Sunday, October 30, 2016

4 Great Hiking Trails in the Appalachians

Stony Man Trail at Shenandoah National Park.
Trail leads to incredible vista on Stony Man
Fantastic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and its famous Shenandoah Valley await day hikers on a segment of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Shenandoah National Park. About 101 miles of the famed backpacking trail passes through Shenandoah, with many sections accessible from Skyline Drive. An excellent segment to hike is the Stony Man Trail, which runs about 1.6-miles round trip and gains 340 feet in elevation. 

Best trails for seeing Shenandoah's wonders
Among the best ways to see Shenandoah National Park’s top sights is via a day hike. Just five short trails will allow you to enjoy each of the park’s highlights – Blue Ridge Mountains vistas, Eastern hardwood forests, river cataracts, wildlife sightings, and one of the nation’s longest footpaths.

High dam, lookout tower await on AT section
Day hikers can walk the famous Appalachian Trail as it crosses the highest dam east of the Rockies on the way to a lookout tower in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Appalachian Trail’s Fontana Dam to Shuckstack Lookout Tower segment runs 8.2-miles round trip. Parts of the segments are very steep and strenuous.

Great Smoky’s geography means great trails
For many Americans, the Great Smoky Mountains are synonymous with the Appalachians. Indeed, the national park’s geography consists of several mountains with valleys tucked between them and the ridgelines leading to their peaks. The result is a number of awesome and diverse hiking trails to explore.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks series.