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  1. #1

    Default stream crossings on BMT

    I am trying to decide on shoes for my thru-hike beginning in mid-April. Can folks tell me how many wet stream crossings I will likely encounter?

  2. #2


    Lots. Good luck keeping your feet dry. Better chance at mesh/synthetic footwear and quick drying socks.

  3. #3

    Default stream crossings on BMT

    I would suggest waterproof socks if you have concern of water Crossings. Test then on a hot sweaty day first. I prefer dexshell breathable yet waterproof.

  4. #4

    Default stream crossings on BMT

    even if the water is higher than your sock level the socks give you better traction on wet slippery rocks then shoes or boots in my experience

  5. #5
    Registered User AO2134's Avatar
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    Gwinnett, Georgia


    I always used crocs for creek crossings that had me worried. I don't remember many worrisome crossings until the smokies though, but I may just not be remembering them.

    I never minded carrying the extra weight but your experience may vary.
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  6. #6
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    Roanoke, VA


    There are at least three that I can recall, one at Slick Rock and two on Noland Creek. Sgt Rocks guide will give you a more accurate count.

    I always just take my boots and socks off and cross barefooted, then dry my feet off with my towel when I reach the other side.

  7. #7


    The Slickrock crossing has been rerouted and is not part of the BMT anymore.

    The crossings I know about are the 3 West Fork Rough Creek fords in the Big Frog wilderness and 2 on Brookshire Creek and Upper Bald River crossings below Sugar Mt. None of these are tough except in flood conditions.

    There are two Brookshire Creek crossings on the BMT and here is the first, upper one. In high water prepared to get wet.

    Here is the main BMT Brookshire crossing below Sugar Mt. Unfortunately when I did this crossing it was in barefeet in crocs at 0F.

    Here is the Upper Bald "River" crossing below Sugar Mt and above the main Brookshire crossing. This is often a croc-crossing unless you want to soak your boots---not advisable at 0F.

    Here is the same Upper Bald crossing in more normal and warmer times. This is 4 or 5 time BMT thruhiker Regina Reiter pulling the ford on a trip we did together a couple years ago.

    Here is one of three West Fork Rough Creek crossings in the Big Frog area---easy enough.

    Btw, here's the old Slickrock Creek crossing and no moved---Much more difficult.

  8. #8


    Thanks to all of you for the info. I like the boots I have - 'waterproof' and slow-drying. Sounds like removing them on stream crossings to keep them dry is a reasonable option vs. getting something that is more mesh-y and fast drying to avoid removing shoes. I'm still undecided but better informed.

  9. #9


    I'll chime in because I am currently on a BMT thru and encountered a raging West Fork Rough Creek this morning after the deluge last night. The first crossing going north out of Big Frog was knee deep and very fast moving. The second one was a longer crossing and more risk than I wanted to take as a solo hiker. Were I not alone, I would have done it, but I ended up detouring on some other trails and service roads to avoid it. The point is that even normally easy crossings could be hazardous after a big rain.

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  10. #10


    Thanks for the info. I hope you're enjoying your hike.

  11. #11


    So many stream crossings...if you change shoes for each one, it'll take forever. I'm short and don't rock hop very well. My strategy was to walk right through the water wearing trail runners and quick-dry running socks.

  12. #12
    Registered User
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    Nashville, TN


    the Eagle Creek crossing in the Smokies is a dooooozey

  13. #13
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Morganton, North Carolina
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    Chaco sandals

    I have NRS Kayak Shoes. My only complaint they don't drain fast. I also have a pair of Croc water shoes. They some decent hiking tread on them but could be better.

    I would find something you can slip on and off fairly easily without taking your pack off.
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  14. #14
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Erwin, TN


    Now that the Slickrock crossing is no more the only crossings I remember being sketchy were in GSMNP. I believe the NatGeo maps tell which one are more dangerous during periods of high water.

    Rule of thumb is if you hear water you'll most likely have to cross it at some point. If you get back on the AT on the north end you'll start being treated to footbridges again.

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