The Southern Sixers are a collection of mountain peaks across North Carolina and Tennessee that rise above 6,000 feet in elevation. Some of these peaks require a hefty hike to reach the summit while others are easily accessible from roads and paved trails. This road trip includes where to stay, find great local food, and enjoy the views of the Southern Sixers from the comfort of your car or out on the trails.
What are the Southern Sixers?
There are about 50 peaks of the Appalachian Mountains above 6,000 feet in elevation. Only one of them, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, is not located in the South. The rest are sprinkled throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and Pisgah National Forest.
Most of the Southern Sixers have hiking trails leading to the summit, but not all. Mount Mitchell, the highest point in North Carolina and the East Coast, includes a 20’ observation deck at the top. Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, has a 54’ observation tower at the summit. Other summits have roads, parking lots, and paved trails either near the summit or leading to the summit.
This makes a road trip to the Southern Sixers enjoyable from the comfort of your own vehicle, along a short and easy hike, or after a rigorous hike on the trails.
The South Beyond 6000 Challenge
The Carolina Mountain Club hosts the “South Beyond 6000 Challenege” for peak baggers who want to summit the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. Anyone who can verify they have summited all 40 peaks on the Southern Sixers List becomes a lifetime member of the club.