View Full Version : Hiking Highlands in January

11-19-2010, 11:04
There's a winter hammock hang scheduled for Mt Rogers January 21, 22, 23 2011 at the Wise Shelter, and I wanted to hike the park over three days or so. I'd thought about hiking from troutdale south to the wise shelter one day. and probably hike the section from damascus north on two days -- staying in some mysterious way at the wise shelter each night. The advice I've gotten so far from my fellow hammockers is that the AT in the Highlands is pretty hard to find if there is any snow, and pretty much impossible to follow in the dark. I do have a lot of winter hiking experience, with the related walking in the dark thing -- but have been inclined to skip the highlands in january. the question is -- with weather forecasts in hand -- is it a reasonable hike for an experienced cold weather hiker, and if so, with how much snow? Oh, yes, I will have microspikes.

11-19-2010, 14:27
We hike up there all the time. Finding the trail will be difficult in severe weather, whiteout conditions, etc., but if the weather is good, and it's just snow on the ground, the A.T. is not that hard to follow.

You can do Dickey Gap south to Wise Shelter in a day pretty easily. Harder to hike from Damascus north to Wise in one day, but an overnight hike, staying near Lost Mountain, would work. Or you could just do a nice loop around Mt Rogers from the Wise Shelter, using the AT, Mt Rogers Trail, Lewis Fork Trail, and Pine Mountain Trail. If you get the Natl Geo map, it's pretty obvious.