Appalachian Trail Guide

Appalachian Trail Guide

1. What is Appalachian Trail?

Running for 72 miles through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Appalachian Trail enters the park from the South at Fontana Dam and offers hikers some of the best locations to boast their ability as well as picturesque spots to snap thousands of stunning shots.

Appalachian Trail

Measuring the highest point anywhere along the 2180-mile trail, Appalachian Trail is definitely a destination point for hikers. The trail here even passes by other distinctive landmarks in the Smoky Mountains and stretches in the Northeast at Davenport Gap.

2. How many days to hike at Appalachian Trail and what tips should you take?

We bet that when you are fully aware of how attractive and breath-taking these sinuous hiking trails here are, you cannot resist the thought of promptly heading for Appalachian Trail. So, how many days are enough for you to stay and what tips should you take before actually getting going?

a. Days for hiking

Commonly, most people, especially hikers spend seven days hiking the Smoky Mountains section of the Appalachian Trail. However, if you cannot devote such a long amount of time to hiking and other related activities, your hike can easily be shortened by using Newfound Gap or Clingmans Dome as a mid point. Thus, your day trip can be cut short to three or four days.

Appalachian Trail Guide

In fact, all trips here are one-way, so you will have to arrange for some means of transportation at the end of your hike.

b. Tips when hiking

Almost all trees, posts and rocks have a system of “blazes” painted on, so the only thing you need to do is to flow those signs. Although this system can vary from one to another locality, most hikers are fairly familiar with this quickly.

Autumn Appalachian Hiking Trail Foggy Nature Blue Ridge Fall Foliage Bridge near Grandfather Mountain

In case that you hike under snowy the or foggy weather, you would initially get embarrassed because of invisible directing signs that can be somehow obstructed under a bit thick layer of snow or curtains of fog. They are just hidden, not vanished in the air as you thought, so you have to pull yourself together and can effortlessly find out exactly where they are.

A foggy Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap in Great Smokey Mountains National Park

When hiking, you also need to take notice of white-paint blazes two inches wide and sex inches high that are used to mark the Appalachian Trail. In addition, the easiest way to lead you to shelters is to follow side trails and pathways, plus use blue blazes.

Hiking at Appalachian Trail

Two white blazes, one above the other, indicate an obscure turn, route change, incoming side trail, or some other situation that requires hikers to be alert to an upcoming change in direction.

3. Accommodations

The best places to overnight during bad weather, especially as tents are filled up much faster than you can think when it rains, are backcountry shelters. These 12 available shelters located along the 71.6-mile stretch of the Appalachian in the Smoky have been refurbished with the chain-link fences in recent years to keep hikers from bears.

Furthermore, no more tents needed when you have already got such a good shelter to meet and talk with other hikers.

Please be noted that, hikers are only allowed to camp only in designated campsites or in shelters and they have to cook and eat away from the shelters in order to keep bears away.

Camping only allowed at designated sites or at shelters

Backcountry Shelters: the best places to overnight during bad weather, tend to fill up fast when it rains, Shelters also eliminate the need for tents, a good place to meet and talk with other hikers, and most have privies and water sources nearby. However, staying in shelters reduces the impact to the surrounding environment.

3. Drinking water

You can make use of water from Giardia in the park or, the easiest way of effective water treatment is to boil water for one minute, or use a filter capable of removing particles as small as one micron.

Boil water for one minute to safely use

4. Bears

Appalachian Trail is a home of roughly 1500 black bears living in the Great Smoky Mountains, a density of approximately two bears per square mile. All bears here are wild and unpredictably behavioral.

Wild bears at Appalachian Trail

Despite not any serious injuries and death case caused by bears reported yet, attacks on humans have occurred, so you need to treat bear encounters with extreme caution.

Store food carefully and keep trash on distance while staying to avoid bear attacks

In order to avoid unexpected and unfortunate cases possibly happening to you while camping or backpacking, you must store food carefully and keep trash on distance. For the sake of yourself and future hikers, also for the bears, you must put away any food or trash at least 10 feet off the ground when not being consumed or transported, and four feet from the nearest limb or trunk.

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