View Full Version : Where to camp?

08-29-2011, 21:10
We are planning our first hike starting at springer and ending at Neels Gap. We are planning on taking three days (2 nights) to do this. My question is, where can we tent camp? The shelters (and tent sites) seem to be at 7.8 miles or 15. We are hoping to do 10-12 miles a day. Are there places to set up camp in between shelters?

This will be our first section of the AT and we are also bringing my dog. I've read a lot of the posts about first time hikers and dogs, but if anyone has helpful advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks:)

Old Hiker
08-29-2011, 21:15
Yep - lots of places to camp. Just look for the "flat" areas! ;) Lots of people say to eat meals at the shelters for the social aspect and then hike on a few miles.

Looked at hammocks? That opens up a vast area of available places to camp.

Good luck and enjoy!

08-29-2011, 23:56
You won't have any problem finding nice campsites in GA. One word of advice. . . the first section follows along Forest Service Road 42 (crossing it several places). You don't want to camp close to the FSR if you can help it. I've been there several times when people drive in rowdy and drinking and set up camp just off the road. They tend to build big fires and spend the night drinking. Not saying it happens often, but it does happen. Just stay up away from the road.

You might want to contact the Hiker Hostel and get the name and phone number of some vets in the area in case your dog gets injured or sick and you need help. I would carry those numbers and the HH phone number in case you need a pick up early for whatever reason. The cell phones usually work well on the high places.


08-30-2011, 10:29
Thank you guys. I've looked at some videos and I was just worried it would be hard to find places. We are trying to camp away from roads a little and because I've never been on it thought it might be a problem.

Any opinions on if I need to filter my dogs water? We have been training him to stop at water crossings (I dont think everyone wants my dog drinking out of their water supply) so I can fill his bowl. When we hike at home, he just drinks out of streams. I think he will be ok just to drink stream water from his bowl? Thanks again.

08-30-2011, 10:46
Thanks for training your dog not to drink out of springs and streams!

I'm still trying to get my puppy set on that front. I usually just end up tying him off to a tree out of reach from the spring. How did you do it?

Your dog can drink water straight out of springs. There's a risk of infection, but it's minimal. Last figure I heard was that 1 in .0004 BACKCOUNTRY water sources are biologically contaminated. That obviously does not include runoff from agriculture, etc. Even within that 1/2,500 chance of drinking 'bad' water, most infections will be bacterial (sick for hours), or not in a high enough quantity to actually make you ill. If that risk is too high, then treat his water. The same goes for you, of course.

Just be careful around shelters where people are gross.

Off the top of my head, there's a really nice campsite at the stream between Sassafrass Mtn. and the shelter just north of it. It'll probably be about the right amount of miles for you.


08-30-2011, 12:22
We make him heel as we approach the water. When he is heeling, if we stop he automatically sits. So, when we get to water, we stop, he sits. Most the time we make him heel across it (his head stays right by our thigh when he is heeling so he doesn't drink.) One out of every 4 water crossing or so, once he sits we tell him free and let him do what he wants. Its not perfect yet, but he is definitely getting there.

We are also trying to get him to hike in between my husband and I (my husband in front, then the dog, then me in back). This definitely helps with stopping him before he gets to water. I think it will also help keep him from getting hurt (snakes, porcupine, bears, etc.) and keep him from approaching people who don't want a dog running up to them.

This will be his first overnight trip, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. He is carrying his pack on day hikes fine, got microchipped just in case he somehow gets lost, is working up to longer hikes, etc. Oh, any opinions on dog boots? I know it probably depends on the dog, but thoughts would be great. Thanks:p

max patch
08-30-2011, 12:58
If this is your first hike, and more importantly your dogs first hike, let me give you an alternative.

Consider Springer to Woody instead. 20 miles instead of 30. Camp at Hickory Flatts (great place for a dog to play if he is up to it) and Justus Creek.

If you find that your original goal of Neels is achievable, then your 3rd day can be an out and back from Woody. Or continue on to Neels and pay for (another) shuttle back to Woody.

Springer to Neels in 3 days is no big deal for most hikers. I'm just thinking about the dog.

08-30-2011, 19:12
Sounds like you have a very well mannered dog :)