Top Picks | Appalachian Trail - Southern Region


The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is one of the country's most famous hiking trails. The park covers 2,184 miles and passes through 14 states, starting in the north at Mount Katahdin, Maine and ending in Springer Mountain in Georgia. As this trail travels across the country visitors can enjoy views of some of the most scenic views in the region. The trail can be divided into three regions, the Northern region, which includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Central region includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Southern region includes Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.

The Appalachian Trail's southern region provides a whole different experience than the Northern and Central Regions. Travelers will experience the national forests of the south, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains and much more before finishing the trek in Georgia at Springer Mountain.

Starting hiking through the Southern Region of the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia, visitors will find a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some of the state's natural features. Hikers will start their trip by crossing a footbridge over the Potomac River. Although only 4 miles of the trail actually lie in West Virginia, travelers can still enjoy the beauty of the state. Within these four miles travelers will cross the Shenandoah River, hike up into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail continues to follow along the border with Virginia for a few hundred miles.

Over 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail are located in Virginia. Along these many miles, travelers have the opportunity to enjoy some of the state's and the countries most beautiful sites.  Some of these miles are difficult and others are fairly flat and easy. One of the hardest sections of the Virginia section of the trail are in the northern part of Virginia, at Snickers Gap. Hikers then travel into Shenandoah National Park, where visitors can hike for over 100 miles through the state, and can enjoy some relatively easy hiking. Next hikers parallel the Blue Ridge Parkway, which includes some more difficult climbs. The southern section of the trail in Virginia crosses into the southern Appalachian Mountains before continuing into Tennessee.

As hikers travel into the Appalachian Trail through Tennessee, they will spend some time hiking in the Cherokee National Forest. In addition travelers will hike along the North Carolina-Tennessee border, including some very high peaks, the tallest of the entire trail. While hiking along this section of the trail, travelers can enjoy the rhododendron gardens of the Roan Highlands. Hikers also travel through the Pisgah National Forest as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Travelers will find the highest elevations within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along the Crestline Trail. This highest elevate is found at Clingman's Dome.

Next, travelers cross into North Carolina. In this state visitors will find some wonderful long climbs and descents in the Stecoah-Cheoah Mountain and the Nantahala section. One spot visitors are sure to enjoy in North Carolina is the Cheoah Bald, where visitors can enjoy stunning views of the state. Throughout this section of the trail there are flowers, different plants and much more.

The Appalachian Trail ends in the state of Georgia. Hikers have the opportunity to hike through the Chattahoochee National Forest, which has some fantastic wilderness areas for hikers to enjoy. Although the overall elevation is lower in this section of the trail, there are still some difficult climbs for travelers to enjoy before finding the end of the trail at Springer Mountain.