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Thread: GSMNP Hike

  1. #1
    Registered User Red Sky's Avatar
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    Default GSMNP Hike

    I understand that the Smokies are open again, but is the AT thru the park open? If so, are the shelters closed? (and if so, can you hike thru without having to stay in the shelters?)

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    All park trails are open.
    The park is NOT issuing AT-Thru hiker permits.
    You will need to get a General Backpacker Permit requiring a reservation for each shelter you plan to stay at.
    Reservation capacities are currently set at about half normal capacity, and all permit holders are currently allowed to tent around the shelters.
    Permits are only being issued 2 weeks in advance rather than the normal 30 days.

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    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Just went weekend before Memorial Day weekend for 4 days. There were day hikers everywhere, getting out bc of covid cooped upness. The AT was like a highway so we stayed off the ridge as much as we could. Of course we did a big rocky top loop from cades cove so it was our own fault. It was also a beautiful 70 degree sunny weekend. Get a permit at a lesser used site and enjoy!
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

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    Registered User Red Sky's Avatar
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    Excellent, thanks for the info. I've been wanting to get back out there and do the Smokies, but I've not been looking forward to sleeping in the shelters at all. Looks like now's my chance to tent!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Sky View Post
    Excellent, thanks for the info. I've been wanting to get back out there and do the Smokies, but I've not been looking forward to sleeping in the shelters at all. Looks like now's my chance to tent!
    Biggest issue is getting there early enough that you find a good place to tent.
    Since the park re-openned, I've already spend 5 nights in the woods (1 Saturday Night the 1st weekend the park was open, and a 4 night loop over Memorial Weekend).
    Every campsite and shelter I've stayed at had more people at the site than the number of permits the park was issuing (that 1st weekend, there were about 20 people at a shelter the park only issued 8 permits for).

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    Registered User Red Sky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Biggest issue is getting there early enough that you find a good place to tent.
    Since the park re-openned, I've already spend 5 nights in the woods (1 Saturday Night the 1st weekend the park was open, and a 4 night loop over Memorial Weekend).
    Every campsite and shelter I've stayed at had more people at the site than the number of permits the park was issuing (that 1st weekend, there were about 20 people at a shelter the park only issued 8 permits for).
    Yes, just spoke with a friend of mine who is heading out there to do NFG to I40 in 3 weeks. His group had a hard time getting shelter reservations and had to make them at 2:00 AM in order to get a spot. I'm thinking about using my hammock setup though, so hopefully tent spots won't be an issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Sky View Post
    Yes, just spoke with a friend of mine who is heading out there to do NFG to I40 in 3 weeks. His group had a hard time getting shelter reservations and had to make them at 2:00 AM in order to get a spot. I'm thinking about using my hammock setup though, so hopefully tent spots won't be an issue.
    Just keep in mind that hammocks can't be attached to the shelters. You'll have to hang from the trees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Just keep in mind that hammocks can't be attached to the shelters. You'll have to hang from the trees.



    and, potentially, in 3 weeks, regulations might change again....

    they might go back to no tenting at shelter sites...

    no tenting also means no hammocks..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    and, potentially, in 3 weeks, regulations might change again....
    In my opinion, I think it is more likely that the shelters would be shut down (due to resource damage?) before the park service will return to requiring people stay in the shelters for the 2020 season.

    But first, the park service needs to get the back country back under control.

    It was a "free-for-all" during the previous phase when certain trails to technically closed, but everyone was ignoring the closures
    (and a shelter that only had 8 permits available had a dozen tents plus 4 people in the shelter).

    Things seemed to be a bit better this past weekend, but every campsite I stated over a 4 night hike obviously had people there that DID NOT have the required permits.

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    Registered User cneill13's Avatar
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    The one positive to the coronavirus outbreak, not having to actually sleep in GSMNP shelters. I wonder if that will be permanent? I sure hope so. I could never imagine sleeping in a shelter with a bunch of strangers. Never have, never will.

    I have been in the park the past two weekends. The parking lots were filled with cars from New York.

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    But first, the park service needs to get the back country back under control.


    yeah....

    that's what im kinda alluding to-----I think there will be some more regulations put in place because of the crowds....

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cneill13 View Post
    I could never imagine sleeping in a shelter with a bunch of strangers. Never have, never will.
    Exactly my sentiments. Never stayed in a shelter and never will.

    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    yeah....

    that's what im kinda alluding to-----I think there will be some more regulations put in place because of the crowds....
    I just got back from a 15 day backpacking trip and saw no crowds---in fact I didn't see a single backpacker or dayhiker the whole time (except for a guy I invited out to join me in the beginning).

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