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Recommend a section of the AT within 350 miles of kentucky
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Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
Recommend a section hike of the AT on 10/17/2011 14:09:06 MDT Print View

Last winter i had a fantastic hike, and i owe it to Bradford Rogers(Of BPL forum) for recommending it:

**Appalachian Trail – Roan Highlands**
Starting: Erwin, TN
Ending: Dennis Cove Road (Kincora Hostel)
Miles: 70.6
Highlights: Beauty Spot, Roan Mountain, Jane Bald, Grassy Bald, Little Hump Mountain/Big Hump Mountain (balds), Jones Falls

What I am looking for in a hike this November:
**A Section hike on the appalacian trail from 50-75 miles spanning 5-6 days of hiking.
**Must be within 350 miles drive of elizabethtown, kentucky.
**I would like something with some mountains (5000+ft).
**I will be covering 10-12 miles a day with a pack weighing less than 33lb maxed out on day one.
**I will have a maximum of 6 days to spend on the trail.
**I will be solo and looking to utilize a shuttle service.

I am considering:
(1)Appalachian Trail – GSMNP
Starting: Fontana Dam
Ending: Waterville School Road (Standing Bear Farm Hostel)
Miles : 74.4
Highlights: Shuckstack Fire Tower, Rocky Top, Clingmans Dome, Charlie’s Bunion, Mt Cammerer Fire Lookout

(2)Appalachian Trail – Virginia Highlands
Starting: Damascus, VA
Ending: Marion, VA
Miles: 75.3
Highlights: Buzzard Rock, Mt. Rogers, Wilburn Ridge (bald), Wild Ponies in Grayson Highlands

I have fully explored and am not interested in:
Red River Gorge
Big South Fork

If you have any other recommendations than the hikes listed above, please recommend them. Please also list what maps i will need to buy in order to cover the section of the AT you recommend.Much thanks to all at the forum.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 10/17/2011 14:10:02 MDT.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Recommend a section hike of the AT on 10/17/2011 14:41:08 MDT Print View


FWIW check out these two trip reports of mine from last year's and this year's section hike on the AT in a couple of the areas that you mentioned.

I hope that these trip reports are of some help in your choosing where to go and what section interests you the most.

Party On,


Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hikes on 10/17/2011 14:49:16 MDT Print View

When I saw your title, I was going to recommend Roan Highlands. I would then recommend Grayson Highlands, then the Smokies. I am in Ky too. If you haven't been in the Linnville Gorge area, I would highly recommend it; its near Roan; its rough terrain; it seems sparsely hiked. Linnville has lots of option in the area as well. If you're willing to get off the AT, its a great option. Also possibly Art Loeb trail in NC.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
Smokies on 10/17/2011 15:42:35 MDT Print View

i am probably going to avoid the smokies for a few reasons:

pollution limits views(should be better in winter though right??)
have to sleep in shelters?

unless someone can persuade me otherwise.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Mt Rogers area sounds perfect. on 10/17/2011 20:32:10 MDT Print View

Hard to go wrong with Mt Rogers area. Smokies does have it's downsides. You are supposed to sleep in shelters but really don't have to. I hate the shelters too. They are grubby and mouse-infested. Look at Linville Gorge too.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Recommend a section hike of the AT on 10/20/2011 14:08:22 MDT Print View


If you decide on Mt Rogers area and have questions let me know. I have hiked the area extensively over 20+ trips, so I know the area fairly well. I hiked 3 days in the area last weekend, so I can give you the latest on water sources, etc.

Just let me know.

Brad Fisher

b s
(smyth) - F
Re: Recommend a section hike of the AT on 10/20/2011 14:54:04 MDT Print View

Based on your criteria, I'd go with plan (2). Mt. Rogers / Grayson Highlands is high on my favorite places along the AT. And I'm pretty sure there are some shuttle options out of Damascus. Personally, I'd much prefer to return to that area than GSMNP. Enjoy the trip.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
thank you on 10/20/2011 15:30:12 MDT Print View

THank you all, i will go with number 2.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: thank you on 10/20/2011 18:37:15 MDT Print View

Mt Rogers Outfitter will shuttle you. According to website it is $60 for shuttle to I81/Akins which is just north of Marion. Not exactly sure how the AT runs across this area. I would probably park at MRO and have them shuttle me to I81/Akins. Then finish at MRO parking lot in Damascus.

Once you get to Wilburn Ridge you are mostly down hill to damascus. You do have to pull Whitetop Mtn from Elk Garden, but it's not bad. Plan on high miles for this section if you like.

All the springs/water sources were running well last weekend from Old Orchard Shelter to Thomas Knob Shelter. The Whitetop mountain spring is always running well.

Make sure you check the weather. We had low 30's and winds gusting to 40mph last weekend. The wind can be a bit strong and the higher elevation are mostly exposed. You could easily have some snow in November. However it might be outstanding weather. You have an alternate lower elevation option with the Iron Mtn Trail (was the old AT many years ago before rerouting over higher elevations).


Edited by wufpackfn on 10/20/2011 18:37:58 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
thank you very much on 10/22/2011 12:18:29 MDT Print View

thanks for all the help brad, i will stay at high elevation since i prefer it, there is none here in kentucky. I got my frogg toggs for the wing. Will b using a hammock + tarp. Got a custom topquilt, warm with nothing on to probably 20, but i wear a thermawrap and lots of other stuff when i sleep. Got a 0degree underquilt coming for the hammock, should be fine.

My only issue now is to get shoes that fit, a pair of shell gloves, insulation gloves and get the whole thing routed in the gps.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
To all on 10/23/2011 20:16:36 MDT Print View

My GPS software, Topo 9.0 (delorme) is showing the distance at around 53 miles. Im guessing this is because the maps its using are outdated, meaning switchbacks have probably been added since then. But it would take a ton of switchbacks to add 12 miles, but i guess its possible. Im sure its around 75, but this really throws a hook into my gps plans.