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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    04-18-2016
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    Clarksville, TN
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    Default Big South Fork Plan Check & Fear of Heights

    My husband and I usually section hike the AT around Memorial Day, but this year our time has been cut short, so we have decided to hike at Big South Fork. Weve never been there, but Im guessing we could get a bit more daily mileage in if we feel pressed for time as opposed to the AT. If anyone familiar with the area could check out our planned route (I adapted one I found at https://trustthetrailpodcast.com/bac...ig-south-fork/) and see what you think Id really appreciate it. Im not averse to changing it if I left out a really cool spot. We only have 5 days and are really hoping to check out the Honey Creek Loop when were finished. We usually hike 12-15 miles a day on the AT in Georgia and North Carolina. It sounds like there is a lot to see here, so I dont think well be charging through the trails and I'm definitely bringing my camera. Im hoping someone here can advise if this looks doable in 5 days.

    Also, is there anywhere someone with a fear of high open places should avoid?

    If the map doesn't make sense...
    From the start location we're going north to Twin Arches --> Slave Falls Trail --> Laurel Creek Trail east --> John Muir Trail south --> Grand Gap loop (time permitting) --> Littleton Farm Hike west --> Back to the start.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
    AT 10,000 Miler
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    01-06-2003
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    Dayton, OH
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    I'm familiar with these routes. The two high spots will be Angel Falls Overlook (bottom right) and the top of Twin Arches. Both get you right up to high cliff edges but you don't have to go out or up to either of these. But they are well worth the visit! There is a couple of short ladder climbs on your route.

    Big South Fork isn't in the mountains. It's eroded plateau. This means all of the high points are at the same elevation, and mostly flat, as opposed to jagged, mountainous peaks.

    The 3.7 miles and 3.6 miles along Laurel Fork Creek require many fords without bridges. Plan on getting your feet wet very often and sharing the trail here with horseback riders who don't respect hiker-only trails.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blue View Post
    I'm familiar with these routes. The two high spots will be Angel Falls Overlook (bottom right) and the top of Twin Arches. Both get you right up to high cliff edges but you don't have to go out or up to either of these. But they are well worth the visit! There is a couple of short ladder climbs on your route.

    Big South Fork isn't in the mountains. It's eroded plateau. This means all of the high points are at the same elevation, and mostly flat, as opposed to jagged, mountainous peaks.

    The 3.7 miles and 3.6 miles along Laurel Fork Creek require many fords without bridges. Plan on getting your feet wet very often and sharing the trail here with horseback riders who don't respect hiker-only trails.
    Thank you, that is great information, especially about the many fords! I can handle the ladders and will probably attempt and then quickly bow out on Angel Falls Overlook.

  4. #4

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    Very cool route. If it works out to camp there, one my favorite camp spots is about .1 miles east of the Angel Falls Overlook on the lower portion of the Grand Gap Loop trail. There is no water there (you'll need to camel-up or hike to the Junction of the GGL and JMT to a small stream - not very far), but it gives great access to Angel Falls Overlook which I think it one of the best ones there and a great place to star gaze. In fact, all of BSF is pretty good night sky area if the weather cooperates. IMO you would not miss a lot by skipping the Grand Gap Loop (but don't skip the overlook) . It's more appealing to bikes than hikers I think. It might be too early in your route but it's find of fun to stop in Charit Creek lodge and get a beer mid-hike for those so inclined. The previous concessionaire would also sell meals to hikers but i think this one requires overnight stays for breakfast and dinner. Anyway, have fun!

  5. #5
    AT 10,000 Miler
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    it's find of fun to stop in Charit Creek lodge and get a beer mid-hike for those so inclined
    Better check on this. I was there last November and only registered guests could enter the grounds of Charit Creek Lodge. Barricades were set up and people were chased off if they didn't have an overnight reservation. Their website seems to indicate this is still the case.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blue View Post
    Better check on this. I was there last November and only registered guests could enter the grounds of Charit Creek Lodge. Barricades were set up and people were chased off if they didn't have an overnight reservation. Their website seems to indicate this is still the case.
    oooo, i didn't know that....good heads up....I've stopped in several times when the fellow named Larry (can't recall his last name) was running it and he always was good for a chat and didn't seem to mind hiker traffic

  7. #7
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    You're favorite camp site sounds amazing Patman, we'll definitely aim to stop there. The Grand Gap Loop is an "if we have time" kind of thing since I want to make sure that we get to see Honey Creek Loop, so if we have to miss GGL at least I won't be too bummed.

    I called Charit Creek Lodge, and got their voicemail, but we'll probably check it out when we pass through and see what happens.

    Thanks Patman and Captain Blue for your insights. I'm getting so excited to check the area out!

  8. #8
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    We've visited BSF many times, but usually no more than a dayhike or one-nighter. Your multi-day route looks like fun.

    One caution: Unlike the Smokies, as stated above, this area is an eroded plateau. There are many neat geological features, caves/overhangs, natural bridges/arches, cliffs/dropoffs, etc. The danger spots don't have caution tape and guard rails. Please please please don't be wandering around in the dark!

    A nice thing about not being in the Smokies is that you can camp pretty much anywhere you want to, with of course the exceptions of historic sites, caves, etc.

    If you don't have time for the full Honey Creek Loop, the western half of it has most of the interesting stuff. If we only have one car, we park at the overlook, go down the ladders, and do the loop CCW. When we get to the road crossing, we follow it back to the car. If we have two cars, we park one at each place.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    We've visited BSF many times, but usually no more than a dayhike or one-nighter. Your multi-day route looks like fun.

    One caution: Unlike the Smokies, as stated above, this area is an eroded plateau. There are many neat geological features, caves/overhangs, natural bridges/arches, cliffs/dropoffs, etc. The danger spots don't have caution tape and guard rails. Please please please don't be wandering around in the dark!

    A nice thing about not being in the Smokies is that you can camp pretty much anywhere you want to, with of course the exceptions of historic sites, caves, etc.

    If you don't have time for the full Honey Creek Loop, the western half of it has most of the interesting stuff. If we only have one car, we park at the overlook, go down the ladders, and do the loop CCW. When we get to the road crossing, we follow it back to the car. If we have two cars, we park one at each place.
    Illabelle, no worries on me wandering around in the dark, but I'll be sure to warn my husband!

    I read your trip report on Honey Creek Loop awhile ago, and have seen others comment about how well they enjoy that trail on here as well. Btw I loved your report and have been looking forward to hiking Honey Creek Loop ever since.
    We'll be bringing one car, so thanks for the advice!

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