The Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous (more than 2,100 mile long) scenic trails; and a portion of this beautiful trail meanders along the crest of the Smokies along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. The Appalachian Trail runs from Maine's Mount Katahdin and goes south to Georgia's Springer Mountain. The trail is maintained by volunteers who coordinated the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conference.
The portion of the Appalachian Trail that winds through Great Smoky National Park is approximately 69 miles in length and proves as a tough hike for those hardy travelers! Many hikers visit this fascinating trail yearly! Never fear though, there are some less challenging portions of this trail that you can find from a few hiking trails in the park that connect to the Appalachian Trail. The Newfound Gap parking area is a popular spot to leave behind your car and hike a portion of either the north or south directions of the Trail.
Along the Great Smoky Mountain section of the Trail, the National Park Service has placed overnight shelters with primitive bunks for sleeping along the trail. You are limited to one night at each shelter and you must have either a permit or reservation to stay at these shelters. You can obtain a permit from the Park Headquarters or contact the park ahead of time.