Appalachian Trail Outposts | RTX Traveler Magazine Issue 21 Exclusive Destinations

Appalachian TrailThe nearly 2,200 mile-long Appalachian trail stretches through 14 states. Hikers and vacationers alike find respite at these eclectic, vivacious towns along the trail.

The White Mountains near Conway are dramatic, craggy and some of the more strenuous terrain along the Appalachian Trail. You can enjoy them with nature walks, ziplining, cave experiences, a scenic railroad and an aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain that whisks you above the timberline to a 4,100 foot summit.

While Damascus, Va., may be a more well-known stop to thru-hikers, the university town of Harrisonburg packs a lot of fun for families whether you want to hit the trails or explore downtown’s shops and restaurants. Stay at Massanutten Resort for year-round activities from skiing and snow tubing in the winter to hiking and vineyard visits in the summer. Kids love the indoor water park all year long.

This mountain town is about a mile in elevation and takes the spirit of the AT in the form of miles of rugged hiking trails along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Travel just a few miles up the road and you’ll discover this stunning ribbon of highway, beckoning to be explored by car, bicycle, or motorcycle. Walk downtown to discover authentic restaurants and small-town charm.

Nestled at the base of the 300,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is appropriately nicknamed the “Gateway to the Smokies.” With three entrances to the park from downtown and numerous roads and trails leading into the park, there are endless opportunities for outdoor recreation in the area. The downtown is just as fun, with a carnival atmosphere, tons of bars and restaurants, and cool vacation activities like a Ripley’s museum and aquarium.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. His favorite RTX destinations are on the beach: Orange Beach, Alabama, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. .


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