View Full Version : Dicks Creek Gap to Winding Stair Gap

10-13-2016, 10:20
Hiking this section next weekend. Any suggestions on best way to split it up over 4 days. also if anyone has any other knowledge or suggestions about this section that would be helpful I would appreciate it. Thank you.

10-13-2016, 12:00
Are you mainly wanting to tent or use the shelters? You could basically set it up as 4, 10 mile days. It also depends on if that is 4 full hiking days or travel time being needed in that. I see you are in Augusta so travel won't be terrible but it still is a consideration.

10-13-2016, 13:47
We primarily use tents at or close to shelters. I've broken it down as as 3 10-12 mile days and then the last day 4 miles. The only concern I have is the first day is 11.8 miles stopping at Muskrat Shelter. We have to travel Thursday morning, get a shuttle around to Dicks Creek and then hike 12 miles. How strenuous is the trail between Dicks Creek and Muskrat shelter? WE're both in good shape but I'm afraid we will run out of daylight before making it to the shelter. Any thoughts are suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.

10-13-2016, 14:57
You could do Dicks to Plumorchard which would only be 4.5 miles. The first mile is 500 ft of elevation, another 100 ft or so after then a drop to 2900 ft. That gets you ~ 2 miles in. Then you go up 779 ft over then next 1.4 miles. Drop 150 ft then up 150 ft before dropping to Plumorchard at 3144 ft. If you go all the way to Muskrat, you have several more rolling sections and a climb to 4708 ft. Then you drop 400 ft into Sassafras Gap and up 262 ft to Muskrat.

10-13-2016, 15:37
The climb north from the state line is an eye opener. :)

map man
10-13-2016, 19:30
1) 5 miles to Plum Orchard Gap Shelter
2) 12 miles to Standing Indian Shelter
3) 16 miles to Long Branch Shelter
4) 7 miles to Winding Stair Gap

This would let you have short first and last days in case you want to work in any travel. It also lets you avoid Muscrat Creek Shelter which is an old shelter in damp environs. I would also prefer the newish Long Branch Shelter and its environs to Rock Gap Shelter and its close-to-a-road locale.

If you need to shorten day 3 you could end day 2 at the top of Standing Indian Mountain (it's a dry camp -- bring water), 1.5 miles past Standing Indian Shelter. That would mean about 13.5 miles on day 2 and 14.5 miles on day 3.

10-14-2016, 18:12
Trust Map Man's response. He knows what he talks about.

evyck da fleet
10-14-2016, 20:45
Agree with mapman. The climb once you cross into NC is not something you want to do at the end of a long first day. Settle in, rest up eat dinner & breakfast, lighten your load a bit and plan to do miles on days two and three.

10-15-2016, 09:59
Agree with mapman. The climb once you cross into NC is not something you want to do at the end of a long first day. Settle in, rest up eat dinner & breakfast, lighten your load a bit and plan to do miles on days two and three.

Totally agree with this and plan from "map man". The climb out of Bly Gap is steep.

10-17-2016, 10:08
The climb out of Bly Gap is steep - but the rewards are great. The views from Courthouse Bald and near Muskrat Creek Shelter are awesome.

A week ago I spent a night at an outcropping a few hundred yards south of the shelter. The sunset was fantastic. Watching the lights come up from Hayesville (I think) added to scene. Beautiful clear night. Could not ask for a better setting.

The walk down from Muskrat Shelter is nice and Standing Indian is nice on both the up and the down - super gradual on both sides.

I avoided Rock Gap Shelter - way too close to a major road. I imagine the night would be filled w/ noise from traffic.

Enjoy your hike!

[First post!]

Uncle Joe
10-17-2016, 14:58
I was just on the Bly Gap to Deep Gap section this weekend. Bly had no water. Even the creek down the bushwhack trail behind the tree was dry. It's one reason I turned and went back to the shelter. Heading north there is a creek that is still running just before Muskrat Creek Shelter although it's barely running. Muskrat Creek has water too but only small pools. We got rain up there overnight so maybe that will help some.

10-18-2016, 00:36
Map Man has a good plan. On day 3, you're up and over Albert Mtn which is very steep but gorgeous. Maybe build an extra hour into your itinerary for that day. Long Branch shelter is really nice and fairly new. I recommend that shelter over the next one which is closer to the road.

10-18-2016, 14:23
Okay, another +1 for MapMan's suggestion. I think you have enough responses to take his advice! Of course, if you find that you have enough time and energy on the first day to hike beyond PlumOrchard Shelter, then fill up on water and keep walking as far as the state line if you're up for it! I recall tent sites along the way, but it is a pretty good haul to the state line. Beyond Bly Gap, the climb to the shoulder of Courthouse Bald is a killer.

07-03-2017, 09:58
As of July 2016 when I hiked last year, Rock Gap shelter was in pretty rough shape. must have been victim to a fallen tree or branch. Leaking pretty heavily. It's close to the road and I saw several Bears wandering around just before. Avoid this shelter until repaired.

Uncle Joe
07-03-2017, 10:11
Did you mean July 2017? When I was there earlier this year it wasn't damaged.