View Full Version : Looking for epic 4th of July long weekend trip ideas

04-26-2016, 00:55
Like, whats epic in the South east?

I don't mean epic by how many miles covered necessarily.

Go somewhere in the Smokies?

Somewhere on the AT?

Whats the highest summit in the South East?

If I was in California, I would try to summit Mt Whitney as an example.

04-26-2016, 01:34
Bushwhack your way to the summit of Mt. Guyot in the Smokies and find the geological survey marker up there... because few people ever go there.

Mt. Guyot has the distinction of being the 4th highest summit in the eastern United State, but also highest without a path to the summit. The three other summits that are higher (Mt Mitchell, Mt Craig, and Clingman's Dome) all have relatively short hiking trails to the summit from a near-by parking lot. But to get to Mt. Guyot, you have to hike at least 7 miles up steep mountain trails just to begin about a 1/4 mile bush-whack thru a thick forest (that currently has a lot of blow-downs).

Because you're still in a forest at the summit, there are not any views... but again, the idea is that very few people ever access this summit.

04-27-2016, 00:05
Thank you. Sounds awesome but I dont have enough experience for unmarked stuff!

04-27-2016, 00:53
smokies have a lot of good options for short trips

lots of good climbs. Your legs will tell you that your effort was epic if you hike enough

A lot of the summits aren't really what I'd classify as "epic". Like clingman's dome where people drive up
Or the highest peak in the east, mt mitchell, NC, people can also drive up

The north-east has more of ones that might go in the epic category. Lots of rocky areas above treeline, etc

04-27-2016, 09:25
I can't give advice for the southeast in general, but I've got a long list of 2 night hikes for GSMNP. There are a lot of trips where there is at least one something interesting to see or experience, be it a mountain top view, water falls, or just camping out beside a mountain stream. So if you can give any indication on things like Miles/Day you're possibly looking for, I can suggest things in the Smokies.

04-27-2016, 10:15
8-10 miles a day :)

04-27-2016, 11:29
If you don't mind staying at shelters, here's one loop that might fit the bill:
From the Hyatt Ridge trailhead on Strait Fork Road, make a loop out of Pecks Corner shelter and Laural Gap shelter.
Day 1: Strait Fork Road to hike Hyatt Ridge to Enloe Creek to Hughes Ridge to Pecks
Day 2: Pecks to AT to Tricorner Knob to Balsam Mtn to Laurel Gap shelter.
Day 3: Laural Gap down Balsam Mtn to Beech Gap to Strait Fork Road... you'll then have 3/4 mile hike along the road back to where you parked.
Reasons I recomment this loop:
Distance is exactly what you are looking for.
Cool bridge and nice creek side lunch spot at campsite 47.
Views along the AT.
Tricorner is a good lunch spot (water source is right at the shelter)
1st part of Balsam Mtn, while rocky, is extremely flat for a high elevation (for GSMNP) trail.
Laural Gap shelter is one of my favorite shelters in the park (not as crowded usually as the other along the AT or the one at LeConte).
Both shelters are at high elevations for cooler sleeping in the summer.

If you like creeks and don't mind getting your feet (and legs) wet:
Clingman's Dome to BC#62 to BC#70
Day 1: Hike upto Clingman's Dome, then head north/east along the AT. After about 2 miles, the trail comes close to Clingman's Dome Road at a gap. U-Turn and walk the road to the trail head for Noland Divide about 3/4 mile back toward Clingman's Dome parking lot. Hike Noland Divide to Noland Creek staying at BC62.
Day 2: Continue down Noland Creek all the way down to The Road to NoWhere. After you walk under the bridge (that is The Road To Nowhere) climb the access trail on the left upto the road. Follow the road for about 3/4 mile to the tunnel at the end of the road. Walk the tunnel and then follow Lakeshore to WhiteOak branch to Forney Creek. Hike up Forney Creek to BC70 at the intersection with Jonas Creek.
Day 3: Hike Forney Creek to Forney Ridge... hike down Forney ridge 3/4 mile to Andrews Bald, then U-Turn back up the mountain to Clingman's Dome Parking lot.

I'll warn you that day 2 is longer than your stated limit, but it's mostly down hill will relatively easy uphill from The Road to NoWhere back to BC70.
This trip is great because you get to see Clingman's Dome, a few views along the AT, an interesting looking science/communications tower, you get to walk thru the 1/4 mile long tunnel just past the end of The Road to NoWhere, each night is by a creek, Forney Creek has 5 challenging creek crossings, there is a great water slide at upper campsite #68, and Andrews Bald. (There's also an old abandon factory style steam engine about 1/4 or 1/2 mile into the woods along an old path near the top of Forney Creek Trail... if you know where to go... never been there myself but I think the path you look for is located near the U-Turn about a mile before Forney Ridge).

04-27-2016, 11:35
Va 600 SOBO to Damascus is my favorite section in the south.....not sure conditions during summer, I usually hang it up from May-September...I tend to paddle during the summer not hike.

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04-27-2016, 11:35
Forgot good 3 day trip around 40 miles

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04-27-2016, 11:41
I dont think anything in se is candidate for ,"epic", particularly not in a long weekend in mid summer.

But after that I would stick to NC or GSMNP for the 5500+ ft elevations in July solely for comfortable temperature reasons.

04-27-2016, 12:58
Next Idea in GSMNP I call "The Twin Towers Loop".
Visit the Mount Cammerer Lookout and the Mt Sterling Fire Tower all in one Trip.

Day 1:
Park at Ranger Station in Big Creek.
Hike Chestnut Branch to the AT to Mt Cammerer Trail to the Mount Cammerer Lookout.
From the Lookout, continue along the AT and spend the 1st night at Cosby Knob shelter.

Day 2:
Double back to Low Gap Trail toward BC#37.
Climb Swallow Fork Trail to Mt Sterling Ridge Trail to BC#38.
NOTE: The water source at #38 requires a 2/3 mile round trip DOWN Baxter Creek trail. Rather than the extra distance and climbing, I recommend watering up at the 1st of 2 U-Turns of Swallow Fork Trail a little more than a mile from Mt Sterling Ridge.

Day 3:
Hike down Baxer Creek Tr to Big Creek Campground.
Hike a little more than 1/2 mile along Big Creek Road to get back to your car.

Campsite #38 is popular, so you have to make reservations as early as possible (upto 1 month in advance).
If you can't get #38 or just want to only stay in shelters, use Laurel Gap shelter for your 2nd night, but your last day mileage will be around 12 miles.

04-27-2016, 13:58
Consider Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mtn Crest Trail. (http://www.backpacker.com/trips/north-carolina/asheville/asheville-nc-mount-mitchell-via-black-mountain-crest-trail/#bp=0/img1) The Smokies are great, but if I had to choose I would probably choose that. The scenery and natural beauty are really excellent. My map is "in storage" so I'm not sure how you'd make a loop out of it. The Mt. Mitchell trail that starts at the (NFS) Black Mtn Campground is a nice little challenge too.

Anything including the Mt. Cammerer fire tower would be great, too. The views from there are definitely epic.

04-27-2016, 14:32
I dont think anything in se is candidate for ,"epic", particularly not in a long weekend in mid summer.

But after that I would stick to NC or GSMNP for the 5500+ ft elevations in July solely for comfortable temperature reasons.

That's the truth after the JMT....tough to compare any place else!

No Directions
04-27-2016, 19:39
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Mt Rogers/Grayson Highlands. But be warned, it may ruin you for lesser hikes.

04-27-2016, 22:20
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Mt Rogers/Grayson Highlands. But be warned, it may ruin you for lesser hikes.

That's what I suggested...great section.

05-05-2016, 22:22
awesome ideas yall!

05-06-2016, 20:58
You want epic?
"Go west young man."
Or the White Mountains.


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