View Full Version : Damascus to Massie Gap

09-16-2012, 18:02
Hello All. I'm a section hiker and about to do my seventh section later in October. Once again my group leaves the planning to me. Once again I'm seeking advice on this trip.
This is my rough outline so far:
Day 1 : Start in Damascus go 8.5 miles to Saunders shelter
Day 2 : 6.6 miles to Lost Mountain Shelter
Day 3 : 12.2 miles to Thomas Knob Shelter
Day 4 : 4.7 miles out to Massie Gap

Couple questions. Day 2 seems awfully short. Is there anywhere to camp if we push past Lost Mountain Shelter? Looks like the Whitetop Mtn area or Elk Garden area better fits the miles we like to do in one day. I'm just not sure about camping near there.

What about water availability at these shelters? Anyone have any recent experience with them?

What about hotel recommendations in Damascus for the night we arrive before the hike?

Must see and do restaurants?

Thanks in advance for your help

09-16-2012, 19:11
Was in Grayson highlands about 6-7 weeks ago and it was very dry around Thomas Knob shelter. Someone may have a more recent update than that though.

09-16-2012, 19:24
I would continue past Thomas Knob shelter to Wilburn Ridge. There is a spring at the intersection of Crest trail and AT, it was flowing fine last week. Camping is plentiful by Wilburn Ridge, the sunset and sun rise are well worth it.

09-16-2012, 21:44
I don't remember any camping at Elkmont. It is just a gravel pulloff with some parking. As soon as you cross the road from there going NOBO you are in the highlands area and theres not a lot till you get to Thomas Knob Shelter. Nice two story shelter, water behind it in the fenced in area.

Captain Skivvies
09-16-2012, 22:56
I was in this area in June. We camped at Elk Garden. There is a nice site just south of the parking lot, although it might be a little close to the lot for some. There may be water on the trail in but there is no water at the parking lot. A nice comode though. There is a spring in the field across the road or down the path to the west of the lot. Both are about a 1/4 mile away. If you have tents the balds across the highway would be a great place to set up for the night. Take your time from Thomas knob to Massey as this is a wonderful section. Hope you get to see the ponies.

09-16-2012, 22:58
Day 2 is short & that is a real easy section I would say go on a few miles further just below the accent to Buzzard rock, that is one very tough climb if anyone in your group isn't in very ggod shape. If you're all in good shape, there is good camping on whitetop with a great reliable spring. Thomas Knob is agood shelter to visit but there is exceptional camping shortly after it. Also if you're not parking a car at Massie Gap & you're going to grab a shuttle, I suggest you going all the way to Fox Creek & getting picked up there, there some beautiful hiking past Wise shelter & it then you will have completed all of the Grayson Highlands. Not sure about the current h20 situation??

Stay at "the Place" in Damascus, it's a $6 a night stay right in the middle of town & they could always use the $$ & extra if you feel like giving it. The Old Mill in Damascus sits on a nice steam & has outdoor dining & Quincey;s is always popular as well. Enjoy, it's an amazing section!!!

09-16-2012, 23:48
Go past Lost Mt shelter about 2 miles (about 1/2 miles past US58 Summit Cut crossing) and there's a small stream and camping. A mile or so further is a grassy area and parking at SR 601 with boxed spring (probably only a trickle right now) camping there, or there is a camping spot a 1/4 mile further up Beech Mt near a pine grove.
That would put you in prime position to climb Beech while fresh -it can seem long at the end of the day. That makes it easier to push a mile on to Wilburn (a fair to good spring is down over the hill from the horse trail) the next day, and on to Fox Creek the next (if that distance is doable). Have fun -beautiful area anytime of the year.

max patch
09-17-2012, 10:19
I always get a hotel with a breakfast buffet in Abingdon.