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  1. #21
    Registered User
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    A loop from Elk Garden parking in VA to Rhododendron Gap and back on the Lewis Fork/Mt Rogers Trail. (there will be some horse traffic).
    No monster climbs.

    Also several loops available out of Grayson Highlands SP parking in the Mt Rogers area. Open highlands with lots of views and a wild pony bonus.

    Max Patch to Hot Springs also a winner.

  2. #22
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    02-25-2007
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    Since you're just getting started, I'd suggest you follow Hikingjim's advice and do a few local trips before you try to go off on a "Grand Adventure" to the AT, Standing Indian Loop, or any of these other suggestions.

    OR

    Since you're a bit older... if you do want to jump into things, it might be worth the money to go on a guided camping trip.

    I know REI has several types of guided trips.

    I also know about an outfit around the Smoky Mountains known as A Walk In The Woods.
    (REI uses A Walk In The Woods for guided trips in the Smokies)
    While I can't tell you what the various REI trips offer, A Walk In The Woods has (among other things) two night hikes, and if you're female, "Women in Wilderness" hikes.
    You just have to get yourself and personal items to the Smokies, they provide all of the back packing gear and a guide.

  3. #23
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    01-27-2009
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    A loop from Elk Garden parking in VA to Rhododendron Gap and back on the Lewis Fork/Mt Rogers Trail. (there will be some horse traffic).

    No monster climbs.

    Also several loops available out of Grayson Highlands SP parking in the Mt Rogers area. Open highlands with lots of views and a wild pony bonus.

    I agree, Max Patch to Hot Springs also a winner.

  4. #24
    Registered User
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    03-17-2015
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    Hudson, Ohio
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    Tunnelbear early in the thread recommended Max Patch to Hot Springs. That's exactly what I was going to recommend. It's a beautiful hike, 20 miles, and has 3 shelters in that span. And Hot Springs is a GREAT place to end. Dinner at Smokey Mountain Diner (or other great places in town), a night at the Laughing Hart lodge, and a hot tub at the Spa before heading out of town are the chef's kiss finish to a perfect introduction to the AT!

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