Hike the Appalachian Trail in Smyth County VA, climbing to sun-drenched ridges and alpine forests, wildflower-covered mountain balds and expansive views.
Stretching more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail, or A.T., explores mountain summits and the most breathtaking vistas on the East Coast. The epic-length trail is a haven for thru-hikers, a dedicated group who travel the trail’s entire length, following its iconic white blazes and overnighting in tents and primitive shelters on a hike that spans many months and makes many unforgettable memories. Just voted the most popular section of the entire 2,000 mile trail by thru-hikers, Southwest Virginia’s easily accessible portion of the A.T. is a must see for even the most casual hikers.
Trail Towns and Tall Peaks
Virginia has the distinction of having more miles of the A.T. than any other state—and Smyth County is home to about 42 of those miles. Sections of the Appalachian Trail in Smyth County offer access to the highest peaks in Virginia via the beautiful Mount Rogers Area and Whitetop Mountain. Hike the A.T. in Smyth County and where views from overlooks reveal pastoral scenes complete with wild ponies and incredible biodiversity.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has designated Marion, VA in Smyth County as an official Trail Town, an honor that not just any town can claim. Hikers can enjoy the small town charm of Marion to recharge with a pint and great grub at local restaurants and breweries.
Once you’re ready to get back on the A.T., take advantage of the District Three shuttle services that take hikers from Marion to Partnership Shelter on Route 16 – the only place on the entire A.T. where you can have pizza delivered to your tent. Just go to the information binder at the Mount Rogers Headquarters and call for pizza delivery!
Smyth County is your base camp for adventures on the Appalachian Trail only found here, and there is plenty of lodging for you to choose from. Whether you prefer a traditional hotel/motel or hostels catering specifically to hikers, you’ll find a place to rest your weary legs. Popular ones include Quarter Way Inn which is, you guessed it, one quarter of the way from the starting point in GA, and Long Neck Lair, where you can hang with alpacas during your stay. Newest hostel, The Merry Inn, opening in downtown Marion summer 2022.
Our favorite hikes on the Smyth County stretch of the Appalachian Trail make for a great day hike with the family or a trail run – or an even better backpacking adventure under the stars. Not sure where to start your A.T. adventures? Check out our favorite A.T. hikes below. And please remember, wherever you hike: please pack out everything you pack in, and Leave No Trace, to help preserve the trail and its surrounding natural beauty.