Day-Hikes Along the Appalachian Trail

Nature

Spanning about 2,200 miles, the Appalachian Trail boasts the title of world’s longest hiking-only pathway. Heading north to south, the trail embarks from Mount Katahdin in Maine then winds through twelve more states until coming to a close at Springer Mountain in Georgia. The natural scenery is nearly as diverse as the states the trail crosses, from lush lowland forests to staggering, mountain outcrops.

Those with the ambition (and time) to venture the entire trail are called “thru-hikers,” and the record for fastest completion is forty-five days. However, if you only have a weekend to spare, don’t worry – we’ve handpicked the most scenic segments you can hike in a single day.

Anthony’s Nose in New York

An autumnal panorama of the Hudson River Valley from Anthony's Nose

An autumnal panorama of the Hudson River Valley from Anthony's Nose

The Hudson River Valley is one of the most beautiful areas that intersects with the Appalachian Trail. It could take days just to hike the segment of the Appalachian Trail within the Valley, but one peak in particular is a must for all nature lovers.

Just outside of the small town of Manitou in upstate New York is Anthony’s Nose, which is the name of a hikeable mountain peak that offers incredible views of the entire river valley below.

Just a short drive north along the Hudson River is Beacon Hermitage, a highly-rated bed & breakfast whose rustic charm perfectly matches the surrounding natural beauty.

The Pinnacle in Pennsylvania

Breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pennsylvania

Breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pennsylvania

The next unmissable stretch of the Appalachian Trail starts in southern Pennsylvania – the Blue Ridge Mountains. This 550-mile-long mountain range gets its name from the bluish haze produced by an organic compound that the lush forest trees release into the atmosphere. For one of the best vantage points to take in this otherworldly landscape, we recommend a ten-mile hike along The Pinnacle – a fun, rocky trail heading up to incredible panoramic views.

After soothing all your post-hike aches at the Glasbern Inn’s full-service spa, enjoy a hearty, farm-fresh dinner at their on-site restaurant.

McAfee Knob in Virginia

McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed points along the entire trail

McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed points along the entire trail

McAfee Knob is perhaps the most iconic geological formation along the Appalachian Trail. Towering 1,600 feet over the surrounding valley, this rocky overhang juts out from the top of Catawba Mountain and offers staggering views, which are a satisfying reward after scaling a challenging, pine-lined trail.

If you’re starting from the trail base in the Virginia town of Catawba, the trek takes about four hours, making it the perfect day-long adventure for hikers of all skill levels.

Conveniently set between the Jefferson National Forest and Roanoke is the La Quinta Inn, which offers easy access to hiking in the morning and a pool to cool off in the afternoon.

Clingman’s Dome in Tennessee

The observation tower at Clingman’s Dome offers 360º views of the Great Smoky Mountains

The observation tower at Clingman’s Dome offers 360º views of the Great Smoky Mountains

At an elevation of 6,600 feet, Clingman’s Dome in Tennessee is the highest point along the entire Appalachian Trail. The formation is one of many impressive peaks throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, with slopes tufted in verdant spruce and fir trees for miles and miles. From the parking area by Forney Ridge, it’s a seven-mile hike to the summit, where you’ll find an observation tower that offers 360º views of the landscape below.

Bookers who want to fully immerse themselves into the landscape love Panther Creek Cabins. These cabins promise no-frills tranquility in the heart of a beautiful forest.

Springer Mountain in Georgia

Any entry point to one of many hiking trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest

Any entry point to one of many hiking trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest

Springer Mountain in Georgia sits among the southern end of the same Blue Ridge Mountains that begin up in Pennsylvania. It’s the official end-point of the Appalachian Trail, marked by a bronze plaque at its summit and a metal vault that holds a log that thru-hikers can sign to commemorate the completion of their 2,200-mile journey. The beautiful rocky slopes are home to numerous trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest, providing several options for scaling the final mountain and taking in the breathtaking views.

Whether wrapping up a thru-hike or a single day in the great outdoors, the Forrest Hills Resort is the ideal spot to relax, with spacious balconies, in-room jacuzzi options, and even on-site horseback riding.

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