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  1. #1
    Registered User sadlowskiadam's Avatar
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    Default Seeking Advice on Hiking Conditions in The Smokies in Late October

    Hey,

    I'm doing a week long hike of the Smokies in late October this year. I've hiked the Smokies only in the spring and have no idea the conditions in fall. Can anyone provide me with some insight regarding weather and water sources at this time of year?

  2. #2
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    While snow is not impossible, it's uncommon.
    Along the ridge, you will likely have night time lows near freezing.

    [Edit]
    As far as water sources, given that we haven't been seeing a drought this year, I don't think water is likely to be an issue.
    If it goes a few weeks without rain, it's possible for some of the water sources to dry up. But the GSMNP Temp Road & Facility Closures web page usually lists such things near the bottom of the page in the "Backcountry Facilities" section.


    Of course I'm saying this from the stand point of someone trying to hike the AT.
    If you're going to other sections in the park, and staying at lower elevations, night time lows should be in the 40's and water sources along creeks won't be an issue.
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 09-11-2017 at 15:05.

  3. #3

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    I hiked the Smokeys last year 10/23 to 11/1. The weather was absolutely perfect. The only cold day was the morning we left the NOC. Beyond that, we never had a cold night and the days were probably in the 70's. We had a severe drought to deal with, but after this hurricane, I can't imagine that water will be an issue. I would recommend ending your trip at Standing Bear Hostel which is a unique place that needs to be visited. If you want to read about my hike to help you plan yours, I did a blog at http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/544120 and a Vlog at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10pwPAPsRMY. Have a great hike. It is a wonderful place that I hope to visit again someday.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  4. #4
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    The effects of Irma, soaking rains and moderate winds could produce significant blowdowns. Check with the Park for trail conditions. Have fun.
    Wayne


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    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  5. #5

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    Cold and wet, but not crowded.

  6. #6
    Registered User sadlowskiadam's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link and info. Very helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    While snow is not impossible, it's uncommon.
    Along the ridge, you will likely have night time lows near freezing.

    [Edit]
    As far as water sources, given that we haven't been seeing a drought this year, I don't think water is likely to be an issue.
    If it goes a few weeks without rain, it's possible for some of the water sources to dry up. But the GSMNP Temp Road & Facility Closures web page usually lists such things near the bottom of the page in the "Backcountry Facilities" section.


    Of course I'm saying this from the stand point of someone trying to hike the AT.
    If you're going to other sections in the park, and staying at lower elevations, night time lows should be in the 40's and water sources along creeks won't be an issue.

  7. #7
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious G View Post
    Cold and wet, but not crowded.
    Apparently you haven't been to GSMNP in October.
    That's the month the leaves change, and the Smokies can put on a show to rival New England. October is one of the most busiest times in the park... both front and back country.
    Back in the days when most people got hotel information from AAA tour guide, you could see the hotels around GSMNP had three seasons: Summer, Winter, and October.

    Come November... that's when the crowds die off.
    When the temperatures aren't too cold, Veteran's Day weekend hikes in GSMNP can be awesome for those that want a bit more solitude.


    Oh, and if you look at the climate data for GSMNP, you will see that September and October are the months with the least amount of average rain fall in GSMNP.
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 09-12-2017 at 10:28.

  8. #8
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    I hiked it last October which was a dry year in the park and 3 of 4 water sources were dry, but I doubt you will have that problem this year. Shelters were still full, but only over crowded at one shelter. It was perfect hiking weather and the tress were turning. Be prepared for mass crowds at Davenport Gap and Clingmans Dome.

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    It was 28 October 2012, SOLO (Steve Ainsworth) was finishing his South Bound Thru-hike. He left early from Standing Bear Hostel and went up the AT into GSMNP hoping to get to Tri-corner shelter by dark. and it started to snow. You can read all about his near death experience on Trailjournals.com. Type in the trail name SOLO and pick the one for 2012, go to entries and start reading on 28 October and later.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by moldy View Post
    It was 28 October 2012, SOLO (Steve Ainsworth) was finishing his South Bound Thru-hike. He left early from Standing Bear Hostel and went up the AT into GSMNP hoping to get to Tri-corner shelter by dark. and it started to snow. You can read all about his near death experience on Trailjournals.com. Type in the trail name SOLO and pick the one for 2012, go to entries and start reading on 28 October and later.




    that was the year hurricane sandy and its remnants came through and dump a ton of snow on the ridgeline (where the AT runs) of the Smokies...

    not a typical year.....

    i already had reservations at icewater for the weekend after it hit, and went out there knowing it would cut down on the amount of people at the shelter...

    the whole way out from the gap has snow and in some places, had to go through 3 to 5 feet of snow...

    it was kinda warm though and it was melting really fast........


    but, thats not a typical year-----just keep an eye on the current forecast.....

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Apparently you haven't been to GSMNP in October.
    That's the month the leaves change, and the Smokies can put on a show to rival New England. October is one of the most busiest times in the park... both front and back country.
    Back in the days when most people got hotel information from AAA tour guide, you could see the hotels around GSMNP had three seasons: Summer, Winter, and October.

    Come November... that's when the crowds die off.
    When the temperatures aren't too cold, Veteran's Day weekend hikes in GSMNP can be awesome for those that want a bit more solitude.


    Oh, and if you look at the climate data for GSMNP, you will see that September and October are the months with the least amount of average rain fall in GSMNP.
    Apparently I should have been more specific and said compared to nit-wit season and if you decide to go as hiker this Halloween you'll find that there are few other contestants in the GSMNP costume contest.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Apparently you haven't been to GSMNP in October.
    That's the month the leaves change, and the Smokies can put on a show to rival New England. October is one of the most busiest times in the park... both front and back country.
    Back in the days when most people got hotel information from AAA tour guide, you could see the hotels around GSMNP had three seasons: Summer, Winter, and October.

    Come November... that's when the crowds die off.
    When the temperatures aren't too cold, Veteran's Day weekend hikes in GSMNP can be awesome for those that want a bit more solitude.


    Oh, and if you look at the climate data for GSMNP, you will see that September and October are the months with the least amount of average rain fall in GSMNP.
    And just because that's when it gets the least amount of rain doesn't mean it's magically dry either - it's a rain forest. I've been there in October and it was cold, wet, and delightfully empty. Yes and thanks for pointing out that's when the leaves change Captain Obvious that'll be helpful for our readers in Bangladesh where they don't have leaves.

  13. #13
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    Leaf peep season is a busy time.
    Shelters will be full. May not get res. If dont act 30 day out.
    Water pronlems are sporadic...best bet is always to call backcountry office
    Nights at highest el can be 30 or 50.
    Temp inversions where cool air is trapped below are not uncommon in gsmnp. You can find it warmer than what you plannned for, or cooler.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 09-13-2017 at 22:05.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

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