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Best hikes in Tennessee

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Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby triyoda » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:14 am

Going to Nashville to visit a friend and we wanted to do a 1-2 day trip. Any suggestions for good hikes within 200 miles of Nashville?
How is the TN state high point? Up to 14 miles round trip would be okay, but 8-10 miles would be ideal. Probably, hike two days, or even do an overnight backpack.
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby Sarah Simon » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:48 am

Well, Great Smoky Mountains NP is roughly an extra 25 miles beyond your 200 mile limit, but worth the visit. I suggest Mount LeConte, which can serve up some serious elevation gain and dynamite views.

Enjoy!
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby MarkDidier » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:16 pm

Ditto on Sarah's recommendation. You just can't beat the views on LeConte. The Alum Cave Trail approach is my favorite hike in GSMNP. It's busy, but that's the Smokies.

http://www.summitpost.org/mount-leconte/150497
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby Bob Sihler » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:56 pm

triyoda wrote:How is the TN state high point?


Pretty awful. It's a paved "trail" that takes about 10 minutes to walk, though there is no end to the amusement coming from seeing the huffing and puffing of people not even fit for that hike. The top is an observation deck and there are dead trees all around the summit.

Hiking beyond to Silers Bald is pretty nice, though.

The suggestions for LeConte are good. I also hear the hike east from Newfound Gap on the AT is good-- nice views from the balds.

Chimney Tops is popular and short but fun. The hike to Ramsay Cascades, the highest waterfall in the park, is very nice, too.
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby Arthur Digbee » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:15 am

Smokies is exactly right. All the day hikes above are good ideas. For backcountry, I'd avoid the AT shelters but hike on the AT -- you do this with a triangle-shaped loop, go up to the AT, go along the AT, come down a different trail. Pick one campsite up, another one down.

If you don't want to drive further, Big South Fork is close to Nashville. Hike the John Muir Trail along the bluffs, starting at the visitor center. Easy 1 or 2 night loop, use Laurel Creek to complete the loop. That route will also avoid most evidence of horses.
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby Jow » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:43 am

As for the highpoint I did the 17 mile round trip on AT from Newfound and it was nice hike that takes u over 2 other peaks. U can join the trail like 1.7 miles in at a turnoff which would take u right around your 14 mile limit. There are occasional views and some interesting forest. The top kinda stinks but u get to see fat tourists huffing and puffing from half mile walk from lot, but than u look silly with trekking poles and hydration pack cuz they figured u parked with them.
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:26 am

The Jack Daniel's Distillery has a nice tour.
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby triyoda » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:29 am

Thanks for the suggestion of LeConte. It sounds like Clingmans is best avoided, especially since I will be there Memorial Day Weekend.

I was checking out the Smokies page and these two peaks looked interesting:

Inadu Knob and Charles Bunion

any thoughts?
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby MarkDidier » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:52 am

The views from Charlie's Bunion are outstanding! I love the Bunion...but it is basically a destination hike. There are a few views early on the trail but they are somewhat obstructed. You won't get good views of the ridgelines until you get to the cliffs at the Bunion...and the cliffs are really cool.

If you are going on Memorial Day weekend it WILL be busy. This is one of the busiest hikes in the park. I did this hike one time as a sunrise hike and we had the place all to ourselves. It was a great hike! We started in the dark...(just figure how much time you need to hike 4 miles without a lot of elevaton gain/loss). Regardless, if you want any chance at solitude, start very very early, or go very very late in the day.

If you are going to be there 2 days, I would do Leconte the first day and the Bunion the second day. Elkmont is a nice place to camp...but book a site now! although they are already probably full. Both of these hikes are accesible from Newfound Gap Road, which is beautiful.

Being it will be Memorial Day weekend, if you are looking for some solitude AND great views...well, I'm going to have to think about that one for a while.

I haven't been to Inadu Knob, but I would bet it is also a destination hike (and a lot more elevation gain than the Bunion).
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby Arthur Digbee » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:26 am

Inadu is part of one of those triangle loops I mentioned. Here's how we did it, with two nights out, but one night is feasible or up-and-back in a day:
http://www.summitpost.org/knobbagging-a ... too/378981

There are no views from Inadu. The trail won't deliver the views of Charlies Bunion except in a few places like Maddron Bald. But it's a great Smokies hike -- and you won't be alone, especially on Memorial Day. It's a starred hike in a popular guidebook.
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby johnmnichols » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:11 pm

All good ideas so far -- Charlies Bunion and LeConte are pretty awesome. Clingmans is pretty cool...in the winter...when there is nobody there. I would definitely recommend a loop hike if you can find one that works. Whatever you do though, be sure to avoid driving through the hell holes of Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge during the main parts of the day. The traffic congestion can easily add 1-2 hours to your total time.

I also recently read that the Chimney Tops trail is going to be closed Mon-Thurs each week as the NPS does trail maintenance. Not sure when you are going, but something to consider.
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Re: Best hikes in Tennessee

Postby e-doc » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:55 am

I think the Big South Fork and Smokies are really too far. Though I've never been, I've heard the Savage Gulf is spectacular, 11000 acres and 50 miles trails. And its 130 miles from Nashville, due south of Cookville If your hell bent on the Smokies suggest Mt Camermer out of Cosby or Mt Sterling from Mt Sterling gap on NC 284. Both avoid Gatlinburg. If really up for a painful drive do Mt LeConte via Alum Cave. Slightly less paniful via Rainbow Falls or the Bullhead trails. Access from Cosby side to avoid Gatlinburg. If it were me I'd go to Savage Gulf.
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