hiking the highlands

Journey to some of the most delightful trails, inspiring overlooks and refreshing swimming holes in the Appalachian range.



Traversing the Rock Formations at Kentucky’s Natural Bridge

August 22, 2017 On the outskirts of the Red River Gorge, hikers at Natural Bridge State Resort Park walk among natural sandstone structures and climb stairs amid thickets of rhododendron and the shade of hemlocks.


Hidden Treasures: Fishing and Swimming Spots

June 15, 2017 Scattered throughout the lush Appalachian Mountains are beautiful pools of water that perfect for fishing or swimming or both! Read our latest "Hidden Treasures" feature to learn about a few of them.


Refuge, Restoration and Radio Silence at Laurel Fork

April 13, 2017 In the shadow of a National Radio Astronomy Observatory telescope, Laurel Fork Trails offers scenic views and a rare chance to escape the buzzes and beeps of the technological age.


Monumental Momentum

October 7, 2016 The proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument would provide additional protection for approximately 122,000 acres within the Monongahela National Forest and aims to boost tourism in the area.


Trailbuilding: Forging New Paths

August 12, 2016 Trail advocates in Pound, Va., Elizabethton, Tenn., and Wyoming County, W.Va., are working with community members and partners to develop new hiking paths.


Pink Beds Loop

June 14, 2016 Pisgah National Forest's Pink Beds Loop offers hikers an opportunity to enjoy the diversity of Appalachia's ecosystems.


Climbing the Highlands

April 18, 2016 Appalachia offers climbers challenging routes in beautiful settings, and the region’s geology invites adventurers of all styles and abilities. And in return, the sport of climbing provides an opportunity for economic development for areas around these rock formations.


The Hidden Gem of Rocky Fork

February 18, 2016 This moderately strenuous hike through the mountains of eastern Tennessee follows an old logging trail to the 100-foot Big Falls on Lower Higgens Creek. Several creek crossings and caves mark the remainder of the path to Birchfield Camp Lake.


Trek to the Top of Mt. Cammerer

December 9, 2015 Enjoy a strenuous 11-mile hike to the top of Mt. Cammerer, located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hike culminates with a view of the Pigeon River Gorge 3,000 feet below and the opportunity to stroll around the catwalk of the historic fire tower at Mt. Cammerer's peak.


Rails To Trails

October 15, 2015 Former railways have been converted into beautiful biking and hiking trails across Appalachia.


Cooling off in the Devil’s Bathtub

August 6, 2015 Hikers flock to the cool swimming spots along the Devil's Bathtub Trail in southwest Virginia, though the trail can be challenging.


Solitude and Discovery at Zaleski State Forest

June 15, 2015 During Baby Josie’s first mountain hike, her parents took her on a 10-mile loop in southeast Ohio that wanders by a pond of lily pads, along ridgelines and through pine groves.


The Stanback Trails

April 13, 2015 Little Table Rock Mountain Trail is the longest of three newly designated Stanback Trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. It is located just a mile up the Parkway from the Heffner Gap Overlook at milepost 325.9, where a second Stanback Trail — the Rose Creek Trail — begins directly across the street.


The “Pinnacles” of Berea

February 16, 2015 Tucked against the edge of the Cumberland Plateau sits Berea, home to Kentucky’s largest privately managed forest. What’s more, the forest contains a variety of natural landmarks, many of which are accessible to the public through nearly 12 miles of trail networks, including 9 miles that traverse Indian Fort Mountain.


Tallulah Gorge State Park

December 19, 2014 With six majestic waterfalls and more than 20 miles of hiking trails that range from pleasant strolls to challenging adventures, Tallulah Gorge is a true jewel of the southern mountains.