100 Favorite Trails Challenge


The popular hiking map 100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and the Carolina Blue Ridge dates  back to 1966 when it was developed by long-time Carolina Mountain Club (CMC) member  Bernard Elias. Several editions of the map were sold during the 70s and early 80s. Many  veteran CMC members have an old copy of the map. Now, 12 years after its last publication,  The CMC and the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) have teamed up to produce an  updated 100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and the Carolina Blue Ridge published in the Fall of  2020. Many of the trails are ones found on the original publication; however, over the years  trails have changed and new trails have been established, so an update was in order. A  committee of CMC hikers made a list of 100 hikes which was used as a basis for the new map.  Over 35 CMC hike leaders hiked the 100 trails, made GPS tracks, and with some modifications,  submitted the 100 hike descriptions to the GSMA for publication. There are a variety of trails  from moderate to strenuous; under 2 miles to over 10 miles with sweeping views, waterfalls,  deep forests, and rushing streams

The newly published map was well-received and very soon several CMC members suggested  making the 100 Favorite Trails a challenge. For some, these trails are familiar favorites, and  others may find them to be a great introduction to the variety of trails throughout the  mountains. All the trails are loops or in/out hikes, so there are no car shuttles necessary. 

It is not necessary to purchase the 100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and the Carolina Blue  Ridge, however many who do the challenge may want to use the map as a reference and a  keepsake of the challenge. The map is also useful in grouping hikes by area. The map is  available through the GSMA at Visitor Centers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or online at https://smokiesinformation.org/product/map-100-favorite-hikes/

The Challenge
To complete the challenge, one must hike all 100 trails on the 2020 published map, 100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and the Carolina Blue Ridge. You can find a listing of all 100 trails on this spreadsheet 100 Favorite Trails Challenge  It can be used to document your hikes and then submitted at the completion of the challenge. The trails must be documented with the date each was hiked. All the trails are to be hiked after October 1, 2020 to qualify. You must be a current member of the Carolina Mountain Club when you submit your application for the challenge. Join on the CMC website, https://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/2/page/Join

Completers of the 100 Favorite Trails will be rewarded with a patch, and certificate of completion You have the option for mail to home or presentation at the club’s annual dinner banquet.  Contact Marie Chamberlin, at FavHikes@carolinamountainclub.org

In an effort to build community and to raise awareness we ask hikers to use the  Hashtag #100favoritetrailsCMC when posting their hikes on social media. Return the completed 100 Favorite Trails spreadsheet and application to Marie Chamberlin. You may scan (or take a photo) and email the documents to FavHikes@carolinamountainclub.org.

Suggestions and Considerations
The map 100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and the Carolina Blue Ridge is a general reference map and does not show sufficient detail to follow a hike. Each hike has directions to the trailhead and a brief description of each hike. It is strongly advised that hikers consult a hiking map or guide for the hikes that provide more detail. Here are some suggested references:

1. Many of the hikes are on the CMC Hike Database. These are listed on the spreadsheet for the challenge. Most of the hikes on the database have a printable topo map of the hike and a more in-depth description.

2. National Geographic Trail Maps for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Pisgah District, and Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest. These are available at many outdoor recreation outlets.

3. Regional trail maps by Pisgah Map Company. https://www.pisgahmapcompany.com/shop-trail-guides

4. Trail descriptions and maps for specific hikes and general areas from other sources. The Hiking Project, https://www.hikingproject.com & AllTrails, https://www.alltrails.com  As always, plan ahead and know your limitations. Check your route and the weather forecast, select proper equipment and clothing for the area and weather. Carry a map and compass and know how to use them. Always have water to stay hydrated and sufficient food for the duration of the hike. Always tell a responsible person about your hiking plans. Check with the land management agency for closures and conditions before you visit an area to hike.

1. Who can I contact with questions about the challenge?
Marie Chamberlin is the primary contact for the challenge. Email:  FavHikes@carolinamountainclub.org with your questions or comments.

2. Do trails have to be hiked exactly as described on the map?
The intent is to hike the trails as they appear on the map, however, your hike can exceed the description. For example, you may add a destination that is an extension of a trail on the map.

3. Can I combine short hikes in the same area into one longer hike?
In a couple cases you may combine two trails into one hike. For example, trials 54 and 55 can be done in one hike since one part is an extension of the other. It is also permissible to complete some of the hikes in the same area at one time (see hikes 10. 11, 12).

4. Are there any exceptions to the 100 hikes?
There are two hikes on the map/spreadsheet that can be substituted. One is #77 High Windy, a hike that is on private land owned by Blue Ridge Assembly. If you aren’t comfortable with arranging this hike with them, or if the hike is not available when you plan to hike, you may substitute a comparable hike. A suggestion would be another trail in Montreat or the Point Lookout Trail from Ridgecrest or Old Fort. The other is #98 Grandfather Trail, located in Grandfather State Park that requires a paid admission to access the trail. Hikers may choose a comparable hike to avoid the admission fee. Suggested trails are the Daniel Boone Scout Trail, the Nuwati Trail, or the Flat Rock Trail which are accessed of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

5. Some of the hikes on the 100 Favorite Trails are long and strenuous. Is there a way to do these trails with a group?
There are some long and strenuous hikes included in the 100 Favorite Trails. Build up to the longer, strenuous hikes. Consider doing them with an encouraging group. Watch for these hikes to come up on the CMC hike schedule.

6. Why can’t I count a trail I’ve done before October 1, 2020?
Many veteran CMC hikers have hiked these trails numerous times. After consulting with several CMC members, it was determined that trails change and that so many of them are iconic trails that are valued and should be experienced anew.

100 Favorite Trails Challenge for recording hikes completed.

Challenge Completers:

2021 Pierce, Steve
2021 Covert, Steve 
2022 Bernstein, Danny
2022 Lachow, Karen 
2022 Magura, Jim
2022 Magura, Judy
2022 Smith, Sharon 
2023 Chamberlin, Marie 
2023 Haskell, Kay 
2023 Henry Kassel
2023 Scharmann, Ken 
2023 Schultz, Karen 
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