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  1. #1
    mattydt20
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    Default Views, Waterfalls, Sights Not Directly on the AT but Worth the Side Trip

    While I was bicycling across the country there were many views that we chose to skip because we were too tired to add additional mileage to our day. I wanted to make some notes in my data book about side trips that are worth the effort.

    For example, a great waterfall 1 mile off on a side trail, great view .8 miles off side trail. Include the general location if possible so I may make a note of it in my book.

  2. #2

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    Most side trails are noted in the guidebooks. I know they were in WF's book. Even up to a mile away it's usually well worth it. Time can be made up by hiking a lttle later.

  3. #3
    Registered User TACKLE's Avatar
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    Long Creek falls first day out of Springer is only .1 miles,and the Kimsey creek Creek trail after you pass Muskrat Creek Shelter reaches numerous small falls in about 1.5 miles.You could blueblaze on this trail and cut off 17 miles of the AT.It comes back to the trail at Glassmine.

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    Bond Cliff, just east of Guyot Campsite in the Whites, is awesome. Just like Franconia Ridge, but with no hordes of dayhikers coming up from the road.
    I am also a huge fan of fire towers, for me it is always worth dropping the pack and heading up. In nice weather they are great places to sleep.

  5. #5
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    In Maine there are a few waterfall blue blazes as you are heading NOBO to the Kennebec River (after Pierce Pond) so if you are not hauling "donkey" to get to the ferry, they are worth a look. Dump your pack on the AT and take your camera and go for a swim. Especially nice after some rain.

  6. #6
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattydt20
    While I was bicycling across the country there were many views that we chose to skip because we were too tired to add additional mileage to our day. I wanted to make some notes in my data book about side trips that are worth the effort.

    For example, a great waterfall 1 mile off on a side trail, great view .8 miles off side trail. Include the general location if possible so I may make a note of it in my book.
    In the south I took all the blue blazed side trails to waterfalls, overlooks and historic places. I was more committed to seeing the southern Appalachians than necessarily completing the Appalachian Trail. Besides, these were all built by maintaining clubs to augment the hiker experience, I figured, politeness and appreciation for the club's hard work, made exploration mandatory.

    IN Maine, everyone should take the side trail to the Foot of Dunn Notch Falls, south of the Easr B Hill Road. A loop trail at the bottom leads back to the AT, so only 2000-mile patch seekers need to retrace their steps.

    And of course the Gulf Hagas Canyon in the middle of the 100-mile-wilderness is always worth a visit. You can chop the seven mile loop a bit by taking a cut off towards the end.

    In New Hampshire the trail bypasses most of the summits of the Presidential Range. If weather is promising, I would take the more difficult summit routes and skip the AT.

    Weary

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattydt20
    I wanted to make some notes in my data book about side trips that are worth the effort.
    Great idea for a topic! In Maine there's Old Speck and the fire tower, Table Rock cliff, Dunn Notch falls, the top of Sugar Loaf, Mt Abram, Horns Pond (behind the old CCC lean-to), the North Horn, out Arnold Point, all the falls along Pierce Pond Stream, the Barren Ledges, Cloud Pond (if you're not staying, go check it out), Columbus Pond, the Hermitage (the shortest side trip), Gulf Hagas (the longest), Church Pond (blue taped), Cooper Pond, Potawadjo Ridge (blueberries - a blue taped trail leads back down to the the lean-to), and Rainbow Mountain - with maybe the nicest veiw of Katahdin there is.

    next!
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  8. #8
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    Blue side trails in Maine that I highly recommend are niagara Falls, Gulf Hagas, Mt. Abraham, Table Rock, Goose Eye West Peak. In NH - Mt. Liberty and Ripley Falls come to mind along with several of the Presidential loops. In NY - West Mountain Shelter.
    Aaron

  9. #9
    Registered User Seeker's Avatar
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    Indian Flats Falls, in the GSMNP. It's on the middle prong trail, about 3-4 miles off the AT. mostly downhill getting there, but not too easy coming back up. there's a shelter near the trail junction with the AT, but i can't remember which one... between double spring and silars bald, i think. spence field maybe?

  10. #10

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    A few come quickly to mind:

    In Tennessee, a few miles before you get to Kincora Hostel, you'll see a side trail to the right that tells you about a waterfall a tenth of a mile off the Trail. Check it out! It is also possible to scramble up to where the water actually hits bottom and catch a great shower.

    In Virginia, just past Cornelius Creek shelter, you'll see a side trail leading to Apple Orchard Falls. A bit of a hike (like a mile or so), but worth it.

    And also in Virginia, Crabtree Falls, near the Priest, is absolutely spectacular.

    Suggestion to the Class of 2006: In the course of your trip, you're going to see scores of blue-blazed side trails, nearly all of which lead to something interesting, usually a viewpoint, but sometimes to a waterfall. Nearly all of these places are just a few hundred yards offf the Trail, but most folks are in such a hurry to get to camp or make their miles, they don't bother. The Trail maintainers took the time and trouble to cut these side trails for a good reason: What's down there is usually well worth checking out, and remember, you might never pass that way again. So when you see a sign that says "View", "Vista," or Waterfall," take the time to check it out. In nearly every case, you'll be glad you did. (And in some cases, you'll find spectacular places to camp as well!)

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin
    So when you see a sign that says "View", "Vista," or Waterfall," take the time to check it out. In nearly every case, you'll be glad you did. (And in some cases, you'll find spectacular places to camp as well!)
    Excellent advice, Jack.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  12. #12

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    I camped at Long Creek Falls last Thursday(1-19).It's4.9 from Springer and a few hundred yards off the AT.There's an excellent spot to camp just before you reach the Falls. I had two 60 degree days and then some rain.Not bad for Jan.

  13. #13
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    Default Mt Cammerer Fire Lookout in the Smokies!

    Don't miss it!!
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  14. #14
    Surveyor & cartographer wyclif's Avatar
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    Default stealthing off the blue blazes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin
    So when you see a sign that says "View", "Vista," or Waterfall," take the time to check it out. In nearly every case, you'll be glad you did. (And in some cases, you'll find spectacular places to camp as well!)
    Good post. If you don't mind saying more, where would some of those off-trail fave camping spots be?

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

    ~John Muir

  15. #15
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej
    Excellent advice, Jack.
    I agree 100 percent.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by weary
    I agree 100 percent.
    That's just too much LOVE.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  17. #17

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    One of the best campsites I stayed at in Virginia was the Priest Overlook. Grab you're water at the shelter and hike a 1/2 mile to the top of the ridge, on your left (northbound) you'll see a path which may or not be signed. It's only about 10 yards off trail to the right of the overlook itself, but well concealed. The night we were there had one of the most memorable sunsets on the entire trail.

  18. #18
    Registered User RLC_FLA's Avatar
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    If you are going to start at Amicalola, instead of taking the approach trail behind the office, walk up the road in front of the office and climb the stairs beside the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi. you'll end up at the same place.

    RLC_FLA
    GAME->89

  19. #19
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    I'm hoping for clearer skies on my next AT thru-hike so that I can take advantage of the many "vista" signs and side trails with overlooks. There was a bit too much rain and cloudieness in 2003 to make many of those worthwhile.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  20. #20
    Registered User LIhikers's Avatar
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    Default Buttermilk Falls in NJ

    It's more than a mile off the AT and something like a 1000 foot elevation change to get there but Buttermilk Falls is very nice if you've got the time and energy as you go by the blue blaze trail that leads to it.

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