The Appalachian Trail spans for 2,174 miles from Georgia to Maine. It has been called the ‘Mecca’ of foot hikes and is something every tried and true backpacker or camping enthusiast dreams of doing once in a lifetime.
But if you're not so much the 'into the wild' type and are more of an 'into the wild for the weekend' type, the Appalachian Trail offers some of the best rugged hikes with the most breathtaking views in North Carolina.
1. Roan Mountain
Roan Mountain is a hike to take if you love grassy balds, panorama views, and spectacular rhododendron blooms. You'll find hikes from moderate to difficult. Pass along extreme back country and venture through panoramic views of the breathtaking Blue Ridge. Roan Mountain is perfect if you love a diverse ecosystem, scenic viewpoints, serious drops, and a good strenuous hike.
2. Newfound Gap to Charles Bunion
This 8-mile hike takes you through high altitudes, lush forests, and a breathtaking endpoint. The reward at the end? What you see above. A breathtaking rocky cliff and an amazing view of the Smokies.
3. Max Patch
Max Patch is an easy A.T. hike perfect for a day trip and even a quick stop for a breathtaking view! The grassy bald is a great place to sit and enjoy 360-degree views of everything North Carolina has to offer.
4. Hot Springs
The Appalachian Trail runs right through the quaint mountain town of Hot Springs. The first hike from Hot Springs is Lover's Leap which offers stunning views of the French Broad River.
You can also hike to Rich Mountain and really experience 'wide-open spaces.'
6. Nantahala National Forest
For whitewater rafting enthusiasts, you'll want to make your A.T. stop at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Also known as 'the destination' for whitewater rafting.
You can also hike to breathtaking lookout points at the Wesser Bald Lookout Tower or Wayah Lookout Tower.
7. Fontana Dam
Last but certainly not least is Fontana Dam. The A.T. crosses the dam and the hikes are perfect to take for those looking for weeklong or even longer hikes.
After crossing the dam, you'll venture into the 71.6 mile section through the beautifully rugged Smokies.
You can hike 15 miles to the beautiful Stecoah Gap.
Or for those who really want to try their hand at a longer hike...be daring and take the 40.6 mile trek to the jaw dropping Newfound Gap.
While the Appalachian Trail consists of a multitude of various hikes through gorgeous North Carolina, it’s that one ultimate hike you’ll never forget!
Have you hiked the Appalachian Trail? What are your experiences? Tell us in the comments!