The unparalleled Appalachian Trail stretches for close to 2,200 miles and runs through 13 states. At Red Wing Charlottesville, we’ve heard tons of stories of dedicated backpackers who attempt (some successfully, some not as much) to walk the entire stretch in one season, starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia and ending at Mount Katahdin in Maine.
Make no mistake about it: hiking the full Appalachian trail in one long stint is extremely challenging, even for the most experienced and seasoned hikers. Not only will you commit from a physical and mental standpoint, but also you have to commit months of non-stop hiking time (difficult for most people with full time jobs)! On average, this full hike takes about 3 months from Georgia to Maine, depending on how aggressively you push.
Even if you are serious about hiking and backpacking, you might want to start with a nice weekend hike along the Appalachian Trail before committing to anything bigger. If this seems like more your pace, there are plenty of hikes that only take a day or a weekend to complete.
When the first Appalachian Trail was blazed, it only stretched from Bear Mountain through Harriman State Park to Arden, NY. To this day, Bear Mountain is an extremely popular destination for recreational and hardcore hikers alike.
There are a multitude of trails and loops to take throughout the area. Due to its popularity, the trails can get somewhat crowded. However, after the steep climb to the summit, you’ll fine that the effort and crowds were will worth it!
The launching point for all those who hope to traverse the full Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain anchors the southern terminus. This climb offers surreal mountain outlooks, plenty of beautiful southern flora, creek-side treks, and a simply beautiful hike. One of the more difficult hikes on this list.
Roan Mountain, despite its name, isn’t actually a mountain. It’s a high ridge that features a number of easy and beautiful hikes, including treks through Carver’s gap and the surrounding park area. You’ll appreciate the abundance of Carolina scenery throughout this hike. However, be careful: despite the ease of this hike, the weather can be dangerous at the top of the ridge.
Mt Rogers owns the distinction of being the highest elevation in the state of Virginia at 5728 feet. Located within the Jefferson National Forest, Mt. Rogers features over 400 miles of marked paths (and many more unmarked paths!) that whisk hikers through long stretches of the Appalachian Trail. We recommend taking on Mt. Roger’s trails in spring, as the Virginia wildflowers will be in full bloom. Additionally, you might catch a glimpse of some of the wild ponies in the area! Obviously, don’t get too close… they are wild animals!
Clingman’s Dome features the highest summit on the whole Appalachian Trail at 6,644 feet. Though you can take the easy way out and walk up the raised pathway, you can challenge yourself and take one of the various hiking trails off the beaten path! A fantastic hike in all seasons, with great views and beautiful vistas, Clingman’s Dome is a must-see. However, weather here can be temperamental, and you’ll want to be sure to choose a nice day or wear exceptionally high quality hiking boots!
Mount Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian trail, and marks either the end or beginning of the hike. Following the strenuous 5 mile long Hunt Trail to the peak is incredibly rewarding. While extremely rewarding, the hike is difficult and features windswept and slick paths all the way up. You’ll need the best equipment to summit Mount Katahdin!
These weekend hikes we listed above are but just a few of the beautiful hikes along the Appalachian trail. As you can imagine, some weekend hikes are much more difficult than others! Regardless of your experience level or how much you plan to challenge the limits of your body, we know you’ll need the absolute best footwear to make the most of your hike!
Red Wing Charlottesville features a huge selection of hiking boots, capable of helping you tackle any path along the Appalachian Trail! We specialize in Vasque hiking boots and shoes, known for their durability, value and long lasting protection on the trail.
Right now, we are proud to offer the Vasque Skywalk GTX, a hugely popular boot among avid backpackers! If you are serious about hiking the Appalachian Trail all at once, something like the Vasque Skywalk GTX will make a hugely positive difference in your chances to succeed!
Call us at (434) 529-6761 or contact Red Wing Charlottesville online to learn more about our impressive line of Vasque hiking shoes and boots!← Getting the Right Fit Hiking Season is Almost Here! →