View Full Version : Concern about getting a permit...

04-22-2010, 18:23
I, unexpectedly, found out that I'm going to be in Franklin, NC in a few days(on the 24th of May), and plan on hiking a few days on the Trail while there. How can I get a permit, or do I need one for 2 days of hiking/camping?

SGT Rock
04-22-2010, 18:27
You don't need a permit to hike, just to camp out. What you need to do is figure out where you want to go and call in as soon as you can to make sure you can get your reservations for any site needing reservations. If you are hiking the AT you could be in luck for permits for the areas you want to go. If you are not planning on doing the AT in the Smokies, there is a good possibility you can go with a plan that keeps you out of reservation only sites. 865-436-1231.

Transient Being
10-11-2010, 18:17
I'm planning on resuming NB from Fontana Dam where I stopped last trip. I just found out that I will need a permit to camp? Is this correct? If so, can you get them there?

10-11-2010, 23:06
I'm planning on resuming NB from Fontana Dam where I stopped last trip. I just found out that I will need a permit to camp? Is this correct? If so, can you get them there?

Copied strait from the GSMNP trail map:

Permits are required when camping in
the backcountry. Camping is permitted
only at designated sites. These
backcountry sites require reservations: 9,
10, 13, 17, 20, 21, 23, 24, 29, 36, 37, 38,
46, 47, 50, 55, 57, 60, 61, 71, 83, 86, 90,
and 113, and all shelters require reservations.

(See the chart at right.)

Reservations may be made up to one
month prior to the first day of the trip.
For example, if you wish to backpack on
August 8-12, you may call for reservations
on July 8 to reserve space for the
entire length of your trip.

So basically all shelters and campsites along the AT require a reservation. To get a reservation, call 865-436-1231 (the number is frequently busy), and if the sites you desire on the nights you want have availability, they will issue you a reservation number that you fill-out on the "self-registration" permit stations (basically, any ranger station). So basically, you issue yourself a permit at any ranger station, but if you are staying at any of the sites listed above, you must also have a reservation number to fillout on the permit. (You fillout a permit, keep one copy, and drop the other copy in the lock-box at the rangers station. Because the permits are located outside the ranger stations, you can fill them out 24/7/365).

Now if you are a through-hiker (as GSMNP defines it) I've heard that the rules are different... that you don't have to have a reservation number, that two spots are always held open for through hikers, and through hikers are allowed to setup a tent at shelters if the shelter is full. However, a through hiker is defined as someone who begins AND ends their hike 50 miles or more outside of the park. So if you are starting at Fontana, you won't fit the definition of the through hiker. (There might be other stipulations for through hikers I'm unaware of).

10-13-2010, 19:27
Many of the shelters along the AT will be full during October. It is peak color in the park right now and everyone is out in mass, especially on the weekends. Try to avoid the following shelters if possible as are the ones that get filled the fastest.

Icewater, Collins, Double Springs, Spence.

Tricorner is also a popular horse traffic location this time of year, so that one might get busy too.

This is also the start of SOBO season in the park. not many of those, but they will be in packs of 6-8 usually, so could fill up shelters. Plan to carry a shelter system of some sort (tent, hammock,tarp, etc). you will be required to camp within sight of a shelter, but there is ample camping space around most of them.

yes, the reservation number is almost ALWAYS busy. You will find the self registration forms near the restrooms at the Fontana Marina. Big brown USFS sign out front near where the trail crosses hwy 28.

10-14-2010, 10:55
Also note that Russell Field Shelter is closed for repairs:

10-21-2010, 17:29
Russell Field renovations were completed 2 weeks ago. It is now open for business. :)

Transient Being
10-21-2010, 19:18
Well, after calling numerous times and getting a busy signal, I decided to register as a thru-hiker. No problems, didn't even see a ridge runner, and never had a full shelter. In fact, a couple of nights there were only two or three people in the shelters, myself included. Had a great time.

Transient Being
10-21-2010, 19:22

I found out you can register online while I was out there tho.

Transient Being
10-21-2010, 19:25
I just actually read the webpage I just posted, and I think what I said above is incorrect.