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Topic: GSMNP - Lower elevation hikes< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 1:28 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Every time I go to the Smokies, I'm worried about hitting the higher elevations; LeConte, Charlies Bunion, Chimney Tops, etc.  What are some of the better lower elevation hikes that would be good for winter?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 2:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh, and I'm thinking of going this weekend so let me hear it, ASAP!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 2:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My experience backpacking in the higher elevations of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and nearby areas is limited, although I did do two separate three-night trips in the area in late November 2012 and am planning a two-night trip to GSMNP later this month, so hopefully I can contribute some useful advice.

Although there are definitely awesome lower elevation hikes in the Smokies, the main draw for me there is the elevation and vistas. Personally, if I had to choose between a low elevation hike in the Smokies and a hike in the Big South Fork (which, judging by your avatar, I assume you've been to) or other public land on the Cumberland Plateau, I'd be pretty tempted to choose the BSF or another area. Especially since winter is such a great time to backpack in the BSF -- leaves are down so you can see more of the rock formations, no ticks, more water in the streams, etc. Then you could save the higher elevations of the Smokies for summer. Just my two cents.

That said, is your reluctance to backpack at the higher elevations based on knowledge that such conditions would likely be pushing the limits of your gear or are your worries more abstract or just from lack of experience with higher elevations?

I was nervous about the conditions on the my recent overnight trips in the Smokies and Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness but knew that I had the gear to handle it and that such conditions were precisely why I had purchased the gear in the first place. It was kind of something I just had to get myself excited for and make sure all proper precautions were taken.

In terms of good winter hikes, I would say that the loop using Gabes Mountain Trail, Maddorn Bald Trail, and Snake Den Ridge Trail might be a good choice -- especially in a mild winter like we're having. You'd be staying at campsite #34 and #29, and with #29 being at about 4,500 you get a little bit of elevation without having to worry as much about the extremes you might encounter at LeCone or the other areas above 6,000 feet.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 2:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes, that is BSF.  Good eye!  

Sorry, I left out that we're just day hiking.  And a guy going with is recovering from a knee surgery, so we don't want to over do it.

Thanks for all of the info though.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 2:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd recommend the hike to Hen Wallow Falls then -- about 4 miles total. Really nice waterfall, pleasant trail, definitely not too strenuous.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 5:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
What are some of the better lower elevation hikes that would be good for winter?




oh........there's a ton........

do you have a particular part of the park you wanna be in?

deep creek?  cataloochee?   twenty mile?  greenbrier?  cades cove?  big creek?


and how many mile ya want?   overnighter?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 10:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd say up to 6-10 miles.  The elevation change is proabably the biggie, nothing too crazy.  I had originally thought Ramsey Cascades, but according to hikingthesmokys.com, it a big elevation change.  Just dayhike, no backpacking.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 11:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was going to suggest ramsay cascades trail------the falls should look spectacular this weekend after all the rain we've had......

This weekend is a waterfall tyoe of weekend.....

Deep creek up to indian falls and back and maybe throw in the juney whank trail and there's three waterfalls.........
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2013, 1:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Good point about the rain.  Curious what today/tomorrow's weather will bring.
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sekk, plyndre, og deretter brenne
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2013, 1:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(kevinumberger @ Jan. 15 2013, 10:48 pm)
QUOTE
Deep creek up to indian falls and back and maybe throw in the juney whank trail and there's three waterfalls.........

+1.

Baskins Creek Falls would be nice too.  About 3 miles roundtrip.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2013, 1:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Lakeshore Trail is a good one, but it's longer than just a weekend.  A shorter trip is the Goldmine Loop.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2013, 4:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Any of the waterfalls would be good this weekend. I bet Ramseys will really be something to see though.
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