Asheville TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co

Stretching more than 2,000 miles from Georgia’s Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the AT explores mountain summits, river valleys, and some of the most beautiful vistas on the East Coast. The epic-length trail is a haven for thru-hikers, a dedicated group who travel the trail’s entire length, following its iconic white blazes and overnighting in tents and primitive shelters on a hike that spans many months and makes many unforgettable memories.

After the Appalachian Trail racks up 78.6 miles in Georgia, the trail crosses into North Carolina at Bly Gap near a gnarled, iconic old oak tree. The trail travels 95 miles in North Carolina, and another 224 miles along the border between NC and Tennessee, summiting the fire-tower-capped peaks near Franklin before crossing Fontana Dam and entering Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Beyond the Smokies, the AT climbs Roan Mountain, exploring a mossy balsam fir forest at Roan High Knob and the rolling, grassy balds on the Roan Highlands.

Planning a thru-hike from Georgia to Maine? Visit Trailful, our full-service hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee, Georgia, an official Appalachian Trail trail community located just south of the North Carolina state line. We’re located ten miles from the A.T. at Dicks Creek Gap (mile 69.2) and Unicoi Gap (mile 52.5). Check out our A.T. thru-hiker resupply and outfitter page for info on our A.T. thru-hiker services, including mail drops, backpacking gear, technical apparel, footwear, and our hiker-friendly trail town in the North Georgia mountains.

Hike the Appalachian Trail in Western NC, climbing to sun-drenched ridges and angular peaks, meandering rivers, wildflower-covered mountain balds and view-packed historic fire towers. #hiking #trailrunning #camping #backpacking #asheville #nc #northcarolina #travel #outdoors #adventure

Appalachian Trail in North Carolina: our favorite hikes

  • Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch in NC, climbing to the view-packed summit of a grassy mountain bald

    Max Patch on the Appalachian Trail

    1.5 miles, round trip

    Hike over a rolling, grassy mountaintop under abundant blue skies, exploring seemingly endless fields of wildflowers and wild berries on this sun-drenched summit. It’s a simply idyllic hike, and one of our hands-down favorites on the AT in North Carolina. This short loop catches stunning 360-degree panoramas and ample sunshine on the Max Patch summit. It’s one of our favorite spots to catch a sunset near Asheville, or for a mid-day picnic. And stargazing from the summit is simply unforgettable.

  • Lemon Gap to Max Patch Mountain

    10.5 miles, round trip

    Avoid the usual weekend crowds at the Max Patch Trailhead and hike this scenic alternate route to the view-packed mountain bald. This hike follows the AT southbound from Lemon Gap, exploring a wildflower-filled creek valley and visiting the Roaring Fork Shelter. Reaching Max Patch, the route loops up, over, and around the mountain bald, catching stunning summit views before doubling back to Lemon Gap. This is our favorite route to the summit, and makes a great longer-length day hike or fantastic, quick overnight Appalachian Trail backpacking adventure.

  • Hike the Appalachian Trail in NC to Grassy Ridge Bald from Carvers Gap, exploring the view-packed Roan Highlands

    Roan Mountain: Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge Bald

    4.7 miles, round trip

    Hike the Appalachian Trail across three grassy, sun-drenched mountains, catching exceptional views for nearly the entire hike. Climbing from Carvers Gap, the AT explores the Roan Highlands, rolling elevation through fields of grasses and wildflowers, summiting Round Bald, Jane Bald, and Grassy Ridge Bald.

  • Roan Mountain: Carvers Gap to Roan High Knob

    4.5 miles, round trip

    Climb from Carvers Gap on the AT, meandering through a lush forest filled with balsam fir, fern, and moss. The hike climbs to Roan High Knob, visiting the Roan High Knob AT shelter, before catching stunning summit views from a nearby overlook.

  • Mt Cammerer

    Mt Cammerer

    12 miles, round trip

    As the iconic white-blazed trail heads northbound through our state, it makes a journey through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and summits Mt Cammerer, one of the park’s most iconic summits. Hike this two-trail adventure on the Chestnut Branch Trail and AT, climbing through dense thickets of rhododendron and through vertical rock faces to the Cammerer summit. Views at the peak are particularly stunning, and the historic, western-style fire lookout tower at the top makes the climb doubly worthwhile.

  • Deep Gap to Standing Indian Mountain

    5 miles, round trip

    Hike the AT from Deep Gap near Franklin, NC to beautiful views at the Standing Indian Mountain summit. The hike ascends through a leafy forest, visiting the Standing Indian AT shelter and diving through dense rhododendron tunnels before summiting Standing Indian, catching views of the Tallulah River’s headwaters and Lake Burton.

  • Charlies Bunion: Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap

    Charlies Bunion from Newfound Gap

    8 miles, round trip

    Hike an exceptionally beautiful and rugged stretch of the AT in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, climbing from stunning trailhead views at Newfound Gap. The hike follows the AT over one its more strenous stretches in the Smokies, catching beautiful trailside views as it approaches the angular precipice at Charlies Bunion.

  • Roan Highlands to the Overmountain Shelter

    10.9 miles, round trip

    Hands down, it’s one of the most scenic, view-packed hikes on the AT in western North Carolina. Hike the Appalachian Trail through the rolling, grassy, wildflower-covered Roan Highlands, climbing to Round Bald and Jane Bald from the Carvers Gap trailhead and scoring view after gorgeous view. The hike catches stunning panoramas from the mid-elevations of Grassy Ridge Bald before leaving the Roan Highlands, dipping into a beautiful hardwood forest to visit the Low Gap AT shelter. The hike’s midpoint is a historic red barn, the Overmountain Shelter, that’s perfect for a mid-hike rest with a stunning, green valley vista below.

  • Albert Mountain: Appalachian Trail to Mooney Gap

    Albert Mountain fire tower to Mooney Gap

    4 miles, round trip

    Hike a spur trail to the AT before climbing Albert Mountain, catching exceptional views from a historic steel fire tower on the mountain’s summit. The hike descends Albert through a rocky landscape, catching off-trail views along the Big Butt Ridge before descending to the shady Mooney Gap. It’s a tough four miler, but the hike’s stunning views and scenic forest make the workout worthwhile.

  • Tellico Gap to the Wesser Bald fire tower

    2.8 miles, round trip

    Hike the AT from Tellico Gap to Wesser Bald, catching gorgeous 360-degree panoramic views from a historic fire lookout tower at the mountain’s summit. It’s one of our favorite hikes near Franklin, NC – and especially beautiful in fall when the colorful color of autumn paints the forest.

  • Hike to stunning views from the grassy, wildflower-covered Siler Bald Mountain summit on the Appalachian Trail in NC

    Wayah Gap to Siler Bald Mountain

    3.6 miles, round trip

    Hike the Appalachian Trail from Wayah Gap, climbing through a scenic forest to the grassy summit of Siler Bald. At the summit, generous views extend in all directions, with Wayah Bald on the near horizon and Albert Mountain in the far distance. It’s a great spot for a summit picnic with an exceptional, view-packed backdrop.

  • Hot Springs to Lovers Leap

    2 miles, round trip

    Hike the AT through the quaint mountain town of Hot Springs, following the Appalachian Trail’s iconic white blazes through town. The AT follows the French Broad upriver, spotting a wide, whitewater-filled waterfall before climbing a nearby ridge. This two-miler summits to beautiful views at Lovers Leap, a rocky precipice that, legend holds, was the site of a fateful fall of a heartbroken Cherokee princess.

  • Roan Mountain in winter

    Winter hike: Carvers Gap to the Roan Highlands

    4.7 miles, round trip

    It’s a stunning hike throughout the year. But the Roan Highlands are exceptionally beautiful in winter, when wind-blown snow and rime ice crust the mountains’ golden grasses and sporadic balsam fir. Hike the AT from Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge Bald in the winter, catching the day’s colorful first rays at sunrise. The wintertime views are plentiful throughout the hike, and the snowy landscape reflects dawn’s golden hues, making for an especially scenic cold-weather hike.

  • Hiking gear list: our favorite, trail-tested backpacks, boots, and hike essentials

    Hiking gear list: our favorite, trail-tested gear


    Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our hiking gear list features our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the backcountry. We print and stitch our Asheville Trails shirts and hats locally in Asheville and Atlanta, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out. Please leave no trace and help preserve the beauty of Western NC.

Our favorite hikes on the AT’s North Carolina stretch make for a great day hike or trail run – or an even better backpacking adventure under the stars. Not sure what to pack? Check out our day hiking gear list and backpacking gear list, featuring our favorite, trail-tested gear for adventures in the South. And please remember, wherever you hike: please pack out everything you pack in, and Leave No Trace, to help preserve the trail and its surrounding natural beauty.

Leave No Trace: Asheville Trails is an official Leave No Trace partner

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.