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dmkens1
02-28-2018, 02:39
I'm older and haven't backpacked in a while and not sure I can make the miles between some of the shelters starting out in SNP. I have read that there are few spots to camp between shelters, is this true or can I find a spot if I am running out of gas?

MuddyWaters
02-28-2018, 06:09
The problem is skyline drive parallels the trail and is less than minimum camping distance away from trail for most of SNP.

Then of course, you need flat spot too.

There are places. Legal ones aren't numerous. Leaving shelters in predawn, I sometimes saw spots a few miles past a shelter where I could have stayed, but I never chanced it. If you are familiar with the park, and know the spots, they are there. Finding them in dark when not familiar is a different story.

They are not plentiful enough to count on finding anytime you need. Look at map of park and you will start to understand how close road is to trail most of park.

Two yrs ago, I met a 73 yr old woman hiking there. She hiked 700 miles of AT previous year. She only hiked 5 mpd. Her plan thru SNP was.. 3 weeks. I'm sure she managed it somehow, legal or not . I know her first half-day was 3 miles.....starting at rockfish gap. I didn't recall no camping spots along there personally.

bigcranky
02-28-2018, 08:22
In theory you can camp anywhere that meets the regulations (you can find them here (https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/campbc_regs.htm).) The regs aren't that onerous (10 yards from a stream, 20 yards from a trail), but the big one is "1/4 mile from any paved road", which as MW notes makes it tough along the AT corridor since the Skyline Drive parallels the trail and is often within 1/4 mile. (Not as big a deal for other areas of the park that aren't the AT.)

So, yeah, I recall seeing a handful of sites between shelters -- not sure they were all legal (if I can see it from the trail, it may not be not legal anyway.) But I don't know that I would count on finding sites, unlike many parts of the AT where one can find good sites all along the trail.

garlic08
02-28-2018, 08:33
The day I was looking for such a site, it took a bit of looking but I found it. Sorry, I've only been there once so I can't give specifics, but yes, it is possible.

chknfngrs
02-28-2018, 09:03
Use a resource like Guthook, which will fill in the blanks fr you.

Shrewd
02-28-2018, 10:17
Its pretty easy to cover big miles in the shennies also, but I feel the struggle.

One day we were a few miles short of a shelter and were just dead, and ended up catching a hitch to the next wayside for a hot meal and beer, then ended up stealthing in the tree line at big meadows.

It was an amazing night where we caught up to old friends, I regret nothing!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Slo-go'en
02-28-2018, 11:39
Typically the only place you might find suitable for camping off trail is at the top of a climb where it levels off of a few 100 yards before going back down hill. But only on the smaller bumps, the top of the bigger bumps tend to be rocky. At the bottom of the climb you usually find the road. The AT crosses the road some 35 times in the 100 mile of the SNP, so you can see your never that far from the road. Add in the 1/4 from road or hut or campground reduces the possibilities even farther.

bigcranky
02-28-2018, 11:42
Use a resource like Guthook, which will fill in the blanks fr you.

IIRC the Guthook app removed all the random campsites last year, to reduce impact.

chknfngrs
02-28-2018, 13:10
IIRC the Guthook app removed all the random campsites last year, to reduce impact.

The comments still mention a great many options, next to water sources, presence of fire rings etc...

Shrewd
02-28-2018, 14:28
IIRC the Guthook app removed all the random campsites last year, to reduce impact.

Just in the shennies, or the whole trail??

LittleRock
03-02-2018, 10:42
the big one is "1/4 mile from any paved road", which as MW notes makes it tough along the AT corridor since the Skyline Drive parallels the trail and is often within 1/4 mile.
That's funny considering half of the huts look like they're closer than 1/4 mile from Skyline Drive.

wordstew
03-02-2018, 11:18
If I remember correctly from my SNP Oct 2017 hike there was a bunch of signs restricting camping areas due to aggressive bears. Still though I did not have any difficulty finding marked camping and stealth camping areas. There's also a couple of lodges and usually a campground or good camping nearby so if you are craving a good meal or a cold drink you could always hit the lodge and then camp nearby.

Also, if the weather looks bad and you need a refuge book the lodge as early as possible it will be fill up early. Finally if really desperate you can always Uber into town if you can get reception.

PGH1NC
03-02-2018, 17:06
Last summer we noticed several nice sites off the trail but within sight in daylight anyway. But those were in the northern part of SNP. We didn't use them and they didn't seem to be near any water source. Not sure if "legal" but seemed fairly flat and available for use.

Coffee
03-02-2018, 22:28
There are many places to camp near the AT in SNP besides the shelters.

Check out SNP's many PDF files documenting backcountry trips: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/backcountry-trips.htm

They even have a low mileage itinerary for the AT: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/SHEN_BCTrip-AT_through_SNP_average_8_miles_per_day_A105-508.pdf

Think outside the box, be willing to go a short distance on side trails and you will find places to camp away from shelters.

MuddyWaters
03-02-2018, 22:49
There are many places to camp near the AT in SNP besides the shelters.

Check out SNP's many PDF files documenting backcountry trips: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/backcountry-trips.htm

They even have a low mileage itinerary for the AT: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/SHEN_BCTrip-AT_through_SNP_average_8_miles_per_day_A105-508.pdf

Think outside the box, be willing to go a short distance on side trails and you will find places to camp away from shelters.

The problem is......sidetrails ....go down...
Which aint so bad

Its the having to come back up the next morning....that most want to avoid

TexasBob
03-03-2018, 10:43
Last summer we noticed several nice sites off the trail but within sight in daylight anyway. But those were in the northern part of SNP. We didn't use them and they didn't seem to be near any water source. Not sure if "legal" but seemed fairly flat and available for use.

I scattered my dogs ashes in a pretty spot just off the AT in SNP. The spot is also about 150 feet from Skyline Drive just over a rise so it can't be seen from the road. In recent years people have been camping there. I bet that spot is one of ones you saw.

jimmyjam
03-03-2018, 16:29
I hike a lot in the park. You shouldn't have trouble finding a spot between shelters to camp. From Skyline resort north to the next shelter was a stretch that I remember not having any real spots.

El JP
03-04-2018, 03:39
Might as well toss in this tidbit of info...The area around Skyland has quite a lot of Bear activity. There's some good stealth sites just to the north but you can be pretty sure the Rangers know about them as they and Skyland security patrol frequently in the early AM hours.

carouselambra
03-04-2018, 23:21
Might as well toss in this tidbit of info...The area around Skyland has quite a lot of Bear activity. There's some good stealth sites just to the north but you can be pretty sure the Rangers know about them as they and Skyland security patrol frequently in the early AM hours.

How close are the sites to Skyland? I am planning out a trip in that area in late April and the one night I am having some difficulty planning out is a camping area north of Skyland. Based on my projected mileage that day I would like to stop about one to three miles north of Skyland. Are the patrolled stealth campsites in that area?

El JP
03-05-2018, 02:41
How close are the sites to Skyland? I am planning out a trip in that area in late April and the one night I am having some difficulty planning out is a camping area north of Skyland. Based on my projected mileage that day I would like to stop about one to three miles north of Skyland. Are the patrolled stealth campsites in that area?

Imagine the Skyland loops and Skyline Drive as a perimeter.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Skyland/@38.5926524,-78.380529,548m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x89b4448cb62acd61:0xfe159 5dd29589723!8m2!3d38.593013!4d-78.380246

i'll put this as a disclaimer-I've never once camped at all in Shenandoah. I was there strictly for work.

But i sure did eyeball the treelines a lot, especially at night when i was working. I'd find myself thinking of the homeless days and figuring where i would pitch a tent and by what time i would be up and moving. Just north of the perimeter has IMO a lot of potential spots. It would be best if some old pro here who knows the area can give an experienced opinion.

Coffee
03-05-2018, 13:15
Skyland is a heavily developed area. The "stealth" sites people refer to are on the AT between the north and south Skyland access roads and you can be sure rangers are well aware of these sites. Best to plan to visit Skyland for a meal and just continue on to legal camping.

LittleRock
03-05-2018, 16:33
This thread has me tempted to try to find legal stealth sites all the way thru SNP when I hike that section next month. It'll probably last until the 2nd day when it starts raining and I reach the next hut.

Kaptainkriz
03-05-2018, 19:34
NOBO or SOBO? There is not much in that area...
Between Stony Man and Little Stony Man at these coordinates: N38 35.752' W78 22.223'
Is this sign - It is pretty much your only legal chance:
42092


How close are the sites to Skyland? I am planning out a trip in that area in late April and the one night I am having some difficulty planning out is a camping area north of Skyland. Based on my projected mileage that day I would like to stop about one to three miles north of Skyland. Are the patrolled stealth campsites in that area?

middle to middle
03-05-2018, 20:04
I have walked that area many times. The best part is the restaurants along the drive. Stealth has many shapes, I used to go as far as I could walk (I have MS) drop after dark, get up at dawn and go. There are so many rules and regs. you can't keep track of them all. Enjoy the restaurants right along the trail and move on through.

El JP
03-07-2018, 00:32
NOBO or SOBO? There is not much in that area...
Between Stony Man and Little Stony Man at these coordinates: N38 35.752' W78 22.223'
Is this sign - It is pretty much your only legal chance:
42092

Thanks a bunch for this.

I had always hoped to zero around there.

Skyline
03-12-2018, 01:09
Might as well toss in this tidbit of info...The area around Skyland has quite a lot of Bear activity. There's some good stealth sites just to the north but you can be pretty sure the Rangers know about them as they and Skyland security patrol frequently in the early AM hours.
If these are the sites I'm thinking of -- to the right of the AT when NOBO, not long after the sharp right where the Stony Man Trail continues straight ahead -- those are more than 1/4 mile from roads or facilities. But no water sources close by (get water at Skyland to last until Pinnacles Picnic Area if NOBO).

El JP
03-12-2018, 03:50
But no water sources close by (get water at Skyland to last until Pinnacles Picnic Area if NOBO).

In front of the offices is a water fountain. Just take the Upper Loop to the parking lot, look for the Skyland front desk and you'll find it.