Day Hiking

Finding great day hikes

Websites & Apps

Trailwide

Recommended A.T. Day Hikes – Day-hikes in each of the A.T.’s 14 states.

A.T. 14 State Challenge – Beginner-friendly short day hikes (1 to 4 miles) are featured for each of the A.T.’s 14 states. Driving destinations are also highlighted in each state that require little or no hiking. Take the challenge!

Alltrails.com  – Dozens of day hikes , with in-depth ratings, descriptions, directions, keywords,  interactive maps, reviews, user-contributed photos, elevation profiles, and more. Some advanced features require a subscription. App also available.

ATC Interactive map – Shows parking, major viewpoints/vistas, and A.T. Communities. This can help you locate access points; you’ll need a map or guidebook to fill in the details.

Guthook app – An A.T.-specific app by Atlas Guides, designed for long-distance hikers but a useful navigational tool for day hikers as well. It includes elevation profile, photos, comments on multiple features. Sections available for purchase by Android users; IOS users must purchase entire A.T.

Hiking Project  – The Hiking Project is a crowd-sourced online trail guide and mapping resource created by REI. It including GPS tracks, detailed descriptions, photos, and ratings, reviewed by staff. App also available.

Regional (south to north)

Roanoke A.T. Club.com – Twelve contiguous road-to-road hikes along the trail club’s 120 mile section of the A.T. in central Virginia, ranging from 5 to13 miles, with descriptions and interactive maps.

hikingupward.com – Dozens of day hikes from North Carolina through Pennsylvania with descriptions, interactive and locator maps, elevation profiles, and many helpful details, including length, and user ratings of difficulty, streams, views, and solitude.

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference – Many day hikes on and off the A.T. in New Jersey and New York.

Vermont & New Hampshire Trail Finder – An interactive mapping site with photos, reviews and user comments, overseen by the Upper Valley Trails Alliance and reviewed by trail managers and others.

Maine Trail Finder – An interactive mapping site with photos, reviews and user comments, overseen by the Center for Community GIS, and reviewed by trail managers and others.

Books

  • Best of the Appalachian Trail: Day Hikes – Point-by-point hike descriptions with trailhead directions. Hikes range in length from less than 1 mile to 11 miles. Previews the flora, fauna, and history of the A.T. Up to dozen hikes are featured in each of the A.T.’s 14 states.
  • Best Hikes of the Appalachian Trail – A series of three books, divided into South, Mid-Atlantic, and New England, featuring hike descriptions, photographs, maps, elevation profiles, trailhead coordinates, and nearby attractions. Also ratings of scenery, wildlife, seclusion, waterfalls, history, geology, views, and accessibility for kids. (Includes 40+ hikes in each region)
  • The Appalachian Trail Day Hikers’ Guide: Downhill to Fine Wine and Accommodations: Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee 

Advice Sources

Visitor centers and outfitters along the Appalachian Trail are great places to get one-on-one recommendations for local hikes. Just about all have local trail maps available free or for purchase.

Establishments are listed south to north, with the closest town noted. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are seasonal; be sure to check dates and hours first.

Georgia
Amicalola Falls State Park Visitor Center, Dawsonville
Mountain Crossings, Blairsville
Blairsville Bikes and Hikes, Blairsville
Southern Crossroads Outdoors, Hiawassee
Top of Georgia Outfitters, Hiawassee

North Carolina
Nantahala Outdoor Center, Bryson City
Franklin Visitor Center, Franklin
Outdoor 76, Franklin
Three Eagles Outfitters, Franklin
Fontana Dam Visitor Center, Fontana Dam
Clingmans Dome Visitor Contact Station, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clingmans Dome Road
Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cherokee
Hot Springs Welcome Center, Hot Springs
Bluff Mountain Outfitters, Hot Springs

Tennessee
Sugarlands Visitor Center (Great Smoky Mountains National Park), Gatlinburg
Cades Cove Visitor Center (Great Smoky Mountains National Park),  Gatlinburg

Virginia
Mt Rogers Outfitters, Damascus
Damascus Library & Visitor Center, Damascus
Grayson Highlands State Park Visitor Center, Mouth of Wilson
Pat Jennings (Mount Rogers NRA) Visitor Center, Marion
Giles County Visitor Center, Pearisburg
Outdoor Trails, Daleville
Walkabout Outfitters, Lexington
Lexington & the Rockbridge Area Visitor Center   Lexington
Humpback Rocks Visitor Center*, Lyndhurst (Blue Ridge Parkway mile 5.8)
Rockfish Gap Outfitters, Waynesboro
Byrd Visitor Center, Shenandoah National Park, Stanley (Skyline Drive mile 51)
Appalachian Outfitters, Luray
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, Shenandoah National Park*, Front Royal (Skyline Drive mile 4.6)
Front Royal Warren County Visitor Center, Front Royal
River & Peak Outfitter, Front Royal
Mountain Trails, Front Royal
Sky Meadows State Park, Delaplane

West Virginia
Appalachian Trail Conservancy HQ and Visitor Center, Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry Outfitters, Harpers Ferry
Cavalier Heights Visitor Center, Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry NHP Master Armorer’s House / Information Center, Harpers Ferry

Maryland
River & Trail Outfitters, Knoxville
Greenbrier State Park Visitor Center, Boonsboro

Pennsylvania
Pine Grove Furnace State Park Visitor Center, Gardiners
Appalachian Trail Museum*, Gardiners
ATC Mid-Atlantic Visitor Center*, Boiling Springs
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton
Lehigh Gap Nature Center, Slatington
Edge of the Woods Outfitters*, Delaware Water Gap

New Jersey
Kittatiny Point Visitor Center*, Columbia
High Point State Park Visitor Center, Sussex

Connecticut
Backcountry Outfitters, Kent

Massachusetts
Berkshire Outfitters, Adams
Mount Greylock Visitor Center*, Lanesborough
Nature’s Closest, Williamstown

Vermont
The Mountain Goat, Manchester Center
Gifford Woods State Park Office*, Killington

New Hampshire
Howe Library, Hanover
Mt. Washington State Park Sherman Adams Visitor Center*, North Conway
Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, Gorham

Maine
Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Rangeley
Ecopelagicon, Rangeley
Moosehead Lake Visitor Center, Greenville
Monson A.T. Visitor Center*, Monson
Baxter State Park Visitor Center, Millinocket