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Tennessee: Virgin Falls Trail

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

Local Hikes in the East

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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)

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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

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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

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

Killer Trips: Wildlife

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

From the Field: East

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Our trail scouts' top local hikes

The Other Way In

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

Local Hikes

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

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

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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

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

Going to Extremes

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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

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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

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

Trip Finder: Appalachians

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

Readers' Choice: Appalachians

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

Fall/Winter Gear Guide: Best Winter Trips

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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

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

Local Hikes: Knoxville, TN

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The best hikes near Knoxville, TN.

Local Hikes: Southeast

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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

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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

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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

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

Local Hikes: New Hikes Near You

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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.

Local Hikes: Southeast

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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.)

Southeast Readers' Choice Hikes

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

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

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See big water, massive trees, and tiny amphibians.

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

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

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Max Patch Bald, NC

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

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

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Bag four scenic peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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

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See wild, historic surprises in the Sunshine State.

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

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

Insider's Guide to Peaks

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

The Peak: Mt. Le Conte, TN

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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.

Time Travel: Hiking Historical Homesteads in the Smokies

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

Insider's Guide: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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

Top 3 Glow-in-the-Dark Trips

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

Trip Finder: Waterfall Hikes

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

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Wildflowers

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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.

Bioluminescent Organisms: 3 Living Lights

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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

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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

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Drowning in beauty

Trip Finder: Wildflowers

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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

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

America's Best Campsites

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

Weekend Adventures: Big Tree Hikes

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

Paddling's Greatest Getaways

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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

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Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes

Top 3 Waterfall Hikes

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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.

High Points: Clingmans Dome, Tennessee

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A downright goofy dome marks this highpoint.

Fall Hiking at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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

Cloudland Canyon State Park

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

Secrets Hikes Of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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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

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

Backpacking Tennessee's Cumberland Trail

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

Tennessee: Ice As Art

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

Wolf River, Tennesee

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

Tennessee: Savage Gulf State Natural Area

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Waterfalls and swimming holes aplenty.

Kentucky And Tennessee's Land Between the Lakes

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Hike from Kentucky to Tennessee along an inland peninsula.

Tennessee/Georgia's Big Frog Wilderness

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

Tennessee's Arches

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Big South Fork provides Utah-quality arches in Tennessee.

North Carolina's Gregory Bald

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

Great Smokies Showcase: Maddron Bald

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

Forest Facts: Champion Trees

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

The Bear Facts in Great Smoky

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

The Smokies: Backwoods-Style

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

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