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Winter hike in smokers or mt mitchell
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john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Winter hike in smokers or mt mitchell on 12/20/2010 19:55:31 MST Print View

Anyone know of the best place to enter the smokeys or mt mitchell in winter?

The main park roads are closed due to ice.

What I would really like to know is how far up can I drive on hwy 431 to newfound gap?

Any info is helpful.

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Winter hike in smokers or mt mitchell on 12/20/2010 20:37:04 MST Print View

Best bet for info on the Smokies is to call the Rangers at 1-865-436-1231 and ask them what roads are open and what roads are closed. They know.

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Winter hike in smokers or mt mitchell on 12/20/2010 20:46:14 MST Print View

John, After I posted I saw that you are from Pensacola. I grew up there, lived there for many years and graduated from UWF, but have lived in Nashville for 30 years now. I often go to the Smokies for backpacking and will be glad to help you with your trip plans. This is a great site, the best. If you are new to backpacking you will find that there is a lot of knowledge here.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Winter hike in smokers or mt mitchell on 12/20/2010 22:06:34 MST Print View

You have to drive or you willing to hike in? There are ways to get up to Mt. Mitchell via-trail from other places like Old Fort.

I don't have my map here at home, but I'll check it tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure you can connect in starting at heart-break ridge in Graphite, hit the BRP, hit another trail a mile down it, then up. Don't remember the exact trails, but I'm planning on doing it myself soon, hit Mt. Mitchell then the Black Mountain Crest trail.

Very dense network of maintained and unmaintained trails in the area, mostly short stuff but lots of inter-connects.

I'm just a few miles away, so, let me know if you need any other help. I'll check the trail maps tomorrow.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Winter hike in smokers or mt mitchell on 12/21/2010 18:07:42 MST Print View

My best guess for the park is Exit 451 (Waterville School Road) off I-40. If the back roads are closed to Big Creek Ranger Station/Campground, you can hike in from there. The AT actually crosses under I-40 at this exit and is only about 1.5 miles from Davenport Gap (the park).

Tyler Hughes
(catsnack) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Closest Trail to Mt. Mitchell on 12/21/2010 21:11:29 MST Print View

Is your goal to get to Mt. Mitchell in as short of a distance as possible? If so, take Hwy 26 North from Asheville (or South from Johnson City, TN) and get off at Exit 9. That road is Hwy 19, and it goes straight into Burnsville, NC. Turn Right at the light onto Pensacola Hwy, just past the Ingles/Texaco station. About 3/4 mile up the road, take the left fork onto Bolens Creek Road, just over crest of hill. Maybe 3 or 4 miles down the road on your left (directly before a super-sharp and steep uphill right curve) is the trailhead for the Black Mountain Crest Trail (google it for more info). You kinda have to turn into a driveway, but it is actually a road that goes to a Forest Service owned building with limited parking. It is a beautiful trail about 12 miles long from there to the top of Mt. Mitchell. There are other steep and less maintained side-trails off of Hwy 80 from the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I would not recommend them after snow has fallen (very easy to get lost, and lots of trees down). The Mountains to Sea trail passes right by the peak of Mt. Mitchell, and you could use that to connect to other areas of the Parkway or into the Southerly parts of Pisgah Forest near Brevard, NC.

john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Smoky mt entrance on 12/22/2010 19:34:11 MST Print View

Thanks guys.

Hal, that is great. I graduated UWf in1999 and live about two miles from there.

I am going up with kids and other non hiking people, otherwise I would want to hike for a few days up there.

We are looking for snow more than anything really. So I am wanting the quickest way to the highest elevation.