The Appalachian Trail enters North Carolina in the Southern Nantahala Wilderness, before winding its way through parts of the Nantahala National Forest, across Fontana Dam, and up to the Tennessee state line within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It generally follows the state line and exits the northeast side of the park. This is where the trail enters the Pisgah National Forest.
For much of its remaining length within the state, the Appalachian Trail passes through Pisgah National Forest near the Tennessee border. It crosses I-40 and then enters the Harmon Den area. It passes over Max Patch Mountain, a very popular day hike, and then descends to the town of Hot Springs, where it goes directly through town and back into the forest on the other side. It climbs Lover's Leap Ridge, another popular day hike, before ascending to Rich Mountain and moving toward a more remote section of Pisgah National Forest known as Shelton Laurel.
The trail curves south through Sams Gap where it crosses Interstate 26. It ascends the ridge to Big Bald mountain, then begins descending again toward the crossing of US Hwy. 19E. After passing into Tennessee for a while, it resumes its climb to reach the summit of Roan Mountain - a very popular place for accessing the AT - and back into the Pisgah National Forest. The trail then descends around Hump Mountain and exits North Carolina and the Pisgah National Forest for good.
More information coming soon!