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  1. #1
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    Default Need 5-6 day loop for Western NC ? ideas?

    Hello all... New to NC and work in the high schools... Spring break is coming up & I need to get away! Planning a trip between 3/25-4/1 to West NC or East TN and want a 50-60 mile loop or so... I've looked at Fork Ridge & Hughes Ridge in Cherokee and might also do Springhouse Branch in Bryson City... But I don't want to drive to 3 different loops!
    Any ideas? Anybody looking to join up as well ?
    Thanks... Psychguy

  2. #2
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    Default good loop

    dont know much about loops except in the SMOKIES..but,....


    if i had a 5 or 6 day outing planned....i'd head to Roan Mtn or Erwin,TN & head NOBO to Damascus, VA

    you can always catch a shuttle from one of the fine folks in Damascus back home
    see ya'll UP the trail!

    "Jaybird"

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    "on-the-20-year-plan"

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  3. #3

    Default

    An reasonable shuttle (say from the Hike Inn) would be Winding Stair Gap to Fontana. I spent the night a mile north of Winding Stair, then Cold Spring Shelter, Sasafras Gap shelter, Cable Gap Shelter, Fontana. Each day was a good long hike. It could easily be lengthened to 5 or 6 days.

    There is a nice two-three day hike involving the Kimsey Creek Trail, Albert Mt and Rainbow Springs.

    There is also another trail somewhat parallel to the AT in the Franklin area, but I do not have any experience with it.

    It would also be possible to Park at Standing Indian campground, walk across Kimsey Creek to Deep Gap, then on the AT to perhaps Stecoah Gap and get a shuttle from there back to Standing Indian.

    My $.02
    Walk Well,
    Risk

    Author of "A Wildly Successful 200-Mile Hike"
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  4. #4
    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, you live in Charlotte. The obvious and easiest planned loops would be in the Smokies.

    I suspect you could make some neat loops involving the AT, Chunky Gal, and a few other trails down in the Nantahallas around Standing Indian.

    I'd consider setting up a base in Hot Springs, Erwin or at Kinkora and doing slackpacking or supported loops, but you are getting into prime hiker season and might have some trouble negotiating connections and fees.

  5. #5

    Lightbulb Another thought

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychguy
    Hello all... New to NC and work in the high schools... Spring break is coming up & I need to get away! Planning a trip between 3/25-4/1 to West NC or East TN and want a 50-60 mile loop or so... I've looked at Fork Ridge & Hughes Ridge in Cherokee and might also do Springhouse Branch in Bryson City... But I don't want to drive to 3 different loops!
    Any ideas? Anybody looking to join up as well ?
    Thanks... Psychguy
    If you have your heart set on NC, you can find some great 5-6 day loop trips there. THIS MAP in pdf show the mileage involved.

    From Charlotte, it is a shorter drive to Grayson Highlands St. Park in VA. There is a 50+ mile loop on the AT and Iron Mountain Trail, the former AT, a trip that could be extended a few more miles by going into Damascus, VA. Grayson charges a couple of bucks a day for parking, but it is secure. This is one of my favorites. A map and description of the AT and Iron trails are (in the old copy I have) in the guide for SW VA. There is also a Nat'l Geographic map of the area, but I like the guide better.

    I don't know when the break is, but this area can be heavily used during the college breaks.


  6. #6

    Default AT / Bartram Trail Loop

    I did this one in the fall and really enjoyed it.

    Take the AT starting at Winding Stair Gap above Franklin, N.C. and travel north to Cheoah Bald. 35 Miles.
    At the top of Cheoah, catch the Bartram Trail and loop back to Wayah Bald on the AT. 21 Miles.
    Take the AT back out to Winding Stair Gap. 8 Miles.

    The trail is steep in sections (especially after the Nantahala River and Lake Nantahala). But it passes through some of the prettiest forests in the southeast. If you need to shorten it a bit and have two cars, leave one at Winding Stair and another one at Nantahala Lake which is only a short distance away via the highway. You'll spend an extra 30 minutes in the car but cut off 15 miles of trail.

    Enjoy and if you need any more details let me know -

    BookBurner

    www.enlightenedthruhiker.com

  7. #7
    Young Harris, Ga. soccersoldier13's Avatar
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    Default

    I agree. The AT/Bartram loop has it all, plus it's beautiful and gives a chance for some solitude on the Bartram, and seeing a few more people on the AT. You'd get lots of great views, trail sections along rivers, waterfalls, and a lake to boot.

    Also, look into the Fires Creek Rim Trail/Chunky Gal Trail Area around Hayesville. It's very little-used, but the trails are maintained for the most part. The Rim Trail forms a 25-30 mile loop trail around the Fires Creek Basin, traversing some rugged terrain unique from the AT, crossing grassy balds, and giving some insane views of the area. If you wanted a longer hike, you could start on US 64 on the Chunky Gal Trail, follow it over a bald and along a stream up to the Rim Trail at Tusquitee Bald, hike the Rim Trail loop, and backtrack to your car on the Chunky Gal. This area also connects to the Bartram and AT, giving you some other options. Hope this helps!
    ;) I don't know karate, but I know crazy and I will use it." ;)

  8. #8
    Twisted Walkingstick Chip's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychguy
    Hello all... New to NC and work in the high schools... Spring break is coming up & I need to get away! Planning a trip between 3/25-4/1 to West NC or East TN and want a 50-60 mile loop or so... I've looked at Fork Ridge & Hughes Ridge in Cherokee and might also do Springhouse Branch in Bryson City... But I don't want to drive to 3 different loops!
    Any ideas? Anybody looking to join up as well ?
    Thanks... Psychguy
    Maybe you already have a copy of "Hiking" Great Smoky Mountains NP by Kevin Adams (A Falcon Guide book). You could park your car at the Big Creek Ranger station just off I-40 at the NC / Tenn state line going toward Knoxville. From there you have several options as far as loops are concerned.
    Take the Baxter Creek trail toward Mt. Sterling is just one idea. If you have a map you will notice several loops on this side of the Smokies that connect and get you back to your car.(Great views from Mt. Cammerer.)
    Good luck and happy Trails,
    Chip
    If we look at the path, we do not see the sky. We are earth people on a spiritual journey to the stars. Our quest, our earth walk is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things, that there is no separation, only in the mind.
    - Native American, source unknown

  9. #9
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The Foothills Trail

    Not a loop, but closer to you and less crowded.... look into the Foothills Trail.

    http://www.foothillstrail.org/
    http://www.mountaintravelguide.com/H.../Foothills.htm

    From the GORP website...
    "The Foothills Trail may be the most unsung, underused, and underrated long trail in the Southeast. It traverses the Cherokee Foothills of the Southern Appalachians in North and South Carolina, through state parks, national forests, and state-owned preserves. In these lands are high ridgelines, wild and scenic rivers, deep rock gorges, wilderness areas, mountain lakes, clear trout streams, towering forests, and a number of incredible waterfalls stretching from one end of the path to the other. There are so many cascades along the Foothills Trail that I wonder why they didn't name it the Waterfall Trail.

    "The Foothills Trail is in full maturity. It is well marked, well maintained, and makes an excellent extended trek with ample camping opportunities. Several decades back, locals recognized the sheer number of natural resources found on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, and realized a path connecting these resources would be a great way to both enjoy and protect them...."
    http://gorp.away.com/gorp/publishers...ha/hik_se9.htm


    Rain Man

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  10. #10
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    Default What a response!

    WOW! Very impressed with the specific guidance given by all posters... don't know where to start?!?

    The chunky gal combo looks good but I'm leaning towards the The AT/Bartram loop... Looks rugged, with a possibility of extending if I need to... Kinda worried about the college kids running around up there between 3/26 - 4/1... Is this section of the trail usually packed with craziness or should I look more remote with the Gal or Foothills?

    Geezzz... Who would have thought there was this much planning in order to relax!?!

  11. #11
    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    Default

    I doubt you will find craziness unless you go looking for it. Of course, you might set up a sign "Girls Gone Crazy Auditions."

    The point of the thread is that NC has many excellent hiking choices. The Foothills trail should be excellent, but I'd love to do it some late May and catch the Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel.

    NOGA has an excellent 5-6 day loop involving the AT, BMT and Duncan Ridge Trail.

  12. #12
    Registered User halibut15's Avatar
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    Default

    Yeah, don't be expecting too much craziness on the AT/Bartram Loop. I'm in the college crowd, and I backpack in the area quite a bit, and while you'll see a good bit of people that time of year, they'll be spread out over the trail so much that it won't be a problem. Once you hit the Bartram, you'll forget that anyone else is out there at all. Any people you see will be outweighed by the beauty of the hike.

    I highly recommend the Fires Creek and Chunky Gal idea also, but don't go unless you really want solitude. While I've parked next to other cars at trailheads, I've never seen another soul on either of these trails so far, but they are some of the best I've ever hiked. Good luck!

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