hiking the highlands

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



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.


Getting Wild: The Tennessee Wilderness Proposal

October 13, 2014 This year is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Currently, a proposal to designate nearly 20,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest as official wilderness sits in Congress. Writer Chris Samoray takes a hike through a proposed wild area along the Bald River.


Camp Creek: Gateway to West Virginia Wonders

August 10, 2014 Just two miles away from busy Interstate 77, visitors to West Virginia’s Camp Creek State Park trade the hum of passing traffic for birdsong and the rushing chatter of waterfalls.


Streamside Technology in the Clinch River Valley

June 3, 2014 By Kimber Ray Although visitors are unlikely to stumble upon Saint Paul, Va., by chance, those who do might be surprised to learn that this small, rural town hosts some of the most novel trails in the country. Located along


Connecting the Dots of the Southern Appalachian Loop Trail

April 9, 2014 By Matt Kirk What unites many of us in the Southern Appalachians is a love for hiking along the hundreds of miles of trails in our region. Ten years ago, I discovered that many of these paths form a loop


Snowshoeing Canaan Valley's Winter Wonderland

February 7, 2014 By Molly Moore When fresh snow muffles the sounds of scurrying squirrels and creaking twigs, the winter woods offer a serenity that’s different from the rustling, lively forests of spring, summer and fall. But the deep snow that can make


Good Ole Rocky Top: Trail Repair in the Smokies

December 9, 2013 By Davis Wax Leaving I-40 South near Newport, Tenn., heading down Cosby Highway, I slowed down and leaned forward over the steering wheel, watching as the late September sky disappeared behind undulations of green and blue earth. The Great Smoky


A Waterfall and a View at Bad Branch State Nature Preserve

October 9, 2013 By Dana Kuhnline Bad Branch Falls near Whitesburg, Ky., was one of the first hikes I experienced when I moved to Appalachia almost 10 years ago. I happened to be chaperoning two vans full of at-risk teenagers on a weekend


Goforth Creek: A Trail in Peril

August 23, 2013 By Joe Tennis Practically every other day, especially in summer, you can find 33-year-old Zack Dunn dipping his feet in the waterfalls of Goforth Creek. “We’re out once, twice, maybe three times a week,” says Dunn, a resident of Benton,


Tips for Hiking with Kids

June 20, 2013 • Hiking is a great way to tap into children’s instinctive curiosity, as long as you’re prepared to slow your pace and stop to explore whatever catches their attention. • Let kids carry their own small packs. Having their own


Hitting the Trail with Kids at Hungry Mother

June 20, 2013 Story and photos by Paige Campbell Becoming a parent is no reason to turn in your hiking boots. Children are naturals on the trail, in fact, and as long as you adjust your expectations, there are plenty of trails that


A Story of Perseverence

April 16, 2013 Hiker Overcomes Medical Condition to Complete Final Leg of AT By Molly Moore Exploring the mountains wasn’t a part of Kenneth Bordwell’s childhood in Dayton, Ohio. His father read news clippings about Grandma Gatewood, a remarkable woman from southeast Ohio


Trek Across Georgia’s Rooftop

April 16, 2013 Story and photo by Peter Barr Two short hikes in northern Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains climb to the state’s highest peaks and reward visitors with its most stunning views. While the elevations of Brasstown Bald and Rabun Bald reign supreme


Push to the Pinnacle

December 13, 2012 By Molly Moore Pinnacle Park lies less than three miles from North Carolina’s oft-traveled Great Smoky Mountains Expressway. Unannounced by roadside signs, its network of trails explores the lookouts, ridges and valleys surrounding bubbly Fisher Creek. The creek’s headwaters, formerly