Location: Western North Carolina/Eastern Tennessee
Trip Starts: US 441 (Newfound Gap)
Trip Ends: US 441 (Newfound Gap)
Total Distance: 10 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Appalachian Trail
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Type: Overnight Hike
More Information:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 436-1200


The Great Smoky Mountains get more annual visitors than any other National Park in the U.S., but surprisingly most people never see the backcountry which has some of the most pristine wilderness in the Southeast. On this hike, we started at Newfound Gap and climbed for five miles and approximately 2000 feet to the Mount Collins Shelter via the Appalachian Trail. The shelter is situated in a spruce-fir forest and sleeps about twelve on two platforms in the original stone structure. A porch extension was added to the original building in time for our trip in 2012.

Mount Collins is named after Robert Collins, an Oconaluftee, North Carolina resident who guided Arnold Guyot (the first to measure the mountain’s height) across the crest of the Smokies in the late 1850s. The mountain has an elevation of 6,188 feet and is less than three trail miles from the highest point on the Appalachian Trail at Clingman’s Dome.

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