Mount Collins is located along the Sugarland Mountain Range in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Most of the people who are on the trail are there to enjoy the Appalachian Trail and stay at the Mount Collins shelter. Climbing/hiking the mountain is no real feet. However, if you are looking to add another mountain to the belt notch of life, then this one is for you. I have hiked the mountain on several occasions and have yet to find a "true" summit sign.
After entering the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, follow the clearly marked signs towards Clingman's Dome. After turning onto the Clingman's Dome road, keep an eye out for the trail marker. It’s brown (like most) and will blend into the natural surroundings. After arriving, there is a small pull off to the south of the trail head.
To reach the summit to will need to head north along the Fork Ridge Trail for a short distance, then make a slight jog west onto the Appalachian Trail. Pass the trailhead for the Sugarland Mountain Trail and continue westbound (towards Clingmans Dome). Continue along the Appalachian Trail where you will hike through dense forest. The trail itself is not too steep but does present some incline. After approximately ¾ of a mile, you will reach the summit of Mount Collins. If the foliage is not too overgrown, the clearing will open up slightly to display a nice view of the surrounding area. From there, if you wish, continue along the Appalachian Trail to Clingmans Dome (also another trail head for Mount Collins).
If you choose to spend a night at the Mount Collins Shelter, turn north off of the Appalachian Trail onto the Sugarland Mountain Trail. After approximately ½ of a mile hike, you will reach the shelter.
There are no permits required to hike/ climb Mount Collins. In the winter months the park service will close the Clingman’s Dome access road due to harsh weather conditions. However, if you plan on staying at the Mount Collins shelter, you will need to make reservations. Keep in mind the shelter is very close to the roadway and has become a "party palace" for young adults. You can call (423) 436-1231for information regarding reservations and shelter conditions.
When To Climb
The best time to climb would be in the spring to fall months. However, given the relatively ease of the trail, anytime would be achievable.
Camping is allowed within the park (at established sites as well as backcountry sites). To find out specific information on the site you wish to stay at, go to
National Park Service
For mountain conditions, I recommend contacting the park service prior to hiking. The ranger will be able to provide you with up to date weather and mountain conditions (and bear sightings).