View Full Version : Backcountry sites @ SMNP from elkmont

11-02-2004, 14:07
Just curious if anyone has stayed at any of the following back country sites

- 21 Medicine Br Bluff
- 24 Rough Creek
- 23 Camp Rock
- 30 Three Forks

I am heading out this weekend for a quick overnight hike and just looking for any opinions on these backcountry tent sites. Right now I am leaning towards Three Forks, but cant seem to find much online about any of the sites.

Thanks- :cool:

11-02-2004, 14:51
21 is in a nice spot, but was fairly well trashed when I went through last winter. Water was non-existent as well, but might be flowing at other times.

I haven't stayed at 24, but have hiked by many times. It is non-o

Ditto for 23. I usually pass these by as Double Springs shelter is not far, has reliable water even in the winter time, and doesn't get many visitors as Silars is closer.

To get to 30, you have to ford (not rock hop) a minor creek. In the winter, this might be tough. Again, I haven't stayed there.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but I usually hike past all of these spots on the way to the AT. Sugarland Mountain is a good trail, by the way, and one of the easiest and most scenic ways up to the AT, especially in the winter.

11-02-2004, 15:39
Thanks man. Just looking for a lil feedback since I have not stayed at any of those sites yet. I was going to try silers bald over in NC, but feel a lil unsafe about the parking situation.

11-02-2004, 16:19
You can approach Silar from a few places. You could go out along the AT from NewfoundGap (Clingman's will be closed soon). Parking at Newfound Gap will be the least safe, I think. I haven't had problems, though. This is also the easiest approach and the most common.

You could park on the road to Elkmont (Little River road) and hike up the Sugarland mountain trail all the way to the AT (junctions near Mount Collins) then along the AT. Loop back described below. I've left my car there for three days without issue. The trailhead is quite large, as there is a popular waterfall hike leaving on a trail close by. This would be a long hike, but very nice.

Or, you can park in near Elkmont and take Jakes Creek and Miry Ridge up to the AT and over to Silars. This is the shortest and easiest way up, but I think least scenic option. I've left my car for three days at the trailhead without incident. The parking lot is off the main campground road and I would consider it fairly safe (I prefer safety through obscurity).

Another option I've done is to leave from Elkmont and take the Little River trail (big, pretty, flat, almost paved). You might have some fords to do, though (I had the first time, but later it was bridged). Pick up Goshen Prong trail right near where a woman was killed by a bear a few years ago. Goshen Prong is a nice trail and lead to close by Double Springs. No problems leaving my ride for 3 days in Elkmont.

I've also approached from the south (Fontana), but this is longer, very wet, and very isolated at times. It is one of my favorites in the park. No problem with my car for 3 days at the Fontana trailhead.

11-02-2004, 16:39
Very good info man.

The only route I was pondering is parking at Twenty Mile ranger station and hiking up to sheep pen gap for the night. Again, I havent been over to that ranger station and am unsure about the area around there.

I usually hike out of Big Creek, Cosby, Cades Cove, or Elkmont.
I guess I will just flip a coin or let my wife decide. LOL :banana

Thanks again man.

11-02-2004, 20:37
Article in last Sunday's paper said park officials were dealing with massive amounts of trail damage from the hurricanes. Mentioned lots of down trees, washed out bridges/footlogs, and treadway erosion. I don't know how much of a problem it is for a determined hiker or if the damage tends to be localized.
That kind of mess can be a pisser.

Site 23 has several scattered tent sites to choose from. Nice spot, good water.

11-03-2004, 00:25
Yeah I hear ya about the trail conditions. I am actually checking into all of that tomorrow. Hopefully things are good to go otherwise I will make do and fight my way through. Been there done that before :bse

Any other good star gazing camp sites anyone would recommend?

11-03-2004, 03:55
go tohttp://nps.gov/grsm/ to get road closures , trail and campsite closures and bear activity reports

11-03-2004, 04:03
if you've never been to #38 Mt Sterling you should check it out. It has a wonderful sunrise view from the fire tower. Good tent sites as well, just pack in the water. I think the closest water is about .5m on steep Baxter Creek trail. Pack warm it's cold up there.

11-03-2004, 06:25
Yeah #38 is awesome. I do a loop up there every winter specially when nasty snow / weather is forcasted. It gives me the chance to use out nice 4 season test and to bust out some of the mountaineering gear. HEHE. The last few years my brother and I try to hit that campsite for a lil snow camping. Needless to say we are never disappointed :);)

11-03-2004, 10:54
Stealth at High Rocks, Gregory Bald, Rocky Top, and Mt. Cammerer.