Have you heard of the 900 Mile Club in the Smokies? It's a challenge to hike all the trails in the Smokies. I've rarely met a challenge I didn't like and the Smokies are the closest hiking National Park to where we live. So naturally, this is something I've started working towards. There's even a spreadsheet for tracking your miles!
Seriously, a spreadsheet. Did you think I could resist that temptation?
With all of our hiking and traveling, I've contemplated making spreadsheets for all of the parks. There are 59 National Parks and there's basically no way I could ever hike all the trails in all of them. But a girl can dream, right?
Depending on where you live, the Smokies are a great day trip or road trip destination. From Athens, we can reach parts of the park in 2.5 hours and most of the park within 3 hours. Even Cades Cove is less than 4 hours away. The park is accessible to Atlanta (<3 hours), Asheville (< 1 hour), Birmingham (~5 hours) Charlotte (<4 hours), Chattanooga (< 3 hours), Durham (< 5 hours) Knoxville (1 hour), Lexington (<5 hours), Louisville (< 5 hours), and Nashville (~4 hours). This central location makes the Smokies the busiest park in the country. The Cades Cove region of the park is busier by itself than most other National Parks.
But it won't take long for you to appreciate a sense of wilderness in the Smokies. Just half a mile off the trail and you'll leave most of the tourists behind. The Smokies are also hike-able in every season. Because we live so close, I'll be highlighting many of our hikes on the quest to cover all ground in the park. If you are tempted to pick up the challenge, too, we recommend picking up this map and this book.
We are actually headed to the park this weekend for our first road trip of the year and I can't wait to get on the trail. Do you have a favorite hike in the Smokies?