About 50 people had been searching for her near the Turkey Pen Gap trailhead between Henderson and Transylvania counties.
Pfundstein - the daughter of a Boy Scout troop leader - is an experienced hiker. She left a note saying where she was going and when she planned to return. When she didn't make it, a roommate called police.
The Citizen-Times reports searchers were about to follow the trail she mistakenly took when she showed up in front of them. She was tired and dirty, but unhurt.