Five must-read websites for Southeast hikers

by Tom
07/14/2011 09:30:00 A.M.

As the keeper of a North Carolina-based hiking blog I'm always keeping an eye on what the competition's up to. And I'm happy to report that on any given day (most, in fact) these sites based in the U.S. Southeast put mine to shame.

FloridaHikes.com
Sandra Friend's Florida Hikes site is one of the comprehensive state- focused hiking blogs in the U.S. Though a lot of goodies are behind a paywall ($27 a year), there's still oodles of free stuff. Pretty impressive when you consider Florida's conspicuous lack of mountain vistas.

HikingUpward.com
Based in Virginia, Hiking Upward also extends to West Virginia and Maryland. The homepage has a half-dozen user-generated trail reviews, and the rest of the site rates hikes based on, difficulty, streams, views, solitude and camping. The tag team of Tony Van Vugt and Bryce Allison have packed individual trail pages with info including GPS tracks.

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the U.S., and Jeff Doran's blog is the best way to keep up with happenings in the park. It's more about news relevant to hikers (trail and road closures, severe weather, bear issues) but lots of hiking ideas get sprinkled among the coverage.

This Hiking Life
Guidebook author Danny Bernstein had a great series of posts in the past year while hiking the entire length of North Carolina's Mountains To Sea Trail. She also blogs about trails in the Smokies and her adventures with the Carolina Mountain Club.

Appalachia and Beyond
This is a strong up-and-comer based in the hills north of Knoxville, Tennessee. Parents Tim and Robin Bird mix travel and gear reviews with "what we've done lately" stuff that's unique to the southern Appalachians.