View Full Version : Best place to hike?
My 16 year old daughter has always wanted to hike on the A.T. so this year in mid April we are planning a 7 day hike. We thought about the Smoky's because it's the closest to us but I keep hearing that's a bad time of the year. I would like to get some opinion on places to hike during April that would be good.
Thanks in advance
Hey Lovetocamp, the Smokies are very good and you can do alot of ridge walking.But if your daughter isnt used to hiking I would do seven days in the Shenandoah Mts of Va. Start at Waynesboro and go north. Easy walk,lots of deer and it will be springtime.
Forget the Smokies...hike the Nantahalas. Maybe start in GA and hike north til NOC, either way have a great time.
Go to Standing Indian. It was my first intro to the AT. With the connector trails you can make some great loop hikes. Has she ever hiked in the mountains before?
about hiking in the smokies..you can make shelter reservations...as a matter of fact if you are not a thru-hiker as defined by the park service you must have reservation for the shelter,,guaranteeing you shelter space...the smokies will be crowded during this time period .
sarge is right ..the standing indian area is excellent esp. for begining hike..lots of side trail makes for easy loops and easy escapes if nescessary...the campgroung host at standing indain campground are always helpful..mr. gilstrap has been host there for the last few years hope he is back this year..
and let's hope that we FINNALLY have some hiker friendly owners at rainbow springs...
The Smokies are beautiful, but the one thing about them is that you ahve to have a backcountry permit and are very limited on where you can stay each night.
If you don't want to go as far north as the shenandoah's like Virginian suggested you could go from Dennis Cove Rd (TN) to Damascus VA. This way you could go either NOBO or SOBO and have a hostel to stay at before and after your trip to clean up for the trip home etc. The total distance between the two is 50 miles (give or take) and it is really nice. The hiking is easy once you get past Watauga Lake, all the wayto Damascus...that's why they call it the Tennessee Turnpike!!
You would hike past Laurel Creek Falls, over the Watauga Dam, and then follow the ridge line around the lake. Its really pretty.
The best part about this is that you can either start or finish at Kincora Hostel and bob will pick you up in Damascus or drop you off there depending on which way you want to go. He also usually doesn't charge much for this.
Another really pretty area around there is the area around Roan Mtn. You get Roan Mtn, the humps etc, and you can stay at Overmountain shelter, which is one of the coolest sties on the Trail.
Hope this helps you plan your trip. If you decide to do this I would call Bob Peoples beforehand to set things up, just to be sure. April is the beginning of thru-hiker season for him and he might be pretty busy. Also, if you end in Damascus you could top off your trip by renting bikes and cruising back into town on the Virginia Creeper Trail.
Life is Good, Wear a Kilt!
I reccomended Standing Indian because I assume that is the area where you wanted to be near. But if you are open to other possibilities - try Greyson Highlands near Mt Rogers. Lots of trails there and it is beutiful.
your right yeti..excellent ideas
Love to Camp, Sqt Rock and others are correct about the Standing Indian area. It's a place we've suggested over the past 18 years to beginning hikers. Since Smokymtsteve has once again attempted to slander us, I will post this here and also under hostels. Steve did not have a good experience here in 2000. He had paid to camp in is Airstream for a month. So he could work on his flower pots to sell. All was fine. Steve hasn't told anyone on the forum that he his legally deaf, which is fine.
But numerous times we had to go to his sight and ask him to turn his music down. Which he resented. Then one day Bilbo hiked in, she was not in good shape, she rented a cabin from us and booked a shuttle with us the next day to Fontana to give her knees a break and she would meet up with her other friends there. Steve had apparently met her up a Deep Gap and said he was staying here.
Steve offered Bilbo a FREE ride to Fontana, after she had already booked with us. But neither of them told us. So we were waiting for her at the designated time for her shuttle and she never showed. Later that night when Steve got back he told us he had taken her. First, neither one of them told us the shuttle was canceled, and secondly, unlike Steve, we need to make a living, and part of our income is from shuttle service. So he literally took income away from us. I don't see where this makes us hiker unfriendly. Trust me now that we are no longer owners of Rainbow Springs I can honestly say future Thru-hikers could be missing out on alot of the "old" trail experience, if all the "mom-pop" services along the Trail discontinue services to hikers or just change to another business. Sorry for this long posting, but I'm tired of some giving their side of the story and bashing us, expecially after we've please so many over 18 yrs.
Jensine was nice to me :D
I loved doing laundry, taking a shower, getting out of the rain for a little while, eating pizza, and getting some supplies in hiker friendly portions without needing a shuttle and without having to break down a bunch of packages. I only wish the pop-tarts were frosted and I would have loved (maybe even killed) for a cold beer. The prices were resonable and the water was HOT. All I had to do was figure out the scheme of the campsite layout and sweep up after myself.
"Steve hasn't told anyone on the forum that he his legally deaf, which is fine."
legally deaf???really???...I am a little hard of hearing but not legally deaf...my doctor will be surprised!
"But numerous times we had to go to his sight and ask him to turn his music down."
Once jenisine...I was listening to some Mtn music and you asked me to turn the music down ..which I did and with an apology ...
even though it was the middle of the day..and the volume IMO was not excessive...some hikers who were around agreeded with me..
"So he could work on his flower pots to sell."
all my work is sold even before I start them...and more than I even care to make... it's a hobby that has went OUT OF CONTROL..
. "Then one day Bilbo hiked in, she was not in good shape, she rented a cabin from us and booked a shuttle with us the next day to Fontana to give her knees a break and she would meet up with her other friends there. Steve had apparently met her up a Deep Gap and said he was staying here."
Actually I meet her at plum orchard shelter In GA...where I offered her a ride to fontana telling her to wait for me at rainbow springs...
"Steve offered Bilbo a FREE ride to Fontana, after she had already booked with us."
Unless you had made plans with bilbo before she even entered the state of NC..then I had offered bilbo the ride to fontana before she "booked with you"...did you make a book with Bilbo before she entered the state????
"First, neither one of them told us the shuttle was canceled, "Later that night when Steve got back he told us he had taken her"
Later that Night when I got back???....I spent that night at the fontana Inn...the next time I saw you ..you told me that you KNEW I had taken bilbo to fontana...let's get this story strait
"First, neither one of them told us the shuttle was canceled,"
jenisine..bilbo stayed 2 nights in a cabin that she rented from you waiting for me to get back from doing some trail work with the GATC...we had made this plan to go to Fontana when I meet bilbo at plum orchard shelter.....your own words to me were that bilbo had asked you "HOW MUCh was a shuttle to fontana" does someone asking you how much a shuttle would cost the same as booking??? If and I say IF bilbo had arranged a shuttle with you I had no knowledge of it ..remember I was out cleaning the trail in GA. plus bilbo rented a cabin for repeated nights which put money IN your pocket...probably more than if she stayed just one night and then a shuttle...transportation takes time and money..gas..tires oil...bet you came out better $$$ with bilbo staying and waiting for me. plus biblo and I had dinner( which I paid for) and we took the scenic route over wayah bald and down through Wesser stopping at NOC so bilbo could at least see these places since she was unable to hike thru them...and we had dinner too ...did Buddy want to spend the day with bilbo???is that what your really MAD about??? betcha buddy wanted to buy bilbo dinner.
"but I'm tired of some giving their side of the story"
your right there are TWO sides
"and bashing us, "
well here goes ...jenisine I am glad that rainbow springs has been sold and that you are no longer the owner...things could only get better...Bill Bryson was excatly right about your place...
Rainbow springs has a lot of potenial..maybe these new folks will be able to run a nice place that is also HIKER FRIENDLY..some thing that IMO you know little about....GOOD RIDDANCE
I was going to offer what Yeti said. I can not improve on his posting , only agree with it. Starting or ending with Bob Peoples is a very good way to begin an AT experience.
These are all good places. Standing Indian would certainly be a good place. I have met several folks that had their first trail experience there. I like the Shenendoahs because of the side trails. The southern section has some of the best hikes and feels a little more wild the the north or central districts.
Perhaps you could head to the most geographically convenient to maiximze you time on the trail. Good luck.
Smokymtnsteve, the issues you raised in your post of 1/26/03 (14:41) assuming they are true and in my opinion, do not warrent your attack in post dated 1/26/03 (11:43). In addition, ownership has already changed hands, there was no need to warn future hikers about this. Prior to my reading this I had heard nothing but good for years about the prior owners of Rainbow Springs. Is it possible there was a misunderstanding during the original event?
Blue jay writes
"Smokymtnsteve, the issues you raised in your post of 1/26/03 (14:41) assuming they are true and in my opinion, do not warrent your attack in post dated 1/26/03 (11:43)."
Issues I raised???? I was only responding to Ms Crossman and the Issues that SHE brought up...
My attack???What attack...I do hope that Rainbbow springs is now operated my nice friendly Hiker folk...I am hoping for a lot of improvement in Rainbow spring Campground,,the Standing Indian area is prime hiking territory...with the first state line crossing of the AT...hikers "making it " that far have reached a milestone ...and other hiking oppourtunities abound in the area..albert mtn ...pickens nose.. Siler's Bald ...the southern nantahala wilderness area...rock climbing in the big cut..this area does not recieve enough attention or protection...a well run hiker hostel facility would be a boon to the area..
blue jay writes
"In addition, ownership has already changed hands, there was no need to warn future hikers about this."
I learned of the change of ownership on this site ..the very day that jenisine posted the info...
Warning ???? hoping that hiker friendly folks are going to run rainbow springs.????.a warning??? I gave no one a warning ..
Blue jay writes
"Prior to my reading this I had heard nothing but good for years about the prior owners of Rainbow Springs"
then blue jay you haven't read the postings in this very site and I assume that you have not read the BIll Bryson classic :D " A WALK IN THE WOODS":eek:
Blue Jay writes
. "Is it possible there was a misunderstanding during the original event?"
blue jay there had been some discussion between the crossmans and myself about me working for them that season...the prior season I had spent helping run a Campground in Cherokee NC...( I still visit there..they want me to come back)
I won't bring up any "NEW ISSUES" as I have only responded to info that MS Crossman has made public.. I paid for the month I keep my Airstream there...and was happy to leave after this rental period was complete...Luckily I was offered the Volunteer job of Caretaker at Ice H2O shelter in the smokies by the NPS and SMHC...I had spent a season in 1999 volunteering for the
park..in additon to working the other Campground...therefore Ms Crossman's attack on me in her post of 1-26-03 was the reason for my response to her...
I could bring up other issues regarding RS..I'm not ..I"m a nice guy..my intentions are to help other people...as I said before i only responded to issues the Ms.Crossman chose to make public...all of which I wish she hadn't.
I want to ditto the earlier posts on Standing Indian. My first AT hike started there... I was an early teenager...end of the first day I thought I would die. By the end of a week of hiking, I was fascinated with the AT. Over 20 years later, I am still sceaming ways to get on the AT. I plan to start my boys out on the AT in this same area when they are ready.
Lovetocamp, first of all id like to apologize for the harsh words that have been exchanged in this post, they are in no way related to your question, and hope that you have not received the wrong impression of the community here at Whiteblaze. We are here to answer any questions you have, and are happy to do so. we also allow open discussion, and give the right to differ in opinion. Once again i hope you have not gotten the wrong impression and please feel free to post any other questions you may have regarding the trail.
In response to your question, i agree with Virginian, the Shenandoah’s are a beautiful area, and a perfect place to introduce your daughter to the AT. I am not sure what her previous hiking experience is, but the AT in the SNP is well graded, and for the most part not too challenging. I have known several girls your daughters age who have taken to this section of trail very well, even with minimal trail experience, it should not be a problem. April should be a fine time to hike, however it may get cold at night so be sure to pack warm clothing. enjoy your hike, and i hope your daughter has a pleasant experience.
I want to thank everyone for their comments and hope to make a decision soon on where to hike. I had heard Shenandoah was pretty but ran close to the highway making it un-secluded. Is that true? I also liked what Yeti was saying about the 50 mile hike so I want to keep that in mind.
Also to those of you that have asked about my daughters hiking ability. I am more concerned about me than her. (ha-ha)
We do go hiking often in the ozarks in Missouri and have camped out several times this winter to get used to inclement weather. Last weekend it was 12 degrees and we did fine. Krissy seems to be able to walk for hours without stopping and never gets tired. She loves to hike and I feel she won't have any problems at all.
Thanks again and please keep the suggestions coming.
Yes, its true that the AT does run really close to Skyline Drive in the SNP. That's because skyline drive used to be the AT. Also in the Shenandoah there are lots of places to buy food....its paradise for a thru-hiker, you don't have to carry food becaus you can buy stuff to cook or eat dinner every day!!!
Another thought would be to hike from Carver's Gap to Dennis Cove rd....you would still end up at Kincora Hostel and then you would go over Roan mtn, Hump mtn and some really great balds.
Or you could do the kincora to damascus thing and then day hike around in there. Or vice versa. If you need bob people's number I can find it. He would be able to give you invaluable advice if you choose to go his way since he is the local trail maintainer for them parts!
Unfortunately as Yeti explained the AT in SNP does run very close to Skyline, however you are rearely in sight of the road itself. the noise can travel far and at times you will be able to hear traffic, but not to a great extent. overall you will still get a backcountry experiance, but you wont be quite in the middle of nowhere. Skyline itself provides great transportation to the trailhead, and as Yeti said there are many places to reration. Well it certainly seems that you both will do fine where ever you choose to hike. good luck and enjoy.