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  1. #1
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    Default Short hike in GA/NC/TN

    Taking the wife and another couple on a hike in a few weeks. They cannot cover a ton of ground but I still want to take them to a killer spot. Was thinking Blood Mountain, GA but I have done it several times and would like to change it up. Any advice is welcome. Thanks

  2. #2

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    how much ground?
    bunch of pretty easy scenic trails at max patch, NC

    also good options in the smokies that aren't too crowded that time of year

  3. #3
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    Raven Cliff Falls Trail. Not that far from Blood Mountain, 4.9 miles round trip with a moderate rating, with the falls at the far end.

  4. #4
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Mt Rogers area in SW Virginia. Come straight in on I-40 to I-81 north, and head for Grayson Highlands State Park. Lots of good overnight or 2-3 night loops in the area. Open balds, wild ponies.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  5. #5
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    The only trails I'm familiar with in the GA/NC/TN area is going to be the Great Smoky Mountains.

    You don't specify how many nights you want to plan for, so for the moment, I'll assume one night.

    1st suggestion: Trip to Gregory Bald.
    Hike up Gregory Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald Trail, take a side trip to Moore Spring to water up for the rest of the day, proceed to Gregory Bald where you should have a wonderful view over looking Cades Cove. The campsite is less than 1/2 mile past the bald... and if you get there early enough, the thing I like to do is hike my stove and dinner back up to the bald, cook and eat at the bald and hang around for sunset. The campsite is about 6 miles from the trail head... but the BAD news is that it's about a 3,000' elevation climb from the trail head to the camp site. But on the plus side, you don't have to double back to return to your car. You can instead hike down Gregory Bald trail to Parson's Branch Road (currently closed to vehicle traffic, but you can still walk it) making for a 7 mile trip back to the car.

    2nd Suggestion: Mt. LeConte Shelter
    The shelter is only about 5 to 8 miles from the trail head, depending upon how you go.
    IMHO, the base way to do LeConte is to have two vehicles or use a shuttle so that you can enter from New Found Gap along the 8 mile combined path of the AT and Boulevard Trails. This path has several scenic spots, but with some ups and downs, it has a cumulative 2,500 elevation gain (even though the NET elevation gain is about only 1,500). Next day, leave via Alum Cave Trail (a trail some say has the most spectacular scenery of any trail in the park). The trail is pretty much all down hill for a 2,500 elevation loss in about 5 miles.

    3rd Suggestion: Abrams Falls
    If the elevation changes of the 1st two suggestions scare you off, the next suggestion is a trip that will take you by Abrams Falls. IMHO, this is the prettiest waterfall in the entire park. You can stay at campsite #17 located only about 4 miles from the Abrams Falls Trail head. The elevation change is relatively minor (as far as GSMNP trails go), with a 500' elevation difference between the campsite, and the highest point located about a mile from the trail head. Campsite #17 is located on a nice flat area at the ruins of an old homestead just above Abrams Creek. If you go to the bottom of the hill just past the campsite, there is a small sandy beach on Abrams Creek, a nice spot to haul your stove and food to have dinner. If you want more that an out-n-back hike, it's possible to make a loop using Rabbit Creek Trail. However, this loop requires that one leg of the trip be about 8 miles in length. Either hike 8 miles the 1st day taking Rabbit Creek to Hannah Mtn to Abrams Falls Trail to #17, or hike 8 miles the 2nd day staying at campsite #15 along Rabbit Creek, and finish the loop using Abrams Falls trail without taking the left hand turn down to #17. You'd might think about balancing the distance a little bit by staying at campsite #16, but it isn't as nice as #15. While I personally like the idea of finishing this loop with a visit to Abrams Falls, you can obviously do it counter-clockwise, staying at #15, and having only a 4 mile hike to exit the trail the next day. One last note about this loop, it requires fording Abrams Creek where Hannah Mtn and Abrams Falls trails meet, and Mill Creek right at the trail head. Mill Creek is usually about ankle deep this time of year, while Abrams Creek is about knee deep. Recent rains could obviously make things higher, but given the lack of water the area has been getting, it might only be a shin-deep crossing at this point.

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