View Full Version : North Carolina Region

10-30-2003, 18:13
I understand this group focuses exclusively on the AT, but am hoping for a range of input. I'm planning on taking a group with me (Boy Scouts) to Pisgah National Forest. I'd like to spend 5 to 6 nights out. I've already purchased maps, looked online for information, etc. I'd like some firsthand accounts of experiences in the region. I'd don't mind what the day hikes are like, but would really like to end up near water. We're from south Louisiana, so waterfalls, pools, neat rock formations, etc. are a definite plus.

Do any of you have an insight as to what the highlights of the region are?


10-30-2003, 18:34
day hikes???? are u car camping or looking to backpack..

base camp..where...???

10-30-2003, 19:00
When are you going?

10-30-2003, 21:05
Try contacting the Pisgah Ranger station at 828-877-3265.
They can steer you in the right direction. This is a beautiful area with nice, but difficult, trails and plenty of water.

10-31-2003, 07:46
Try the Shining Rock Wilderness area. It's really beautiful. Unlike the AT, many of the trails are not signed, so it would be a great lesson in map & compass work. In that general area is the Art Loeb Trail, part of the Mountains to Sea Trail, Black Balsam Knob which is a 6000' mountain, Cold Mountain, and lots of trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway. You could easily wander around this area for 5-6 days and rarely retrace your steps. Another bonus is that there are no shelters, so the boys would have to camp out every night.

Whatever you do, have fun.

Trail Yeti
10-31-2003, 16:03
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.....its awesome....

10-31-2003, 20:22
smokymtnsteve: I'm planning on backpacking and camping on the trail. I'm looking at bringing a group of about 10 people with me. I've been studying the hiking map of Pisgah and find many of the trails avoid water sources - a major concern of mine. Is the trail really that dry?

Groucho: I don't know yet. I'm looking at sometime in June. I'm a teacher and must work around student schedules. Definitely early summer.

Thestin: I did call. That's how I got the maps and introductory information. At the moment, I'd like some information on specifics. For instance, the trail leading from the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp indicates a change in elevation some 2800ft over about 3.5 to 4 miles. Is this an abrupt change or does it occur with a degree of transition? Is the trail itself dangerous for scouts? Are springs available along the trail or must we pack in two days of water? I've looked at the area to the south and notices several smaller trails interspersed throughout forestry roads. Are these nice trails? Is camping allowed along the trail? etc.

TNJED: I'll examine the suggested trailsets.

Trail Yeti: O.K. Where's it at? I can't find it on this map. (or am too blind to see it)

The Weasel
11-01-2003, 15:56
Venture -----

(1) The trails won't be dangerous for Scouts in the sense of falling off them. But those are real elevation GAINS...and the actual elevation changes (up and down combined) is probably more like 3000-3200. 1000' of elevation change adds 1 hour of hiking time. So 4 miles, based on flat-land pace of 2.0/hr, with a 3000' elevation change = about 5 hours. Trust me; Tom Petty was right when he wrote, "Coming down is the hardest thing." Downhill in the Appalachians is just as steep as uphill in the other direction!

(2) Water. You probably won't need 2 days of water, but refill when you can. Water sources are often off-trail, on poorly marked sidetrails. Don't let people go alone. Most sources will be small seeps or springs. If you see a fast running creek, load up.

(3) As a SM for 20 years, I'm on your side. But if you have a crew of 10, understand that Scouts are not always appreciated by other hikers. They can be loud, cluster up a trail, and use a lot of space at campsites, and keep others awake. Also understand that all of us hiker trash may not always be exactly who you want youth near either; we may be having a snort, some are with romantic partners, and occasionally others (you are nameless but you know who you are!!) will light up some of North Carolina's biggest cash crop (and it ain't tobakky, dude!). Try to camp away from other campsites; you'll be happier and so will others.

(4) I'm not sure what age level you're bringing, but you'd better be pretty damn vicious about pack weights. Any youth with over 25% of body weight is going to be very miserable by the third day. That's not just pack, but all worn clothing ("from the skin out" or FSO). For a youth who is 150, that's about 35#. 30 will be better, no matter how macho they think they are. Think about that 3000' climb in 4 miles.

(5) "Stealth" camping is generally allowed anywhere in national/state forests along the AT, i.e. 100 feet or so away from trails and water sources. You will see campsites often. If there are others in the site, ask before camping there. The AT Databook will tell you where the next one is. Otherwise, first come first served. Do NOT pitch tents where they are easily seen from trails.

The Weasel

11-01-2003, 19:57

Thanks for the advice. It's taken to heart. I've already had bad experiences where outsiders have come in contact with my kids. Fortunately, a quick jaunt into the woods removed us from harms way. I hope you don't mind if I bug you from time to time as questions arise.


11-02-2003, 03:08
You may consider this:

From the Davidson River Campground, north on the MST Alternate (blue dot), west on the MST (white dot), south on the Art Loeb Trail (blue blaze?) back to DRC. Or you could start north on the ART .

National Geographic/Trails Illustrated Pisgah Ranger District Map 780

Carolina Mountain Club's Profile Map of MST also includes the MST A and the ART.

The Weasel
11-02-2003, 09:46
Kidder (and anyone else) --

Ask questions anytime. I am a little different since I have both perspectives - that of the Scout leader with a crew doing a long (50 mile) trek, and that of the thruhikder/long distance solo. The interests and needs of each are very different and sometimes, if you're not careful, can conflict. Not usually, but it's worth thinking about.

The Weasel