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7 Charming Appalachian Trail Small Towns With Stunning Views

Going on a trip? Take a little detour to these adorable Appalachian Trail small towns!

There are many adorable little towns to love across the US. But if you choose to travel along the Appalachian Trail, you’ll be getting a front-row seat to some of the best!

The Appalachian region has several states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These quaint small towns in the Appalachian Mountains offer rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and charming communities to discover.

The region’s communities are adorned with cobblestone streets, historical sites predating America’s founding in 1776, and rugged mountain beauty. So what are we waiting for?

Keep reading to discover 7 of our favorite Appalachian Trail small towns along the 2,000-mile route, perfect for both hikers and those just exploring the region.

Appalachian Trail Small Town
Photo by zimmytws at Shutterstock

Appalachian Trail small town: Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Jim Thorpe is located in the Poconos and is named after the Olympic gold medalist who was buried here. The town’s historical attractions, outdoor activities, and scenic natural surroundings welcome many visitors to the Appalachian region each year.

It features quite a few Victorian-style mansions built in the 1800s, including the Asa Packer Mansion built in 1861. Travelers can also take a guided walking tour of the historic town from May through October and stop at the Old Jail Museum to look into Jim Thorpe’s past.

For outdoor enthusiasts, this area is the gateway to Lehigh Gorge State Park, where travelers can bike and hike along the 26-mile Lehigh Gorge Trail and take on a few rapids while whitewater boating in the Lehigh River.

But the fun doesn’t end when fall rolls around. During the winter months, the park is home to cross-country skiing and roughly 15 miles of snowmobile trails.

Appalachian Trail small town: Bryson City, North Carolina

The quiet town of Bryson City boasts five access points to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Travelers can hike over 800 miles of trails, including the famed Appalachian Trail.

Nature enthusiasts can drive to the highest point in the Smokies at Clingmans Dome from April through November. At 6,634ft, the observation tower delivers scenic mountain views of over 100 miles if it’s a clear day. But that’s not all.

Circling the national park is Fontana Lake, with serene waters for boating and 240 miles of shoreline, perfect for relaxing. This lake is also a favorite site in Bryson City for kayaking, swimming, and fishing.

And if you’re looking for a unique Smoky Mountains adventure, we recommend hopping aboard the Smoky Mountains Railroad at the old depot in Bryson City.

You can take a 32-mile round-trip panoramic train ride along the Tuckasegee River to learn all about the old railroad towns in the area.

Appalachian Trail Small Town
Photo by Dee Browning at Shutterstock

Appalachian Trail small town: Rogersville, Tennessee

The historic town of Rogersville was established in 1775 by David and Elizabeth Crockett, grandparents of Davy Crockett, a frontiersman and American folk hero.

Travelers can explore the town’s prominent past by walking along brick sidewalks in the historic district, which you’ll find on the National Register of Historic Places.

The structures in the community are from the 1700s and 1800s, including the Hale Springs Inn, which was constructed in 1824. But besides all its rich history, Rogersville also offers outdoor adventures and natural beauty in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

While here, you can view 36 different types of species of trees in Crockett Spring Park, near the site where David and Elizabeth Crockett built their log cabin.

And if you’re looking for outdoor adventures, water enthusiasts can enjoy kayaking, fishing, and tubing in the Holston River.

Appalachian Trail small town: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Even though the entire state of West Virginia is located in the Appalachian Mountains, what’s special about Harpers Ferry is that it offers travelers a remarkable glimpse of architecture, American history, and nature.

The 3,745-acre Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has many beautiful biking and hiking trails. But it also has museums and historical workshops, including sewing, blacksmithing, and making your own cheese and butter.

For more outdoor and historic adventures, this Appalachian Trail small town serves as the symbolic halfway point between Georgia and Maine.

Trail hikers can traverse the Shenandoah River and Potomac River junction and view what’s left of St. John’s Episcopal Church, an 1852 church serving as a Civil War hospital.

History buffs also enjoy exploring John’s Brown Fort, where the abolitionist John Brown battled against slavery back in 1859. The fort, constructed in 1848 as a fire engine and guard house, was used as a prison during the Civil War.

Appalachian Trail small town: Hanover, New Hampshire

While exploring the Appalachian Trail, you can take advantage of this charming town because it runs right down the Main Street of Hanover, making it one of only ten towns where Main Street and the trail are at a literal crossroads.

During your pitstop, be sure to check out the town’s museums, including the Hood Museum of Art, or scope out the theater, sporting events, and musical performances at the Hopkins Center. When you need a break, grab a cup of Joe from the Dirt Cowboy Cafe.

And once you’ve worked up a reasonable appetite, Molly’s Restaurant and Bar serves exquisite wood-fired, thin-crust pizza and a hot fudge sundae, which is what childhood daydreams are made of.

Then, stop for the night at The Hanover Inn for a good rest between your hiking days.

Appalachian Trail Small Town
Photo by Kevin Ruck at Shutterstock

Appalachian Trail small town: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

The cute little mountain town of Pigeon Forge offers incredible adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains. Dollywood gives thrillseekers award-winning roller coasters and a replica of the childhood home where Dolly Parton grew up.

The singer-songwriter even helped create the theme park. For even more adventures, this Appalachian Trail small town is also another gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

With 2,900 miles of streams for fishing, more than 150 scenic hiking trails, and guided horseback rides, the park offers outdoor activities for the entire family. Pigeon Forge also has water activities along the Little Pigeon River, including swimming, floating, and fishing.

If you’re looking to get in tune with Mother Nature, take a leisurely stroll along the paved Riverwalk Greenway that runs along the river. Just be sure to pack a comfy pair of shoes!

The riverfront is also home to The Old Mill, a historic gristmill that used to be the source of power for the entire town in the early 1900s and is still used to grind grain to this day.

So what’s YOUR take on these Appalachian Trail small towns? Do you know of any other hidden gems in this area? If so, please feel free to let our readers know about them in the comments section below.

And if you’re looking for some more ideas on where to go on your next vacation, Must See Places has ALWAYS got you covered. For example, you might want to check out: 11 Low-Cost Beach Vacations for an Affordable Summer


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