My brothers and I are going for a 7-8 night trip. We will drive down from Michigan on Saturday morning and start our hike late afternoon on Saturday. What I have so far:
Saturday - Start at Twentymile ranger station and hike to camp site 13 (near Gergory Bald - 6.8 miles, 3,400' elevation gain
Sunday - Hike to Spence Field Shelter - 12.5 miles, up and down hike
Monday - Hike to Siler Bald Shelter - 11.8 miles, up and down hike
Tuesday - Hike to Clingmans's dome, then down Fourney Creek Trail to Camp site 69 - 11.4 miles, 1200 gain to Clingman's, then 3900 descent
Wednesday thru Saturday - Thinking of taking the Benton MacKaye trail back to Twenty mile (~38.6 miles)
Saturday Afternoon/Night - Camp at site 93 or start driving home if done early enough. Possibly go do some day hikes (Chimney Tops, Rainbow Falls, Grotto Falls, etc) if done really early)
Sunday - Drive Home
We have never been to the smokey's (or any other mountains) and have never been out for more than 3 nights, so a lot of firsts. My concerns with the route above is if we are trying to do too many miles on the AT. We are typically good for 12-15 miles in MI, but have never done this type of elevation gain, so 12 miles may be a bit much on the front end. Also, wasn't sure how nice the Benton MacKaye Trail is along Fontana Lake with it being a horse trail and it sounds like old settlements.
Any opinions? I am open for almost anything, so don't be shy.