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  1. Default First Road Trip on the East


    I am redeploying from Iraq for the second time soon. I am wanting to take a few road trips from my home station of Fort Campbell. I've been there for 5 years and never really traveled. I'm a huge fan of hiking and love historical sites. I am originally from California so I'm used to going home to do my road trips but I figured I would get to see a few more historical sites by sticking to the East. Any ideas??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Short RoadTrips from Fort Campbell

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America forums!

    Within a day's drive (or so) of Fort Campbell you've got a great choice of venues that are rich in both history and hiking opportunities. For starters you should look at places roughly along the Appalachian Trail. In Virginia, nearby historic and scenic sites would include Shenandoah National Park, Monticello, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a host of Civil War battle sites.

    In North Carolina, or on the way, you'd have Cumberland Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and access to the sites of some little known but pivotal Revolutionary War battlefields such as Guilford Courthouse, and Cowpens.

    With two days of driving, you'd open up New England, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Eastern Shore of Maryland (which could also include Annapolis, Washington and Philadelphia), and a host of other possibilities. There's no shortage of places to go, just the usual shortage of time to go to all of them.


  3. #3

    Default Some ideas in addition to AZ Buck's........

    .......but first, thank you for your service. I have two nephews who are Ranger 2LTs, one now headed for Ft Campbell for the 101st, the other at Ft Stewart with 3rd ID. My own "baby" is a 6'3" Navy Seabee reservist training for for a convoy security team, so I guess he'll mobilize some time in the forseeable. I hold folks like yourself, your fellow servicemembers, and my family members in highest esteem and my gratitude is sincere.

    The central Appalachians are well within your reach, of course. Combining history and hiking would include: The AT within Shenandoah NP, with focus on the Brown's Gap area where an entire Confederate regiment crossed a very difficult pass, hand roping their supply wagons and field pieces, to the Piedmont side, then hooked a train through the Crozet Tunnel back to the Valley side and surprised the Union troops who thought they'd lit out for Fredericksburg. In fact, the whole of the Shenandoah Valley is rich with Civil War history sites as well as Colonial history sites. Over the Blue Ridge from there, the largest cavalry engagement ever on North American soil was fought at Brandy Station, near Culpeper, close to the Old Rag Mountain trail within Shenandoah NP. A rich variety of more Colonial history can be seen in and around Charlottesville, VA, including of course Jefferson's Monticello.

    Further down this way, the Overmountain Trail is now a National Park unit, and some segments can be hiked, particularly in the Roan Mtn, TN and Yellow Mtn, NC area. The Overmountain Trail leads to Kings Mountain, NC, where the battle between the Overmountain Men and Tories under Cornwallis is widely held to represent the beginning of the end for the British.

    Abingdon, VA is home to the Barter Theater and is but 15 miles from Damascus, VA, where the AT and the Virginia Creeper Trail (VCT) intersect, and is at the doorstep of the Mount Rogers Nat Recreation Area within the George Washington National Forest. Any number of segments of the AT can be hiked, and the VCT can be pedaled on rental mountain bikes arranged with one of the several shuttle services in Damascus. The Grayson Highlands SP in Virginia also offers lots of high elevation hiking. The genuinely cool thing about this area is one can enjoy summertime hiking/backpacking much more given the coolness at elevations of 4,000'-5,500' Where on average the temps will be some 15-18 deg F cooler than temps just a few miles away where elevations are lower.

    A little south of there, at Erwin, TN, the AT crosses the Nolichucky River near the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) outpost on the 'Chucky. From there you can hike to the Beauty Spot, Unaka Mtn, or raft the Nolichucky from Poplar, NC back to the NOC riverside outpost, complete with sauna. Nearby historic Jonesborough, TN hosts a popular "Storytelling" festival each year, where the lost skills of verbal history expression are celebrated.

    Finally, on south towards Chattanooga are roads over the Smokies into NC in and around Great Smoky Mtns NP, where the AT and other trails take you to some of the highest elevations east of the Mississippi, at and above 6,500', and where the Cherokee Nation history is preserved in and around the lands owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokees, essentially a group which remained behind when the Trail of Tears took the great majority of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma. More recent mining history and the whitewater Mecca of the Ocoee River are at and just west of Ducktown, TN.

    I suppose that might keep you busy for a while. If you have followup questions, please feel free to jump back in here. We'd love to think we have provided you with some ideas for the RoadTrips you so richly deserve!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Check here on Friday evening!

    Peter Thody's next article in his American South series will be hopscotching across West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey and there are some very good sections on the northern Appalachians. The edition should be live on the site about 5:00 PM PDT.


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