The best way to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to get away from the roads and into the heart of the park, letting all your senses absorb the very essence of these old mountains. But with the overwhelming mileage of trails, an uninformed hiker in the park is faced with a hit or miss choice of hikes. Weather, season, and day of the week can make a trail alluring or as overcrowded as Newfound Gap Road on a weekend summer day. Why take a chance on a hike that might not suit your needs? That's what this book is for -- to help you make the most of your precious time while in the Smokies.
Day hiking is the best and most popular way to break into the Smokies backcountry, which is where you want to be. Information at the beginning of each hike includes trail use, length, vertical feet, a rating system for difficulty, as well as a list of hike features and nearby facilities. "Best time" tells when to enjoy the hike, finding the trail gives concise directions. A running narrative follows, telling hikers what they will see along the hike. A photo, trail map, quick glance hiker milestones, elevation profile and are outlined for each hike, making this a user friendly guide.
One-way hikes take you to a particular rewarding destination and back on the same trail. Going over the same trail twice can have its advantages, though. The return trip allows you to see everything from the opposite vantage point. Loop day hikes go to a destination as well, but return you to your point of origin without having to retrace your steps. Some hikers just can't stand the thought of covering the same ground twice with the hundreds of untrodden Smokies trail miles that await them. Loop hikes are generally longer and harder than the there and back hikes, but a bigger challenge can reap bigger rewards.
For those with the inclination, the several overnight hikes offer yet another great way to explore the Smokies. These overnight loops take you into the backcountry for 3 days and two nights, offering the best backpacking in the park.
This book will help you make every step count, whether you are leading the family on a brief day hike or undertaking a challenging backpack into the remote reaches of the Smokies. With your precious time and the knowledge herein imparted to you, your outdoor experience will be realized to its fullest.