Appalachian Trail

VisitNC calls North Carolina’s section of the two thousand mile long Appalachian Trail(AT)  arguably among the most scenic, rising and falling along the spine of the Blue Ridge and through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Whether you’re spending a few hours on the trail or a few months (a “through hike” usually takes half a year), North Carolina’s portion of this national treasure is particularly memorable.

When you visit with us, your gateway to the AT is Bakersville! Just a few miles from the quaint town of Bakersville following Hwy 261, you will find Roan Mountain and the Appalachian Trail.  Check out these popular hikes on the Appalachian Trail.

Hike Name Round Bald and Jane Bald
Closest Town  Bakersville, NC
Difficulty Level** Moderate
Distance 2.6 miles round trip
Features  Graded path through spruce-fir forest and ridge crest pastures; rock outcrops.
Description From the parking area at Carvers Gap follow gravel, white blazed A.T. north (east) through log fence and ascend graded trail through balds, then to left through spruce-fir forest.  Re-emerge on grassy bald and continue to summit of Round Bald at .7 mile.  Go downhill .3 mile to Engine Gap, then ascend .3 mile to rock formation with good views, crossing 740 million year old black rock dikes which intrude into 1.1 billion year old gneiss, the oldest rocks on the whole A.T.   Retrace your steps to return.
Directions The parking area at Carvers Gap is on the Tennessee-North Carolina border,  14 miles north or Bakersville, NC on North Carolina 261

 

Hike Name Little Rock Knob
Closest Town Buladean, NC
Difficulty Level** Moderate to Strenuous
Elevation Gain 900’
Distance 4.6 miles round tip
Features Great views, hike through beautiful cove hardwood forest.
Description The hike starts on the same side of the gap as the small dirt parking area.  Follow the white paint blazes of the A.T. compass north (though you are actually hiking toward Georgia) as it gradually ascends up to a highpoint on the ridge in 0.25 mile.  At mile 0.4, cross a second highpoint on the ridge and descend to a gap.  The Trail climbs steadily to the highpoint of Little Rock Knob (4918’) at 2.2 miles, and at 2.3 miles reach excellent views into Tennessee from overlooks at tops of cliffs.  Look north to view White Rocks Mountain, ove which the A.T. passes.  Retrace your steps to return.
Directions  From the North Carolina side, Hughes Gap Road turns off of North Carolina 226 in the small town of Buladean outside of Bakersville.  From here, it is 4 miles to the parking at the ridge crest on the left.

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Fun Facts

  • The Trail is roughly 2,180 miles long, passing through 14 states.
  • Thousands of volunteers contribute roughly 220,000 hours to the A.T. every year.
  • More than 250 three-sided shelters exist along the Trail.
  • The total elevation gain of hiking the entire A.T. is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest 16 times.
  • The A.T. is home to an impressive diversity of plants and animals. Some animals you may see include black bears, moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, and salamanders. Some plants you may encounter include jack-in-the-pulpit, skunk cabbage, and flame azalea.

 Hikers

  • About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
  • The A.T. has hundreds of access points and is within a few hours drive of millions of Americans, making it a popular destination for day-hikers.
  • “Thru-hikers” walk the entire Trail in a continuous journey. “Section-hikers” piece the entire Trail together over years. “Flip-floppers” thru-hike the entire Trail in discontinuous sections to avoid crowds, extremes in weather, or start on easier terrain.
  • 1 in 4 who attempt a thru-hike successfully completes the journey
  • Most thru-hikers walk north, starting in Georgia in spring and finishing in Maine in fall, taking an average of 6 months.
  • Foods high in calories and low in water weight, such as Snickers bars and Ramen Noodles, are popular with backpackers, who can burn up to 6,000 calories a day.
  • Hikers usually adopt “trail names” while hiking the Trail. They are often descriptive or humorous. Examples are “Eternal Optimist,” “Thunder Chicken,” and “Crumb-snatcher”.
  • Visit http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home for more information, events and ways to support the Appalachian Trail.