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ChinMusic
02-12-2009, 12:21
A small group of us (45-50 yr-olds) are wanting to do a SOBO through the GSMNP on the AT in late April, early May. I have not hiked in the Smokies before. We have planned a relatively non aggressive 7-day hike. Physically we have recently hiked Amicalola to Springer (November, 4 days) and Damascus to Dennis Cove Rd (January, 4 days) without much issue, to give you some idea. I hike kinda slow but I get there.

Here is the tentative plan:

1. Tues Apr 28 - Davenport Gap to Cosby Knob Shelter 8M
2. Wed Apr 29 - Cosby Knob Shelter to Tri-Corner Shelter 8M
3. Thur Apr 30 - Tri-Corner Shelter to Icewater Spring Shelter 12M
4. Fri May 1 - Icewater Spring Shelter to Doublespring Gap Shelter 14M
5. Sat May 2 - Doublespring to Derrick Knob Shelter 7M
6. Sun May 3 - Derrick Knob shelter to Mollies Ridge Shelter 12M
7. Mon May 4 - Mollies Ridge to Fontana 11M

Comments about the itinerary, about the shelters listed, or any short side trails, or anything else are appreciated. Would we see many NOBOs during that time? I suspect most would most already be past.

SmokyMtn Hiker
02-12-2009, 12:32
I SOBO the Smokies this past October, I took 6 days. Your two hardest days of climbing will be day 4 Icewater to Doublespring and day 6 Derrick Knob to Mollies Ridge. The 8 miles from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome has a few good climbs that seem to never end and there is he!! of a climb about 1.5 north of Thunderhead Mtn. that is short but seemed straight up. Hope you have fun and there should be plenty of water that time of year which was mostly dry on my trip south of Spence Field

Ashepabst
02-12-2009, 12:37
the side trips to Mt Cammerer Firetower (.6 one way) and Charlies Bunion (not sure... but real close if i remember correctly) are worth the detour.

here's a good site with info on the shelters, w/ pics of most: http://www.cs.utk.edu/~dunigan/gsmnp/camp.php.
...unless you don't want to spoil the surprise. (the shelters are at the bottom of the list.)

SmokyMtn Hiker
02-12-2009, 12:47
the side trips to Mt Cammerer Firetower (.6 one way) and Charlies Bunion (not sure... but real close if i remember correctly) are worth the detour.

here's a good site with info on the shelters, w/ pics of most: http://www.cs.utk.edu/~dunigan/gsmnp/camp.php.
...unless you don't want to spoil the surprise. (the shelters are at the bottom of the list.)

The side trip to Shuckstack Tower is also worth the trip and yes Charles Bunion is just off the trail to the west. The shelters you have listed to hopefully stay at are all renovated with the covered front area and no chain link fence to look at.

Frick Frack
02-12-2009, 12:50
Looks good! That was our exact itinerary when my brother-in-law & I hiked our 1st section of the AT. More recently the GSMNP was my wife's favorite section on our sobo. The Double Spring Gap Shelter is one of the nicest shelters I have stayed in. It will be beautiful. Have a great time.

ChinMusic
02-12-2009, 12:55
I SOBO the Smokies this past October, I took 6 days. Your two hardest days of climbing will be day 4 Icewater to Doublespring and day 6 Derrick Knob to Mollies Ridge. The 8 miles from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome has a few good climbs that seem to never end and there is he!! of a climb about 1.5 north of Thunderhead Mtn. that is short but seemed straight up. Hope you have fun and there should be plenty of water that time of year which was mostly dry on my trip south of Spence Field

Regarding day 4: We are meeting with a couple others at Newfound Gap on that day (they are hiking the Gap to Fontana). We might blow past Icewater on day 3 and have them pick us up at Newfound Gap, head into town for a meal, hotel, and then start day 4 at Newfound Gap. Just an option. Makes day 3 a 15-miler.

sbennett
02-12-2009, 13:00
I think you've got right. Really, the only alternative is to pull a 14 mile day on Day 2 (from Cosby Knob to Peck's) and the same the next day (Peck's to Mt. Collins), and then relax the rest of the hike. I think a 14 mile day from Cosby to Peck's might be easier than a 14 mile day from Icewater to Doublespring Gap with the added benefit of not having to stay at the Doublespring Gap Shelter (which looked really bad the last time I saw it). Going to Mt. Collins from Peck's wouldn't be too bad b/c you're only doing half the climb up Clingman's Dome. Then go Mt. Collin's to Derrick Knob the next day, then to Spence Field or Russell Field the next day, then finally to campsite 113 or Fontana.

Just an idea. I like your plan and this was the only alternative I could think of to avoid staying at Doublespring and allowing you a shorter hike from Derrick Knob to wherever you stop (the 6 mile section to Derrick Knob is known for being rugged).

Hope you have a good hike!

snowhoe
02-12-2009, 13:10
If you start at new found to double spring I think its all up hill cant really remember. You guys will defentely be pretty tired. I think that you can do it. You guys seem to be up to the challenge :)

Ramble~On
02-12-2009, 13:12
Doing that section at that time will be a very social thing at the shelters!
They'll be packed and then some. All shelters in the park require reservations unless you're hiking in and beyond 50 miles on either side of the park. - You still need a backcountry permit though and space in the shelter likely won't be yours for the taking if you get there ahead of those with permits.
-- As mentioned the side trips are very worth it and if you can swing it a stroll down the Boulevard Trail to Myrtle Point ( maybe stay at Mount Le Conte shelter) is well worth the effort.
Most of the NOBO thruhikers will already be past the park by then but there may still be a number of April 1st starters and those after them coming through plus the huge number of spring folks who flock up there at that time each year...and for good reason, it's a great hike- enjoy.

ChinMusic
02-12-2009, 13:20
Doing that section at that time will be a very social thing at the shelters!
They'll be packed and then some. All shelters in the park require reservations unless you're hiking in and beyond 50 miles on either side of the park.
We know about the reservation part. Haven't called in yet. Wanted to post first and get input. We won't be "faking" the 50-mile thing and will be playing it straight. None of us like shelters either but we know the rules. Hopefully the shelters will be full when we get there....tent time.

Thanks for all the input so far guys. I greatly appreciate it.

Ramble~On
02-12-2009, 13:41
Hopefully the shelters will be full when we get there....tent time.



Exactly. I understand the park's stance, I understand the hiker's stance and I understand the park visitors who venture too far from their cars, the spring breakers..etc. I don't understand why our government doesn't see that in many cases our public lands are being heavily used and perhaps create more of them and better fund those existing.......uh oh ...I'm rambling on:D. Semi solitude may be found in a tent...but ya still gotta camp close to the shelter.:(

Ox97GaMe
02-12-2009, 14:37
A couple of comments....

First, the pick pack of thru hikers will be hitting the Smokies generally between April 1 and May 1. There will still be large packs of them even into mid May. Most will be shooting to get to Damascus for Trail Days around May 15. Hot Springs has their town festival the weekend of April 27th this year, which may pull a lot of the thru hikers out of the park before you get there the last week, or you could be right in the middle of them.

Second, the Smokies always get at least one snowstorm in the month of April. Some years it is early in the month, some years it is late, and some years it is both. This will stack up hikers in shelters as well as delay your trip. Have a good SMNP trail map with you just in case. This will help you in deciding which alternate route you might need to take off the mountain if weather turns bad.

Lastly, your itinerary looks pretty good, but 2 of your longer days are over the most difficult sections. There are 3 areas that will be the major challenges when hiking south. They are:
a) the 4.5 mile climb out of Davenport gap to Cammerer Fire Tower. This is your first day, fully loaded, and getting your trail legs established. WELCOME to the park. Dont get discouraged. This is also your short day per the schedule and the trail from the firetower to the shelter will seem pretty tame after that initial climb.

b) The 6 miles from Newfound Gap to Clingman's Dome is a gradual climbing roller coaster of 100-200 ft ups and downs. You will gain over 1000 ft of 'actual' elevation per the elevation markers at both locations, but the reality is that you will climb approx 2000 and descend about 1000 over this distance. PUDS, PUDS, PUDS....

c) The 6 miles from Derrick Shelter to Spence field has the second worse climb. The climb over Thunderhead isnt as bad as that first day's climb, but it will get your attention when combined with the constant up and down of the morning. But.. on a good day, the view over to Shuckstack and back to Clingman's and LeConte is priceless.


** depending on how you feel about steep downhills, the final 3 miles from Shuckstack to Fontana Dam may also get your attention. It will be the mirror image of what you climbed up the first day.

have a great hike.

SmokyMtn Hiker
02-12-2009, 14:49
Regarding day 4: We are meeting with a couple others at Newfound Gap on that day (they are hiking the Gap to Fontana). We might blow past Icewater on day 3 and have them pick us up at Newfound Gap, head into town for a meal, hotel, and then start day 4 at Newfound Gap. Just an option. Makes day 3 a 15-miler.

That wouldn't be bad at all considering the 3 miles from Icewater to Newfound is pretty much all down hill. Then you would be refreshed more the next day when leaving Newfound after a nights sleep in a hotel bed.

Ox97GaMe
02-12-2009, 14:51
One final note.. IF you have to bail due to bad weather, you will NOT want to take either of the following trails down to the Lake Fontana area. The river crossings can be dangerous in cold weather and impassible during/after heavy rains.
a) Forney Creek Trail. This has approximately a dozen river crossings. Ive seen debris in trees 20 feet above 'normal' water levels on this trail.
b) Eagle Creek Trail. This has approximately 20 river crossings. Several of these crossings are waist deep during 'normal' water levels.

Remember to stay safe.

ChinMusic
02-12-2009, 15:16
I have a good map with all the side trails. I have GPS with the 24K map too.

I have an AT&T cell phone. What areas might I have coverage to call the wife if there is a sched plan? She will be doing her thing in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge etc. Kinda a separate vacation thing as she can't hike.

I assume that my 30* bag will do for that time of year. I have a 0* but think it would be overkill. I'll prob just put the 0* in the car should the weather forecast be unseasonable. In a tent I know I'm good to 25 in my 30, not sure about shelter sleeping.

xnav
02-12-2009, 15:19
I'm a 58 year old average hiker. Here was my itinerary for the GSMNP:
Davenport Gap to Cosby Knob - 29 Dec 08
Cosby Knob to Pecks Corner - 30 Dec 08
Pecks Corner to Icewater Spring - 31 Dec 08
Icewater Spring to Double Spring - 1 Jan 09
Double Spring to Spence Field - 2 Jan 09
Spence Field to Fontana - 3 Jan 09.
I did not take any side trips except for Charlie's Bunion. Weather was brutal so I was just trying to make it thru the park as fast as I could. If I were going to hike during your time period I would probably take my time and see as many of the side attractions as I could. On the two days weather was good the park offered fantastic views.

SmokyMtn Hiker
02-12-2009, 15:27
I have a good map with all the side trails. I have GPS with the 24K map too.

I have an AT&T cell phone. What areas might I have coverage to call the wife if there is a sched plan? She will be doing her thing in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge etc. Kinda a separate vacation thing as she can't hike.

I assume that my 30* bag will do for that time of year. I have a 0* but think it would be overkill. I'll prob just put the 0* in the car should the weather forecast be unseasonable. In a tent I know I'm good to 25 in my 30, not sure about shelter sleeping.

I have Verizon and I had a signal at every shelter I stayed at except Silers Bald, I also only turned it on of the evening to conserve battery power in case of an emergency.

sliderule
02-12-2009, 15:42
...we know the rules. Hopefully the shelters will be full when we get there....tent time.

Thanks for all the input so far guys. I greatly appreciate it.

According to the rules, only thruhikers are permitted to "tent."

ChinMusic
02-12-2009, 19:26
According to the rules, only thruhikers are permitted to "tent."
Dang it, didn't know that part. I wonder why. If the shelter is full, it is full. If a thru or section hiker tents, what is the difference?

kytrailman
02-12-2009, 21:44
Chin-- stealth if you have to-- I do in the park all of the time and it is fine.

Ox97GaMe
02-13-2009, 01:18
The rule regarding who does and doesnt tent is as follows:
Thru hikers (starting and ending 50+ miles outside the park) are required to give up space in the shelter for a person with a reservation. They hold 4 spots open for thru hikers during season. The assumption is that if you are not a thru hiker, then you are one of those that has a reservation, therefore you dont need to be tenting. A thru hiker must ALWAYS give up space in the shelter for a non thru hiker with a reservation. If you dont, and the person relays that information to a ranger (and the ranger finds you), you could be fined.

Many of the folks that get reservations at the shelters are not actually carrying a tent. That could be another way for your group to cut down pack weight.

ChinMusic
02-13-2009, 15:07
Many of the folks that get reservations at the shelters are not actually carrying a tent. That could be another way for your group to cut down pack weight.

I've never done this. I have always carried a shelter. My main reason is I like being in my tent. Another reason is safety. What if I become hurt and can't go on? At least I can have a shelter wherever I am. I guess I could carry my emergency mylar blanket for such an emergency.

Do most/many folks backpack in the Smokies without carrying a shelter? It would only same me a pound and a half (Lunar Solo).

sliderule
02-13-2009, 20:47
Do most/many folks backpack in the Smokies without carrying a shelter?

In my experience in the Smokies, the vast majority of those hikers whose itinerary involves staying only in shelters do not carry tents. (This observation is not applicable to thruhikers.)

bigcranky
02-14-2009, 09:48
Regarding day 4: We are meeting with a couple others at Newfound Gap on that day (they are hiking the Gap to Fontana). We might blow past Icewater on day 3 and have them pick us up at Newfound Gap, head into town for a meal, hotel, and then start day 4 at Newfound Gap. Just an option. Makes day 3 a 15-miler.

The extra three miles are mostly a long downhill grade to the gap. Shouldn't be a problem.

Overall your itinerary looks really good. Take your time, enjoy the scenery. I rushed through the northern half of the Smokies last fall and wish I had taken more time.

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 10:21
If you intend to do GSMNP get your permits and shelter reservations now. Only thru-hikers are allowed to tent. You picked the busiest time for thru-hikers to be coming through also. Was this intentional? Tent space is limited also and you said you are traveling with a group? And you intended to let other section hikers reserve the shelter while your group intends to break the rules and tent once said shelter fills up? OK Where are the thru-hikers going to sleep? Not saying the Smokies are just for thru-hikers but these rules are put in place for a reason and it sounds as if your group has no intention of following them. My suggestion, if thats the only time you have to hike, get your permits and reservations and don't break the rules, Do more blue blazing. Theres a lot more to the Smokies than just the AT corridor. Or go a little later in the year after the thru-hiker rush is over.

papa john
02-14-2009, 10:28
You can't make reservations more than 30 days in advance. What difference does it make what time of year he choose to hike? If they want to hike in April or May then so be it as long as they can get reservations. The thru-hikers will have to make do, they are not a special class of hiker. I see nothing in his post that indicates they are going to do anything outside the rules.

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 10:50
Did not know about the 30 day rule. And we are actually in agreement believe it or not Papa John.. People should be able to hike/camp where they want and when they want provided they are abiding by the rules and regulations. This group is intending to SOBO GSMNP with the intention of ignoring the rules at the time of year when their actions will have the greatest impact on actual thru-hikers.

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 10:54
Chin did say that they intend to tent out at shelters even though that option is reserved for thru-hikers only

ChinMusic
02-14-2009, 13:28
Not saying the Smokies are just for thru-hikers but these rules are put in place for a reason and it sounds as if your group has no intention of following them.


Did not know about the 30 day rule. And we are actually in agreement believe it or not Papa John.. People should be able to hike/camp where they want and when they want provided they are abiding by the rules and regulations. This group is intending to SOBO GSMNP with the intention of ignoring the rules at the time of year when their actions will have the greatest impact on actual thru-hikers.
You have NOT read our intentions correctly.


We know about the reservation part. Haven't called in yet. Wanted to post first and get input. We won't be "faking" the 50-mile thing and will be playing it straight. None of us like shelters either but we know the rules. Hopefully the shelters will be full when we get there....tent time.

The only rule I was unaware of was that non-thrus could not, by rule, tent once shelters were full.

We certainly WILL be playing it straight and I do not appreciate your post.

ChinMusic
02-14-2009, 13:32
I see nothing in his post that indicates they are going to do anything outside the rules.
Thank you.

Timing wise, I wanted to go in late Sept to mid Oct but another couple could only go in the time frame posted. I am more flexible with my schedule. Right now there are 3 of us hiking the northern section and joining up with 2 others at NFG......permits WILL be requested at the proper time.

papa john
02-14-2009, 13:33
Chin did say that they intend to tent out at shelters even though that option is reserved for thru-hikers only

In all fairness, he did make that statement not knowing that tenting was reserved for thru-hikers.

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 14:53
Ignorance of the law is no excuse! He and his group should be severely punished to the fullest extent of the law! Honestly I don't care if you tent, hammock, cowboy camp, stealth, have/don't have permits/reservations...but if you want to do everything on the square I'd call 30 days out as I'm sure they fill up quickly.

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 14:55
I just have a head/sinus cold that's making me mean and grumpy today. I'd probably argue with ya if you said water was wet.

papa john
02-14-2009, 14:55
Ignorance of the law is no excuse! He and his group should be severely punished to the fullest extent of the law! Honestly I don't care if you tent, hammock, cowboy camp, stealth, have/don't have permits/reservations...but if you want to do everything on the square I'd call 30 days out as I'm sure they fill up quickly.

LOL, and made to carry everyone's water through the entire park!

MOWGLI
02-14-2009, 14:57
Chin-- stealth if you have to-- I do in the park all of the time and it is fine.

It's not "fine". That's a rationalization for breaking park rules. Public lands belong to all. Respect them please.

sliderule
02-14-2009, 14:59
Ignorance of the law is no excuse! He and his group should be severely punished to the fullest extent of the law!

Speaking of ignorance...

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 15:00
You guys takin' your dogs along with ya?

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 15:01
Speaking of ignorance...
Yes my humor does go over some peoples heads

Rockhound
02-14-2009, 15:01
I don't know if I'd call em' ignorant

Sly
02-15-2009, 00:24
A small group of us (45-50 yr-olds) are wanting to do a SOBO through the GSMNP on the AT in late April, early May. I have not hiked in the Smokies before. We have planned a relatively non aggressive 7-day hike. Physically we have recently hiked Amicalola to Springer (November, 4 days) and Damascus to Dennis Cove Rd (January, 4 days) without much issue, to give you some idea. I hike kinda slow but I get there.

Here is the tentative plan:

1. Tues Apr 28 - Davenport Gap to Cosby Knob Shelter 8M
2. Wed Apr 29 - Cosby Knob Shelter to Tri-Corner Shelter 8M
3. Thur Apr 30 - Tri-Corner Shelter to Icewater Spring Shelter 12M
4. Fri May 1 - Icewater Spring Shelter to Doublespring Gap Shelter 14M
5. Sat May 2 - Doublespring to Derrick Knob Shelter 7M
6. Sun May 3 - Derrick Knob shelter to Mollies Ridge Shelter 12M
7. Mon May 4 - Mollies Ridge to Fontana 11M

Comments about the itinerary, about the shelters listed, or any short side trails, or anything else are appreciated. Would we see many NOBOs during that time? I suspect most would most already be past.

Not sure why you'd want to hiked against the pack during thru-hiker time but your schedule looks fine. If you're getting a thru-hiker permit and hiking from Hot Springs, you'll be able to tent if the shelters are full. Otherwise you need to book reservations and select each shelter. Since you'll be booking your itinerary I don't believe you'll be able to tent.

Marta
02-15-2009, 07:34
I've never hiked the Smokies in high season myself, but a friend of mine who did it as a section, with reservations, arrived at a full shelter. Everyone in there swore they had reservations, which was obviously untrue. She just made them scoot over. That said, I'd carry a lightweight shelter, just in case. Given a choice between violating the rules and getting into a knock-down, drag-out fight with people already in the shelter, I'd probably tent.

With your short-mileage hiking plan, though, you should be arriving at the shelters in plenty of time to claim your spots.

ChinMusic
02-15-2009, 13:34
I've never hiked the Smokies in high season myself, but a friend of mine who did it as a section, with reservations, arrived at a full shelter. Everyone in there swore they had reservations, which was obviously untrue. She just made them scoot over. That said, I'd carry a lightweight shelter, just in case. Given a choice between violating the rules and getting into a knock-down, drag-out fight with people already in the shelter, I'd probably tent.
That scenario has crossed my mind as well. I plan on carrying my Lunar Solo just in case. I ain't gettin' in no fight over a shelter slot.

From reading trail journals it appears that the majority are past the Smokies by May 1 and Spring Break will have already passed. It may not be as crowded as feared.

Like I posted earlier, I was looking at Sept/Oct for this trip but my friends couldn't swing it.



With your short-mileage hiking plan, though, you should be arriving at the shelters in plenty of time to claim your spots.
Why, thank you for thinking I'd get there early....:D

I might or might not get there early. From looking at the elevation profiles this section has more, per mile, elevation gain than the other sections of the AT I have done (Amicalola-Neels, Max Patch to Allen Gap, and Damascus to Kincora).

I have some of the side trails marked on my map, Mt Cammerer Firetower, Charlies Bunion, and Shuckstack Tower. The Boulevard Trail to Myrtle Point idea doesn't fit in, but could be an option of our permits are denied.

curtisvowen
02-15-2009, 14:03
If you're getting a thru-hiker permit and hiking from Hot Springs, you'll be able to tent if the shelters are full.

Wrong.
GSMNP uses the 50 miles rule. To be considered a thru-hiker you must begin 50 miles outside of the Park and end 50 miles outside the park.
Hot Springs is less then that.

sliderule
02-15-2009, 17:23
Wrong.
GSMNP uses the 50 miles rule. To be considered a thru-hiker you must begin 50 miles outside of the Park and end 50 miles outside the park.
Hot Springs is less then that.

Does a permit from Hot Springs (or Fontana) look any different than a permit from any of the other self-service permit stations?

Is a thru-hiker who leaves the trail (as in going to Gatlinburg) still a thru-hiker when he returns to the trail?

Is anyone aware of a hiker with a thru-hiker permit who has been cited for not having a valid permit?

Sly
02-15-2009, 19:23
Wrong.
GSMNP uses the 50 miles rule. To be considered a thru-hiker you must begin 50 miles outside of the Park and end 50 miles outside the park.
Hot Springs is less then that.

I could be wrong but if I'm not mistaken southbounders pick up their self registration permit in Hot Springs Can you link the rule?

Edit: The 50 mile rule is in the Companion.

Rockhound
02-15-2009, 21:35
Does a permit from Hot Springs (or Fontana) look any different than a permit from any of the other self-service permit stations?

Is a thru-hiker who leaves the trail (as in going to Gatlinburg) still a thru-hiker when he returns to the trail?

Is anyone aware of a hiker with a thru-hiker permit who has been cited for not having a valid permit?
Yes there are rules in place. They are also easy to break. Anyone can say they are thru-hiking even if they are just doing the Smokies. It comes down to a question of character. With funding cuts and reduced personnel the rules become harder to enforce. It appears as though the person who started this thread fully intends to follow all the rules. I hope his group has a great hike. They may even consider bringing along some trail magic. Might be a good way to make friends at a crowded shelter:).

sliderule
02-15-2009, 21:55
Yes there are rules in place. They are also easy to break.

And the vast majority of "thruhikers" do break them.

Sly
02-15-2009, 21:58
Does a permit from Hot Springs (or Fontana) look any different than a permit from any of the other self-service permit stations?

Is a thru-hiker who leaves the trail (as in going to Gatlinburg) still a thru-hiker when he returns to the trail?

Is anyone aware of a hiker with a thru-hiker permit who has been cited for not having a valid permit?

A thru-hiker permit is self written and all it needs is "AT thru-hiker" written across it, you don't need to date or pick each shelter.

I believe the reserved permits are typed. They're also void if not on schedule or with the proper number of hikers listed.

Not sure if any one has been caught but according to the Companion it's a $125 fine and probably requires the quickest exit out of the park.

Sly
02-15-2009, 22:00
And the vast majority of "thruhikers" do break them.

How's that?

Marta
02-15-2009, 22:11
I believe the reserved permits are typed. They're also void if not on schedule or with the proper number of hikers listed.


I don't think this is correct. The actual permit one carries if one has a reservation is exactly the same form used by thru-hikers, and is also hand-written. If you have a permit, you show up at the backcountry kiosk and write out, night by night, where you'll be staying. There is a space for the permit number.

sliderule
02-15-2009, 22:13
A thru-hiker permit is self written and all it needs is "AT thru-hiker" written across it, you don't need to date or pick each shelter.

I believe the reserved permits are typed.

All the permit forms are the same. Only what the user writes on the form is different. They won't be typed unless you bring a typewriter with you.

Sly
02-15-2009, 22:16
I don't think this is correct. The actual permit one carries if one has a reservation is exactly the same form used by thru-hikers, and is also hand-written. If you have a permit, you show up at the backcountry kiosk and write out, night by night, where you'll be staying. There is a space for the permit number.

Yup, I'm wrong again.


Advance reservations are required to camp at the following sites:
All shelters
Backcountry Campsites 9, 10, 13, 23, 24, 29, 36, 37, 38, 47, 50, 55, 57, 61, 71, 83, 113 You can download a park trail map (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/Trail%20map%2008.pdf) to find the location of backcountry shelters and campsites in the park.
Plan your trip and determine which sites you wish to camp at. If your itinerary includes a reserved site or any shelter, you must call the Backcountry Reservation Office at (865) 436-1231 to make reservations. The Backcountry Reservation Office is open from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily. You may make reservations up to one month in advance of the first day of your trip. (For example, if you wish to backpack on August 8-12, you may call the Backcountry Reservation Office on July 8 to make reservations for the entire length of time you will be backpacking.) Be prepared to give your complete trip plan when calling the Backcountry Reservations Office.
Reservations for backcountry campsites may be obtained only by calling the phone number listed above. They are not available on the Internet or through email.
Please direct all questions concerning backpacking trip planning to the Backcountry Information Office at (865) 436-1297. The information office is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until noon (Eastern Standard Time).
When you arrive in the park, you must complete a permit at one of the 14 self-registration stations listed above. Your permit must designate the campsite or shelter at which you will stay for each night of your trip. Keep the permit with you and drop the top copy in the registration box.
If you do not plan to camp at a shelter or reserved campsite, then you only need to complete a permit. You do not need to call the Backcountry Reservation Office with your itinerary since no reservation is necessary.
The maximum stay at a campsite is three consecutive nights. You may not stay more than one night at any individual shelter. The use of tents at shelters is prohibited. The maximum group size is 8 persons. The park does not allow pets on backcountry trails.
Please call the reservations office to cancel any nights or spaces that become available because of changes in your plans.

Backpackers and hikers are subject to all Backcountry Rules and Regulations (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backcountry-regs.htm). Failure to abide by park regulations may subject you to a fine under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations. Maximum fine for each violation is $5,000 and/or 6 months in jail.

papa john
02-15-2009, 23:31
Oh well, there's a first time for everything.....

Rockhound
02-16-2009, 00:37
According to Appalachian Pages 4 spots will be reserved at shelters for thru-hikers. I'm sure more than 1 group of section hikers have been surprised to find out the shelters were not theirs alone. I heard 1 story of a guy wanting to take his girl on a romantic camping trip,thinking they would have the shelter to themselves, only to wind up sleeping with a bunch of dirty, smelly thru-hikers.

hikingshoes
02-16-2009, 02:34
This is true.the last time i was in the smokies doing some hiking ,i had to write my permit out for each night and which shelter i was going to be at on the date.:sun
I don't think this is correct. The actual permit one carries if one has a reservation is exactly the same form used by thru-hikers, and is also hand-written. If you have a permit, you show up at the backcountry kiosk and write out, night by night, where you'll be staying. There is a space for the permit number.

Rockhound
02-16-2009, 11:41
And the vast majority of "thruhikers" do break them.
Still like to know what rules you think "the vast majority" of thru-hikers break.

sliderule
02-16-2009, 12:59
Still like to know what rules you think "the vast majority" of thru-hikers break.

The one that requires them to remain on the Trail. Technically, one cannot spend the night (or longer) in Gatlinburg, then resume hiking in the Park on the original permit. (Fortunately for thru hikers, that rule does not appear to be enforced.)

ChinMusic
02-16-2009, 13:19
The one that requires them to remain on the Trail. Technically, one cannot spend the night (or longer) in Gatlinburg, then resume hiking in the Park on the original permit. (Fortunately for thru hikers, that rule does not appear to be enforced.)

Does that apply to section hikers? One option we are kicking around is to blow by Icewater, get picked up at NFG for the evening, and return in the morning. We were thinking it would be a game-day decision.

George
02-16-2009, 13:32
for wiggle room in the smokies you can self submit more than 1 permit(not prohibited) then you can be legal if you cannot make the planned schedule/does not work for permits

Sly
02-16-2009, 13:39
The one that requires them to remain on the Trail. Technically, one cannot spend the night (or longer) in Gatlinburg, then resume hiking in the Park on the original permit. (Fortunately for thru hikers, that rule does not appear to be enforced.)

I've never heard that for thru-hikers. Have a link?

Rockhound
02-16-2009, 13:50
The one that requires them to remain on the Trail. Technically, one cannot spend the night (or longer) in Gatlinburg, then resume hiking in the Park on the original permit. (Fortunately for thru hikers, that rule does not appear to be enforced.)
Just another reason to skip the tourist trap that is Gatlinburg.

sliderule
02-16-2009, 14:37
Does that apply to section hikers?

No. Only to those taking advantage of the "special dispensation" afforded to thru hikers.

Lone Wolf
02-16-2009, 14:38
Just another reason to skip the tourist trap that is Gatlinburg.

gatlinburg is a great town for a coupla days off

ChinMusic
04-15-2009, 17:45
The trip is still a "go", looking forward to it.

What town is best for a weather forecast? Or is there an actual site for the Smokies?

HikerRanky
04-15-2009, 18:08
What town is best for a weather forecast? Or is there an actual site for the Smokies?

Here you go (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/data/MRX/RTPMRX)

Was there last week, and the weather was in the low 60s during the day and 30s - 40s at night. Had some snow, but the storm on Good Friday dumped enough rain to get rid of that...

Have a BLAST!!!

Randy

ChinMusic
04-15-2009, 18:19
Thanks for the link but that looks backward. Is there a site that has predictions?

Mocs123
04-15-2009, 18:47
I missed this thread before, Chin. Have a good trip. You will have a long sustained climb coming out of Davenport Gap, and a few short steep climbs over Guyot, Chapman, Clingmans Dome, Briar Knob, and Thunderhead but overall isn't that bad. I did Newfound to Davenport in 2 days and Newfound to Fontana in 3, so you shouldn't have a problem. Be sure to check out Mt Cammerer and Shuckstack, as well as Rocky Top and Charlies Bunion.

Here is a link for the weather:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=GSP&llon=-84.057083&rlon=-83.057083&tlat=35.980417&blat=34.982917&smap=1&mp=0&map.x=157&map.y=93

ChinMusic
04-19-2009, 21:13
Thanks for the link Mocs.

ChinMusic
04-20-2009, 12:18
I find myself with an extra day. I'm thinking of doing a dayhike prior to the main trip.

What about: NFG (441) - AT north to The Boulevard Trail - take in Myrtle Point and Mt Le Conte - on to Alum Cave Trail - on to 441 parking lot.....about 13 miles.

Sound good?

ken209
04-20-2009, 16:53
I find myself with an extra day. I'm thinking of doing a dayhike prior to the main trip.

What about: NFG (441) - AT north to The Boulevard Trail - take in Myrtle Point and Mt Le Conte - on to Alum Cave Trail - on to 441 parking lot.....about 13 miles.

Sound good?
GO for it, you won't be sorry.

Ashepabst
04-20-2009, 17:47
What about: NFG (441) - AT north to The Boulevard Trail - take in Myrtle Point and Mt Le Conte - on to Alum Cave Trail - on to 441 parking lot.....about 13 miles.

Sound good?


not a dull moment on this hike. though, if you go on a weekend, you will be swamped with tourists on either end.

didymus128
04-20-2009, 18:13
i would actually recommend hopping off the at and enjoying some of the camp sites off the trail along the way. you will have plenty of solitude that way and be able to tent without being hassled by ridgerunners which will be out in full force this time of year.

ChinMusic
04-26-2009, 21:24
I find myself with an extra day. I'm thinking of doing a dayhike prior to the main trip.

What about: NFG (441) - AT north to The Boulevard Trail - take in Myrtle Point and Mt Le Conte - on to Alum Cave Trail - on to 441 parking lot.....about 13 miles.


Did this dayhike today and took in The Jumpoff as well. Myrtle Point was a great place for lunch and a nap. The day kicked my butt, esp the downhill on Alum at the end of the day.

On to the main hike tomorrow.

ChinMusic
04-30-2009, 10:48
Finished the first half and am in Gatlinburg. Leave tomorrow for the southern section. I was expecting the shelters to be bursting at the seams but nothing could be further from the truth. So far none of the shelters have been full.

Hikers met on the northern half were: ATWaterboy, IHavGon, Doc, Strider, Blue Eyes, Blue Sky, Green Lite, Shades, Smiling Bandit, Graveyard, Spicoli, Running Clear, Rabbit, and Slapshot.

Perfect weather during the three days with views probably as good as it gets. Mt Cammerer Tower was the highlight for me. Most of the thrus blew right past it as it is 0.6 off the trail. IMO skipping it is a mistake.

A fire to the east got our attention while at Pecks (my orig itinerary got changed), with smoke coming into camp. ATWaterboy had a Verizon phone (no one else had a connection) and the ranger said the fire was just outside the park in Cherokee, about 20 miles away. Once the fire got into the park it seems to have been taken care of, as we didn't notice smoke the next morning. Maybe the winds just shifted.

Having a great time.

double j
04-30-2009, 19:51
hmmmmm so it wasnt full. maybe ill leave my tent in the car