View Full Version : Loop or Trip Suggestions in SNP

08-05-2013, 08:30
I'm trying to decide on where to go with my kids on their next break from school. It will be the last week in September. Probably leave our house on a Saturday, drive to the location either car camp or backpack to a site nearby and then backpack for Sunday-Thursday and then head back home. It will be me and my two kids so I need to keep the daily miles around 8-10 miles ideally. They can handle up to 14-16 miles with some elevation but I'd rather not push them hard everyday. Maybe just 1 or 2 longer days but trying to keep it around the 8-10 range if possible. I would rather pay for a shuttle than depend on hitching with the three of us if a loop isn't in the works. With kids I have too much to worry about and would rather just have the shuttle lined up if we need one.

We went to the smokies in March so I was thinking of trying out SNP. What are some must see places in the park? We would like to hike the AT as much as possible, but we are certainly not limited to only the AT. If we're better off driving part of the skyline drive and then backpacking different parts, that's cool too. I just want the kids to see the best of the park and to have a good time. We may just go back to GSMNP because it was snowing last time we were there, so there is much more that we could go see, but I like the idea of the ease of backpacking in SNP and thought there might be some good places to visit. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

08-05-2013, 09:36
If your kids are up to a challenging day loop hike then Old Rag is the ticket.
At 8.8 miles , this loop offers spectacular vistas and alpine like bouldering .

The second day hike I'd recommend is WhiteOak Canyon - Cedar Run Loop .
This loop offers more half dozen cascading waterfalls and many watering holes to cool off in,

Staying on the AT is easier but the true rewards of SNP are in the blueblaze trails off the ridgeline.

There are 2 day loops that offer back country camping , and solitude if that's something you prefer.
Look at the Big Run area in the southern district.

08-05-2013, 13:11
I second Old Rag as a GREAT trip except when the weather is warm. The crowds are terrible and you actually have to wait in line at some of the choke points. White Oak - Cedar Run is awesome so many water falls.

Further south near Loft Mtn I suggest RipRap Hollow. I was there 2 weeks ago and the falls are great and the swimming hole was perfect. Also in the same area is the Doyles River - Jones run Loop, again many water falls and swimming holes (I was here last friday)

Here is some more info on both hikes:

RipRap Hollow: http://www.hikingupward.com/SNP/RiprapHollow/
Doyles River: http://www.hikingupward.com/SNP/JonesRunDoylesRiver/

In the Northern District Mary's Rock is a great destination, out of this world views. There are many routes to get to Mary's Rock depending on what you are looking for.

Mary's Rock:


or A short steep climb from the Rt211 entrance on Skyline drive

or a longer Hike on the AT to Mary's Rock from many access points on Skyline Drive south of the Rt 211 Entrance.


08-07-2013, 19:59
I found two good backpacking sites not far from Rose River Falls. And a good pool to swim in. The trail leading to Dark Hollow follows Rose River with some nice pools. You can access it via the Horse trail from Big Meadows leading north, across Fishers Gap, to intersect the Rose River Falls trail. For Old Rag you'd likely need to go off trail to the bottom. You can access Old Rag from the top of the Skyline drive via the fire road (near Skyland) or some side trails off the fire road, but it's a long haul. No camping at Old Rag. Unfortunately many of the waterfalls in White Oak you can't see except in the winter. The best one to get up close and personal is the lowest falls. Cedar Run is nice but steep in places.

08-08-2013, 09:47
Thanks for the replies. After looking over the options I couldn't really find something that would eat up 5-7 days so we are going to head back to GSMNP. Looks like some decent shorter trips though. We'll have to get there some day. Thanks for the suggestions.

Teacher & Snacktime
08-08-2013, 22:11
My grandson and I will be in SNP that last week too...I think. He's 11 (see our profile) and I imagine he'd love to do some hiking with other kids (instead of always being with an old lady!) PM me if you think you'd be interested.