Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is an undertaking not everyone is equipped to try. For those looking for something a bit more realistic, certain sections of the trail are easier to hike.
Some trails are longer than others, so hikers must consider how much time they have for this activity before choosing which trails to tackle. For those who don’t have long to spare, a popular choice is Virginia’s Mau-Har Loop. It boasts multiple 40-foot waterfalls and various swinging holes. However, it is not the easiest hike to take. This one takes participants 7,000 feet of rocky terrain to complete. Along the way, hikers are treated to sites like Three Ridges Wilderness, Bee Mountain’s Hanging Rock Vista, the Flat Rock Vista, and the Three Ridges’ Chimney Rocks Vista.
For those with more time to spare, both the Taconic Highlands and the Delaware River are two-day hikes. Taconic Highlands takes hikers through a forest on the way to Mount Everett, with views of various waterfalls in between. There are eight designated camping areas for those who want to spend the night under the stars. But hikers can instead opt for the Race Brook Falls Trail, which is only six miles long.
The Delaware River hike has 12 different trails to choose from. Many hikers who make this trek also visit Mount Tammany on the way.
Hikes that can be completed in three days include North Carolina’s Nantahala Mountains. Along the way, hikers will pass through Little Tennessee River Valley, the Nantahala Gorge, and Fontana Lake. This hike ends at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. But hikers can also choose from side trails that include Big Indian Loop, the Lower Ridge Trail, and Beech Gap.
Another three-day hike is the 100-mile Wilderness. Only the first 30 miles of the trail can be hiked in three days, and along the way, hikers will encounter sugar maple forests, rivers, and Lower Wilson Falls, which stands 60-feet tall. Campsites and shelters make it easy to spend the night here.
For a longer hike, many people choose Shenandoah National Park. The hike offers views of the Shenandoah Valley, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains. Parallel to the park is Skyline Drive, which houses the Big Meadows Lodge.