View Full Version : Camping in the Smokys on the AT

09-04-2003, 14:27
Okay, so you are not supposed to camp on the AT in the Smokys. You can generally camp at a shelter if you are a thru hiker (start and end 50 miles outside of the park) and the shelter is full. The only legal place you can camp is at a former shelter site, near Shuckstack mountain. I think it is still shown on park maps as being the Birch Spring shelter.

If you want to do some illegal camping, remember to set up late (like after 7) after the day hikers have gone home and pack up early (before 7) before they come out again. Be gentle. The no camping provision is in place to keep the AT looking good. Don't screw it up. The Mt. Cammerer fire tower doesn't have any where convenient to throw up a tent, tarp, or hammock, but you can easily sleep inside the tower to get a nice sunrise. Just east of Tricorner shelfter is a former landing zone for choppers, I believe. Regardless, it also makes a good place to stop, particularly if you arrive at Tricorner and find a zoo (as in any time in the month of April). There are other great spots, but you'll have to find those for yourself.

Uncle Wayne
09-06-2003, 08:45
Thanks Chris. This answers a similar question I posted earlier tonight. We met a ranger last year between Clingmans and Silers Bald Shelter on the trail. What's the odds of a ranger catching you camping on the trail? I mean do they hike at night looking for violators? I doubt it so if you avoid the day hikers as you suggest then you probably won't get caught.

09-06-2003, 11:58
Originally posted by Uncle Wayne
TI mean do they hike at night looking for violators? I doubt it so if you avoid the day hikers as you suggest then you probably won't get caught.

What about the rangers (and folks the NPS hires) who are out at night hunting boars? I don't know much about such, but have seen some trip reports reporting their presence.

Wouldn't they be a concern?

Personally, I don't get to hike nearly as much as I'd like to. So I'm not keen on taking the chance of getting nailed with a fine and being escorted out of the park then and there. Plus they ARE trying to keep the place from being loved to death. Isn't it incredibly selfish for someone to decide the rules don't apply to hime or her just because they're inconvenient or aren't what the person feels like doing?

09-06-2003, 15:38
the boar hunters in the smokies do exist and are out at night ..I have seen'em..(both the boars and the hunters)...getting caught in crossfire from boar hunters is a possiblity...but then you probably don't want to be camping in an area with active boar sign anyway..as the Hogs are a bigger threat than the hunters or even the always dreaded bears...

getting caught ticketed and fined is not very likely...

but ethics is really about doing what is right even when no one will ever know...of course this ethical clause doesn't appy to MY FAVORITE,,,Mt CAMMERER SHELTER..:D

09-08-2003, 10:52
The chances of getting shot by a professional hunter are fairly slim. Slimer still are the chances of running into a backcountry ranger: There are a total of 3 for the entire park. If you set up on Rocky Top in July at 3 pm, a ranger will probably find you and tell you to move on. If you set up on the Sawteeth at 8 pm in November, no one will be around to do anything to you. Probably.

The ethics? I have no ethical problem following the spirit of a law if not the letter of it. When, and if, I make an illegal camp (anywhere), I do it in a spot where people probably haven't camped before and in such a way that my impact on the environment is nill. The rules are in place to protect the environment. As long as I do that, I feel ethically free to ignore whichever ones I choose to. For those Kantians out there, yes, I believe this to be a categorical imperative.