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Backpacker Magazine – May 2009

America's Best Day Hikes: South

Take is stunning rivers and waterfalls, killer views, and amazing wildlife in Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Texas with these hikes.

by: Alistair Wearmouth

Rhododendron Trail (Diane Johnson)
Rhododendron Trail (Diane Johnson)

 

 

VIEWS

Mt. Cammerer, NC/TN 12 miles (Difficult)
Head to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for one of the South's hardest–and most rewarding–climbs. The out-and-back up 4,928-foot Mt. Cammerer gains almost 2,500 feet, ascending slopes that drop precipitously away for views of the Pigeon River Gorge and neighboring peaks, like 6,621-foot Mt. Guyot. Start on the Chestnut Branch Trail; connect with the AT.
Season March-November
Info nps.gov/grsm

West Rim Trail, GA 4.8 miles (Easy)
Want awesome views for little effort? This easy loop in Cloudland Canyon State Park offers sweeping vistas of the Cumberland Plateau's flat-topped peaks and forests. The path hugs the cliffline of a 300-million-year-old gulch, then descends through maples, oaks, and flowering dogwoods. Bonus: A .8-mile spur leads to waterfalls on Daniel Creek.
Season Year-round
Info gastateparks.org/info/cloudland

Rhododendron Trail/Mt. Rogers, VA 7.2 miles (Moderate)
Climb Virginia's highest point, 5,729-foot Mt. Rogers, on this steep, wildly diverse round-trip. Start at Massie Gap and cross an exposed lowland bald, a dense evergreen forest, and Rhododendron Gap, which explodes with color in June. Wild ponies roam the open meadowlands.
Season March-November
Info (276) 579-7092
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North Fork Mountain Trail, WV 12 miles (Moderate) With steady thermals and a profusion of rocky promontories, this area of Monongahela National Forest draws numerous raptors, including peregrine falcons and bald eagles. Add expansive ridgetop (yes, bird's-eye) views of the white-gray cliffs of Seneca Rocks, and you'll feel like your head is on a swivel as you try to take in all the sights on this one-way hike.
Season March-November
Info (304) 257-4488

Red River Gorge, KY 10.6 miles (Moderate)
Score the best views of Red River Gorge's wild geology–it boasts more than 100 natural arches–on the Koomer Ridge to Rough Trail loop. Save your lunch for the hike's midpoint at Gray's Arch, a 50-by-80-foot sandstone buttress. The second half includes a mix of forest hiking and rock scrambles.
Season Year-round
Info (606) 663-8100




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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Natasha708@aol.com
Jun 11, 2012

I am looking for Ron Grimm from WV. Is that you that posted?

chuck
Oct 07, 2011

Sigh!!! I have to wonder about the accuracy of the BP magizine itself w/ all of these problems lately.

chuck
Oct 07, 2011

Sigh!!! I have to wonder about the accuracy of the BP magizine itself w/ all of these problems lately.

Ben
Sep 01, 2011

My wife and I have hiked the entire Chattooga River over a period of about 5 years. Some parts we have covered numerous times. The best trails, and most continuous, are on the SC side up into NC. Our favorite stretches are from SC 28 to Ellicotts Rock, the stretch from the gravel Bullpen Road (NC) to the river's birth at Whiteside Cove, and the trail from the Fish Hatchery along the East Fork to its intersection with the Chattooga. We have backpacked in 7 national parks out West, and the Chattooga remains near the top of our favorites list. Shhh, let's keep it on the down low.

ron grimm
Feb 17, 2011

Tallulah Gorge is in Georgia, not South Carolina. Phone number appears correct.

Also Chattooga River Trail is in both South Carolina and Georgia. Chattooga River is boundary between the two states; a portion of the trail is on the west bank Georgia, and a portion on the east bank South Carolina.

lsbeth
Jul 20, 2009

With all the beautiful trails in north Georgia, you pick 2 of the busiest. Even worse, you don't give the correct state.

GAHiker
Jun 29, 2009

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallulah_Gorge

GAHiker
Jun 29, 2009

Tallulah Gorge is in Georgia! NOT SC.

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