Explore Appalachian Trail: Tennessee: Best Day Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This month marks the 80th anniversary of the #AppalachianTrail, which passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. . With so many access points along its approximate 2,190-mile route, this trail is not only an excellent option for thru-hikers and section-hikers, but also day-hikers and those looking to escape into nature for a few hours. . To honor the Appalachian Trail, we have compiled a list state by state of some of our favorite day hikes along the AT. Check out this list for Tennessee and help us celebrate the legacy and natural wonder of this trail!

Appalachian Trail: Tennessee: Best Day Hikes Map
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My ABSOLUTE favorite hike in the Smoky Mountains. I always hike up to the Jump Off then back Down to Charlie's and it is always worth it. My gps clocked it at 9.2 miles to complete the Jump Off, Icewater Spring Shelter, and Charlie's Bunion. This hike never disappoints.

Very enjoyable trail, even though it was pouring on us nearly the whole time. We took the time to go see the Jump Off and I’m sure it would have been beautiful had it not been so misty that morning! There were some difficult sections on the boulevard trail section with steep uphills but the views paid off. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a more secluded approach to LeConte. We did it in three days (1st day: Road Prong Trail+Appalachian Trail with sleep at Icewater Springs Shelter, 2nd day: Charlie’s Bunion back to Boulevard Trail and sleep at LeConte Shelter, 3rd day: coming down LeConte via Alum Cave). Overall an easy paced trail, with us getting done with hiking in early afternoon. Would recommend taking time to see the different viewing points like Myrtle Point and Charlie’s Bunion if you have the time.

Amazing views! Absolutely breathtaking.

Went early like most of the previous reviews suggested (we were on the trail by 7:45am and only saw 2 other cars in the parking area). Ran into about 4 ppl total on the hike to the Bunion, so pretty much had the hike to ourselves.

Lots of steps and scrambling over rocks, which made this trail unique and absolutely fun! The Bunion was masterful; climbed out onto it and had a 45 minutes break with snacks, sunshine, birds, butterflies and stunning, mile-high views.

Headed back to the car, we had to yield frequently to hikers headed up (it was 10:30a by this point) but still were able to make the round-trip hike (including the 45 min AT the Bunion) in just over 4 hours. Our hike ended just after 11am, and by this time the trail head was swarming with people, dogs, kids...and the parking lot was overflowing.

So glad we did this hike early!! And so worth the trek!! Will do again, and will start even earlier (would suggest 7am).

This trail is exactly moderate. Offers lush vegetation, bear sightings, and the occasional salamander.

The views from Charlie’s Bunion are amazing whether it’s clear sky’s, or dissipating clouds. Get an early start to avoid crowds. Most folks don’t get out to the trail until after 9 am. Get up early and enjoy the breathtaking view with limited to no company

We picked this trail on a rainy day so we missed out on the view at the top. Still a very nice trail and a little bit of a challenge from the normal trails. Since it was raining, waterproof boots and ponchos were life savers! The end is a little more difficult but fun! We will be back!

long hike. pushed about two miles because the lady didnt believe me when i said the sign for jumpoff was actually a trail turn. well worth the push through the clouds. saw a bear within 15 minutes on the trail. if you actually know how to handle yourself this hike is well worth it. go early for the bunion itself is small in size and large groups get dangerous

Very well kept! Beautiful!!

I've hiked a lot of the GSMNP in the past so this time I decided to hike the entire park in one trip. We started at Fontana Dam and hiked through to Carvers Gap on the AT. The entire trip was 72 miles and took 6 days. This trail was the first leg and took 3 days at which time we caught a ride into Gatlinburg to resupply.
Doing this part of the AT from south to north means a lot of up hill climbing, some of it quite challenging, but the views are worth it a million times over. We did the hike in late Winter and had very cold temps (10* F) with lots of snow and ice. I wish we had gotten cramp-on's for our boots because that would have helped with the ice conditions. That time of year the trail is prone to freeze/thaw conditions each day which means you're walking in slush during the day and slippery ice in late day and night.
My favorite summit was Rocky Top on Thunderhead Mountain. It's a small rocky area that gives you amazing 360* views. The Shuckstack lookout tower just a few miles north of Fontana Dam on the AT is worth the time to check out too.
I would have rated this hike 5 stars if the park would let you tent camp at the shelters or anywhere on the AT but they don't, so I didn't.

Loved this trail! You want an early start so you can enjoy the day hike! I took my ten year old and she did well.l - it’s definitely modern to more intense if you aren’t an avid hiker but you will def be able to do it if you pace yourself! Well worth the view at the end and nice scenery along the way!

hiking
17 days ago

This trail never disappoints! We started early, only seeing a few hikers. On the return trip we passed about a hundred people heading to the Bunion. An early start is key if you enjoy some quiet time out there or would like to avoid crowds. The round trip timing is accurate (for most). You need about 5 hours which includes relaxing / snack time at the Bunion and stopping to observe nature. Lovely views, wildflowers and mossy areas that look like a movie scene.

I think this is the toughest trail I’ve hiked in the Smoky Mountains. From the parking lot to the lodge and back was a little over 19 miles. There are a lot of up and downs, both ways. Several nice places to stop and take in the scenery. If I had to describe this trail in one word: rocks. Rocks. And more rocks. And when you think you’ve seen every rock. There’s more. Big. Little. Ankle breakers. Gravel. I would still consider this my second favorite trail to LeConte, but the rocky path made it tough on the tootsies. Not a lot of traffic once you get past the turn off for Charlie’s Bunion.

I’ve hiked a lot in both TN and NC and this is by far my favorite hike.!!!

The vegetation was unreal. It was beautiful; everything felt so alive, like the plants and trees were going to break out in song and dance. Great hike! I’d totally do it again.

Did this trail on 07/12/2018. Started at Alumn Cave bluffs trailhead and ended at Newfound Gap. What can I say. It is a total Smokey Mountain experience. Creeks, views, wildlife, flowers. This route is 13 miles. We did it in 5.5 hours. Should have taken it slower to enjoy more but we also used this route for a workout. I have done this. Route several times at different times of year. Never disappoints

Fun trail with gentle grades that ends at the spectacular Charlie’s Bunion. There are some rocks and roots, but nothing technical. There’s a spring along the way if you need water.

Did this while going up to mount leconte. It feels special to be on the AT. The view at the end was nice. Doing this segment backpacking took me about 2hours (one-way), so it isn't very steep and the trial is very well maintained

There are many ways to reach the top of mount Leconte. This on is longer then Alum, but it is milder, and I think the view was nice too. You also have some small extra options along the way. It took me 4.5 hours going up backpacking, including Charlies bunion, so I'd say it never got very steep, and the trail is well maintained

Did this segment along while going up to Mount Leconte. It's a nice little detour if the weather is good (on my way up, clouds were hiding everything, but it was nice on my way down)

Best view we’ve had in the Smokies! My wife and I did this trail the day after we had hiked around 10 miles. Even being a little sore, this trail was doable but moderate. The trail was uphill coming back from the Bunion. Well worth it, was great!

Great trail! Very strenuous the first leg on the New Found Gap until you get to the Boulevard. There is one section toward the end of the trail before you get to the peak that is very narrow, muddy and over grown, but keep pushing through and it clears back up. The hike is definitely worth it! The most amazing views of the park! Would not recommend for young children, as it is on the difficult end of moderate, and the top peak is on a cliff with not much room for moving around.

Started this hike at around 8am and we were lucky enough to miss the fog as it rolled in after we departed Charlie's Bunion. I would rate this trail on the easier side of moderate. There are a few water sources along this trail with one being marked near the Icewater Spring Shelter. There is also an outdoor toilet on the way up. The trailhead itself is a lookout that was very popular for motorist driving through. There were also restrooms located there. The view from Charlie's Bunion was well worth the hike.

Great hike
Foggy and rain most of the hike but cleared just as we reached the Bunion for 10 mins, then thunder storms rolled in just as quickly.
Good reminder to always be prepared for all types of weather while hiking.

hiking
1 month ago

The view was amazing! The hike can be rough in spots because it goes straight up hill, but the trail evens out along the way providing great spots to take breaks. The only down fall was the fog. Luckily when I went, it wasn't too thick. I highly recommend this hike. I am a beginner hiker and it wasn't too vigorous.

There were many great views on the way. Left the trailhead at 7 am. saw quite a few people near the end,that's why we left early.

Probably didn’t plan (food mostly) as well as we should have for a 13+ mile out and back but once we started we were committed to reach Big Bald. Gave it 3 stars bc it’s 95% forest with only 1 vista before the summit. While it was a good physical challenge it got monotonous at times. Didn’t see much wildlife - one deer, a few birds and some butterflies. Big Bald was glorious so there was THAT! Took us 6 hrs including a 20 min rest at the top. Saw only a handful of people the entire trek.

This is a beautiful hike with several great vistas along the way. much of the way up was overcast and made the warm day very pleasant. The trail never gets too strenuous but you will have a steady climb and a good workout on the way up. We met hikers of all ages on the trail. When we reached the Jump Off it was clouded in with no view at all. we sat down to eat and after a couple of minutes the clouds blew through and the view was beautiful. we stayed for 30 minutes and talked with a couple of other groups that came up after us. The clouds came and went several times, giving us spectacular views then hiding them again. The hike down was faster since it is mostly downhill. We took our time going up and made it in 2.5 hours. The hike back to Newfound Gap was right at 2 hours.

Very tough trail. Harder than I thought it'd be. View from top is gorgeous.

Not much to see till you get to Charlie's Bunion. The end definitely makes the hike worthwhile. It falls on the easy side of "moderate", with a good path and slow inclines and declines.

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