Take a hike, buddy! No seriously—we’re not trying to be rude, but it’s time to get outside and enjoy the gorgeous fall weather this November 17, National Take a Hike Day. With 189 locations in 22 states, here at InTown Suites we’re lucky to be surrounded by some of this country’s greatest parks, historical monuments, and mountain ranges—like the Great Smokies.
To celebrate National Take a Hike Day, we’ve reached out our resident expert, Tennessee Market Manager for InTown/UpTown Suites, Steve Watson. An avid hiker and amateur photographer, Steve gives us the insider tips on where to hike in Tennessee and North Carolina.
Spanning the Southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee, this lush forest playground offers wildlife, rapids, verdant mountains and more. Steve recommends hiking the 3.2-mile Benton Falls Trail to take in the stunning falls, see the snaking Ocoee River, and visit the Ocoee Scenic Byway for a birds-eye view of the 1,930-acre Parksville Lake.
Get outside and learn more about history at the same time. Walk in the footsteps of the Confederate Army who held watch at Lookout Mountain for months as they tried to close in on the Union Army. Hike along trails that are old 19th-century railroad beds, visit the monuments atop the mountain and see the battery positions and canons that still guard the cliffs.
Cades Cove is near and dear to Steve’s heart, and we can see why. This beautiful 11-mile trail loops through the verdant valley beneath the Great Smokies. See churches, a working mill grist, log houses, and other 18th century structures scattered along the trail, along with a variety of wildlife. Bears, white-tailed deer, coyotes, turkeys, and more all call these parts home.
This state park spans several counties, different landscapes, and the scenic streams and waterfalls of the Cumberland Plateau. Walk the well-marked loop of groomed trails, picnic on the rocks under Greeter Falls, or even take a cooling dip in a nearby swimming hole. This spot gets high marks from Steve for its dog-friendly trails, allowing him to bring his favorite hiking buddy, Hank, along with him.
An Instagram worthy hike! Climb the 500-million-year-old Chimney Rock monolith to take in sweeping views on the valley below or capture an iconic photo (like Steve’s below) of the waving flag against the setting sun from a nearby rock ledge. See dramatic scenery, rare plants, and one of the state’s highest waterfalls.