One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Appalachians are entirely underrated as an outdoor destination! In this guidebook, we've rounded up 10 of the very best hikes in the Appalachian Mountains that can be completed in a day or less.Less
McAfee Knob is arguably the most iconic viewpoint on the entire Appalachian Trail! This rock outcropping juts away from the mountainside, out into free air, providing the perfect opportunity to take a photo that will make your mom freak out just a little bit.
This segment of the white-blazed Appalachian Trail begins with a traverse of the second-highest range in the state—Franconia Ridge. This route makes for an excellent hike, overnight trip, or trail run. Several day hiking opportunities lie in the area as well, as most peaks can be accessed by multiple trails.
"The Precipice Trail is the most challenging and well-known hiking trail in Acadia National Park with an exposed and almost vertical 1,000-foot climb,” according to Acadia.ws. "It is designated as ‘strenuous' and is only recommended for physically fit and experienced hikers who have no fear of heights,” the writer continues.
The Black Mountain Crest Trail is a rite of passage for hikers and trail runners in Western North Carolina. This epic route climbs quickly out of a valley to reveal an epic ridgetop traverse like no other. The path is incredibly challenging, steep at times, and crosses several 6,000-foot peaks along the way.
The Presidential Traverse is possibly the most epic hike in all of New England. Mostly above the treeline, the hike offers stunning high mountain views while summiting all of the peaks in the Presidential Range. Attempting this thru-hike is not an easy undertaking, and it is highly recommended to not do it alone.
Mount Mansfield is the state highpoint of Vermont. This superlative, along with its proximity to Burlington and Stowe, makes it one of the top hiking destinations in the Northeast. There are many routes to the various peaks of its 4,000+ ridgeline, but Sunset Ridge is considered the premier trail for its relatively direct and amazingly scenic ascent to the true summit, known as The Chin. All the peaks are named for features of a human face, which the mountain is said to resemble in profile.
It’s rare to find a scenic vista in Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains due to the dense forest covering the entire range from valley floor to ridge top. The upper reaches of Blood Mountain are covered by slabs of exposed bedrock that prevent trees from growing, thus affording incredible views of North Georgia that stretch for miles and miles! The rarity of these jaw-dropping vistas in Georgia makes Blood Mountain that much more popular.
This hike is considered by most people to be one of the best in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are many ways to access the popular summit of Mount LeConte, but this is by far the most common. Multiple landmarks line the way, offering plenty of options to form shorter out-and-back hikes.
This epic route connects the Roaring Brook Campground to Mount Katahdin via the infamous Knife Edge Trail. This hike could be completed as a full day hike, or an overnight trip utilizing the Chimney Pond Campground.
The Old Rag Loop is one of the most coveted hikes in Shenandoah National Park. No matter who you ask, this epic ~9-mile loop is one of the top hikes and a must-do if you have the time. A key highlight is the rock scramble near the summit - a challenging feat rewarded with incredible views from an exposed rock outcropping.