View Full Version : UK hiker needing advice

03-19-2015, 06:44
Hi guys, first poster here from the UK.

First i'd like to say wow this forum has a wealth of knowledge and experience it's brilliant.

I'm in need of some advice, as i've said i'm from the UK so i'm not very clued up on the U.S and how you guys do stuff your side of the pond. I am wanting to do a small hike of about 150 miles somewhere on the AT taking around two weeks to do so in spring/early summer. My question is where should i consider? it must have pretty good links to an airport.

just from a little look at the trail i thought the section from Erwin to Fontana Dam across the Smokies would be good place. My only problem being getting to Erwin from Knoxville.

I look forward to hearing from you all. I'm sure you'll put me on the right path (Pun intended)


Lone Wolf
03-19-2015, 06:51
you'll need a shuttle. it's about 115 miles. will cost you $150 - $200 depending on shuttler. 10K on here lives in Erwin and does shuttles

Lone Wolf
03-19-2015, 06:56
423-330-7416 phone for 10K

03-19-2015, 07:02
Brilliant, thanks Lone wolf i'll definitely consider that section now.

Hot Flash
03-19-2015, 08:51
BigMartUK, be aware that if you're hiking through the Smokies, you can't just camp anywhere, you have to be in designated areas. For many people, this puts somewhat of a damper on a hike, because you are on a schedule each day to make it to a predetermined campsite every night. If you don't mind those restrictions, you can make a nice big loop in the Smokies using the Appalachian Trail and the Benton Mackaye trail. I'm not sure just how long it would be, but my guess is somewhere around 180-200 miles, with plenty of areas where you could cut across from one to the other to make it shorter if necessary.

If you fly into Knoxville Tennessee, you could rent a car at the airport, and drive the short distance to the park. Park your rental, do your loop, and drive yourself back to the airport when you're done. The least expensive rental at Knoxville should be about $150/week, which is going to be slightly less than what you will pay for a shuttle, and way more convenient. It would give you much more flexibility in choosing where to start and give you the security of knowing that you aren't going to have to depend on someone else to get you where you need to go.

03-19-2015, 09:01
Thank you Hot Flash, even more brilliant advice to take on board.

How about any other sections of the AT that i should definitely consider? i'm totally flexible at the minute i'm just spit balling ideas

03-19-2015, 09:56
What about doing a loop through the Smokies that covers both the AT and the Benton Mackaye Trail? That hits up most of the major summits in the park and allows you to start and end at the same location without retracing your steps along the way. Total distance is about 175 miles.

Edit - just realized Hot Flash suggested this before my post. In any case, it should still be a great loop. Hoping to do it myself in about 2 months.

03-19-2015, 10:22
Given your age I will assume that money is issue. If you are in great shape, the White mountains in New Hampshire are accessible by bus from Logan Airport in Boston. The high rent way of doing it is reserve the AMC "huts" but it is quite expensive, the alternative is to do it like thru hikers and avoid the huts. There is an extensive trail network in the area so you can get creative on your itinerary except that resupply logistics can get difficult. The whites are somewhat notorious for their difficulty and the footing is rocky and weather can get nasty on occasion. I haven't been to the Lakes District in England but a comparison may the lakes district with more elevation but similar rocky footing.

03-19-2015, 10:30
Fly into Reagan National Airport (DCA), take the Metro to Union station, Take Amtrak from Union Station to Harper's Ferry (HF), get a shuttle from HF to the south end of Shennandoah National Park and hike back to HF. The distance should be around 150 miles. You can then take the Amtrak back to DC and either site see for a day or two in the Nations Capitol or head back to DCA to fly home.

03-19-2015, 10:38
With due respect, I found Shen. National Park pretty boring, though it was nice to have all those waysides...

The section from Fontana to Erwin was one of my favorites, I like the OP's original thinking. My wife met me for most of that section; she flew to Knoxville, got a shuttle to Fontana, met me there, we hiked through the Smokies then to Hot Springs together, the same shuttle met her there and took her back to Knoxville, worked perfectly. I think the total for both rides was $150??? I'm heading out of town in an hour and she's at work, but next Monday I can find the name of the shuttle driver if you'd like (I'm sure he'd do Erwin instead of Hot Springs for about the same $$$).

03-19-2015, 10:58
Thank you for the ideas. I'll have a look at the whites, Harper's ferry sections and a loop.

It will be next year when i do it, but yes Colorado rob if you could get the shuttle drivers details that would be great. I already have the number for 10k but every little helps.

Money isn't the biggest issue but i'd rather sleep on the trail than in a hotel. Time is my only real problem. i have 2 maybe 3 weeks.

03-19-2015, 11:33
Do southern VA to include Grayson Highlands, best part of the trail south of NH. Actually Erwin to Mt Rogers NRA HQ would be a great section if you have the time/can do the miles, get Grayson and the Roan Highlands.
IF you want to do SNP the key is to forget the AT the good hiking in SNP is blue blazed.

03-19-2015, 11:49
Edit - wrong thread...

03-19-2015, 13:17
Are you thinking of eventually hiking the whole AT? Or is this the only section you plan to do?
I'm asking because if it's the only section, you definitely want it to be a memorable beautiful section. There are several options, of course, but they're spread out over 2200 miles. :) If you're coming back again for more, then the loop options don't really work so well to maximize your progress on the AT.
Your original idea of doing Erwin to Fontana isn't a bad idea. By late spring/early summer the thru-hiker crowd will be out of the way. Still plenty of people around, but tolerable. If you want to do the Smokies, you'll have the least restrictive hike if you qualify to hike under thru-hiker rules - begin/end your hike 50+ miles outside the park, and you can pay a flat $20 reservation fee, and go at whatever pace you choose through the park. Otherwise, you're required to make reservations for specific shelters (if there's room), and you have to hike whatever the distance to get where your reservation is. Beginning at Erwin would qualify you for thru-hiker rules; beginning at Fontana wouldn't.

03-19-2015, 18:35
If you are starting in Erwin, there is a closer airport than Knoxville. Look into Tri - Cities Regional (TRI). It's about 30 miles from Erwin.

03-19-2015, 19:32
Thanks again guys. brilliant info!
I only plan on doing one section of around 150 miles so i want to make is memorable. i'd love to do more but work commitments sadly have to come first.

Hot Flash
03-20-2015, 08:54
Thank you for the ideas. I'll have a look at the whites, Harper's ferry sections and a loop.

It will be next year when i do it, but yes Colorado rob if you could get the shuttle drivers details that would be great. I already have the number for 10k but every little helps.

Money isn't the biggest issue but i'd rather sleep on the trail than in a hotel. Time is my only real problem. i have 2 maybe 3 weeks.

If you can do three weeks, why not do the John Muir Trail instead? Stunning views, gorgeous weather, the hike of a lifetime...

03-20-2015, 09:12
If you can do three weeks, why not do the John Muir Trail instead? Stunning views, gorgeous weather, the hike of a lifetime...

That's actually an absolutely brilliant suggestion.

03-22-2015, 11:31
Just Looked at the John Muir trail and it looks an absolute must. i'll struggle to coordinate time off work with getting a wilderness permit next year but i'm making it my mission to do it in the next few years.
So my short list is the Smokies Or SNP.

Thank you for all your help everybody

03-23-2015, 01:25
Consider woods hole hostel to daleville, va. Land at Dulles or Reagan, d.c. take the tubes to union station. Catch mega bus(non-stop) to christiansburg, va. Shuttle to woods hole hostel. Hike 115 miles to Dalesville, va. This section includes woods hole hostel(one of the best hostels on the AT) a great start and a good place to congregate w/experienced hikers. Going north are vistas wilburn valley, angels' rest, rice field, wind rock, dragons' tooth, mcaffees' knob(the most photographed site on the trail), and tinkers' cliff. In daleville catch a shuttle back to christiansburg---bus back to d.c., tube to airport. The beauty is its' very inexpensive $60 roundtrip bus fare. And you're never more than 40 miles from the bus stop, in case you need to bail-out. I shuttle out of pearisburg, va.(10 miles north of woods hole/trail town on the AT). Woods hole is about 40 miles from bus stop. Daleville is about 32 miles from same bus stop. Feel free to call me anytime, 540-921-7433 for shuttle and more info.

Dr. Professor
03-23-2015, 02:05
If you are open to other trails, you could also consider the Wonderland Trail.

03-23-2015, 04:11
Hi guys, first poster here from the UK.



I did the Georgia section of the trail a few years ago in spring, and really enjoyed it. (Other sections may be better; I haven't done the whole trail yet.)

You can fly to Atlanta, and then take the subway/train system (MARTA?) to the end of the line north. There is an REI (outdoor shop) nearby, so you can pick up a fuel cannister and dehydrated food or whatever.

There I was picked up from someone for the Hiker Hostel. I don't know if they are still around, but they were friendly and terrific.

They gave me a lift to Dahlonega, where the Hostel is located. They made a grocery store run so hikers could stock up on things. Later that day I was dropped off on the trail. I did the Georgia portion of the AT - about 80 some miles - and they picked me up at the end.

The trail in early spring can be busy - I did this at the beginning of April - but everyone was friendly and I enjoyed the thru-hiker buzz. I also enjoyed following some of the hikers I met via their online trail journals once I returned to the UK.

English Stu
03-23-2015, 11:37
Hi BigMartUK, I am in the Uk not so far from you I have done half the AT and the JMT. I did an AT section after the JMT from Harpers Ferry to Boiling Springs, there is good rail access to HF from Washington DC.

Don't fret too much about permits for the JMT. Whilst it may not suit everyone I winged the whole thing re permits and resupply-the organising from UK was way too much for me. Join Yahoo group JMT- like on here there is loads of help there.

In Yosemite I obtained a walk up permit in minutes, restricted to a 7 mile first day to Little Yosemite, but anyway that makes sense after all the travelling. I took 5 days resupply from San Francisco, and the bought 5 or so days resupply each time at Tuolumne Meadows, a few bits at Reds Meadow, VVRanch and Muir Trail ranch. The AT can be better socially as people meet up at shelters even if the camp nearby,but the JMT is a lot more scenic and you will meet folks.