View Full Version : Clingsman Dome to Cades Cove via the AT

lil brother
09-03-2007, 23:20
My friends and I are planning a trip for the AT. Leaving Clingsman Dome and traveling south to Spencer Field Shelter then eventually Cades Cove in the beginning of November 2007. Questions are how cold should we prepare for, any snow or ice, water supply on the trail, available firewood, any specific gear that is a must????

Also, does anyone have any experience knowing if the road off hwy 441 going to the clingsman dome parking lot is even open. We are in the beginning of our plans, so any help is good.

We are also planning on a backup plan in case the weather is not good. Any ideas???? We would like to hike with lots of open scenery if possible.

lil brother

Grumpy Ol' Pops
09-04-2007, 00:22
I've been to Clingman's in mid-October and seen several inches of snow on the ground (and roads) at midday, so I'd suggest that your plans include some warmer clothing and night gear! The ramp to the observation tower at Clingman's was closed due to ice, also.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
09-04-2007, 04:55
I echo what Grumpy has said about the weather.

Clingmans Dome Road is open April 1 - November 30, 2007 this year, but is subject to closure due to ice and heavy snow during the normal opening dates.

Normally water would not be problem along that route because you will have snow to melt. This has been an extremely dry year so I'm not going to promise anything. Carry good maps of the area so you could hike down to water if necessary. There are many trails that intersect the AT and go to reliable streams.

09-04-2007, 06:42
441 through the park and Clingman's Dome road will be open when you plan to come through unless there is some sort of snow or ice.
They will close both roads if conditions become unsafe.
You say the first week or so of November and I'd say there's a 90% probability that both roads will be open.
You can expect night time temps to get down near freezing or even into the 20's....and yes, it could get colder and it could snow.
Then again...you could have daytime temps in the 70's with bright sun and overnight temps only in the 50's...plan for both 70's and 20's and you'll be prepared.
I see you're from LA. and that said it'll be colder than what you're used to...
Firewood.... plan on not having a fire.
We are in a major drought and open fires are banned and will no doubt still be banned in the dry air of Nov.
Plan on doing your cooking with a backpacking stove of some sort.
At the moment the water sources are not reliable and Spence Field is listed as being dry..or atleast it was a week ago.
You can get up to date info on water by contacting the park.
Or email me/pm me a couple days before you head up here and I'll find out for you. We've had a very dry year and the entire region is in a serious drought...hence no fires cause there's no water.
"Gear that is a must" aside from the basics for a 5-6000 ft elevation hike in November...I'd say a GSMNP map is a must.
Also....make sure you make reservations and get the mandatory permits
ahead of time or it could be that the places you plan to camp each night will already be full.

Hikes in Rain
09-05-2007, 16:14
Plan on cold! I did that route last early November (Actually, Newfound to Fontana), and the temp dropped to the mid-single digits a couple of nights. Rarely above freezing. My huge, bulky but marvelously warm old 20 below bag was the envy of everyone in the shelters, and worth every pound of it I had to lug up and down the hills.

Clear, crisp cold days. You could see forever up there!