What off season? Bundle up and reap the benefits of colder weather in these snowy playgrounds.
Leave it to our seasoned map contributors to find solitude in America's most-visited park. This exclusive trip planner serves up routes guaranteed to get you off the tourist trail and into deep wilderness.
Follow fern-lined trails to scramble up a rocky pinnacle.
Pass waterfalls, cross empty peaks, and visit monster-size trees.
String together the Appalachian, Benton MacKaye, and Mountains-to-Sea Trails for a 48-mile instant classic that hits the park's best views and backcountry campsites.
Hike to life-list hot spots without waiting in life-list lines. These under-the-radar trails deliver everything but the crowds.
Our prolific map contributor has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and notched more than 90 bag nights while scouting routes for BACKPACKER.
For guaranteed solitude in the park's southwest reaches, explore this quiet loop during the off-season.
Can you ever really have too much of a good thing? Once you've seen the biggest tree, largest glacier, and deepest canyon, nothing else compares.
For sheltered scenery high above the trees, there's no better place than a fire tower. Try one of these editor-approved hikes to backcountry rooms with a view.
Hike from forest floor to a rocky ridge linking twin summits in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Hike from a wildlife-choked river valley to soaring mountain views.
Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Appalachians.
Pack a camera for this lollipop loop to one of the best mountain views in the park: a sit-awhile panorama, atop a 5,565-foot knob with thousand
foot drop-offs on three sides, that stretches from Mt. LeConte to the jagged peaks of the Sawteeth Range.
Free Print & Go PDFs give you turn-by-turn trail instructions and photos embedded on a usable topo map. Also: Gear checklists, driving directions, and geo-references for finding the nearest campground, restaurant, gas station, and grocery store.
Catch the best views in the nation's marquee parks from the comfort of your computer. Prepare to drool...now.
We've collected the best hikes, most amazing photos, and mind-blowing videos for the ultimate National Park planning center. Get inspired and get hiking now!
Greg Hoover shares his secrets for finding quiet on the busiest trail in the country's busiest park.
Smelling the flowers doesn't require slowing down your trek (though you might want to) through the explosion of wildflowers that cover the Great Smoky Mountains each year.
Fly these classic hikes in 3D with our guided tours.
It's not the smallest peak in the Smokies, but spend a night on its summit (no tent required), and you'll agree it's the finest.
From secret spots to the perfect campsites, this insider's guide has the goods on the Smokies.
A unique route linking historic homesteads yields an exciting Smokies adventure for hikers and history buffs alike.
From the deep wooded hollows to the lofty Appalachian summits
prepare for rain (Clingmans Dome, the park's high point, averages 85 inches each year), humidity, rapidly varying weather conditions, and lots of creek crossings.
Here's what you'll need.
Marcus Woolf explores history and wilderness during a six-day trip through the Smokies.
You know that the big-name parks draw big-time crowds. But each of those outdoor icons has a lesser-known replacement that offers some of the same classic features and epic scenery–and you get it all to yourself.
Drowning in beauty
The system was rigged, says a former ranger. Here's how to beat it.
Hike with grizzlies in this remote northern corner of Alaska's greatest park.
America's first national park is a playground for grizzlies, wolves, moose, and hikers (not in that order).
Explore two ecosystems in this hinterland of moss-draped forests, ancient trees, and snowcapped peaks.
Trees, trees are everywhere, but sometimes there isn't a dry twig in sight.
Graze blueberry patches, explore swimming holes, and tag the South's high points on this sultry hike.
Send him out on a work trip. Let wilderness do the rest.
Drop into America's belly on a little-known hike that dips in and out of four different canyons, each blessed with gurgling spring water.
Climb classic Sierra passes, ogle granite monoliths, and camp above treeline in John Muir's second home.
Scramble up class III peaks and cross late summer snowfields on this strenuous but straightforward trip through Montana's big-mountain country.
The ultimate vacation in one of America's iconic parks requires the ultimate hiking plan: classic scenery, no crowds, and secret campsites. Here's how to spend a perfect week in Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Denali, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Will my vacation to a national park help them?
3-D hike videos, complete trip planner pdfs, our interactive ParkFinder tool, and more.
Trek the best spring blooms from the Ozarks to the Olympics with these two, three, and four day treks.
Check out the steepest trail, the best swimming hole, and the wildest vista in America's most popular national park.
Our map team has been hard at work plotting the coolest hikes. Check out May's selections here.
Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.
Write your own ticket to new adventures with these 10 territory-expanding skills.
Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes
A downright goofy dome marks this highpoint.
Mellow temperatures, low water and autumn colors make for a perfect time in the Smokies
Can a place that sees 9 million visitors a year really have any surprises? You bet. We found three hikes full of unexpected history, scenery, and solitude.
With strong legs and an ambitious plan, you can see more wild country in 12 hours than some backpackers see in a week, and still make it home in time for dinner.
Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in North Carolina.
Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Tennessee.
Waterfalls and swimming holes aplenty.
There are scads of bears in Great Smoky Mountains National Park -- so don't forget these tips.
Here's your insider's guide to The Great Smokies, probably the epitome of a true backpacker's national park.
In a park full of natural wonder, the route to Maddron Bald hits the high points.
It's not complete, but North Carolina's Mountains To Sea trail rivals Inman's journey in "Cold Mountain."
Great Smoky's Gregory Bald features an amazing crown of wild azaleas.