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  1. #1
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    Default Wanting to thru hike the BMT.

    Is the BMT open now?

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  3. #3

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    It's hard to imagine someone taking the time to close it. When I was on it for a week a few years ago, I only saw hikers one day.

  4. #4
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    Glad to hear that.I didn't know if the trails thru the park were open.

  5. #5
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    This has some relevant, official information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/conf/recreation

    Under “Sites Temporarily SHUTDOWN” it says:
    Trails and associated trailheads providing access to the Appalachian Trail including Andrews Cove Trail, segments of the Benton MacKaye Trail (from Fall Branch Falls to Springer Mountain), ...

    Seems like they’re trying to limit access to the AT, and closing off that section of the BMT is one of the ways they’re trying to do it. Not saying I agree with it.
    travelin’ light

  6. #6
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    Hey Tipi,
    You said you spent a couple of weeks out there. I'm thinking of doing the same in July or August with my wife and would like some info if you don't mind. What is a good starting point would you recommend for a 12 or 14 day hike? Did you have to resupply anywhere? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  7. #7
    Registered User cneill13's Avatar
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    The Smokies are up and running. I was there last weekend and heading there again this weekend. The park service is also waiving the $4 per night reservation fee for the park.

    I parked at Deep Creek and the top parking lot was completely filled. I have never seen so many people there. The Deep Creek campground is still closed.

    So at the least, you could hike the GSMNP section of the BMT.

  8. #8
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    That is great news ! Thanks !

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptrain2.0 View Post
    Hey Tipi,
    You said you spent a couple of weeks out there. I'm thinking of doing the same in July or August with my wife and would like some info if you don't mind. What is a good starting point would you recommend for a 12 or 14 day hike? Did you have to resupply anywhere? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
    You have two decent options---the Cohutta option and the Bald River/Citico/Slickrock option.

    Cohutta---you could start near Watson Gap and use the BMT to head north and take Cohutta side trails thruout the wilderness---Jacks River, Conasauga River, East Cowpens, Panther Creek, Rough Ridge, Hickory Creek etc etc---and then tie into Big Frog wilderness for various loops on or near the BMT. Carry all your food and just make it a decent two week trip.

    Bald River---Go in at Unicoi Gap on BMT and head north and play around Tate Gap and Six Mile Gap (side trail up Waucheesi Mt to Warrior's Passage)---to Sandy Gap and State Line Ridge with side trails off Kirkland Creek and Brookshire Creek to Sugar Mt and Sycamore Creek up to Whiggs Meadow and then into Citico wilderness etc.

  10. #10
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Over Memorial Day weekend we'll be doing a few miles in the Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock area, including 10-ish miles of the BMT. We went to the area a couple days ago to check it out (had heard that it was terribly overgrown, but didn't see that on the little bit we hiked - Beech Gap to Bob Bald). On the way we saw signs saying that highway 165 (Cherohala Skyway) was closed at the TN/NC line (Beech Gap). But when we got there, the road was NOT closed. Traffic going through both ways, including plenty of motorcycles. So I guess there's some confusion out there.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Over Memorial Day weekend we'll be doing a few miles in the Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock area, including 10-ish miles of the BMT. We went to the area a couple days ago to check it out (had heard that it was terribly overgrown, but didn't see that on the little bit we hiked - Beech Gap to Bob Bald). On the way we saw signs saying that highway 165 (Cherohala Skyway) was closed at the TN/NC line (Beech Gap). But when we got there, the road was NOT closed. Traffic going through both ways, including plenty of motorcycles. So I guess there's some confusion out there.
    Hey illabelle, I was also parked just past Beech Gap last weekend at the overlook parking lot. Sorry I missed you guys. I started Friday evening and did an odd route that only had me on the BMT from Beech to Cold Spring gap (after which I took 149 down to North Fork Citico and points beyond). I counted 7 vehicles actually at Beech Gap near the gate. Did you see a lot of folks ?

  12. #12
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    Hey illabelle, I was also parked just past Beech Gap last weekend at the overlook parking lot. Sorry I missed you guys. I started Friday evening and did an odd route that only had me on the BMT from Beech to Cold Spring gap (after which I took 149 down to North Fork Citico and points beyond). I counted 7 vehicles actually at Beech Gap near the gate. Did you see a lot of folks ?
    Did not see very many, maybe 10 or 12 max, at least half dayhikers, including one guy who had hiked the loop we're planning for next weekend. We'll drive in to Big Fat Gap (I hope the road is decent), and then go CCW around the loop . Hopefully the weather will be pleasant.

    Most of the reviews I've read of this area complain about the trails being overgrown, but it's sometimes ambiguous how bad it is, or where the problems are. That guy we talked to suggested that maybe it's some of those less-hiked trails (149 maybe?) that can be pretty bad. So how was it? Briers and poison ivy over your head? We just might bring a pair of snips to clear a path if we have to. I rain across some maintenance logs from the Cherokee Hiking Club. Skimming the logs..., it appears that the trails do get regular attention.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Did not see very many, maybe 10 or 12 max, at least half dayhikers, including one guy who had hiked the loop we're planning for next weekend. We'll drive in to Big Fat Gap (I hope the road is decent), and then go CCW around the loop . Hopefully the weather will be pleasant.

    Most of the reviews I've read of this area complain about the trails being overgrown, but it's sometimes ambiguous how bad it is, or where the problems are. That guy we talked to suggested that maybe it's some of those less-hiked trails (149 maybe?) that can be pretty bad. So how was it? Briers and poison ivy over your head? We just might bring a pair of snips to clear a path if we have to. I rain across some maintenance logs from the Cherokee Hiking Club. Skimming the logs..., it appears that the trails do get regular attention.
    Yes, Trail 149 is bad between Brush Mt jct and North Fork Creek on the Citico side. Here's a pic of a part of 149---

    Trip 199 (106)-XL.jpg

    Otherwise the Citico trails are in pretty good shape---even the notorious Brush Mt trail.

    The Kilmer trails are in pretty good shape---Naked Ground trail, Deep Creek, Stratton Ridge, Haoe Lead, Jenkins Meadow. By "good" I mean you'll battle thru stuff but not be so upset that you turn around and go home.

    The Slickrock trails are also in good shape---even the Nutbuster Upper Slickrock #42. Except for one HELLISH blowdown midway up---


    WELCOME TO THE NUTBUSTER TRAIL.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    So how was it? Briers and poison ivy over your head?
    Well so the BMT is in good shape everywhere I've seen lately with only a few exceptions: the section from the Unicoi overlook on the Skyway both towards Mud Gap and Beech Gap are bad, and you probably saw the closed due to erosion sign near Beech Gap. The worst that I know of are the ancillary trails in that area like 95 FodderStack between Cherry Log Gap and Pine Mountain (almost completely overgrown in sections), Stiff Knee 106 (badly needs to be brushed out, serious dog hobble), and perhaps some of the lesser used trails. I think it's a bit early for head-high briers, but they'll be there in a month.

    And looking at your loop, you will indeed go through one of the two crappy sections: Fodder-stack from Pine to Cherry. I would bring pants or gaiters or such to keep from getting scratched up as I;m sure ya'll would think of anyway.

    Oh, and I can't recall if you've done that Fodder-stack section before but watch out for the tricky switchbacks south of Big Fodder. The first time I went that way I tromped way off the trail before realizing that I lost it.
    Last edited by PatmanTN; 05-19-2020 at 12:14.

  15. #15

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    Tipi, I did a surprisingly good off-trail route Sunday from the spring on Pine Mtn down to the North Fork. Only a bit of bushwhacking and one cascade too dangerous to traverse (had to find a way around). Foudn a large flat-ish area between those two feeder creeks (unnamed creeks as far as I know) that come down from the south side of Big Fodderstack. Found some old camps up in there with remnants of paracord and tarps and other assorted trash.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    Tipi, I did a surprisingly good off-trail route Sunday from the spring on Pine Mtn down to the North Fork. Only a bit of bushwhacking and one cascade too dangerous to traverse (had to find a way around). Foudn a large flat-ish area between those two feeder creeks (unnamed creeks as far as I know) that come down from the south side of Big Fodderstack. Found some old camps up in there with remnants of paracord and tarps and other assorted trash.
    It sounds like you may of come down near Indian Branch Creek on the North Fork---which often has a homemade log footbridge and ample flat spots (and trash) on a hill above the creek. Way below the spring on Pine Ridge there's a level "hollow" perfect for a CS. It's on the left as you're booking down the trail.

    Next time you feel like bushwacking you should go up South Fork and instead of climbing the mountain to the left (up to the nasty logging cut detour section)---reach that campsite and go up on faint trail next to the creek all the way up to where it reconnects to the SF trail. There's a big CS if you cross SF Creek by that CS before the hill climb.

  17. #17
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Patman and Tipi,
    Thank you for the trail intel. Nothing like hearing from somebody who knows what they're talking about!
    Sounds like we're going to have at least one scratchy day. I think I'll get a second pair of snips.
    We have one of those old folding saws. Is it worth taking?

  18. #18

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    I bring my folder, really helps with the briar jungle among other things.


  19. #19

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    Illabelle, well IMO a folder, bow saw, or chainsaw should be carried just for Big Fat road but I would say clippers will be fine for the route you've planned.

    Oh and apologies to Bamadog for hijacking the thread.

  20. #20
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    It sounds like you may of come down near Indian Branch Creek on the North Fork---which often has a homemade log footbridge and ample flat spots (and trash) on a hill above the creek


    yeah...

    that sounds exactly like the way patman came down...

    and i have seen (and forwarded tipi the photo and he tore it down) a homemade bridge leading from
    NF over that side...

    went over there and saw a few campsites (and the trash) and an ancient blaze on a tree and a faint path....

    figured it would have to wind up on pine ridge somewhere...

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