View Full Version : Greetings all! - looking for a place to park (just south of Fontana Dam NC)

02-09-2015, 00:23

First post on this forum. I'm a Boy Scout leader from the Chicago Burbs. I'm leading a section hike from Winding Stair up near Fontana Dam.

I'm actually familiar with Winding Stair. Back in 2013, I lead a group of boys from Dick's Creek Gap (GA) to Winding Stair. This July we're going to pick up the trail at Winding Stair going north another 50 miles.

The logistics are such that I want to leave a car at Winding Stair and another up by Yellow Creek Gap (at least it's called that on TrealHeadFinder.com). This would be a great exit point for us as it's just shy of 50 miles. We'll overshoot a bit and come back to give the boys their "50 Miler" badge.

The problem is parking. According to TrailHeadFinder there are no spaces. When I look at the satellite view of the area there appears to be no parking, but I have to imagine that people do park there as it's listed on the map. Is it safe to park? Anyone have some experience with this? I don't want to go all the way to the Dam as that's another six miles.

I'm sure there will be other questions, but this one is first on the list.
Oh... I don't know any other time in my life that I can use a dancing banana icon...so.. :banana

Thanks in advance!

Yours in Scouting,
Assistant Scoutmaster
BSA Troop 101
Naperville, IL

From TrailHeadFinder.com
Yellow Creek Gap Parking Area

Spaces: 0
Altitude: 3016.8 feet
Longitude: -83 45' 56.541"
Latitude: 35 24' 36.639"

02-09-2015, 07:09
First off, welcome to WhiteBlaze!
Second, if you're planning to come back next year and the year after to continue doing 50-mile segments, you'll find that's really hard to do. Unfortunately, road crossings aren't laid out in the most convenient fashion. So, if that's your plan, you might want to re-think.
Third, to answer your question, I consulted my AT Guide (www.theatguide.com (http://www.theatguide.com)) and the online resources below. It appears that there is actual space for parking at Yellow Creek Gap. I cannot find information about the safety factor. If you research further and don't feel comfortable about that location, you could leave a car - or both cars - at Fontana, and use a local shuttle (www.thehikeinn.com (http://www.thehikeinn.com) (828) 479-3677). They're located a little south of Fontana Dam. You'll probably want to take the scouts there anyway; they have an awesome collective of Native American artifacts. Call them anyway, because they'll have good intel about the area.

02-09-2015, 08:58
Thanks for the quick reply.

I'm not planning on going all the way up the AT... just this next section. The 50 mile mark was on a convenient bound. It also avoided GSMNP which makes life less complex from a permit perspective. Plus, that next section north of Fontana dam looks pretty evil from an elevation standpoint.

As for parking, I looked in my copy of the AT Guide. I'm not seeing any reference to parking at all. I have the 2013 edition, but I can't imagine this topic would just be added. Which edition are you using and which page are you seeing it on (boy I wish the guide had page numbers on it. Getting the pages back in order is a treat if you get them mixed up.)

Fontana dam is definitely on the tour plan. I'll post the whole plan for review in another post (always like to get affirmation that the trek is not too aggressive. But after we exit at Yellow Creek Gap I was going to drive to the dam and camp at or around the Fontana Hilton (shelter) driving from there. Camping that close with showers is perfect.

I did not know about thehikeinn. I'll check that out for sure!


02-09-2015, 09:37
I don't have my ATGuide with me right now, but mine is also the 2013 edition. It's on the same page as Cable Gap Shelter, the first road crossing south of it. I think it was a forest service road, #1242 or something like that. The Guide shows a "P" for parking at that location.
I also went to www.appalachiantrail.org and zoomed in on the interactive map (turn on shelters & parking first, at the bottom of the map). It also shows parking at that location.
Call the Hike Inn. They'll have detailed current knowledge, much better than me.
Enjoy your hike!

02-09-2015, 10:07
Try Donna @ cabin in the woods....(828) 735-1930

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Ted M
02-09-2015, 13:44
I parked there last summer for a two night section hike. The parking area is fairly large. If you go to the google maps web site and key in the coordinates you gave and turn on terrain you can clearly see the parking area along with a few cars parked in it. Whether or not it's safe to park there depends on your own comfort level. I've had no problem anywhere I've parked so far but with scouts involved you might want to consider a shuttle. You could even use the NOC as a base, which the scouts might enjoy.

full conditions
02-09-2015, 14:20
Parking is fine at Yellow Creek Gap - room for several vehicles at the intersection of Yellow Creek Road and Wauchacha Bald Road right next to the AT crossing. Vandalism hasnt been a big problem there (I live about 20 minutes away and have used it a bunch) but, as with any backcountry parking, its a calculated risk.

02-09-2015, 20:14
Thanks all for the help. My mistake.. I have the 2012 AT Guide. I see the "P" for parking but it does not indicated spaces. I did zoom in on the satellite. Most parking lots look a little more defined. This just looks like people parking on the side of the road.... which is fine. Just don't want a ticket/tow.

Looks like a good crew is forming. Eight boys, five adults.