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  1. #1

    Default Experience with AT and Iron Mountain Trail

    Has anyone used the AT and the Iron Mountain Trail to make a loop from Damascus to Troutdale - Rt 16 - Hurricane Campground and back in the last few years? I've found a lot of comments, albeit with some from admittedly surly and complaint-prone sources like mountain bikers, saying that the Iron Mountain Trail is poorly maintained, lots of downs and washouts, etc. Normally I'm happy to go one-way and support the shuttlers, but it is hard to know who will be doing what this year.
    I know this is creeping close to off-topic for this forum, but it's been tough to plan for this year.
    Rusty
    Chapel Hill

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-20-2002
    Location
    Damascus, Virginia
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    62
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    31,229

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    i was on the IMT a lot this past summer and fall. i live in Damascus. didn't see any blowdowns or abnormal washouts. had a couple friends hike from VA 16 to Damascus a few weeks ago in a snow storm. going was good for them. PM me about shuttles

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-20-2002
    Location
    Damascus, Virginia
    Age
    62
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    31,229

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    i was on the IMT a lot this past summer and fall. i live in Damascus. didn't see any blowdowns or abnormal washouts. had a couple friends hike from VA 16 to Damascus a few weeks ago in a snow storm. going was good for them. PM me about shuttles
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXCA6neXYi0

  4. #4

    Default

    I've taken the Iron mountain short cut a couple of times, but it's been a while. Kind of a long while I guess. You best get the Nat Geo map for the area, as there are few twists and turns to keep tack of. The connection over to Hurricane Mt shelter is a horse trail and pretty chewed up. Doubt it's gotten much better over the years, but it's relatively short. There is or was an original AT log shelter along there, but popular stop for the horse riders judging from the number of beer cans in the fire pit.

    You can get from Damascus to Marion in 2 nights, 3 days via the Creeper, Iron Mountain and AT. It is kind of an interesting route.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-04-2011
    Location
    Asheville, NC
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    54
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    561

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    I've done it twice, the last time was 2019. I park at Beartree Campground and hike the loop that way. It is a great trail, I think. The only complaint I can come up with are from the horse riders who let their horses drink directly from the spring at that little old shelter (which I can't remember the name of). Do it. You will enjoy it.

  6. #6

    Default

    Wow. Thanks. I would say this one was asked and answered.

    I have queried White Blaze a few times over the years, I always learn good stuff.

    Lone Wolf, good to know about a functioning Damascus shuttle. When I have a better picture of when and where exactly, I may check with you.

    I did maybe 15 miles on the IMT in the late '80s. I remember coming nose to nose with a horse on a narrow section of a non-horse trail. The rider said he was a pro guide, and the couple behind him, also mounted and in our way, were his clients. The guide said that he knew the horses shouldn't be there, but that he did the trail all the time and this was the first time it was a problem, and I wasn't one of those sissy types who would report him, because it was his livelihood after all. We edged our way around the horses, who were pretty professional and just looked worried, and then everyone was on their way. We didn't report him, mostly because we didn't bump into anyone to report him to. Laziness on our part; I feel bad about that.

    I know this last bit is off-topic, but it's been a long winter.

    Rusty Joints
    Chapel Hill

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-01-2011
    Location
    Hendricks Cty, Indiana
    Age
    66
    Posts
    882

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    They used to have a trail run on the IMT in the summer. If they still have it, you could count on the trail being cleared of any debris right after they are finished. Just a thought.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    They used to have a trail run on the IMT in the summer. If they still have it, you could count on the trail being cleared of any debris right after they are finished. Just a thought.
    It was cancelled last year but in any ordinary year it should be on labor day weekend as I recall.

  9. #9

    Default

    Has anyone done this southwest loop, described on the Damascus web page? Do the trails actually intersect, or do you walk 91 for awhile? Alltrails does not show the Iron Mountain Trail SW of Damascus; my Nat Geo Mt. Rogers map does, but it does not show the trails intersecting.

    "From Damascus south the Iron Mountain Trail is about 23 miles long ending near Tennessee Highway 91... It is clearly blazed but is rugged and less maintained than its northern route. This section is a much better hike for those looking for a wilderness experience. There are no shelters but a number of campsites exist... This is an excellent circuit hike when combined with the Appalachian Trail at Highway 91 – a total loop of about 45 miles".

    I was in Damascus for Trail Days in 1994. Prob'ly a lot different now.

    Thanks
    Rusty

  10. #10

    Default

    I did the Iron trail south of Damascus a couple of times. There's a short road walk to connect to the AT on each end. Not much water along there, I only found one campsite with reasonably easy access to water, near the southern end.

    Oh yea, I took a wrong turn when I did it NOBO and ended up miles and miles from Damascus instead of close by. Thankfully, someone stopped and gave me a ride since by then it had been a really long day. If you see a trail which branches NE and down hill, don't go that way!
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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