View Full Version : re: Fontana Dam Mail Drop and the hike inn

02-07-2006, 19:18
I am currently planning a mail drop for Fontana Dam with enough food to get me through the smokies (I am figuring 7 days). Is there an alternative to sending it to the post office? (my concern is the hours..close early saturday and closed on Sunday).

Is there a park visitor center there that accepts packages?

The handbook metions (as does Jack in the resupply articles) the Hike Inn as an alternative. Looks good to me.. but at this point I will be wanting to get right up into the smokies. Not looking for much off trail time at this point.

What do folks usually do at this location for resupply and where they stay? I have heard good things about the shelter there..the Fontana Hilton!


Max Power
02-07-2006, 19:24
E-mail me and I can help you out. I will be living in the Village.

Jack Tarlin
02-07-2006, 19:31
Option 1:

Get a maildrop in Fontana Village, and supplement it with stuff from the
General Store and the "Outdoors" Shop.

Option Two:

Get a shuttle to Robbinsville and shop there.

Option Three:

Stay at the Hike Inn and use their shuttle service while you're there.

There is no visitor center that accepts mail. The Inn at Fontana Village may, repeat MAY accept parcels for registered guests, giving you seven day a week access to your mail, but you should absolutely check beforehand to see if they're offering this service.

The folks at the Hike Inn are great folks; staying with them might be your best bet, otherwise just plan your schedule around getting to Fontana Village on the right day. It might mean speeding up your hiking a bit or slowing down for a day; it's not that big a deal.

02-07-2006, 20:12
Another option is to stay a night at the Village (or the Hike Inn) and then take a nero, hiking 1.3 miles to the shelter. This gives you much needed rest for the smokies, but allows to only pay for one nights lodging, AND gives you more flexibility for picking up maildrops, because you'll be there over the course of 2-3 days

Personally if I were to do it again, I'd stay with the Hoch;s. Their package is a little pricey, but it's all inclusive, and getting to town is key. Your virtually stranded if you stay at the Village.

Don't underestimate the need for rest. Stay flexible. Fontana may be a place to taKe a brief rest before tackling the Smokies. The Natahala's are no walk in the park.

02-07-2006, 20:32
About when do you expect to be at Fonatana? I might be able to help out.

02-07-2006, 23:25
I understand your desire to head into the smokies, but I'd still consider the Hike Inn. You could work out a long day into there and not be out anything. The Hochs are great. I don't know their modus now, but when I stayed there in 2004 a ride into town came w/ the night's rent. They pick you up at the dam, ride you into town for a restaurant meal and to a real supermarket after you get cleaned up, and ride you back to the dam the next AM. I think I sent some minor stuff like data book/companion pages to myself there, but the rest was a supermarket resupply. It was a good stay as our next stop was Hot Springs 7 days later.

02-08-2006, 09:28
Well, David, like most places to resupply, there are options. Schedules are hard to predict. You might arrive in a place like Fontana during the week, or during the weekend. Hard to tell before you actually get hiking. One option is to mail the package to the post office. And, if you just happen to arrive there when the PO is closed, go to plan B, which could be either stay over at the Hike Inn, or the Fontana Inn. Sometimes it's not a bad thing when circumstances force you to take a day off here and there.

02-15-2006, 21:58
my hike is based on no planning. heres what i do at the dam.i try to hook up with the deal with the ride ,meal,rest,market.if i want i can hitchto it or waste alot of cash to get a ride ,but no options are in or out. id like to stay with those folks mentioned,but im not packin phone numbers or names. maby ill find that when i get there. but my reasoning is to make the trail more mysterious,hard,and unknown.cause as much as i try to think of the trail as wilderness,its not. thru hiking really doesnt suffer from not planning.im out to demonstrate that.

Philip Jones
02-15-2006, 22:25
The Hike Inn was totally worth the cost. They did everything as MileMonster described when I was there in June 2005, and were very hospitable. It'll probably be a week or so before you're back in civilization again...I don't think you or your wallet will regret staying with the Hochs. It's not a hostel-like atmosphere at all (at least when I was there), so it's unlikely that you'll be lulled off the trail for more than one night. Plus, it's a lot easier to resupply at Ingle's in Robbinsville (a fantastic supermarket) than deal with a maildrop. Finally, I thought the Fontana Hilton was overhyped when I saw it. It's basically just a bigger, newer shelter. There's a good Mexican restaurant in Robbinsville, if you need more convincing.

02-16-2006, 18:59
The Hike Inn is the place to go, they recieve ups, postal and fed ex packages. Space is limited so Jeff and Nancy ask that you make a reservation in advance.

02-16-2006, 19:04
I stayed at the Hike Inn on my thru in 2003. Didn't have a mail drop there since I knew the owners did shuttles. They were great and drove me and another hiker into Robbinsville around noon and then picked us up at dinner time. That gave us a chance to hit the local library and check e-mail, stop in at the grocery store and re-supply and even grab a nice dinner before heading back to the Hike Inn. The next morning they drove us back to the trail crossing.

That's what I would duggest unless you have special dietary needs and/or do not want to go into Robbinsville and resupply.


03-11-2006, 11:23

thanks for your comments.

I expect to be at Fontana dam around April 5

mweinstone.. you said in your post you are doing a thru hike based on no planning. Have I got that right? how little planning are you doing? stuff into pack and head to springer? no drops, no logistcs? just gear up and go?

I am planning a mail drop (usps flat rate box priority mail) to the post office. I guess..if I decided to say at inn.. I just supplement my food from box or perhaps forward it ahead. One think I dont like about PO there..aside from closed on Sunday (they all are) they are only open 10-12 or so on Saturday (according to the hand book).

I am very tempted by the hike inn...40 bucks a bit pricey.. but considering it includes laundry and a trip to town and back..not a bad deal! Does any one know if reservations there are required? are they real busy? mostly hikers or general public there as well?



03-11-2006, 17:14
Does any one know if reservations there are required? Yes they are.:)
are they real busy? Usually.:)
mostly hikers or general public there as well? Mostly hikers.:)