As an Appalachian Trail Gateway Community, Franklin opens the town to all hikers of the Appalachian Trail as they start their journey north to Katahdin.
Franklin, NC Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Celebration March 19 – April 22, 2020
First Day of Spring to Earth Day
A.T. Celebration: Come celebrate the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Historic Franklin, NC located 110 trail miles (AT110) north of Springer Mountain, GA, the southern terminus of the A.T. Designated an A.T. Community in 2010 by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Franklin is a logical resupply/rest point between Hiawassee, GA and the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser, NC. The A.T. crosses Highway 64 at Winding Stair Gap 10 miles west of Franklin. It is an easy hitch or make use of Macon County Transit’s daily pickups at 9:30am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm.
We’re big fans of the A.T. around here. Franklin was the first of 49 towns along the 2192.0 (2019) mile Trail to be designated an A.T. Community. Members of the Franklin based Nantahala Hiking Club (NHC) work with the U.S. Forest Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to maintain 58.5 gorgeous miles of the A.T. to include 10 shelters with privies, 9 group camp sites and 26 scenic viewpoints.
Tourists are invited to come and explore the Appalachian Trail through local hikes, documentaries and more or sit and talk with A.T. thru-hikers before they press on towards their goal of Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
#AT110: Help us promote Franklin’s unique location at Mile 110 by tagging photos you take while in town.
Hiker Services: In addition to Franklin’s two Outfitters, Three Eagles Outfitters and Outdoor 76, there are many more services for hikers making a stop in Franklin. Come on down for a night or two of good food, local craft beer, and a warm welcome as you continue your journey north.
Free Hiker Breakfast: The First Baptist Church of Franklin, NC provides a free breakfast to A.T. hikers daily from March 14 – April 14 at 7:15am. All the pancakes and bacon you can eat. Van pickup available. In addition to the breakfast, the church offers to take a photo of each hiker and mail it to a friend or love one along with a note written by the hiker, leaving hikers with a full belly and fond Franklin memories. For more information call 828-369-9559. 69 Iotla St, Franklin, NC 28734
Hiker Shuttle: In addition to private party shuttles, Macon County Transit will provide a Monday through Friday shuttle, March 9 – May 29, for hikes at an affordable $5.00 fare per boarding. Hikers will be picked up at Winding Stair Gap and Rock Gap at the designated times below. In hikers need transportation back to the trail, they can call Macon County Transit at (828) 349-2222.
Departs Franklin: 9:00am, 12:00pm, 3:00pm
Winding Stairs Gap Pick-up: 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm
Rock Gap Pick-up: 9:45am, 12:45pm, 3:45pm
For more information go to atmile110.com.
Franklin’s A.T. Celebration Events
Friday, March 27 5pm
Flix, Food, & Brews hosted by Outdoor 76. A celebration of spring and our surrounding protected/conserved public and private lands. Food and beer will be available for purchase and will benefit Mainspring Conservation Trust. As always, gear advice will be available, but now offering laundry services. For more information call 828-349-7676 or visit Outdoor 76 on Facebook.
35 East NE Main St, Franklin, NC 28734
Saturday, March 28 12pm-3pm
Thru-Hiker Chow Down hosted by the Nantahala Hiking Club and Lazy Hiker Brewing Company. They will be serving a chili-dog lunch along with home baked goods and fresh fruit to thru-hikers. It’s a great opportunity for thru-hikers and NHC Club members to mingle. For more information call 828-369-1983 or visit Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. on Facebook.
188 W Main St, Franklin, NC 28734
Saturday, March 28 2pm
Hiker Hunger Games hosted by Gooder Grove Hostel at Lazy Hiker Brewing Company. Hikers are invited to compete in this fun-filled, faux hiker “Olympics” featuring individual, duo and trail family competitors. Competitors will participate in events such as trekking pole javelin toss, the bear bag hang, and the cat-hole digging contest, in pursuit of the ultimate hiker trash bragging rights! For more information call 828-332-0228 or visit Appalachian Adventure Hostel at Gooder Grove on Facebook.
188 W Main St, Franklin, NC 28734
Friday, April 3 5pm
Hiker Bash hosted by Currahee Brewing Co and Three Eagles Outfitters. Enjoy live music, craft beer, food & footwear! Fresh beer and food truck(s) on site along with a Merrell Footwear representative. For more information call 828-634-0078 or visit Currahee Brewing Co. or Three Eagles Outfitters on Facebook.
100 Lakeside Dr, Franklin, NC 28734
April 3 – 5
Springtopia 2020 hosted by Altered Frequencies. This is the 3rd annual music and art festival to celebrate spring in the Great Smoky Mountains. For more information call 828-342-2372 or visit Altered Frequencies on Facebook.
110 Carolina Mountain Dr, Franklin, NC 28734
Saturday, April 11 7pm
AT110 Fest hosted by The Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub. Come and enjoy live music by hikers, craft beer, specialty coffees and freebies. For more information call 828-369-6796 or visit The Rathskeller on Facebook.
58 Stewart St, Franklin, NC 28734
Saturday, April 18 6pm
Outdoor Music Jam & Gear Exchange hosted by Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. Come and enjoy live music, craft beer and food outside in The Yard. There will be a gear exchange that hikers and locals are welcomed to participate in as well! For more information call 828-349-2337 or visit Lazy Hiker Brewing Co on Facebook.
Walking with Spring
Macon County Public Library’s “Walking with Spring” series of films and programs complements Franklin’s AT 110 Trail Days Celebration.
All programs are held in the Meeting Room and are free and open to the public. Please call the library at 828-524-3600 to confirm times and for more information.
March 25, 6:00 p.m. – Grandma Gatewood Returns with storyteller/AT hiker Nancy Reader
March 26, 2:00 p.m. – Documentary “Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story”
April 1, 6:00 p.m. – Fundamentals of Footwear with professional bootfitter Kev Martin
April 2, 2:00 p.m. – Documentary “The World Before Your Feet”
April 8, 6:00 p.m. – Yoga for Hikers (and everyone else) with yoga teacher Jennifer McIntee
April 15, 6:00 p.m. – Are You BearWise? with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
April 16, 2:00 p.m. – Drama based on W. Bruce Cameron’s novel “A Dog’s Way Home”
April 22, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Nantahala Hiking Club co-founder Sally Kesler Memorial Art Reception
April 29, 6:00 p.m. & April 30, 2:00 p.m. – Documentary “Cultivating the Wild: William Bartram’s Travels”