View Full Version : Great Smokies Section Hike!(ADVICE PLEASE)

07-31-2010, 18:56
My brother and I are in preperation for a section hike from Fontana Dam to Davenport TN. We will be starting the trail on September 15th and completing our trip on or around September 24th. This is the first hike we have ever been on thats more than a couple of miles. We are very excited and are trying to plan our trip well so that this will be rewarding and safe trip. We would greatly appreciate folks that have completed this section before to give us any information and advise they can offer. Is this a good time of year? Temp? Will it be busy? ETC! Anything that you would think we would need to know. Thank you for information that you might offer!

07-31-2010, 19:15
you're planning 9 days, and assuming your section hike is the AT from Fontana to Davenport, that should be more than enough time to do this hike. Unless you're planning to carry 9 days food, which is a lot, you could split the hike up and hitch into Gatlinburg at Newfound gap, and only carry 4 or 5 days food for each half of the hike.

weather that part of September can be hot or cold, but expect some rain. Last year they got a ton of rain the 2 weeks after Labor Day. But overall it should be nice weeather, a break hopefully from this recordsetting July heat/humidity. The AT in GSMNP will be busy in September, but not too bad. You need reservations for the shelters in the park. Have a nice hike.

07-31-2010, 19:16
First thing - make a tenative intinerary and on August 15th call and make shelter reservations.

Good luck!

SmokyMtn Hiker
07-31-2010, 19:22
I done my Smokies section in early October of 2008 SOBO. A few things to consider, first check the parks website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/ for up to date shelter closures or call the backcountry office for info. Bear activity seems to get worse as fall approaches so have several options on your itinerary. Most of the shelters have been renovated over the past few years so you are good there. The website and BC office also has info on water sources along the trail as it has been a dry summer as you know from living here in NC, springs at high elevations start drying up. Weather should be great that time of the year but be prepared for cooler nights at higher elevations any time of the year. Other than that take lots of photos as I did and make the best at whatever mother nature or the trail offers.

07-31-2010, 22:39
Thanks alot for the information.....we are super excited to make this hike but we are just a little nervous because of things we have heard about bears and we really dont know what to expect.

SGT Rock
08-01-2010, 07:06
Bears are overblown. I was just up there this week and didn't have any issues with bears at all. In fact, I had more bears in camp last year - but they shy away from humans in my experience.

The only real issue for now is water. It is getting dry up there. Spence Field was so slow it took 3 minutes to get one liter from the water source, Mollies Ridge is totally dry.

Rain Man
08-01-2010, 08:20
Since this sounds like your first over-nighter, I suggest you try to do at least one (or two) short-mileage over-night backpack trips close to home, for practice.

I did the AT through the GSMNP in 6 days/5 nights. It was a Spring Break weekend for my nephew, who went with me. And yes, call 30 days ahead for reservations, with your proposed itinerary in hand. Taking more days than I did would be fun and more leisurely.

Be sure to take cameras, with extra batteries and memory cards! IMHO. You may want to buy a "Stickpic" too. Wonderful little gadgets.

It can be very cold at night at those altitudes.

Like SGT Rock said, bear fears are over-rated (if you handle your food bags, etc, properly). Have a great hike!



08-01-2010, 10:59
I recall a Smokies hike in Aug-1996 where water was a big problem along the AT, we had to go down the Jonas Creek trail quite a drop in elevation to find water... the springs at the shelters near Clingmans were dry... made for a very tough hike. Dehydration is no fun up there in mid 90s and high humidity

SGT Rock
08-01-2010, 14:13
During the '07 drought I think there were about 50 miles of AT in the park without water.

08-01-2010, 16:13
I have 3 liter camel pack and two 20 ounce water bottels on my pack and my brother will have the same. What do you recommend as the best way to treat the water....it seems like you have to fill up when you come across it so would you use the treatment pills?

SGT Rock
08-02-2010, 06:51
I use iodine