Appalachian Trail West is a 39.2 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located in the state of NC that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
In the very dry periods the springs at Russell Field and Mollies Ridge Shelters can dry up. The implications of making extended winter hikes at these elevations can't be overstated. If you are not experienced in winter backpacking, this is not recommended.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the true natural wonders of the American Southeast. The park here is expansive, and there are more sights to see than the average adventurer could soak up in a lifetime.
I was a part of a group of three that completed the Appalachian Trail through the park in May of 2016. The hike was challenging due to the distance, the weather and the elevation changes we experienced during the eight day hike.
The trip resonated so profoundly with me that I even wrote a book about the experience. My retelling of the story and experiences in the park are better suited for print. The book can be purchased on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Longest-Mile-Great-Smoky-Mountains/dp/1533374058
Needless to say, this trip was a monumental experience.
Spent an hour writing a detailed summary of the hike, hit the wrong button and erased it...
So ill just say this. Its a great hike for people that have at least some experience with multi-night backpacking. Not really good if youve never been because once you are done with your first day, cutting it short for any reason is going to be very difficult.
If youre experienced this is a 3 day hike. The best shelters to use are Mollies Ridge to Silers Bald. This means your mileage per day will be 10-17-13. The 17 is not as bad as it sounds, a little extra 2nd day so that you dont die the 3rd day.