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Tennessee



Tennessee: Virgin Falls Trail

Camp alongside a thundering waterfall and explore some of the regionís best karst features on a short-distance overnight into an old-growth forest.

Grand Traverses: Roan Highlands

Gorge on views that don't quit on a high stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

Local Hikes in the East

Paddle an Outer Banks island, hit a new trail in Tennessee, stargaze in Pennsylvania, and grab nine more adventures.

Smokies Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 5 of 6)

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.

BACKPACKER Trail Scouts' Top Eastern Local Hikes

Check out the River Trail in South Carolina, the Florida Trail, or a loop in Mississippi and Virginia.

Rip & Go: North-South Trail, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Kentucky/Tennessee

Snake along hidden inlets as you follow the shore of America's largest inland peninsula.

Killer Trips: Wildlife

Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

From the Field: East

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

The Other Way In

Hike to life-list hot spots without waiting in life-list lines. These under-the-radar trails deliver everything but the crowds.

Local Hikes

Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.

Readers' Choice 2012: Your Neck of the Woods - Southeast Hikes

See Shenandoah's tallest waterfall, traverse secluded ridgelines, score cliff-top panoramas, swim beneath falls, and walk through wildflowers and oak stands on the Florida Trail.

National Parks: Great Smoky Mountains

For guaranteed solitude in the park's southwest reaches, explore this quiet loop during the off-season.

Going to Extremes

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.

Get Higher: Best Firetower Hikes

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.

Rip & Go: Big Creek Loop

Hike from a wildlife-choked river valley to soaring mountain views.

Trip Finder: Appalachians

Your favorite Appalachians hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Readers' Choice: Appalachians

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Appalachians.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide: Best Winter Trips

We traveled to Fjordland and discovered that nothing compares to skiing glacier-clad mountains above deep-water fjords. Plus: 20 winter adventures, from California to New York.

Top 25 Winter Trips: United States

Find the best skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter camping trips in the U.S.

Local Hikes: Knoxville, TN

The best hikes near Knoxville, TN.

Local Hikes: Southeast

The best local hikes in the southeast, as chosen by the area's best hiking clubs.

Print & Go: Charlies Bunion Loop, Great Smoky Mountains NP

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.

Print & Go Weekend Trip Planners

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.

John Muir Trail, Cherokee National Forest, TN

Contemplate the south's wild side on the trail that launched America's greatest wilderness champion.

Local Hikes: Southeast

Climb to two killer views, see the South's best flowers, and hike to secluded falls. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)

Local Hikes: New Hikes Near You

Our army of reader-reader scouts mapped 59 local hikes from South Carolina to Northern California. See their favorites, then learn how to download tracklogs and waypoints.

Southeast Readers' Choice Hikes

Colossal trees, sweet swimming holes, and the USA's best picnic spot.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Ramsey Cascades, Great Smokies, TN

See big water, massive trees, and tiny amphibians.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Mt. Rogers NRA, VA

Celebrate the arrival of summer with an unrivaled circus of color.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Max Patch Bald, NC

Have a picnic on one of the Southeast's biggest balds.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Clingmans Dome to Silers Bald, TN

Bag four scenic peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Thru-hike the Florida Trail

See wild, historic surprises in the Sunshine State.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Raven Ridge - Blackbird Knob Loop
Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV

See a Great White North south of the Mason-Dixon.

Insider's Guide to Peaks

Think you know all there is to know about these famous peaks? Get an insider's guide right here.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Wildflowers

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.

The Peak: Mt. Le Conte, TN

It's not the tallest peak in the Smokies, but spend a night on its summit (no tent required), and you'll agree it's the finest.

Insider's Guide: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From secret spots to the perfect campsites, this insider's guide has the goods on the Smokies.

Time Travel: Hiking Historical Homesteads in the Smokies

A unique route linking historic homesteads yields an exciting Smokies adventure for hikers and history buffs alike.

Top 3 Glow-in-the-Dark Trips

See glowing plankton, mushrooms, and bugs on these brilliant adventures.

SOUTH
Special Survey: Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid

Accessible national forests like the George Washington and Jefferson surround national park gems like Great Smoky and Shenandoah in a southern terrain that varies dramatically from Florida's Everglades to West Virginia's wilderness.

Bioluminescent Organisms: 3 Living Lights

According to folklore, the soft light emitted by bioluminescent organisms is magical. In reality, the eerie glow results from a chemical reaction–but it still looks enchanting on a moonless or cloudy night. Here's where to glimpse these living light bulbs.

Readers' Choice Awards 2009

Discover the best hike in every state, as voted by BACKPACKER readers. Plus: your essential gear, most desirable tentmate, worst-ever adventure movie, and our picks for the best reader-submitted photos.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Abrams Falls, Great Smoky Mtns., TN

Drowning in beauty

Trip Finder: Waterfall Hikes

Nine ways to get your cascade fix from Tennessee to Montana.

Trip Finder: Wildflowers

Trek the best spring blooms from the Ozarks to the Olympics with these two, three, and four day treks.

Quick Fix: Great Smoky Mountains NP

Check out the steepest trail, the best swimming hole, and the wildest vista in America's most popular national park.

Top 3 Waterfall Hikes

There's a science to why we love waterfalls: When water crashes earthward, it releases negatively charged ions that--you can't make this stuff up--some researchers think can reduce anxiety. Spring is when cascades' spigots open full bore, so head off on these three beguiling treks for a dose of nature's backcountry Rx.

America's Best Campsites

Whether you are after fishing holes or skinny-dipping, Backpacker tracked down the best campsites in the country

Weekend Adventures: Big Tree Hikes

Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.

Paddling's Greatest Getaways

16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.

America's Hardest Dayhikes

Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes

High Points: Clingmans Dome, Tennessee

A downright goofy dome marks this highpoint.

Fall Hiking at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mellow temperatures, low water and autumn colors make for a perfect time in the Smokies

Cloudland Canyon State Park

A thousand-foot-deep gorge is the centerpiece of this tri-state park.

Secrets Hikes Of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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.

Best Backpacking In Tennessee

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Tennessee.

Backpacking Tennessee's Cumberland Trail

If you're a backpacking purist, Tennessee's new Cumberland Trail was made for you.

Wolf River, Tennesee

Once an impassable, swampy "ghost river," now a paddler's dream.

Kentucky And Tennessee's Land Between the Lakes

Hike from Kentucky to Tennessee along an inland peninsula.

Tennessee: Savage Gulf State Natural Area

Waterfalls and swimming holes aplenty.

The Bear Facts in Great Smoky

There are scads of bears in Great Smoky Mountains National Park -- so don't forget these tips.

Forest Facts: Champion Trees

Forthwith, interesting tidbits about Great Smoky's largest forest dwellers.

Tennessee: Ice As Art

In winter, the glasslike menagerie of icicles in the Cumberland Plateau will send a chill down your spine.

The Smokies: Backwoods-Style

Here's your insider's guide to The Great Smokies, probably the epitome of a true backpacker's national park.

Great Smokies Showcase: Maddron Bald

In a park full of natural wonder, the route to Maddron Bald hits the high points.

Tennessee/Georgia's Big Frog Wilderness

Why choose between breezy peaks and cool streams when you can have both at Big Frog Wilderness?

North Carolina's Gregory Bald

Great Smoky's Gregory Bald features an amazing crown of wild azaleas.

Tennessee's Arches

Big South Fork provides Utah-quality arches in Tennessee.

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