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I am wanting to do a 31 mile hike next month on the AT. We are planning on leaving from Lake Fontana and hiking up to the second shelter and coming back down and finishing up on Lakeshore trail. How is thus trail and is 4 days doable? Also how pretty and how diffic.ult is it? Thanks
Bro when you leave Fontana you'll climb up Shuckstack which is kinda hard, but when you make it to Mollies Ridge the 1st Shelter in the park, then from their you will go on to Russell Field which is the second shelter the terrain between the two is easy. but can i make a suggestion to hike on to Spence Field which is the third shelter, the terrain between Mollies and Spence is very easy and the scenery is very pretty and the only hard climb is Shuckstack, i could be wrong about this, but i think Spence field is where Lake shore trail intersects, i don't have a map in front of me and i can't remember but their is a trail that goes from spence field back down to Fontana which makes a nice little loop hike. the hike down from Spence is all down hill. and 4 days is diffentally doable but whatever you do you got to check out the Fontana Hilton which is one of the best shelter's on the A.T . Have lots of fun and Happy hiking. RED-DOG (Flip-Flop 96 & GA-ME 06 & GA-ME 2012 ):dance
The trail that leads from Spence field shelter toward Fontana is the Eagle Creek Trail and it leaves right from the shelter. Also in the area is the Jenkins Ridge Trail. I hiked both of these on my very first backacking trip way back in the 70's.
I remember we came up from Cades Cove to Spence Field, down the Eagle Creek Trail to the Lakeshore Trail and Jenkins Ridge Trail, the AT to Russel Field Shelter, then back down to Cades Cove. We took 5 days/4 nights to do this figure eight. We stopped counting the number of stream crossings on the Eagle Creek Trail at 29 - there were more. Very pleasant trip, got me completely hooked on backpacking.