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Have you ever thought about what it would be like to hike every trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
One man, Benny Braden, did just that! He hiked every open trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National park in 76 days, totaling around 943.5 miles of hiking in 76 days! Even though there’s only 900 miles of trails in the park, the extra miles in his total include the time he spent backpacking and retracing his steps to get back out after backpacking.
He will submit his mileage to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 900 Miler Club.
The previous record was set by Sharon Specizia who hiked all 900 miles in 4 months and 12 days. She has hiked all 900 miles 6 times!
Benny actually had no plans to attempt or even break the record, but once he realized he had a chance to break the record, he began hiking every day of the week. He said Sharon was his inspiration once he began working toward the record,
He started hiking in January 2017 and he beat the record on March 18, 2017. At the end of the final trail, many people gathered together to congratulate him, including his friends and family.
His Favorite Hike
According to Benny, his favorite hike is the Noland Divide Trail. It’s an almost 23 mile hike that starts at Clingmans Dome and ends at the Deep Creek campground in North Carolina. He also mentioned that winter is his favorite time to hike and camp in the mountains because there’s fewer people, more room to explore and a better chance to see the wildlife.
What is your favorite Smoky Mountain hiking trail?
Tell us your favorite hike in the national park in the comments below!