In the parking lot I saw the paved trail and kept my flip flops on. My son (7 years old, 80 lbs, asthma) had just woken up and was grumpy. He didn't want to hike the trail so I gave him a piggy back ride. What a workout! I had no idea the trail would be that steep in places. I carried him all the way up the tower and had sewing machine legs all the way down. My first highpoint.
The best part of hiking to the observation tower is the information sign showing the peaks in the distance as it helps point out other peaks that you have climbed, or hope to climb.
My wife and 4 year old son accompanied me on the 1/2 mile walk to this strange structure built so that anyone can see the views. Only there were no views!!
Originally planned to do VA, TN, & KY with my wife. Got a late start and weather changed our plans. So we instead opted for TN and were going to do VA the next day but plans were again thwarted by the weather so we did KY. We did the "Highpointer's Route" (1 mile RT)for this one, but before you say anything, 8-10 hours of driving on a weekend off one way can be just as strenous as hiking 15 miles. I've done both, so I can compare accurately.
We experienced the most amazing sunset of our lifetime on this day. The entire area was bathed in a yellow/orange glow. It was unreal!!
Tons of people, and that was part of the joy. I liked seeing the wide variety of folks hiking up the paved path. All colors, shapes, and sizes were there, and the view from the spaceship was gorgeous. Lots of fun.
Hiked up the half-mile paved walkway after hiking Mt. Rogers earlier in the day.
Spring Break (Mar 2001) - spent some cold icy days on the AT from Fontana to Davenport Gap. It was early thru-hiker season and a pretty fun hike.
Walked to the top the easy way.
Started the hike in plenty of rain, finished with sunshine and decent views. It was a fairly easy hike with minimal elevation gain, though it was somewhat long (16ish miles).
Hiked the half mile up the paved road from the parking lot, the lazy way. I'll hike it the real way later when I try the AT in sections. For now, I was just driving through and thought I'd snag a high point.
Started in the rain from Newfound Gap and climbed via the Appalachian Trail going south. It rained on and off on the way up and the top was inside a cloud, windy, and chilly. I climbed with my brother and a friend and we ate lunch on top and quickly jumped on the trail to go back down. During the descent we got some decent views as it was beginning to clear.
A muddy hike from Newfound Gap, that night was a cold one in the Smokies.
Walked up the paved path -- and the cool observation tower -- the day before we went up Mount LeConte.
ROAD TO TRAILHEAD CLOSED BY SNOW SO HIKED UP SWITCHING TO AT AFTER A MILE. NUMEROUS DOWNFALLS TO GET OVER/UNDER/AROUND AND LARGE CLUMPS OF SNOW FALLING FROM THE TREE LIMBS MADE FOR AN INTERESTING HIKE
I loved the view, but feel like I haven't quite earned it yet. I'll have to hike up from Chimney Tops next time.
Highpoint #4 - great visit. Stayed in Gatlinburg - played Hillbilly golf & such. Drove up & parked; hiked up via Forney Ridge trail - thoroughly enjoyed. Lots of rime ice.
Climbed up easily from parking lot-Cheaters haha
Trail ran to the summit from the Deep Creek TH in Bryson City. Ran via the Noland Divide, Noland Creek, and Forney Ridge Trails. Total distance was approximately 21 miles with 7000 feet of vertical gain. Run was fully self-supported as there is no vehicle access along this route.
I climbed the summit tower in April of this year as a part of a section hike. It was a couple of days after a huge windstorm and there were many, many blowdowns on the way north into Newfound Gap.
First ascent was part of my 2000 AT thru-hike. It was cloudy with low visibility. Went back last fall (visiting on a fall weekend is a mistake) and got great views and autumn color too!