Suggest this order: Tenn, Ga, Sc, Nc, Va, Ky, WVa, Md, Penn.
Are you camping, car camping, hoteling? How much time do you have? are you looking for the most expediant routes? Do you want to see extra sights? waterfalls? cliffs? blue ridge parkway? other dayhikes? e-mail me and I'l make suggestions.
btw; are you old enough to be going to branson (ie do you have enough blue hair?)
Hopefully you will not get the ideal answer. I find that figuring out how to visit the highpoints, where to stay, what roads to take, etc. to be one of the more pleasureable things about highpointing. This is specially true for the easy ones, where the drive is the biggest challenge. Take the suggestions you get, and then get out your maps and HP guide books and enjoy.
Your advice is appreciated. I'm trying to consider several factors but have only about 10 days to do highpointing. I might be biting off more than I can chew. If we have to skip several HPs, then that's what we'll do.
My wife and I did a similar HP trip in April. ( I know others have done it faster, but we were on vacation and did other things as well!) You will see some of the prettiest and curviest roads in the country. We started in Atlanta. We hiked to all of the summits except PA. This was our order:
4-09 Brasstown Bald, GA
4-10 Sassafras Mountain, SC
4-10 Mount Mitchell, NC
4-11 Clingman's Dome, TN
4-12 Mount Rogers, VA
4-12 Black Mountain, KY
4-13 Found the gravesite of Devil Anse Hatfield, Sarah Ann, WV
4-13 Backbone Mountain, MD
4-13 Mount Davis, PA
4-14 Spruce Knob, WV
4-14 Seneca Rocks, WV
If I was to change the order I might have done KY on the same day as TN. It was suggested to me to stay in Asheville, NC and stay there for several days and drive to the nearby highpoints, but with the price of gas I would suggest driving to each one and staying wherever you end up at the end of the day. If you have specific questions email me privately. You can check out my summit log reports on Summitpost.org. User name is Holsti97.
You went from Norton to Mt Davis in 1 day?!! Talk about the scenic route. Not only were you near DA McCoy burial site but also to your SE were WVa towns featured in 2 hollywood films (one an Oscar winner); Coalwood WVa (Homar Hickam: October Sky) and Bluefield WVa (John Nash: A Beautiful Mind)
Just think, Norton and Pikeville are considered the big towns in the coalfields.
FYI George C Scott was born in Wise Va, a stones throw from Norton.
That was the day my wife thought highpointing involved too much driving. We reached the summit of Mount Davis at about 10:00 at night and then still drove back to Seneca Rocks where we had reserved a cabin. Thanks for the trivia about West Virginia. The areas around coal mines were sad. Down by Sassafras, Seneca Rocks, and Clingmans Dome we saw beautiful, clean trout streams. The streams near coal mines were full of trash, tires, and old appliances. Kind of sad.
Some of the areas can be pretty trashed in SW Va; garbage, dust, mountain top removal and high wall strip jobs. Along with Huge trucks, coal tipples, nasty streams. I have traveled about in the US and its no worse than what I've seen on the rez in Az, pueblos of NM, and urban/rural areas everywhere. Its not to prevalent out west b/c there aren't many people out west. Appalachia/Cumberland Plateau has some really nice areas. Norton ain't really happening (except for the DQ) but 4 miles from downtown is the tower on High Knob(at 4223 ft its a mountain to you and I but an aquifer to Mitchler and Covill). In clear weather its an outstanding view and (believe it or not) the tallest mountain between Rogers and the Black Hills (At least north of the Tenn state line)
I've hiked/backpacked in various places in "Appalachia": Big S Fork, Cumberland Gap, Pine Mt, Big A Mt etc. On the Pine Mt trail (Ky/Va border) we had some really nice sections of trail with cliffs, arches and views. One trail section really sucked but overall it was a good hike. Granted some of the views showed reclaimed Mt top removal and active strip jobs but most offered outstanding views.
Every part of our country is scared by man, some worse than others but its all beautiful. The eastern views and wild areas are less numerous or as large as the ones west. There are some views here (and everywhere) that are really without comparison; a winter morning from the summit of Grandfather or Mitchell after a cold front has passed (views in excess of 80 miles).
I hope you (or anybody) doesn't take this as a tirade but we all most too fast sometimes (as I have been guilty as well).We could all be better stewards of our land, water, and air. I guess we miss the forest for the trees. There is alot of stuff in eastern WVa to see; New River Gorge, Seneca Rocks, Dolly Sods, Roaring Plains, Greenbriar rail to trail, Cass RR. I've only seen a little of the above, hope to hike into Roaring Plains in fall (and not be told I have a pretty mouth.)
I also asked the proprietor of the Hatfield Family Museum about the birthplace of Jerry West and she seemed offended. Turns out Jerry West grew up in another valley even though there is a highway named after him near the Hatfield Cemetary. She seemed to think that Jerry West was taking some of the thunder away from the Hatfields.