A man intending to hike roughly 30 miles along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been found dead at the park's Tricorner Knob Shelter.
Rangers found the man, roughly 50 years old, early Wednesday afternoon. His name was being withheld pending positive identification and notification of family.
Park officials say the hiker left Newfound Gap on Saturday morning with plans to hike 30 miles along the Appalachian Trail to Davenport Gap in North Carolina. The hiker was reported overdue Monday afternoon by a friend when he failed to show up at Davenport Gap. Rangers initiated an investigation at that time.
Park Rangers were investigating the incident with the assistance of the Swain County (North Carolina) Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause of death does not appear to be suspicious.
The hiker's death, a major landslide in the park (that has closed Newfound Gap Road), and a motor vehicle accident that claimed one life, all occurred during a multiday period of unusually unseasonable weather and heavy rain. Predicted to start tomorrow—significant snowfall then a protracted period of the coldest temperatures of the winter.