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Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (SCAR)

Difficult
 4.8 (4) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A challenging hike along the Appalachian Trail - Great Smoky Mountain National Park Section.


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Map Key

73.1

Miles

117.6

KM

Point to Point

6,623' 2,019 m

High

1,705' 520 m

Low

14,944' 4,555 m

Up

14,672' 4,472 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

41%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The Appalachian Trail (AT), runs for more than 71 miles through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It begins in the south at Fontana Dam, and traverses through the GSMNP and ends at Davenport Gap. The highest point of the trail is 6625 feet (Clingman's Dome).

Need to Know

Aid and bail-out is only possible at 40 miles at Newfound Gap Road. All food and gear must be carried and water must be pulled from streams and/or shelters along the trail.

Description

The Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (affectionately called the SCAR) is an unofficial 70+ mile traverse of the Appalachian Trail through the Smoky Mountains. The "game / challenge" is to try and complete the SCAR within 24 hours. The AT section starts at Fontana Dam (southern GSMNP terminus on the AT) and goes to Davenport Gap (northern GSMP terminus on the AT). The elevation gain is around 18,000', about 13,000 feet in the first 40 miles (going south to north) and around 6000 feet in last 30 miles.

If you aren't planning to tackle the SCAR, this traverse also makes for a challenging multi-day backpack or you can tackle parts of the traverse to complete the full 71 miles in segments. If you are planning to spend the night in the park, be sure to check the park website for current backcountry rules and regulations. This traverse is challenging so be sure to plan accordingly, allowing plenty of time for the long climbs and remote, backcountry sections.

Contacts

Shared By:

Corey Holt

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 4 votes

#1

in Fontana Lake

#1218

Overall
  4.8 from 4 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Fontana Lake

#1,218

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2,419 Since May 20, 2019
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Photos

Plenty of mountains to view from Clingman's Dome.
Mar 31, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
July 1996, hiking the AT with MLK
Apr 2, 2018 near Gatlinburg, TN
Looking south from the AT, you can see Fontana Lake in the distance.
Oct 18, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
The North Carolina side of the Smokies from Spence Field.
Jan 31, 2016 near Robbins…, NC
Mount LeConte after a winter storm on the AT. Clouds hug the ridges and hoarfrost covers the trees.
Feb 5, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
The path narrows as it works its way through the fields of Spence Field. Imagine fields like this being used for cattle grazing when settlers lived in the park.
Feb 6, 2016 near Robbins…, NC

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