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Backpacker Magazine – May 2010

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.)

by: Ted Alvarez, Shannon Davis, and Kim Phillips.

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(Map by Andrew Matranga.)
(Map by Andrew Matranga.)
(Map by Andrew Matranga.)
(Map by Andrew Matranga.)

READER EXPERTS
Kelly Stewart
Nashville, TN
Kelly has a simple solution to beating the crowds. “I take long-ass hikes. Most casual daytrippers don’t venture too far from the trailhead.”
Favorite hike Honey Creek Trail, Big South Fork NRA, TN

Scott Sanders
Atlanta, GA
Favorite hike Jacks River Trail, Cohutta Wilderness, GA

Charlie Wood
Arlington, VA
Favorite hike Red Creek Trail, Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV
1. Favorite multiday: Tricorner Loop
This 31-mile Smokies trek is an instant classic. It rises from dense, colorful undergrowth—ferns, trilliums, and rhododendrons—through Christmas-scented firs to the tops of 5,000-foot ridges. Hone your  map skills: You’ll bushwhack to eight peaks taller than  6,000 feet. Tip: Thru-hikers crowd trails in April.  

2. Classic day: Mt. LeConte
Climb 13 miles up and over this 6,593-foot summit on the Appalachian, Boulevard, and Alum Cave Trails.

3. Best wildflowers: Art Loeb Trail
Take a long weekend in mid-May to backpack this rolling 30.1-mile point-to-point through freshly blooming dogwood, magnolia, azalea, and trillium. Camp on grassy Black Balsam Knob. No fastpacking allowed.

4. Premier falls hike: Raven Cliff Falls
Hike 2.5 miles and see four thundering falls. Raven drops 60 feet through a granite slot.

5. Killer view: Blood Mountain
Peer into the most mountainous parts of three states from the summit.

6. Best foliage: Signal Mountain
Take the Cumberland Trail to an upper-deck view of blazing Tennessee River Gorge hardwoods.






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BMTA Bob from GA
Jun 24, 2010

To get away from the crowds try the Benton MacKaye Trail, especially in TN. The BMT passes through remote backcountry including the Big Frog, Little Frog, Citico and Slickrock/Joyce Kilmer Designated Wilderness Areas and the Upper Bald River Wilderness Study Area. I've rarely encountered more than one other party per day on the BMT.

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