mountain north of Helen–5 miles
- The Rocky Mountain loop which includes the AT north of Helen–7 miles
- To Whitley Gap Shelter west of Helen–3 miles
- To the view from Cowrock Mountain west of Helen–2 miles
- To the view from Levelland Mountain north of Dahlonega–7 miles
- Blood Mountain Loop north of Dahlonega–6 miles
- Slaughter Creek Loop north of Dahlonega–8 miles
- From Woody Gap north of Dahlonega–3 miles
- To the view from Preachers Rock north of Dahlonega–2 miles
- To the view from Sassafras Mountain north of Dahlonega–2 miles
- Rich Mountain Loop north of Dahlonega–5 miles
- To Long Creek Falls north of Dahlonega–5 miles
- Springer Mountain Loop at the very beginning of the AT north of Dahlonega–5 miles
- The Appalachian Trail Approach loop in Amicalola Falls State Park–10 miles
Backpacking Overnights by Jim Parham has 50 overnight hikes, 8 of which are on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.
- To Wesser Bald tower and shelter near Nantahala–11 miles
- On the Appalachian Trail through the Narrows in Great Smoky Mountains National Park–20 miles
- From Fontana Dam into Great Smoky Mountains National Park–12 miles
- To Icewater Spring Shelter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park–15 miles
- Through Standing Indian just west of Franklin, NC–11 miles
- To Whiteoak Stamp shelter west of Franklin, NC–8 miles
- To the Mount Cammerer lookout tower in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park–18 miles
- To the Roaring Fork Shelter near Max Patch south of Hot Springs, NC–5 miles
All of these hikes are also included in Great Hikes, our mobile app for iPhone.