10 Highest Peaks on the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail hikers are constantly climbing or descending. Some of those climbs take us to the highest peaks you'll find anywhere in the eastern U.S. We did some digging to determine the 10 highest peaks on the Appalachian Trail.

In turns out that most of the highest points on the trail are on the North Carolina / Tennessee border. In fact, New Hampshire's Mount Washington is the only entry on this list that's north of Virginia.

How many of these summits have you climbed?

The 10 Highest Peaks on the Appalachian Trail

#1. Clingmans Dome

  • Height: 6643 feet
  • Location: On the North Carolina / Tennessee border
  • Park: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Directly on the AT: Yes
  • Details: Clingmans Dome has three claims to fame, being the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains, in Tennessee and on the Appalachian Trail. There's an observation tower on the summit which offers spectacular 360? views of the Smokies. The Appalachian Trail goes right over the summit of Clingmans Dome, close to the tower.

clingmans dome

#2. Mount Guyot

  • Height: 6621 feet
  • Location: On the North Carolina / Tennessee border
  • Park: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Directly on the AT: The summit is within half-a-mile.
  • Details: The summit of Mount Guyot isn't a particularly popular destination. The mountain is an a rugged and isolated part of the Smokies. You'll need to bushwhack your way to the peak

mount guyot

#3. Old Black

  • Height: 6370 feet
  • Location: On the North Carolina / Tennessee border
  • Park: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Directly on the AT: The summit is within a mile of the trail
  • Details: Old Black is only a mile away from Mount Guyot and is similar in many ways. There are beautiful views from the summit of Old Black, but as with Guyot you'll need to bushwhack your way to the top.

old-black

#4. Mount Washington

  • Height: 6288 feet
  • Location: New Hampshire
  • Directly on the AT: Yes
  • Parks: White Mountain National Forest and Mount Washington State Park
  • Details: Mount Washington is the highest peak in the north-east. It's famous for crazy weather including, for many years, the strongest wind's ever recorded on land.

Mt-Washington

#5. Roan High Knob

  • Height: 6285 feet
  • Location: On the North Carolina / Tennessee border
  • Parks: Cherokee National Forest and Pisgah National Forest
  • Directly on the AT: Yes
  • Details: The Roan High Knob Shelter is the highest backcountry shelter. Out of all the peaks on this list, Roan High Knob has been one of the busiest. Amongst other things, there used to be a hotel on the summit that attracted famous politicians and European royalty.

roan-high

#6. Grassy Ridge Bald

  • Height: 6165 feet
  • Location: On the North Carolina / Tennessee border
  • Park: Pisgah National Forest
  • Directly on the AT: Within half a mile
  • Details: Grassy Ridge Bald is part of a series of multiple peaks that includes Roan High Knob Shelter, #4 on this list.

Grassy Bald Roan Mountains

#7. Mount Rogers

  • Height: 5728 feet
  • Location: Virginia
  • Parks: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Jefferson National Forest
  • Directly on the AT: Within half a mile
  • Details: Mount Rogers is the highest peak in Virginia. There are no roads to the top of Mount Rogers but the hike is easy, making this one of the most popular summits on this list.

mount-rogers

#8. Thunderhead Mountain

  • Height: 5527 feet
  • Location: Tennessee
  • Parks: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Directly on the AT: Yes
  • Details: Thunderhead Mountain is a famous part of a Tennessee, or to be more precise, a ridge on the mountain called Rocky Top is famous. Rocky Top was immortalized in a song that's popular all over the state. The Appalachian Trail passed right over Thunderhead Mountain.

Thunderhead Mountain

#9. Whitetop Mountain

  • Height: 5518 feet
  • Location: Virginia
  • Park: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
  • Directly on the AT: Yes
  • Details: Just seven miles south of Mount Rogers, #7 on this list, you can drive right to the top. It's easy enough to reach that there used to be a popular folk festival on the summit.

Whitetop

#10. Big Bald

  • Height: 5516 feet
  • Location: On the North Carolina / Tennessee border
  • Parks: Cherokee National Forest and the Pisgah National Forest
  • Directly on the AT: Yes
  • Details: Big Bald is accurately named. The top 300 feet of the mountain are completely barren. The A.T. is the only way to the top of Big Bald which offers beautiful views in every direction.

Big-bald

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Wikipedia for many of these images and particularly Brian Stansberry.


Tags: Attractions and Appalachian Trail

About the Author Steve Burge:
Steve Burge was the original founder of AppalachianTrail.com. He was a teacher for many years before starting a web development firm.
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Comments
Ben MIller on Feb 22, 2015
Mt. Adams, (5774 feet) and Mt Jefferson (5712 feet) are on the AT, neighbors of Mt. Washington.
Millsaps Kenny on Jul 10, 2015
You forgot the tallest of them all Mt Mitchell and just under it on the cherohala skyway. Both in NC
Josh L on Oct 6, 2015
...Mt Mitchell is NOT on the Appalachian Trail buddy.
Millsaps Kenny on Oct 7, 2015
My bad. I thought it was just talking about the Appalachian mountains in general. It was late when I got on this.. Lol
CBXX on Aug 8, 2016
Do you have a list of the State High Points that the Appalachian trail goes over?
Brenda on Mar 10, 2017
The AT goes over the highest point in in the following states: Tennessee/Clingman's Dome; Virginia/Mt. Rogers is withing a half mile; Massachusetts/Mt. Greylock; New Hampshire/Mt. Washington; Maine/Katahdin;
John Casoni on Sep 20, 2017
After today's TravelChannel article about the UK (see below), I came here to see how the AT mountains compared. Also had to look up Mount Katahdin to compare:

Mount Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine at 5,269 feet. Named Katahdin by the Penobscot Indians, which means "The Greatest Mountain", Katahdin is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park.

Stand at the Top of the U.K.
A few minutes down the road from Fort William is the trailhead for Ben Nevis. Standing at 4,411 feet, it's the tallest point in the U.K. Spend an afternoon hiking the steep terrain to the summit, where the remains of an old observatory provide shelter from strong winds. For those with alpine experience, there are also a number of climbing and ice-climbing routes that lead up the north face of the mountain.