Quote Originally Posted by TX Aggie View Post
...from all the stories I hear just as a casual observer is that the Smokies during the bubble are just simply a nightmare. I’m not going to debate the merits or issue with the policies except to say that IF I were to ever do a thru hike, avoiding the bubble in the Smokies would be priority #1 for the first section of the trail.

It's not just the bubble AT times. Offering some greater perspective, GSMNP is stated as the most visited NP in the country. The AT through GSMNP is the most used trail. Assemble experienced GSMNP hiking opinions such as 800 milers - TN Hiker, HooKooDukoo, etc. Many if not most will tell you they restrict hiking the AT. GSMNP is SO SO MUCH MORE than the AT. Hiking/backpacking, even relegated to the east, is SO SO MUCH MORE than the AT. Tipi says it as well. The AT is NOT the center of the hiking/backpacking world!