Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-13-2014
    Location
    Goose Creek, SC
    Age
    58
    Posts
    59

    Default AT Smokies Section

    Can someone give me some layout options for completing the Smokies section of the AT. I have completed GA and NC and would like to continue into TN. I usually hike between 10 and 15 miles a day. Will be shuttling so not sure best option to leave car. Would like a resupply point/stop over. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default

    Since you are required to stay is shelters, you first need to get a list of the shelters and how far apart they are. Some are a ways, some are really close to each other. To farther complicate the matter, you need to make reservations for each of the shelters you want to stay at and hope there is a slot available. Best to have your list of preferred shelters made up and do the reservations as soon as window for reservations opens up, 30 days before the day you want it. If a shelter is already full on the date you want, you'll have to see if the next one up the line has space. All this will dictate how far you have to go each day.

    Your only option for resupply is to go down to Gatlinburg. You'll have to hitch hike both ways. There is no convenient grocery store. There is one way out on the edge of town, which can be accessed by the free trolley, but it's very, very slow. So, you pretty much loose a whole day by going into town. At that point you might as well spend the night there in a motel. Which will further complicate your shelter reservation schedule.

    So, it's a lot easier to just lug enough food to go from end to end. 5 nights, 6 days is a typical pace get from one end to the other. It's 70 miles by trail from one end to the other. It's like 150 by car, so be ready for sticker shock when you price shuttles.

    The southern end is a bit more difficult then the northern end, but it's a bigger climb to get up on the ridge from the north. A typical NOBO approach would be
    1) Mollies ridge (11M)
    2) Derick Knob (12M)
    3) Mt Collins (8M)
    4)Pecks Corner (15M)
    5) Crosby Knob (13M)
    6 OUT (8M)

    Some of these shelters might be closed due to bear activity.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-19-2017
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Age
    50
    Posts
    152

    Default

    You can leave your car at Newfound Gap parking lot, and then shuttle to either end point. You can leave some resupplies in your car for easy access. By the time you finish your hike, you can shuttle back to Newfound Gap.

    Alternately, you can park your car at either end (Fontana Dam or Big Creek Ranger Station), and carry five to six day worth of food. Then you don't have to worry about resupplies.

    One thing for sure is that you need to make reservations for the shelters you will need to stay. You do so on their website. They charge $4 per night.

  4. #4
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    02-25-2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Age
    53
    Posts
    4,459
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    5

    Default

    Unless you want to do a double out-n-back, I don't see parking at New Found Gap being practical because of the cost of shuttles... we're talking about points that are hours apart, and so you just about have to hire an all-day shuttle to account for their time to pick you up at NFG and take you to a corner of the park and then return home.... then you'll have to pay for two of these. So if you want to even think about this option, you have to look into shuttle costs.

    Your resupply options are:
    1. Park a car at NFG (you can store stuff in a parked car, otherwise you can't "stash" supplies anywhere in the park.
    2. Hitch/shuttle into Gatlinburg
    3. Hire a shuttle to deliver food to you at NFG (A Walk In The Woods specifically advertises this service).
    4. No resupply... very reasonable option since you only need 5 to 6 days supplies.

    Parking at Fontana and shuttling to Davenport Gap would be better than the other way around simply because parking at Fontana Dam is a bit safer than Davenport Gap.

    Here's a elevation profile complete with shelter locations to aid in planning. Fortunately when you go to get your shelter reservations, you get to make ALL your reservations at the 30 day mark from the START of your hike, not 30 days before each day's reservation. FYI, maximum cost of a single permit is $20 (i.e. 5 days of $4/day) but the maximum number of days on a single permit is about 8 days.

  5. #5
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-13-2011
    Location
    Knoxville,Tn
    Age
    64
    Posts
    441
    Images
    4

    Default

    Good information already posted. Not sure of your timeframe but shelter closures would impact your hike if attempted now. Presently Russell Field, Cosby Knob, and Mt. Collins shelters are closed due to aggressive bear activity .

    Given your mile per day preferences makes planning tricky. The Cosby closure in particular creates a problem. HooKoo's profile illustrates it well. If you use only the AT the last (or first) open shelter on the north side is Tri Corner and that is a substantial climb.

    Shelter closures can change at a moments notice. I have seen Cosby Knob shelter closed frequently this time of year.

    You may consider an alternate by using other campsites not on the AT. Possibly make a loop hike and avoid the expense of a shuttle. You would need to carry a tarp or tent.

    Pay attention though to elevation changes. Looking a map without elevation profiles can be deceptive.

  6. #6
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash
    Join Date
    04-09-2008
    Location
    Lynchburg, VA
    Age
    47
    Posts
    1,080
    Images
    1

    Default

    Here was my itinerary when I did it in May of last year (2017):

    • Day 1 - Fontana Dam to Mollies Ridge 11.0 miles
    • Day 2 - Mollies Ridge to Derrick Knob 12.0 miles
    • Day 3 - Derrick Knob to Mt. Collins 13.5 miles
    • Day 4 - Mt. Collins to Icewater 7.3 miles
    • Day 5 - Icewater to Tricorner Knob 12.1 miles
    • Day 6 - Tricorner Knob to Standing Bear Hostel 18.4 miles

    I went with a buddy, and we parked one car at the dam and the other at Standing Bear. We did not resupply and just carried all our food. The first day or two the pack was a little heavy, but it was fine after that. Resupplying if you can do it in 6 days doesn't make a huge amount of sense unless you really just want to get off trail in the middle of the hike. So for shuttling you can park at Standing Bear and get a shuttle. I'd imagine it'll be a little pricey as that's a long drive. Note that day 6 was a bit long mileage-wise, but part of that day is a long gradual descent so you can make good time.
    AT: 2007-2019 (45 sections)
    JMT: 2013

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Berserker View Post
    Here was my itinerary when I did it in May of last year (2017):

    • Day 1 - Fontana Dam to Mollies Ridge 11.0 miles
    • Day 2 - Mollies Ridge to Derrick Knob 12.0 miles
    • Day 3 - Derrick Knob to Mt. Collins 13.5 miles
    • Day 4 - Mt. Collins to Icewater 7.3 miles
    • Day 5 - Icewater to Tricorner Knob 12.1 miles
    • Day 6 - Tricorner Knob to Standing Bear Hostel 18.4 miles

    I went with a buddy, and we parked one car at the dam and the other at Standing Bear. We did not resupply and just carried all our food. The first day or two the pack was a little heavy, but it was fine after that. Resupplying if you can do it in 6 days doesn't make a huge amount of sense unless you really just want to get off trail in the middle of the hike. So for shuttling you can park at Standing Bear and get a shuttle. I'd imagine it'll be a little pricey as that's a long drive. Note that day 6 was a bit long mileage-wise, but part of that day is a long gradual descent so you can make good time.
    I did the exact same as Berserker. I just carried all my food since I didn't want to go into Gatlinburg due to time constraints. I started at the NOC, however because that just happened to be where I came off the trail on a previous section hike. Ronnie McGaha was a good shuttle driver if you need one. His email is [email protected].
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  8. #8

    Join Date
    05-05-2011
    Location
    state of confusion
    Posts
    9,869
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    You're going to have to look at the closures and decide what you can do.

    There's off AT campsites,(still need reservations) but unfortunately they require losing significant elevation to get to and having to climb back to the AT the next day. Closures really mess with how easy it is to get through the gsmnp.

  9. #9
    Leonidas
    Join Date
    04-26-2016
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Posts
    947

    Default

    Currently in GSMNP the below are under bear warning or closed, so depending on when you are trying to hike this section, 10-15 mile days might not be possible. If you have to go with shorter days, I think the max days on a permit are 8, at that point you can get a second permit if I remember correctly.

    Closed:
    Russel Field Shelter, Mt. Collins Shelter, Cosby Knob Shelter

    Warning:
    113/Birch Spring
    Mollies Ridge Shelter
    Spence Field Shelter

    So if #113 and Mollies stay open, I would shoot for Mollies Day 1. ~11 miles from Fontana Dam
    Day 2: Derrick Knob but this sets up a short day for Day 3. 12.1 miles
    Day 3: Either pull up short at Double Spring Shelter or go a bit further to Clingmans Dome and hitch into town. 7.4 miles or 10.2 miles
    Day 4: Icewater Spring Shelter for either option as Peck's Corner is going to be a 17+ from either option. 13.6 miles from Double Spring
    Day 5: Is Tri-Corner as above. 12.6 miles
    Day 6: Davenport Gap is probably a better stop as the downhill can be rough on the knees and especially if you want to hit Mt. Cammerer. 14.6 miles without the Mt. Camm side trip
    Day 7: Gets you out of the park and to Standing Bear. 3.5 miles
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  10. #10
    Registered User hikernutcasey's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-20-2011
    Location
    Elkin, NC
    Age
    41
    Posts
    496
    Images
    2

    Default

    As the above poster said you need to be on alert for closed shelter areas but I just did the Smokies 2 weeks ago and this was my schedule:

    Day 1: Fontana Dam to Mollies Ridge (11)
    Day 2: Mollies Ridge to Silers Bald (17)
    Day 3: Silers Bald to Icewater (15)
    Day 4: Icewater to Tri-Corner (12)
    Day 5: Tri-Corner to Davenport Gap and road walk to Big Creek Ranger Station (18 miles including side trip to Mt Cammerer and road walk to parking lot)
    Section hiker on the 20 year plan - 1,480 miles and counting!

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-22-2008
    Location
    Kentucky
    Age
    54
    Posts
    1,368
    Images
    69

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Runner2017 View Post
    You can leave your car at Newfound Gap parking lot, and then shuttle to either end point. You can leave some resupplies in your car for easy access. By the time you finish your hike, you can shuttle back to Newfound Gap.
    This is a solid plan, You can park at NFG, catch the bus into Cherokee (depending on when it runs) & then have someone from the NOC or a hostel near Fontana pick you up in Cherokee drop you off at your starting point. OR Park at NFG & Have Standing Bear pick you up & shuttle you to Waterville Rd. & hike it sobo. Either way you can grab your car & head into Cherokee or Gatlinburg get cleaned up & real food & head back up & continue the hike & then hire a shuttle back to your car. Also Late Sept/early October is the best for this hike

    Enjoy
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-19-2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    3,290
    Images
    3

    Default

    i thought they stopped the bus service into cherokee years ago.......

  13. #13
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-13-2011
    Location
    Knoxville,Tn
    Age
    64
    Posts
    441
    Images
    4

    Default

    I don't know if the OP has done his hike yet, but as of now Cosby Knob shelter is back open. Spence Field and Russell Field are closed. Cosby, Mt. Collins, Derrick Knob and Mollies have warnings about aggressive bear activity.

    This does make logistics for a Smokies section a bit easier.

  14. #14
    Leonidas
    Join Date
    04-26-2016
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Posts
    947

    Default

    It should, we just got back from a DCG to Fontana section and met multiple people skipping the Smokies after Newfound because they didn't feel they could do a 20 mile day to get from Pecks to Davenport Gap.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-02-2017
    Location
    Albany, Georgia
    Posts
    40

    Default

    If I get to a shelter that is full a and needed to camp I would move on then camp off trail.

  16. #16
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    02-25-2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Age
    53
    Posts
    4,459
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Roller View Post
    If I get to a shelter that is full a and needed to camp I would move on then camp off trail.
    In GSMNP, camping is only allowed at designated campsites.
    For those with an AT thru permit, they are allowed to camp in the vicinity of a full shelter. OP would be a section hiker and would need reservations for each shelter. GSMNP regulations don't address what to do if you have a shelter reservation but you arrive and it's full, but the general wisdom discussed in this forum is to tent near the shelter as a thru hiker would do and be ready to explain the situation if confronted by a ranger.
    Besides, there's a lot of areas in GSMNP with hill sides and/or ground cover simply makes camping in places other than designated campsites impractical.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Roller View Post
    If I get to a shelter that is full a and needed to camp I would move on then camp off trail.
    I forget what it is, but it is a hefty fine if caught doing so.
    .
    The shelters in the smokies sleep 12, officially. They can actually sleep 20 pretty easily when the weather is really bad.
    .
    I've read about people unwilling to give up space in a shelter, but people have been at least accommodating, if not friendly, in my experience.
    .
    If you get to the shelter you reserved and find a group that won't give you a spot, just pitch your tent/ tarp/ whatever next to the shelter in one of the spots that should be readily available (like was said) and explain it to the ridge runner if questioned.

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •