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  1. #1
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    Default Please recommend a 3 or 4 day loop in the Smokys

    Looking to do a loop in the Smokys. Thank you in advance!

  2. #2

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    When do you want to do this loop? For now,

    Park Extends Closure to Support Regional COVID-19 Prevention Efforts
    • Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that all park areas, except the Foothills Parkway and Spur, will remain closed until further notice. The park is likely to remain closed at least through April 30.

      https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm

  3. #3
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    There are TONS of two night (3 day) hikes in GSMNP.

    Anything specific you'd like to see?
    What kind of daily milage you looking to do?
    What do you expect of the first day (in the way of milage)? Basically, are you going to drive to the Smokies the day before and stay in a hotel room, or like I do, wake about 3am, get to the Smokies about 10 o'clock local time, and don't plan for a "full day hike" the 1st day?

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    in addition to what HooKooDooKu is asking to suggest a loop------

    if one does a search on here, there have been a ton of threads that address this on WB....

    that will give you, in addition to what is in this thread, some other options...


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    I realize that the trails are closed now, but as soon as I get the green light, I am going. Doing some planning at this point. I would like to do 10 miles a day give or take. I'd love to see anything in the mountains. I would probably drive and hit the trail late in the day right away.

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    Was thinking of starting at Big Creek unless you have a better starting point. Again, I am open for anything. You all seem to have some great ideas. Thank you again.

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    big creek?

    go up Big Creek Trail to Low Gap, then on AT west to Cosby Knob shelter....

    Spend night at Cosby Knob...

    AT over to Tricorner shelter and spend night...

    Balsam mountain trail to Laurel Gap shelter, spend night...

    Mount Sterling Ridge Trail over to Mount Sterling campsite #38....

    Spend night and take Baxter Creek Trail back to parking lot....


    Thats a decent loop of seeing the creek then getting up on ridge and having some but not much views from up there....

    i didnt do math on mileage so some chunks of the loop i suggest aren't going to get you to 10 miles a day.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    big creek?

    go up Big Creek Trail to Low Gap, then on AT west to Cosby Knob shelter....

    Spend night at Cosby Knob...

    AT over to Tricorner shelter and spend night...

    Balsam mountain trail to Laurel Gap shelter, spend night...

    Mount Sterling Ridge Trail over to Mount Sterling campsite #38....

    Spend night and take Baxter Creek Trail back to parking lot....


    Thats a decent loop of seeing the creek then getting up on ridge and having some but not much views from up there....

    i didnt do math on mileage so some chunks of the loop i suggest aren't going to get you to 10 miles a day.....
    The down side to this loop is that it by-passes the Mt Camerer Lookout tower.
    You can still do the same basic loop and take the side trail to Mt. Camerer by parking at the Big Creek Ranger station and take Chestnut Branch to access the AT.
    It's about 7.5 miles between Cosby and Tricorner, a little more than 6 to Laural Gap, and about another 6 to #38. To finish the loop, it's a 3/4 mile road walk from the end of Baxter Creek back to the Ranger Station.

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    Totally different loop:
    Park at the Sinks at the Megis Creek trail head and hike Megis Creek and Mtn trails to CS20.
    The next day, hike to Jakes Creek trail and Miry Ridge trail to CS26... with an optional side trip to Blanket Mtn
    (At the intersection of Lynn Camp Prong, Miry Ridge, and Jakes Creek, there is an old trail to the top of the near-by mountain. It is the site of an old fire tower now long gone with little to no view, but still an interesting side trip).
    The next day, continue Miry Ridge to the AT and camp at Spence Field shelter... getting to see the views from Thunder Mountain.
    The next day, hike down to CS18. You can either take the direct route, or take the longer way down Lead Cove and Turkey Ridge and School House Gap.
    Finish the loop with using Lumber Ridge to get back to Meigs Creek.

    This loop (while hot at the lower elevations if you have to wait until summer) gives water falls along Megis Creek, creek fording along Megis Creek, pretty campsite (26), mountain top views along the AT and at Thunderhead Mtn, a GSMNP shelter, and a campsite along a creek (18).

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    Thank you. So I will either have to stay at a shelter or designated campsite. Is is difficult to get reservations for the backwoods sites?

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    Is is difficult to get reservations for the backwoods sites?



    usually not......

    just depends upon time of year and all that....

    dont try for shelters in thru hiking season as they will be packed......


    and with this virus----who knows how the crowd will be once the Park reopens.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    usually not......

    just depends upon time of year and all that....

    dont try for shelters in thru hiking season as they will be packed......


    and with this virus----who knows how the crowd will be once the Park reopens.....
    I see, so lots of planning involved. OK, thank you for the information. Gives me much to think about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TSWisla View Post
    Is is difficult to get reservations for the backwoods sites?
    The earlier you get your reservation the better...
    You can get reservations starting 30 days before your first night in the park.

    Excluding 'special situations', I've never had problems getting a reservation for a particular campsite when I've tried at the 30 day mark.
    By contrast, I once waited until the last minute to get a reservation and found NOTHING available in the back country for a group of 3 for a Memorial Day weekend.
    {So certain times of the year have greater demand than others}

    A typical scenario for me is that I wait until the 10-day weather forecast gives me a clue as to what the weather will be for my trip, and I'll sometimes find a few of my desired campsites are not available for a particular day and will have to adjust my plans... but perhaps half the time, I can get every campsite I want that late.

    A few high-demand campsites are more difficult to get a reservation than others:
    LeConte Shelter and CS38 are two spots that immediately come to mind that can regularly be difficult to get a reservation unless you're trying closer to the 30 day mark.

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    Megis Creek trail head is safe to park at?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TSWisla View Post
    Megis Creek trail head is safe to park at?



    that's the sinks....

    a pretty popular area......

    i would say it's fairly safe...

    never have heard of any real problems there besides graffiti.....


    but just like any other parking area, your mileage may vary...

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    Of course. Thank you. Would there be another option for overnight parking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TSWisla View Post
    Of course. Thank you. Would there be another option for overnight parking?
    The only "BAD" overnight parking spot I ever heard of around the Smokies is Davenport Gap.
    Years ago, Maddron Bald Trailhead just off 321 used to also be listed as a bad spot, but I believe the culprit that was breaking into cars there was caught and hasn't been an issue since.
    I have heard from locals that problems do occur from time to time. But they are the exception, not the norm, and I don't hear of any spots in particular that problems exist (previous statements exclude).
    Beyond that, you just have to use common sense.
    Don't leave items in plain sight to encourage a criminal.
    Places that are more public have fewer issues (example, when issues have occurred at Alum Cave trailhead, they were more likely to occur to vehicles parked in the lower lot hidden from the road rather than the upper lot right on the road).

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    Years ago, Maddron Bald Trailhead just off 321 used to also be listed as a bad spot, but I believe the culprit that was breaking into cars there was caught and hasn't been an issue since.



    yeah.........at least one of the residents that lived on the road going into the trailhead went to prison for it......

    he (and maybe they) would watch cars driving in to the trailhead and then hit them up while on trail.....

    however, that's been well over ten years ago, and more than likely, they are outta prison by now....

    or maybe not.....

    but, i havent heard any problems from that area like i did when all that was going on......


    The only "BAD" overnight parking spot I ever heard of around the Smokies is Davenport Gap.

    that's the worst one.....

    another bad one, and its hit or miss-----is mount sterling gap trailhead......


    and surprisingly, a place that one would think, by way of it's a place of boredom for the locals as evident in the spray paint, is bad
    isnt that bad at all...

    while i have heard the occasional and have seen the glass on ground (and one of the last times, dude was just coming off trail back to his truck
    that had been smashed open), the end of the road to nowhere isnt that bad at all...

    i would think that place would get hit all the time by the locals but everytime ive parked anywhere on the road, and for sometimes days at a time,
    my car has been fine.....


    Places that are more public have fewer issues (example, when issues have occurred at Alum Cave trailhead, they were more likely to occur to vehicles parked in the lower lot hidden from the road rather than the upper lot right on the road).


    alum cave is a place that ebbs and flows with their break ins....

    it will get a rash of them over the course of a few days, weeks, months whatever, and then it will stop...

    mainly cause the people are getting caught.......

    and yeah, lower lot is the one that gets the most....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TSWisla View Post
    Of course. Thank you. Would there be another option for overnight parking?


    i think, and dont quote me on this----ths sinks is probably a good place to park......

    lots of traffic that only stops, usually, for a few minutes or so taking photos of the area....

    not sure but i think its legal to park there......i dont know of any restrictions for that area....

    and ive never heard of anything, besides graffiti and drownings, in that area....

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