View Full Version : Water availability NOC to Fontana

Currahee Jim
10-15-2010, 22:19
Planning a trip next week and wondering about usable water between NOC and Fontana, especially spring on Cheoah Bald. Appreciate any recent experience on this section.

10-15-2010, 22:31
I hiked this section two weeks ago...spring at Sassafras Shelter was good. Spring on the Bald was dry. Water at Brown Fork Shelter and Cable Gap shelter. Stream past Cable Gap shelter had water. I did not go down to the spring at Stecoah Gap....met a guy walking back up from the spring and he said it was dry....hard to believe it was dry...but I didn't check. Camel up when you can. I carried 3plus liters of water and didn't have any problems. Have a great hike...cheers.

10-17-2010, 15:51
I just hiked from Deep Gap Nc to Fontana this past week. Similar conditions. We had water every night. With cooler temps, we only had to carry a liter or so during the day and fill up at night for supper, breakfast and the next days water. Sassafras Gap shelter had good flow, and hiked to Cable Gap shelter the next night. Good water there too.

Captain Blue
10-18-2010, 16:51
BB - Do you recall if the spring at Locust Cove Gap, just north of Cheoah Bald, was flowing? I am hiking southbound and would like to water up there and stay on Cheoah Bald.

10-18-2010, 21:28
Capt, I was there yesterday. This spring isn't flowing unfortunately. There is a spring at Stecoah Gap by the road that is trickling, and apparently the shelter just S of Cheoah Bald has water, but nothing else :(

Captain Blue
10-18-2010, 22:22
Thank you Bidwell! This is good information!

10-18-2010, 23:35
Camped at the shelter south of cheoah bald...Sassafrass Gap. Only 1.2 miles south of bald. Hiked out about 7AM and was on the bald for sunrise. I loved this shelter. The spring (right by the shelter) had good flow, the privy was in good shape, had a nice fire ring and the shelter was really nice in general. It has a loft and a sort of a porch as well. Lots of good space for cooking. It was really cold that night and the frost was pretty thick on Cheoah Bald that morning.

Daydream Believer
10-19-2010, 07:11
I just got home from that section also...did it Oct 15,16,17. Brown Fork shelter is pretty much dry. I heard someone say it took them an hour to get one liter from the Spring there. Not sure about the one at the bottom of the hill. Cheoah Bald is almost certainly dry but I honestly did not look. I stayed at Sassafras Gap and there was good water there. Cable Gap also had good water.

My second night was at Cody Gap and there is water but you have to work for it. We found the stream bed and made a little depression and collected water there.

NOC to Winding Stair was in a bit better shape with water at all the shelters and even Wine Spring had a small pool under the rock...now that was a week ago when I pass through there so I don't if that is the same.

10-19-2010, 21:14
Wow, Daydream Believer...we must have just missed each other. I stayed at Sass Gap Thurs oct 14, and Cable Gap on Fri Oct 15!! Hiked with my partner, Flo, and spent Thurs and Fri nights with Ignu, 6 toes and Butter. Also a Sobo named Thor at Sass Gap and 2 men from Florida. How weird to be so close and not meet up with each other.

10-19-2010, 21:19
FYI...Flo is my HIKING partner...my husband just noticed how I phrased that!! lol

Daydream Believer
10-19-2010, 21:32
Wow, Daydream Believer...we must have just missed each other. I stayed at Sass Gap Thurs oct 14, and Cable Gap on Fri Oct 15!! Hiked with my partner, Flo, and spent Thurs and Fri nights with Ignu, 6 toes and Butter. Also a Sobo named Thor at Sass Gap and 2 men from Florida. How weird to be so close and not meet up with each other.

Good heavens...that was close! I camped at Sassafras Gap with the Florida guys I think. Were they older fellows? In this case there were three guys together. They sure could snore...you'd not likely forget them! :rolleyes:

I stayed at Sassafras the night of the 15th with a number of folks...all section hikers, then Cody Gap the night of the 16th with Ballhawk (a sobo thru) and then arrived at Fontana the afternoon of the 17th. How funny! You were a day ahead of me!

10-19-2010, 21:48
LoL - and you were a day of me... hiked from NOC to Fontana over the weekend... stayed on Cheoah Bald the 16th. What luck.

10-19-2010, 21:52
In case you were wondering, water at Stecoah Gap is hard to find, but this is how you get there... if you're going N, you'll walk down the stairs towards the road. But instead of going across the road towards the trail on the other side, go left. You'll walk around a bend in the road, and right before the guardrail on the left side, there's a private road. About 100 yards down this road, there's a spring on the left. The water was clean, but was flowing slowly. It was coming from a pipe. I got 100 oz here, took be about 10-15 minutes though.

Cabin Fever
10-19-2010, 21:59
I was on this section last weekend too! We didn't see water from Cable Gap all the way to Locust Cove Gap. There was a tiny pool there that we pumped dry three times to get 200ml. We went down the service road at Stecoah Gap and that pipe was dry. We did, however, successfully Yogi a bunch of water from some tourists. The best water on this section is near the top of the climb out of Fontana. That stream is flowing pretty good.

Daydream Believer
10-20-2010, 09:14
Since we were all there I thought I'd share my all time favorite photo I taken yet on the AT from the top of Cheoah Bald around 9:30 a.m. :)


10-20-2010, 11:24
Thanks for sharing the picture....when I got to the top of Cheoah Bald a couple of weeks ago it was raining and socked in....sorry I missed it!

Currahee Jim
10-21-2010, 11:33
Thanks all, for the info. Just finished a shortened hike from NOC to Stecoah Gap. My partner twisted an ankle on wet leaves coming down off Cheoah, and he/we hobbled the rest of the way to Stecoah. The only water we found was a nice flow from the spring in front of the Sassafrass Gap shelter. We met a hiker who said the spring at Brown Fork was literally drop by drop. Didn't look around at Stecoah cause we had our thumbs in the wind, but nothing there was obvious. Thanks Bidwell, for the detailed directions. Will remember that next time through.

Thanks for the great picture, Daydream. Visibility on Cheoah was only about 50 feet when we crossed, due to dense fog, so we missed a spectacular view.

Walk in peace.