dogs on leash
From car to car it's actually 8.5 miles. Beautiful hike and loved the trails. Felt sorry for the lady whose husband drug her through on a bike going in the not recommended direction. The hills in that direction were killers. What I loved most is with three of our four hikers having knee, feet, and hip issues, we really wanted a hike without the steep climbs most of this region has to offer. And we still got the beautiful views a peak climb would offer!
(Other than wondering around Clingman's Dome this was my first encounter with the Appalachian Trail.) Three of us hiked from the Nantahala Outdoor Center north about 2.5 miles into the Appalachian trail, turned around and hiked back. This is the reason I want to start section hiking the "AT", it's absolutely beautiful! This trail walks you up from the road to about 400 feet (when we turned around) and is in excellent shape. It's a clearly hiked path and a very nice workout. I would suggest this to anyone that is not familiar with hiking mostly because, well, it's more than a walk into the woods. The rocks formations, the view, the landscape, are all unbelievable. Park your car by the center and make a day trip out of it, I'll be back for sure.
We departed the trail head at Buck Creek Road at 10:10. It took us 2 hours 40 minutes to the top and just under 3 hours back down. the sign at the trail head said the trail is 4.8 miles one way. My FitBit tracker logged me in at just over 14 miles. Very long trail to say the least. the switch backs going up the hill sides made the hike easier for sure. the trails were very well marked and for the most part are in good shape. I myself prefer a shorter more strenuous trail such as Table Rock but I still enjoyed the hike and will definately be back up there in the fall to see the leaves in bloom. the view is fantastic up top.