Great Smoky Mts NP Readies for Overcrowding in Thru-Hike Season

Last year the park hosted a record-breaking number of Appalachian Trail hikers.
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AT shelters in the Smokies, like this one at Icewater Spring, are getting crowded.

AT shelters in the Smokies, like this one at Icewater Spring, are getting crowded.

Last year, a record-breaking 4,400 Appalachian Trail thru-hikers passed through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, raising concerns about overcrowding in the park's shelters and campsites. A park spokeswoman advises prospective hikers to consider alternative trips, including southbound or section hiking, to help spread out the impact.