The Peaks of the Appalachian Challenge
Mount Rogers – Elevation 5,722′ (1,744 m)
Hike along a segment of the Appalachian Trail to the highpoint of the the state of Virginia. Keep an eye out for wild ponies as you near the summit of the mountain.
Suggested Six-Pack Route Details: Mount Rogers via the Appalachian Trail
Distance: 8.6 miles; Vertical +/- 1,768 ft.
Smith Mountain – Elevation 1,936′ (590 m)
Hike along the ridge and enjoy spectacular views of Smith Mountain Lake.
Suggested Six-Pack Route Details: Smith Mountain Trail
Distance: 7.3 miles; Vertical +/- 1,594 ft.
High Rock Loop – Elevation 2,746′ (837 m)
Escape the crowds and hike through the Hensley-Pine Mountain Wildlife Management Area to Mars and High Rock. You will be rewarded for the steep climb with views of the surrounding forest.
Suggested Six-Pack Route Details: High Rock Loop Trail
Distance: 6.7 miles; Vertical +/- 1,738 ft.
Black Balsam Knob – Elevation 6,201′ (1890 m)
This is an easy out-and-back hike in the Shining Rock Wilderness near Balsam Grove, North Carolina. Great place to catch the sunrise!
Six-Pack Route Details: Black Balsam Knob via the Art Loeb Trail
Distance: 1.5 miles; Vertical +/- 375 feet
Mount LeConte – Elevation 6,575′ (2004 m)
Hiking to Mount LeConte is all about the journey. Following the Alum Cave Trail you will start hiking along the creek before passing by arch rock and ascending the mountain. Once at the top, you can check out the Mount LeConte Shelter, and even stay if you have a reservation.
Six-Pack Route Details: Alum Cave Trail
Distance: 11 miles; Vertical +/- 3,061 feet
Mount Sterling – Elevation 5,843′ (1781 m)
Climbing 4,120 feet over six miles, ascending Mount Sterling is a leg burner. Eat lunch in the historic fire tower and enjoy the views at the summit.
Six-Pack Route Details: Baxter Creek Trail
Distance: 11.7 miles; Vertical +/- 4,120 feet
Mount Cammerer – Elevation 4,928′ (1502 m)
Ascend the Cosby Creek valley before meeting up with the Appalachian Trail and traversing the ridge to Mount Cammerer. Enjoy the views from the firetower from the top.
Six-Pack Route Details: Low Gap Trail
Distance: 11.9 miles; Vertical +/- 3,169 ft.
Mount Mitchell – Elevation 6,687′ (2,038 m)
Hike to the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and the North Carolina highpoint! With numerous trails to the top you can pick your own journey, or even start at the top and hike it backwards.
Six-Pack Route Details: Mount Mitchell Trail
Distance: 11.9 miles; Vertical +/- 3,694 feet
Sassafrass Mountain – Elevation 3,566′ (1,087 m)
Sassafrass Mountain is the South Carolina highpoint. Get the deep woods feel while still enjoying a moderately graded trail.
Six-Pack Route Details: Sassafrass Mountain
Distance: 8.4 miles; Vertical +/- 2,185 feet
Brasstown Bald – Elevation 4,751′ (1,448 m)
Enjoy the switchbacks on this steep hike to the highpoint of Georgia.
Six-Pack Route Details: Brasstown Bald via Jack's Gap
Distance: 6.2 miles; Vertical +/- 2,230 feet
Tray Mountain – Elevation 4,420′ (1,347 m)
The hike to Tray Mountain is a rollercoaster as you climb and descend your way to the summit.
Six-Pack Route Details: Unicoi Gap to Tray Mountain Shelter
Distance: 10.9 miles; Vertical +/- 3,500 feet
Big Frog Mountain – Elevation 4,187′ (1,276 m)
Hike from Georgia to Tennessee as you ascend through the woods to Big Frog Mountain.
Six-Pack Route Details: Hemp Top Trail to Big Frog Mountain
Distance: 12.8 miles; Vertical +/- 2,883 ft.
Meet the Curator
The peaks in the Appalachian Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge have been curated by backpacker and public lands advocate Benny Braden. Benny lives in beautiful Eastern Tennessee between the Cumberland Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains.
He’s the founder and CEO of Responsible Stewardship, a 501(c)3 all volunteer, action based nonprofit organization that is dedicated to restoring public lands, outdoor spaces and communities that’s been affected by illegal dump site and litter irresponsibly left behind by others. In 2017 Benny also set the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Smokies 900-Miler.