View Full Version : Winding Stair to NOC the week of Thanksgiving

11-10-2017, 10:29
I'm new to hiking and me and my 17 year old son was thinking about hiking this section the week of Thanksgiving. Is there much traffic during this time? Any recommendations?

11-10-2017, 10:41
Siler bald is only about 4 miles in but an awesome camp spot if weather is good...nice section with good views from wayah and wesser towers...when I did this section I started about 8 miles back at standing indian campground to add some miles so I could camp atop Siler bald...have fun...

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11-10-2017, 16:11
Easy hike for you.

Dan Roper
11-10-2017, 22:26
I'm unsure how "new to hiking" and backpacking in the mountains and possible winter weather translate into "easy hike."

Winter hiking in the southern mountains deserves your full attention and preparation and discretion. Beware lest you wind up in frigid wind and rain on top of Siler Bald or Copper Bald or wherever. Or snow. Or it might be absolutely lovely.

There won't be much foot traffic that time of year. Wayah Bald Shelter is nicely located. Wayah Tower (a stone observation tower a mile or so south of the shelter) is nice. Silers Bald is nice. Ditto the Copper Bald area. The descent into Wesser is a knew jarring march that seems to go on forever. If you're dealing with abundant leaf fall - especially wet leaves in rain - you'll need to take extra precautions.

I did that stretch in my early 50s in one night, two days, beginning at Rock Gap (a bit further south than Winding Stair). It was October and cool and lovely. The terrain wasn't, as I recall, terribly difficult as compared to some stretches in the southern mountains. But again....that descent into Wesser!

If this is your son's introduction to backpacking, try to avoid the awful conditions that might break his appreciation for backpacking forever. Watch the weather above all else. Cancel or diver to another location if it looks cold and wet. But if you catch the weather right, you've chosen a nice stretch of trail. And ending at Wesser means pizza or hamburgers or both at Rivers End Restaurant (I think that's the name - it's been years since I've been there). That's always a treat.

Uncle Joe
11-11-2017, 07:40
This was my last section. As noted, there are some nice views. I recall 2 particularly long climbs. Not overly steep but long. I did it in 2 nights. The third day was a nice half-day. This put me at the shelters at roughly 10-ish miles per day.

11-15-2017, 22:02
When are you starting? Iím doing this section that same week although my son and I are continuing on to Fontana Dam. Been watching the weather. Looks a little cold over night but not much rain. Letís hope it stays that way.

11-16-2017, 13:48
Have fun and be safe. This is the exact section I've been meaning to knockout next...if I see a weather window Thanksgiving break, I might jump on it and see you out there!