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Smokies/Nantahala area in October
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Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
Smokies/Nantahala area in October on 09/16/2012 15:05:43 MDT Print View

My Uncle Sam was kind enough to send me somewhere close to the AT this time and I am looking at doing a short section in the first week of October. I have read and heard about how nice the Smokies are. I have a bum knee, so coupled with the elevation changes in the mountains I think I can do about 8-10 mi/day. I want to start at hwy 441 and finish around Stecoah Gap in 6-7 days. I have a few questions for those that know this area:

1) Is this area very busy this time of year? I figured if the leaves are turning by then that it could be crowded.

2) Where is a good place to park?I was leaning towards leaving my car at the south end and trying to get a ride to the 441 crossing.

3) Any advice on a shuttle?

4) Are there any bear problems in this area? Obviously I would hang my food, but are any other measures necessary?

5) Anyone else going to be hiking in this area at the time?

I really appreciate any help y'all can give me on this!

Also, if you know of an area within 100 miles of the Smokies that has better scenery, please let me know.


Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
Re: Smokies/Nantahala area in October on 09/18/2012 14:24:07 MDT Print View

Anyone that knows the area have any input?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
AT hike on 09/18/2012 14:54:08 MDT Print View

You should have a lot of fun. I don't think it will likely be too crowded this time of year. You won't likely have any thru-hiker traffic.
I think there are several shuttle services in the area. Fontana Village runs shuttles, I know. I'm sure there are others.
Regular bear stuff. Hang your food. Mice will more likely pose any problems.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Smokies/Nantahala area in October on 09/18/2012 17:51:58 MDT Print View

We did the Springer to Newfound Gap last year around the first 2 weeks of October.

1) We saw a few hikers each day, but we also had shelters to ourselves on several nights. The Smokies were much busier than the areas south of the park, but we still managed to find shelter space in the mar.

2) We flew down, so I can't help. But check this site:

4) One shelter in the Smokies was closed due to bear activity last fall. Otherwise, we either used bear cables or just hung our food in tree. Never saw a bear (sadly).

As a section hiker, you need reservations for shelters/campsites in the Smokies. Also, if you have knee troubles, you're in for some steep climbing. Have fun.