View Full Version : Section Hike: Hogpen Gap to Fontana Dam

Ernest Snomin
03-06-2012, 11:06
Hey everyone! I'm ready to get out of this cubicle and do some hiking. I'm currently planning my annual section hike. This is my fourth section hike. I've been skipping around a little bit down south. This year I want to hike from Hogpen Gap to Fontana Dam.

Does anyone have any favorite spots or things to share from when they hiked this section?

Happy trails!

03-06-2012, 13:55
I covered the Georgia section in early April 2004, and then Standing Indian to Fontana Dam last May.
I really enjoyed the hike along the old flat railroad bed from Hogpen Gap to Blue Mountain, although it would have been nicer with leaves on the trees. Of course, the rugged climb up to Blue Mountain was tough at the end of an 18-mile day.
Perhaps I'm a little weird, but I really loved the climb out of Dicks Creek Gap (Hiawassee) up to Bly Gap on a lovely spring day. Maybe it was the overnight in Hiawassee and the extra food that powered me up the mountain.
Mid-May seems to be a sweet spot for this section, with leaves on the trees but still-reasonable daytime temperatures and few insects. I found that the section from Standing Indian to Wayah Gap was much easier than I had anticipated. See if you can get to Siler Bald on a nice evening in time for sunset, which was incredible. We camped in the gap below the open summit instead of trekking another half mile to the shelter.
Wesser Bald Tower was absolutely incredible...the best view south of Max Patch in my opinion.
I experienced a touch of vertigo as I approached Jump Up Overlook, with the Nantahala River far, far below. Really cool. Don't miss the little cave just below the Overlook, above your left shoulder just as you circle below the overlook.
One of my favorite relaxing afternoons was sitting by the side of the river at NOC with a few bottles of microbrewed IPA purchased from the store across the street, shooting the breeze with a number of aspiring thru-hikers on a lovely sunny day.
I'd try to avoid Sassafras Gap Shelter and either camp atop Cheoah Bald or hike a few more miles and tent at Locust Grove Gap.
Don't get psyched out by the steepness of the climb out of Stecoah Gap (actually out of Sweetwater Gap a few miles north) -- like the Mt. Albert climb it's pretty short and would only be really bad on a hot, humid day.
Have a great hike!

03-06-2012, 16:01
Kerosene...your vivid description makes me want to take the next few days off and HIKE! :)

George P Burdell
03-06-2012, 22:18
Siler Bald (not Silers) is my favorite campsite in this section. Nighttime views of Franklin to the east and dark skies with no light pollution to the north and south.

Also, I have run into lots of wild hogs on the 5 miles north of Hogpen Gap, no joke. I always try and make lots of noise around there when I'm coming up on dense stands of young pine trees or thick rhododendron.