Appalachian Trail

Completed in 1937, the Appalachian Trail spans approximately 2,200 miles traversing through 14 states from Georgia to Maine and is marked by white blazes along the trail. The 76-mile section of the Appalachian trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, runs along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina and boasts breathtaking vistas, lush forests, a diverse tapestry of flora and fauna, and an abundance of wildlife. The trail reaches its highest point at 6,643-foot at Clingmans Dome. Hikers can embark on a journey through diverse terrain, from gentle slopes to challenging ascents, immersing themselves in the region's rich biodiversity. Whether seeking a day hike or a multi-day expedition, the Appalachian Trail through Great Smoky Mountains National Park promises an unforgettable outdoor experience, inviting explorers to connect with nature and discover the timeless allure of the Southern Appalachian wilderness.

Please keep in mind bicycles and dogs are NOT allowed on this trail and a parking pass is required when parking longer than 15 minutes at the trailhead. 

Trail Info:

Region: Great Smoky Mountains NP
Length: 75.6 miles (one-way)
Rated: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 17,198 ft
Route Type: Point-to-Point


Hiking, Views, Forest, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, Camping, Backpacking, No Dogs, Popular

Notable Landmarks:

Charlies Bunion, Rocky Top, Mt. Cammerer.


Get Google Directions

Trail Map

"There are three things: to walk, to see, and to see what you see." Benton MacKaye

Thru hiking the Appalachian Trail

It takes an average of six months to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail and about seven days to hike the entire portion that travels through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can also start midway to reduce the distance hiked in half by starting at Newfound Gap . Gatlinburg serves as both a starting point for section hikers and overnighters as well as a resupply point for thru-hikers attempting to make the long and arduous trek.  Gatlinburg offers weary hikers a warm welcome with its quaint charm and abundant amenities. Thru-hikers can indulge in hearty meals, restock supplies, and even enjoy a well-deserved night of comfort before continuing their arduous journey. Gatlinburg's proximity to the trail provides a convenient stopover for adventurers seeking a taste of civilization amidst the rugged beauty of the Smokies. From cozy lodges to a variety of eateries, Gatlinburg extends a hospitable embrace to hikers, ensuring their Appalachian Trail experience is as rewarding off the trail as it is on.

Backcountry Permits & Parking Fees

You’ll need an advance permit for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and depending on the length of your hike, the cost is $8 per person, per night for the general backcountry permit or $40 for the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) thru-hiker permit. To qualify for an A.T. Thru-Hiker Permit, you must begin and end your hike at least 50 miles outside the park and only travel on the A.T. in the park. A permit must be obtained for overnight stays before entering the park and hikers staying overnight in the backcountry are required to have a printed copy of the permit. All backpackers are required to stay at designated sites.

Camping Shelters along the Appalachian Trail in the Smokies: Mollies Ridge, Russell Field , Spence Field, Derrick Knob, Silers Bald, Double Spring Gap, Mount Collins, Icewater Spring, Pecks Corner, Tricorner Knob, Cosby Knob, and Davenport Gap