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  1. #1

    Default backpack with 6 year old, 1-2 nights in GA

    Hi,
    Want to do my 1st backpack trip with my 6 year old son/minion. Looking for a section, something special, easy access to water nice we can be wowed by. Not sure how many miles we could do per day, and we could stay either in shelter or tent.

    Look fwd to some suggestions

    Thank you!

  2. #2

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    Leave the kid home, you'll only slow him down.

  3. #3
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    Grayson Highlands. There's a visitor center, campgrounds, hiking trails, ponies....

    Big Meadows Campground in SNP, has showers, laundry room, is near a lodge and waterfalls (pls watch your son), AT goes right by the campgrounds
    Last edited by Acacia; 04-21-2016 at 04:48.

  4. #4
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Hey, guys, great suggestions but none of those places is in Georgia, and the OP doesn't need a ten hour drive each way for an overnight with a six year old.

    My daughter did her first overnight backpacking trip when she was not quite five years old, a ~9 mile loop in central Virginia over Cold Mountain. We camped right off the summit - great trip, even though we had all the wrong gear. She had been doing a lot of day hiking and car camping up to that point, so we knew she was good for 5-6 miles a day or more, and of course she had basically no pack weight. It helped that we had done that loop as a long day hike previously.

    The AT between Springer and Neels Gap crosses a Forest Service road about a hundred times. (OK, slight exaggeration.) You could do the hike from Springer to the gap just past Hawk Mountain, with Long Creek Falls as the prime tourist spot (and maybe camp nearby? Not sure.) Or hike over Blood Mountain from Woody to Neels Gap, which is a tough climb but has a great view from the top. (Avoid late spring since there is a bear canister requirement then.) If you call the outfitter at Neels Gap they can give you better suggestions, I'm sure, along with names of local shuttle drivers.

    Good luck and have a great hike.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  5. #5

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    Without knowing his hiking experience, as a great intro to backpacking with high reward, parking at neels and hiking up to blood mountain for a night of tenting. a longer trip could be made from springer parking lot up to the summit, and then grab the packs on the way back thru the parking lot and head north for as long as his tender heart desires, when he gets tired, tent and turn around the next day and come home Enjoy your time with him, fumes will be here before you know it(car fumes, and perfumes). lol
    Trail Miles: 4,007.6 - AT Trips: 70
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  6. #6
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat. My little guy is 6 soon to be 7. He has a lot of local trail experience and a week this summer on the AT is a huge adventure for him. The rule of thumb is a mile per year of age (not including toddlers to grade 12). Be prepared to go slow, take a lot of breaks, bring a lot of snacks, and be prepared to answer a million questions. I normally just have him wear a small school backpack with his snacks, water and raingear. You've got many miles to choose from in GA. Amicola Falls has intrest for a kid and has alot of trails including the approach trail to Springer but the hike up Springer Mtn may be a day itself.

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    A non-AT option is Tallulah Falls in northeast Georgia. "Only" about a bazillion steps down into the gorge, but awesome waterfalls. Can be dangerous in spots, so please pay attention.

    http://gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge/
    One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor (100 per day, not available during water releases). A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls. Tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge, and visitors can still see towers used by Karl Wallenda. A paved path follows an on old railroad bed, perfect for strollers and bicycles, while mountain bikers can test their skills on a challenging 10-mile trail.

  8. #8
    Registered User FatMan's Avatar
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    Hey Tomoblino, I see you also posted about a car camping site. You can combine the two at Lake Winfield Scott campground near Suches. It is a great place to car camp with a nice small lake with a beach, good fishing, and two access trails to the AT. You could incorporate an overnight back pack trip to the Blood Mtn Shelter. It is a short hike but being a first time I would think short is better, especially with a long climb.

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  10. #10
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle fast View Post
    Be prepared to go slow, take a lot of breaks, bring a lot of snacks, and be prepared to answer a million questions.

    This reminds me just how much I had to feed my kid when she was hiking. Homemade beef jerky was a big hit.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  11. #11

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    one of the most impressive spots for a in-and-out hike is Raven Cliff Falls. the whole trail is alongside the water and there are a couple of swimming holes and smaller waterfalls along the way. it's only 5 miles round trip and the terrain is not that difficult. there are spots that you can stop and set up camp if your boy gets tired without having to make it to the top of the trail...

    http://www.atlantatrails.com/hiking-...n-cliff-falls/

  12. #12
    Registered User No Directions's Avatar
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    You might check out The Pine Mountain Trail in FDR State Park. South of Atlanta. The trail is 23 miles long and crosses a highway with parking many times. The highest elevation in the park is 1600" but it's in the middle of flat land so you get plenty of views. There are 16 back country campsites. And I can't confirm this but I have heard that park rangers will shuttle you within the park.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatMan View Post
    Hey Tomoblino, I see you also posted about a car camping site. You can combine the two at Lake Winfield Scott campground near Suches. It is a great place to car camp with a nice small lake with a beach, good fishing, and two access trails to the AT. You could incorporate an overnight back pack trip to the Blood Mtn Shelter. It is a short hike but being a first time I would think short is better, especially with a long climb.
    This is a great option. Also, you can car camp at Dockery Lake, do a hike on the Dockery Lake Approach Trail, camp on the ridge ( there are several established sites along the way, including on the AT at Miller Gap), and return to your campsite at the Lake.

  14. #14
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    There are some lovely campsites on the Dockery Lake trail that are only a mile or two in--hemlock groves, rhododendron cathedrals, and mountain streams with moss-covered boulders. One of my favorite trails, and perfect for a little one.

  15. #15

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    Panthertown Valley near Cashiers, NC would be a great place. Took one of my daughters on her first overnight there. It has endless trails, stream, waterfalls and nice views. Lots of options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Directions View Post
    You might check out The Pine Mountain Trail in FDR State Park. South of Atlanta. The trail is 23 miles long and crosses a highway with parking many times. The highest elevation in the park is 1600" but it's in the middle of flat land so you get plenty of views. There are 16 back country campsites. And I can't confirm this but I have heard that park rangers will shuttle you within the park.
    Pine Mountain is a good first backpacking trip choice. It's about two hours from Atlanta. There are a lot of choices in terms of trail heads.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
    Thoreau

  17. #17

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    Here's what we did with our son at that age. We had him carry a camelback that had some space for him to carry his snacks and his sleeping buddy. We carried the rest of the gear. You will likely do more stopping than walking. I can't suggest a trail for you but we let him take pictures of stuff (much easier with digital these days) and we got a little pocket identifying book for local flowers and mushrooms and such. Also, bring a card game if he likes that stuff or rope to practice knot tying. If you can camp where fires are allowed I would suggest that as its a great way to treat "ethics" including LNT principles. Yes, that's right. Stories around the campfire are good if you are a good story teller. Maybe pack a couple marshmallows even. I also carried a guide to the night stars disc. And a compass. So much to DO when hiking with a young one that doesn't involve Long hours of hiking.


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  18. #18

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    I have 3 boys, each four years apart. They started backpacking when my youngest was 6.

    We went from springer to Hightower, I ran back to get the car, camping at Long Creek Falls.

    Next was Hightower to Woody, camping at Gooch Mountain shelter, and I ran back to get the car.

    Gooch to Woody, Woody to Jarrard, Jarrard to Neels, all done as slackpacks while car camping at Lake Winfield Scott.

    Neel to Hogpen, dayhike, I ran back and got the car.

    Hogpen to Poplar Stomp Gap, camped at Low Gap, (Our first winter camp) I ran back to get the car.

    Poplar Stomp to Unicoi, camping at Blue, I ran back to get the car.

    Unicoi to Tray Gap, camp at Cheese Factory site, I ran back to get car.

    Tray Gap to Dicks Creek, camped at Sassafras Gap, shuttle back to get Car.

    Dicks creek to Blue Ridge Gap, camp at Plumorchard Gap, I packed back to car while they packed to Blue Ridge, dropped packs off in car and finished with daypacks to Bly and Back.

    So, we did 9 trips including 7 backpacks to finish GA.

  19. #19

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    Thank you!

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    MAJOR POINT #1: Don't overload a 6 year old! When my 7 year old went hiking, he only carried his clothes - meaning 2 extra pairs of socks, a change of clothes, and a fleece.....
    MAJOR POINT #2: I suggest going for about 5-7 miles a day. Allow the child to stop to "smell the roses," meaning check out any plant, insect, etc. that attracts his/her attention!

    Have fun!!!

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