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  1. #1

    Default Hardest trails in the Southeast

    I'm going to be in the GA/NC area for a couple of months this summer and would like to hike the hardest trails/sections south of VA.

    Any suggestions or recommendations?
    "A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say 'How to Build a Boat.'"
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    It may not have the most elevation gain, but Firey Gizzard trail on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee is a workout for the ankles.

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    The AT, between Wesser and Fontana. Nice little workout.

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    The nutbuster portion of the Slickrock creek trail in Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock Creek wilderness.
    If you don't make waves, it means you ain't paddling

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    I think one of the harder ones in GA, at least, is the Coosa Backcountry Trail because of elevation gain. 12.9 mile partial loop, the description on gastateparks.org says " Hikers will climb and descend over 1 mile in elevation crossing 3 ridgelines". PDF of the trail and on the second page the elevation profile is at this link "http://www.gastateparks.org/content/Georgia/parks/trail_maps/Vogel_map.pdf".

    Others that aren't as bad as this one is the AT approach from the visitor center at ASP to Springer Mtn. Blood Mtn Loop is a good one too -- utilizes Byron Reese as approach to it then AT over Blood then the Freeman trail to complete the loop.

    You might want to check out doing some hikes with the GATC in that time period. You can be a guest and then if there is one with shuttles or something, it will make it easier. Have fun!

  6. #6

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    Here's my medulla-pounding list:

    Panther Branch Trail: Located off the Tellico River road at a pulloff and a nice footbridge. This poorly maintained trail starts out going up a doghobbled/rhodo creek and crosses several times. Just when you think it's over the dang thing turns vertical and rough. Real steep.

    Hangover Lead North: This trail starts around Yellowhammer Gap in the Slickrock Wilderness and ends at Big Fat Gap where there's a dirt road deadend and lot. Coming in from the Yellowhammer side this trail is a heartbreaker and mind boggler, a boring mental exercise in going up without switchbacks along a hot and scrubby ridge. Real steep.

    The Famous Nutbuster of Upper Slickrock Creek: As envirodiver said, this is a wonderful section of hard trail to sort out motives and intentions. Check out "TOUGH LOVE" in the Backpacker Magazine site. The first time I did it I wept openly, and now after 16 repeated attempts(all successful), I consider it my most favorite of all trails. It's got everything, big rocks, giant hemlocks, vertical root-holds and fall-offs, dozens of switchbacks(sweet relief), and even a few dynOmite campsites along the way.

    Finally: Leaving Stecoah Gap and going north on the AT: Cross the road and go up to Sweetwater Gap, not so bad. After the Gap? Pure hell in a very small place. The AT here is worse even than the Hangover Lead North, i.e. boring, hot, no switchbacks, and even steeper than the Hangover. Mister Satan(trailname Turn Back Now), laid out this section of trail as an invite to sit with him on his throne at the top, if you make it to the top.
    Actually, on top there's Brown Fork Gap shelter, a place where weary backpackers can go no further.

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    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Going south up Roan is a nice little challenge. AT and park trails in the Smokies, like LeConte.
    Mitchell & Craggy
    Cold Mountain and the Art Loeb Trail.

    If you want a real good challenge, go for the South Beyond 6000 summits. http://www.carolinamtnclub.com/SB6K/SB6K%20Index.html
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  8. #8

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    Check out Linville gorge and Mount Mitchell areas as well. If your looking for long sustained climbs and descents, they have them.

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    Tipi Walter has some good reccomendations. I haven't done some of that trail in years - but I wake up in a sweat when I dream about it.
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    Registered User slowandlow's Avatar
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    Sugar Cove, Panther Creek, Tearbritches, Rough Ridge trails in Cohutta Wilderness Area in Georgia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Finally: Leaving Stecoah Gap and going north on the AT: Cross the road and go up to Sweetwater Gap, not so bad. After the Gap? Pure hell in a very small place. The AT here is worse even than the Hangover Lead North, i.e. boring, hot, no switchbacks, and even steeper than the Hangover. Mister Satan(trailname Turn Back Now), laid out this section of trail as an invite to sit with him on his throne at the top, if you make it to the top.
    Actually, on top there's Brown Fork Gap shelter, a place where weary backpackers can go no further.
    That climb up from Sweetwater Gap is one of the most vivid memories of my hike down souf. 'Cept back then there was no shelter at Brown Fork Gap. And of course no water in Sweetwater Gap. Still no switchbacks, eh? And they wonder why folks quit thru-hikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _terrapin_ View Post
    That climb up from Sweetwater Gap is one of the most vivid memories of my hike down souf. 'Cept back then there was no shelter at Brown Fork Gap. And of course no water in Sweetwater Gap. Still no switchbacks, eh? And they wonder why folks quit thru-hikes.
    back when you did it, it was tougher. it's been tamed since

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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf View Post
    back when you did it, it was tougher. it's been tamed since
    Well I wonder when Tipi did it, then... his description sure hit the mark. (He has such a way with words.... )

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    Mountains to Sea Trail in the Pisgah NF is a good workout.

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    ...Or is it Hiker Trash? Almost There's Avatar
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    Art Loeb, Duncan Ridge
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    Formerly the Hiker Known as Almost There

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    Quote Originally Posted by Almost There View Post
    Art Loeb, Duncan Ridge
    Exactly my thoughts! Gungho and I always say "Who ordered all of this Sweetwater Gap!" Art loeb is fun! We've done parts of the 1st and 2nd sections--WHEW! Can't wait to do the whole thing this year!
    HAPPY TRAILS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD HIKE!

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    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buliwyf View Post
    Going south up Roan is a nice little challenge.
    going up roan sobo is a very easy, gradual climb. going up roan nobo is tougher.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Solemates View Post
    going up roan sobo is a very easy, gradual climb. going up roan nobo is tougher.
    I agree. Going nobo up Roan is much tougher than sobo.
    Soli Deo Gloria

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    walkin' in 2k12 humunuku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post

    The Famous Nutbuster of Upper Slickrock Creek: As envirodiver said, this is a wonderful section of hard trail to sort out motives and intentions. Check out "TOUGH LOVE" in the Backpacker Magazine site. The first time I did it I wept openly, and now after 16 repeated attempts(all successful), I consider it my most favorite of all trails. It's got everything, big rocks, giant hemlocks, vertical root-holds and fall-offs, dozens of switchbacks(sweet relief), and even a few dynOmite campsites along the way.
    I've got to disagree with the hardness of this trail (its the one signed ballbuster that ends at naked ground.. correct?). It does have steep sections that are a little tricky, but they are short, and the portions in between the steep sections are bad at all.

    I will agree with all the other points though, it is a good trail (going up),down might be a bit annoying (haven't give down a try though)

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    walkin' in 2k12 humunuku's Avatar
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    Blue Ridge outdoor magazine (free mag here in the south) listed a readers poll of the top 5 or so hardest dayhikes a month or so ago They are:
    Three ridges loop, VA
    Mt Mitchell Tr, NC
    Woody Ridge Tr, NC
    Fiery Gizzard Tr, TN

    I don't think I've done any of these except Mt Mitchell, which was so long ago I can't remember (but If i can't remember, it can't be that hard, can it?)

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