Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-28-2019
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Age
    53
    Posts
    2

    Default First Time AT Multi Day Hike Advice

    Hi All,

    I just joined this forum. I tried searching for answers to my questions, but I ended up consuming to much time trying to find the answers to my questions. So, I'm just going to post my questions. First, I live in Colorado and not new to 20 mile per day hikes (but I try to stick to a 15 mile per day limit) and 4000 feet elevations gains. But I don't have any delusions that my Colorado experiences would make me an AT hiking expert. I grew up in Pennsylvania so I'm very familiar with the Appalachian terrain. Myself, wife and 19 year old son are planning on flying in 'somewhere' on a weekend and take the 5 weekdays to travel in one direction then fly out. Timing is late May early June this year. I'll worry about transportation once I pick a section to hike, hence my first question:

    1) What sections should we consider for our first hike? Preferences: 5 days, 50 to 75 or so miles, one direction. Due to wife requirements;-), we would like to have a town near the midpoint so we can spend one night - half way - in a hotel to shower and eat a proper dinner. The last preference is remote as possible; we want to avoid civilization as much a possible. Difficulty is not a concern, however, I would think that for our first AT hike we would want to avoid the extremes. Given all that, I would like to hear from the experts about possible section options (multiple) we can consider?

    2) I noted there are quite a few AT advice books. I have 2 questions on this subject: What books (let's say 2 or 3) are must read advice books to read BEFORE the trip in preparation? If any, what advice/reference book is a must carry to have on the trail? (I don't mind carrying one book.)

    3) I'm a map guy. I like maps. What is the best map source to get? I was thinking the Nat Geo maps. Nat Geo is the de facto standard for hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Nat Geo also sell the entire set of AT maps at about $150. I was thinking about getting the set because I like maps;-) And having the full set allows me to brows through various sections in the entire trail for consideration. But, if there is a better source, I'd like to know. Thoughts?

    That's it for now. Thanks in advance for your time to response. I'm excited! Can't wait till our trip!

    Barnyard

  2. #2

    Default

    1) The least "remote" parts of the AT run from Maryland to Massachusetts -- civilization is often very near. So rule that part out if remoteness is important to you. The time of year you are talking about (late May, early June) is not a great time to hike in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine due to black flies, skeeters and muddy trail at that time of the year. So that leaves the southern 1000 miles of the AT. Some nice southern trail towns the trail passes through (or near) with lodging and restaurants are Hot Springs NC, Erwin TN, Damascus VA, Pearisburg VA and Daleville VA. For me the trail south of Virginia feels more remote than Virginia, so I would recommend a hike that starts 25-35 miles on one side of either Hot Springs or Erwin and extends to 25-35 miles past these trail towns (my own preference would be for Hot Springs, my favorite AT trail town -- and you all might enjoy soothing those aching hiking muscles at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa).

    2) I have two recommendations for a reference book to take with you while hiking: The A.T. Guide authored by David Miller or Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers' Companion authored by the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association. Just one of these is needed, not both. I don't have any recommendation for general advice books.

    3) The Appalachian Trail Conservancy publishes a map set for the entire trail. They are more detailed but slightly more expensive than the National Geographic map set. These maps are available through the ATC's website as are both the reference books I mentioned. You can also get the reference books on Amazon.
    Last edited by map man; 03-02-2019 at 10:40.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

  3. #3

    Default

    You have some tough requirements to fulfill. 5 days isn't much time. I can't think of any section which is "remote" yet has easy access to an airport and has a town with a motel close to get to half way through. If you eliminate the motel in the middle, that would open up a couple of possibilities. Hot Springs to Erwin would probably be the best option.

    Your 20 miles in CO will translate to more like 10 miles in NC. The heat and humidity in late May, early June in NC will remind you why you left PA for CO.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-25-2016
    Location
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Age
    70
    Posts
    536

    Default

    Take a look at this. Fly into Tri-State Airport and shuttle or taxi to Hampton, TN (AT mile 422, US Rt 321). Hike north. Damascus, VA is mile 470. There really are no good motels halfway, but the hike is on the short end of your range and not too difficult. Hike about four days and spend your last day in the great trail town of Damascus. There are plenty of hostels and inns there and Abingdon is only 15 miles down the road for more motels. You didn't say when you are planning your trip, but Damascus has a wild hiker festival called "Trail Days" every year in May. This year it starts May 19.

    Damascus is about 46 miles from Tri-State Airport, so you can get another shuttle there to fly home.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  5. #5
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-25-2016
    Location
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Age
    70
    Posts
    536

    Default

    As for maps, you should consider AWOL's guide and Nat Geo maps to plan your trip, but on the trail use Guthook on your phone and back it up with maps. Guthook gives you information on water, shelters, towns and their services and much more. The app will identify your location on the online map and tell you how far you are from the aforementioned services. You can put your phone in airplane mode, which will extend battery life and Guthook will work off GPS satellites exclusively.

    Most AT thru-hikers and those who do sections use Guthook on the AT.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-29-2014
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Age
    38
    Posts
    37

    Default

    +1 on Guhooks. I was a map guy at one time as well.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    3,906

    Default

    If you are "map guy" buy the ATC maps which are published by the AT maintaining clubs. The majority of the profits go right back into the trail. As far as I know all the electronic guides profits go in the pockets of the folks who publish them. Not sure if National Geographic pays the ATC anything back.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-12-2009
    Location
    Spring Lake, MI
    Age
    54
    Posts
    1,452

    Default

    I will let others chime in on where to hike since I have only done about 1000 miles of the trail so far. (Coming from Michigan, I do one section hike a year with the hike's mileage between 50-200 depending on my year.

    I will say that I have used the Geo/AT maps, Thru-hiker's guide, AWOL, and Guthooks for maps. Here is my take om them. The Geo maps were cool the year I brought a teenager who was working on a backpacking scout merit badge and needed to see the topo info. Other than that, those maps were bulky and difficult to work with. Thru-hiker's guide was good until I discovered AWOL's guide. That is now all I carry. This past year, my husband went with me for the 1st time. He loved the Guthook app - but he likes the app stuff. It was nice that he could pinpoint things with the GPS info and knew exactly how far out we were. It also had recent reviews on things like the flow of a water source. We were able to purchase the sections we were hiking, so it didn't cost much.

    Going forward, I will continue to carry AWOL and also get the GutHook app (even if I don't check it like my husband does as I don't want to be looking at my phone much...). The app's GPS info is helpful when needed.

    Enjoy your hike!

    Just FYI: someone mentioned Maryland not being remote... true, but it is kind of cool to walk through a battlefield and to see the original Washington Monument... that was our 1st hike - and still one of our favorites!

  9. #9
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-10-2014
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Age
    33
    Posts
    568
    Images
    8

    Default

    Davenport Gap to Devil Fork Gap along the NC/TN border
    It's all good in the woods.

  10. #10

    Default

    Hi All,

    I just joined this forum. I tried searching for answers to my questions, but I ended up consuming to much time trying to find the answers to my questions. So, I'm just going to post my questions. First, I live in Colorado and not new to 20 mile per day hikes (but I try to stick to a 15 mile per day limit) and 4000 feet elevations gains. But I don't have any delusions that my Colorado experiences would make me an AT hiking expert. I grew up in Pennsylvania so I'm very familiar with the Appalachian terrain. Myself, wife and 19 year old son are planning on flying in 'somewhere' on a weekend and take the 5 weekdays to travel in one direction then fly out. Timing is late May early June this year. I'll worry about transportation once I pick a section to hike, hence my first question:

    1) If you base the midpoint of your trip around Daleville that would give you some great iconic spots on the southern end of the trip heading nobo and then meeting up with the BRP for the northern end of the trip
    VA620 - Trout Creek, VA and
    VA43-Mile 90.9 BRP, VA

    would be a 55 mile day. Mcafee knob, Tinker Cliffs, Dragons tooth. Then Daleville with a nice stay at the super 8 and then back on trail with no extra shuttle required to head up to the blue ridge parkway sections.

    2) Guthooks

    3) Guthooks

    That's it for now. Thanks in advance for your time to response. I'm excited! Can't wait till our trip!

    Barnyard
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  11. #11

    Default

    While the Dragon tooth/McAfree Knob/Tinker cliffs is an interesting section, it's not exactly remote and is usually overflowing with day hikers on the weekends. Not much of a wilderness feel to that area.

    North central VA has more of a wilderness feel to it, like the Priest and three ridges area. Waynesboro to Glasgow would be a nice section and there is the brewery about half way. It's a bit of a tough section though. It's the bumpy part of VA.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  12. #12

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    While the Dragon tooth/McAfree Knob/Tinker cliffs is an interesting section, it's not exactly remote and is usually overflowing with day hikers on the weekends. Not much of a wilderness feel to that area.

    North central VA has more of a wilderness feel to it, like the Priest and three ridges area. Waynesboro to Glasgow would be a nice section and there is the brewery about half way. It's a bit of a tough section though. It's the bumpy part of VA.
    Hard to find a 55 mile wilderness stretch with a hotel in the center LOL

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Hard to find a 55 mile wilderness stretch with a hotel in the center LOL
    Indeed. I was just looking at satellite images of the trail in PA - a narrow strip of green surrounded by roads and buildings. At least the trees give some illusion of wilderness
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  15. #15
    illabelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-25-2012
    Location
    Lurkerville, East Tn
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,287
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    Pennsylvania gives you a taste of the AT. A kinda flat kinda rocky taste. The rest of the AT has a lot more up and down.

    Mapman's analysis pointing you to the southern 1000 miles is correct. I'd suggest you include the wild ponies at Grayson Highlands in SW Virginia, a little north of Damascus, and Roan Mountain, further south on the TN/NC line. Rhododendrons will be in full bloom on the balds in mid-June and they are spectacular! Unfortunately, that's about 120 miles. So get the rhododendrons. The ponies will wait for your next trip.

    As far as a midpoint shower, don't discount hiker hostels. Some are kindly described as rustic, others are nicer, but it doesn't have to be a motel. And something as simple as pizza counts as a proper meal.

    Scroll up to Gambit's post #10 and click on the shuttle list in his signature line. Your shuttler can pick you up at a road crossing somewhere and drop you off at the hostel/motel/restaurant of your choice, and then take you back to the trail the next day. Just make arrangements in advance and be flexible.

  16. #16

    Default

    Just to clarify for the OP, the AT GUIDE by David Miller and the AWOL GUIDE are one and the same.
    David Miller's trail name is AWOL.
    .
    I have only used the AWOL guide since (just after) I started in 2014, but will probably get the Guthook app before my next section. There was a place last year where I encountered a road intersection (while hiking on the road after going over a highway on a bridge) that wasn't marked (that I could see). I guessed on the uphill direction. Walked uphill for too long before giving up and going the other direction, which eventually led to the trail turnoff.
    The Guthook app showed elevation, and would have directed me the right way.

  17. #17
    Rain Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-07-2003
    Location
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Age
    68
    Posts
    6,113
    Images
    620

    Default

    Have you considered the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Seems to fit the bill. And so many side trails ... could shorten hike if necessary. Also that time of year the wildfowers are amazing. And TWO towns near middle: Gatlinburg & Cherokee.
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

    www.MeetUp.com/NashvilleBackpacker

    .

  18. #18
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-02-2007
    Location
    DFW, TX / Northern NH
    Age
    62
    Posts
    7,711
    Images
    27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    Have you considered the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Seems to fit the bill. And so many side trails ... could shorten hike if necessary. Also that time of year the wildfowers are amazing. And TWO towns near middle: Gatlinburg & Cherokee.
    If considering GSMNP, you'll have to register in advance for permits / shelters and stay on schedule. https://smokiespermits.nps.gov/index...PermitTypeID=1

  19. #19

    Default

    The southern terminus would be worth considering, easy shuttle from and back to ATL, Blood Mountain cabins or Helen half way. Could add in or take away Amicolola to adjust mileage to timing.

  20. #20

    Default

    You could start in Erwin, TN and hike north to Hwy 19E. No hostel in between, but you could finish at Mountain Harbour, which is hostel or bed and breakfast. They have the best breakfast on the AT. No debate. About 54 miles. You could fly out of Tri-Cities airport and use Johnson City coming and going.

    The hiking is phenomenal, Unaka Mtn, Roan Mtn and the balds of the Roan Highlands. Section from Carver's Gap to 19E is probably the best in the entire Southeast.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

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