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  1. #1
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    Default Newfound Gap to Hot Springs

    Planning to do this hike in August....for those who have done any or all of this section, any tips, advice, or helpful info?

    Thanks in advance...MJ

  2. #2
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    You will need to keep an eye out on the GSMNP Current Conditions Web Page as changes are made during their Phased Reopening of the park.
    https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

    Currently, all park trails are open, but unlike normal times, you can only book your permit/shelter reservations 14 days in advance of the start of your trip (normally you can book your permit/reservations 30 days in advance, and that might change back to 30 days between now and August).

    Icewater Spring shelter is likely to be a mad-house, and too close to NFG for your 1st day hiking.
    Pecks Corner is one of my least favorite shelters. But with the CURRENT rules, you are allowed to set up tents around shelters, so this could be a good night to stop for your 1st night.
    Tricorner Knob looks like the nicest shelter on that side of the park. But that makes for about 16 miles your first day... and I don't recall how nice the tent sites are around it.
    Cosby Knob is an ok shelter, with several nice spots near by to setup tents.

    {Beyond that, can't help you, I'm mainly a GSMNP hiker, not an AT hiker}

  3. #3

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    Spend your last night in the park in the cage at the Davenport gap shelter. You can then get to Standing Bear about noon for a pizza, resupply and move on. Couple of good campsites on the way up Snowbird mountain if you spend too much time at the hostel. If you press on to Ground hog shelter you can make it to Hot springs in 3 days more days. Stay at Roaring Fork shelter the next day since you'll be spending most of the day hanging out on top of Max Patch. Do not stay at Walnut mountain shelter. The shelter it's self is in poor repair (and only sleeps 4) plus it has a history of bear problems, but that might be fixed by now. There are a couple of tent sites on the other side of Bluff Mountain which sets you up to arrive in Hot Springs fairly early in the day.

    Unless you want to take your time, then add a days worth of food leaving Standing Bear.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    It will be hot and dry. Get up before dawn and walk. A lot. When you find a good stream about 1PM take an extra long break. Start walking again at about 4 and walk till near dark.

  5. #5
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    Don't stay on Max Patch on a Friday or Saturday night during the summer. The local wildlife drag their coolers, beer funnels, large tents, and radios up from the parking lot. They don't go to sleep when it gets dark. There are some nice campsites just north of Max Patch in the treeline. You can walk back up from there to catch the sunset.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone for your replies. Another question...are there places to park my car in Gatlinburg during this hike. I'd like to get to Hot Springs, shuttle to Gatlinburg, and be hiking back to my car...but not sure I'm going to be able to get there in time (some of this depends on other people that I am meeting on trail)...so I may just have to go straight to Gatlinburg and spend night, start hike next day. Are there places where you can park your car for a week there?

    I've made some adjustments based on your suggestions, and here is my tentative hike plan. Any feedback is welcome

    Fri: drive to gatlinburg, stay night
    Sa: shuttle to trail, hike 207.3 -> 217.8; camp at Peck's corner shelter
    Su: 217.8 - > 230.7; camp Cosby Knob Shelter
    M: 230.7 - > 237.8; Davenport gap shelter (short day to meet up w/ friend at Dav gap shelter)
    T: 238.7 -> 248.3; groundhog creek shelter
    W: 248.3 -> 261.4; walnut mtn shelter
    Th: 261.4 -> 271.3 deep park mtn shelter (or continue into hot springs)

    Does that sound like an ok hike? For those who have done this section.

    Thanks again...MJ

  7. #7
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    You could always park in the national park...
    When you fill out the application for your permit to stay at Pecks, Cosby Knob, and Davenport Gap, you include you car's License Plate number.
    When a ranger notices your car has been parked at a GSMNP trailhead for a few days, he can just run your tag number to confirm your permit.

    However, since your hike will include a few days outside the park, you might want to touch base with the back country office (865-436-1231) at let them know your trip will be a few days longer than what is on your GSMNP permit.
    Given that half your trip is inside the park, I don't think they will have any issues with your car being left in the park a few extra days.

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    Just hiked Max Patch to Hot Springs for first time. I would add that water will most likely be less available in August from about Bluff Mountain going in Hot Springs. There's more/better water sources from Max Patch to Bluff Mountain if it's a drought season. Still options after, but if it's a hot dry summer you may want to plan ahead to be safe. Also, the trail dumps out at the Laughing Heart Hostel in Hot Springs. If you are not familiar with these folks, they served as a great resource for us- showers/shuttle/supplies.

    https://www.laughingheartlodge.com/hostel/

    Good luck

  9. #9

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    I would put my car where you want to finish. That way you only need one shuttle. You could do the reverse, but you are shuttling while tired and smelly. I found a shuttle driver out of Gatlinburg that charges $10 pickup + $1 a mile. She does go up to Hot Springs. 317-417-5351

    Pecks Corner is .4 miles downhill from AT and water is even further downhill. Shelter was nice and had a privy. There are a few tent sites above the shelter near the privy.

    Cosby Knob is also a nice shelter. The water is right next to shelter. There are 3 tent sites above and Slightly south on AT. There was a spring and bear cables at that location and you are still in sight of the shelter.

    Davenport shelter still has chain link fencing on the front wall. Some people didn't like the confined feeling of this shelter and pushed on. I only stopped for water here and didn't notice any obvious tent sites, but I didn't look either.

    The spacing of those shelters worked well for me this past week and I stayed at 2 of them. The day going to Davenport is mostly downhill and I got to the shelter very early. You could easily push on to Standing Bear Farm or a site just beyond it. That is what we did.

    The .6 mile side trail to Mt Cammerer is a nice place to take a break and has awesome views in all directions.

    Enjoy your hike!

    John

  10. #10

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    I’d pass Deer Park Shelter and just head into Hot Springs. Breakfast at the Smoky Mountain Diner is a must ( if it’s open). Charlies Bunion to Cosby Knob is some great hiking.

  11. #11

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    Avoid ice water springs shelter. Itís between Newfound Gap and Charlieís Bunion. This is the most popular day hike and one nighter in the smokies. Avoid Max Patch on Friday or Saturday night. Thereís plenty of room but all the weekend campers there for the sunrise are best avoided.

    This entire section is prime black bear territory. Donít sleep with your food here even if you do in other sections.

    This is a memorable part of the trail. Enjoy it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    Avoid ice water springs shelter. It’s between Newfound Gap and Charlie’s Bunion. This is the most popular day hike and one nighter in the smokies. Avoid Max Patch on Friday or Saturday night. There’s plenty of room but all the weekend campers there for the sunrise are best avoided.

    This entire section is prime black bear territory. Don’t sleep with your food here even if you do in other sections.

    This is a memorable part of the trail. Enjoy it.
    By sleep with your food I assume you mean in your tent or with you in shelter? I always hang it. Should be ok as long as I hang it?

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    Also the last post brings up something else I was wondering about re bears. The other sections of the trail I've done weren't very densely populated by bears....any tips and advice re bears for this section? Best way to avoid them, what to do if I see one, etc etc??

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    Quote Originally Posted by appstate_mj View Post
    By sleep with your food I assume you mean in your tent or with you in shelter? I always hang it. Should be ok as long as I hang it?
    Every GSMNP Backcountry campsite has bear cables for hanging your food, and hanging is required.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by appstate_mj View Post
    By sleep with your food I assume you mean in your tent or with you in shelter? I always hang it. Should be ok as long as I hang it?
    Correct. In the past this has been an area with friendly bears.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by appstate_mj View Post
    Also the last post brings up something else I was wondering about re bears. The other sections of the trail I've done weren't very densely populated by bears....any tips and advice re bears for this section? Best way to avoid them, what to do if I see one, etc etc??
    If you see a bear enjoy the experience. You are fine. Bear problems are almost always after everyone has gone to sleep and they come into camp for food. The super friendly bears will wander in when people are still awake, but that’s kinda rare. If bear cables or a bear box is available then use it. If camping away from a shelter then do a proper bear bag hang. Don’t leave food around. Don’t throw it in the fire pit. Don’t get it on your clothes. Don’t eat in a tent or hammock. Use a smell proof sack for food and trash (get at REI or online).

    Most important: Never admit you spent a moment laying in your tent unable to sleep because you were listening for Bears walking in the woods. Just lie and say you slept like a baby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by liteweight View Post
    I’d pass Deer Park Shelter and just head into Hot Springs. Breakfast at the Smoky Mountain Diner is a must ( if it’s open). Charlies Bunion to Cosby Knob is some great hiking.
    Just got back yesterday from Hot Springs. Smoky Mt Diner is open on the decks, and for takeout. If you are there on a Saturday, they have awesome Cinnamon Buns.

    Spring Creek and Iron Horse are open for dine-in. Hardly anyone wearing silly masks. I love how friendly people are there.
    If you need a shuttle, contact Jason at 321-693-6455.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    If bear cables or a bear box is available then use it. If camping away from a shelter then do a proper bear bag hang.
    At least while in GSMNP, you MUST camp at the shelters and you must hang your food on the bear cables at the shelter (and you need a permit with reservations for each shelter you plan to stay at).

  19. #19
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    +1 on the Cinnamon Buns (only available on Saturdays) and the Smoky Mt Diner in general. Good food at a good value.

    Quote Originally Posted by steve_zavocki View Post
    Just got back yesterday from Hot Springs. Smoky Mt Diner is open on the decks, and for takeout. If you are there on a Saturday, they have awesome Cinnamon Buns.

    Spring Creek and Iron Horse are open for dine-in. Hardly anyone wearing silly masks. I love how friendly people are there.
    If you need a shuttle, contact Jason at 321-693-6455.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    At least while in GSMNP, you MUST camp at the shelters and you must hang your food on the bear cables at the shelter (and you need a permit with reservations for each shelter you plan to stay at).
    No, you do not have to camp at the shelters in the Smokies. Some of us hiked straight thru without stopping just so we could avoid their camping rules. Yes, I am proud of those insanely big miles and the opportunity to legally rebel against their rules and the people who insisted (incorrectly) that Iíd be camping at the shelters.

    So there are legal alternatives but I realize it isnít for everyone.

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