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Topic: Backpacking the Smoky's< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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LandofCheese Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:49 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have two questions if anyone has good knowledge of the Smoky's.

1) We are looking for a good 6-7 day backpacking trip in late April 2013.  My initial thought was to start at Fontana Dam, head up the AP to the Mountains-To-Sea trail.  Take that to the Benton MacKaye trail and back to Fontana Dam.  This is just an initial thought, but with no real knowledge and little information on the web, I am not certain this is the best path for a 1 week hike.  Does anyone have some advice or a know of a good resource to use for trip planning?

2) Our experience is 1-2 day trips in Michigan, which has little elevation gain.  We have done some 20-25 mile days, but pay the price, so figure 12-15 miles a day makes more sense for a long trip in Michigan.  The problem is I don't know how this translates to miles in the Smoky's because of the elevation gain?

Any help you can provide would be great.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 9:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Depends on the triail. Going up pole road creek trail, 3.2 miles can take a good part of the day.  The smokys are straight up, and down.  Others will chime in, with some good local knowledge.  I haven't done that loop.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 05 2013, 10:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i agree, just depends on the elevation gain for that day. for me, if i'm goin uphill most of the day -- like your first few days -- i wouldn't plan for more than an 8-9 mile days. the smokies make it hard to be picky, though, since you can't stealth camp.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 05 2013, 10:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

that does sound like a fun route, though -- too ambitious for my tastes, but great route. the views from Shuckstack and Rocky Top are among the best. you might consider starting at Twentymile instead so you can include Gregory Bald. if you consider cutting the loop shorter, think about coming down Welch Ridge or Forney Ridge. that'll take ya by High Rocks or Andrews Bald.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 05 2013, 11:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the input, anything you can share is great because I have little knowledge of the smokies.  We are just starting to plan, so may end up changing the route quite a bit.  

In general our goal is to get away from the real world (roads, buildings, tons of people, etc) as much as possible while still seeing as many of the park highlights as we can.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 07 2013, 12:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If solitude is what you are after then you should limit your time on the AT in April.  That is the time when the park is overrun with North Bound Thru Hikers and the shelters can be packed.  Unfortunatly  a lot of the parks great features and views are along the AT.  ou may want to consider the Benton Mackaye trail through the park.  It is made up of a lot of other trails in the park and is about 90 miles or so from Twenty Mile Ranger Station to Davenport Gap.  This route keeps you at lower elevations but has plenty of scenery and historical places to visit along the way.  It will most certainly be less crowded.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 07 2013, 1:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The AT portion could be four days on it's own, depending on weather, how the elevation changes affect you, etc.  

That looks like about 94 miles on the trail map...13.4 average for seven days.  Could be done.  And you've got a few outs off the ridge if you see the whole loop will be too much.

One thing to be aware of...know the park names for the trails you need. Since the Mountains-To-Sea and Benton MacKaye designations are relatively new, junctions may not be marked as such. Someone who's been on these particular trails recently can say.  E.g., it would suck to be looking for the MTS turnoff along the AT and get all the way to Newfound Gap before realizing you needed to have taken Fork Ridge.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 07 2013, 2:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
Since the Mountains-To-Sea and Benton MacKaye designations are relatively new, junctions may not be marked as such. Someone who's been on these particular trails recently can say





the mountains to sea and the BMT are marked at trail signs, with arrows and a little marker,  but i would also advise that it would be helpful to know the park's trail names........

and i would take along the little dollar map to confirm intersections and such..........
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