Sep 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm #1263582
Any advice on a good weekend trip in the North Carolina Mountains. Me and a buddy go a backpacking a couple of times in the fall and a couple in the spring. We like high elevation trails, with good views. Ridge trails are nice. We did the Art Loeb trail in the spring, very nice. Any reccomendations? We live about 5 hours away, and only take one car, so loops or out and backs work best. Probally go in early October, Leave home Thursday after work and camp Thursday Night, hike friday and saturday and come home on sunday.Sep 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm #1647972
How many miles per day are you looking for?Sep 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm #1647973
Grayson Highland/Mt Rogers Area in Virginia (just across NC border). I have hiked it many times but a good loop would be:
– Park at Beartree and take short side trail to AT (head north)
– Take AT to Mt Rogers/Wilburn Ridge and setup camp (approx 20 miles). Good elevation gain. You have other options for stopping earlier
– Next day either continue on AT or take the Crest Trial short cut to the AT
– Continue on AT to the Iron Mtn trail (old AT route). Take Iron mtn to Beartree (approx 18-20 miles)
– You have some options to shorten or lengthen the trip mileage or duration
– You can also start the hike at other locations, but plan to camp on the open ridges (ie Mt Rogers area, Wilburn Ridge, Crest Trail, Stone Mtn, ) Outstanding views and open.
Another option would be Roan Mtn area, but you would need to do a car shuttle. In the past others have mentioned good shuttle services. Search on Brad Rogers trip reports for the name.
Smokies has plenty of good options. I good choice my be something where you camp at Mt Sterling and Tricorner Shelter. Also good options along AT. Endless loop options. Again Brad Rogers is the site expert on the Smokies. If you check out the Southern Appalachian BPL facebook page you can see several trip options.
let me know if you need more details on any of these
Brad FisherSep 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm #1647974
As you can see Brad Rogers has already responded. He can give you some great options.
Brad FisherSep 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm #1648004
We would get there around 10-11PM, so not very far the first night 0-1 miles. Friday around 10 miles, Saturday around 10 miles, Sunday less than 5 miles. I live at the beach (a flatgrounder) so 10 miles to me is along way, plus the 5 hour drive home means we would like to be packing the car to come home around noon. Realistically 20 miles total, more or less.Sep 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm #1648013
This is what I would suggest for a Grayson Highland/Mt Rogers trip.
Friday. Drive to Grayson Highland state park and park in the overnight backpacking lot. I would think hike to the AT via Massie Gap (not the AT spur trail). You could hike up the AT(south) for 1-2 miles and setup camp. Just need to get out of the state park and into the wilderness. The hike is all in very open grass bald area, so you can easily hike via head lamp. I have done it several times.
Saturday: I would continue on the AT for a couple miles over Wilburn Ridge and then continue out the AT to the Mt Rogers spur trail (right after thomas knob shelter). The top is tree covered, but at least you bag the highest peak in VA. Then backtrack a couple miles north on the AT back to Rhodeadean Gap and pick up the Crest Trail. The trail is a horse/hiking trail, but has excellent views. Once you reach the scales (basically a corral) you can pick up the AT south again and head over Stone Mtn (good camping but you probably less than 10 miles for the day at this point. You could continue down the AT until you reach the bearpen trail. Hike half way out the bearpen trail until you see a very large rock on the right. You can camp beside the rock. Great site.
Sunday: You could either backtrack the bearpen to the AT and then continue south to the AT Spur trail and then back to your car. You also have an option to continue down the bearpen trail and then take the scales trail to the AT and then back to the spur trail.
The highlights for the area: Wild horses, Most of the scenery will be open with very expansive views. Some of the hike will be within the woods, but the majority will be open. Lot of trails so it is very easy to change your plans at any time.
Map: Trail Illustrated map 786 Mt Rogers NRA
One of my favorite places.
Brad FisherSep 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm #1648061
Thanks for the deatiled trip information. What about water sources? Are there any?Sep 22, 2010 at 6:51 pm #1648067
– First night would be dry.
– Wilburn Ridge/Rhodeandon Gap. Spring off the crest trail south.
– Thomas Knob Shelter has a spring
– Scales: Spring down dirt road.
– Stone mtn: dry
– Wise Shelter has stream close by.
The map has all the streams/springs labeled. You do need to treat all water.
BradSep 23, 2010 at 4:56 am #1648133
For high elevation views it might be hard to beat Brad's suggestion. The Grayson Highlands/Mt. Rogers area is open with tons of views, and allows for loop hikes, which is rare on the AT.
Another possible loop on the AT is near Standing Indain (Franklin, NC) where you can do a nice high elevation 24 mile loop from the campground up the Long Branch Trail to the AT, and then back down to the campground via the Kimsey Creek Trail. It is a pleasent ridge hike with a firetower on Albert Mountain, and a nice veiw from Standing Indian Mountain.Sep 24, 2010 at 5:48 am #1648457
Another good hike if you don’t mind a shuttle would be Newfound Gap to Big Creek Ranger Station (near Davenport Gap) on the AT. Of coarse since this is in GSMNP, you have make reservations for and stay in the shelters, but if that isn’t an issue, this hike has great views (Charlies Bunion, The Sawteeth, Mt Cammerer, etc) and is all high elevation and relatively easy. Park at Big Creek Ranger Station (I-40 Exit 451) and have Curtis at Standing Bear Farm Hostel shuttle you to Newfound Gap.
Day 1 – Newfound Gap to Icewater Springs Shelter – 3 miles
Day 2 – Icewater Springs Shelter to Tricorner Knob Corner – 12.6 miles
Day 3 Tricorner Knob Shelter to Cosby Knob Shelter – 7.7 miles
Day 4 Cosby Knob Shelter to Big Creek Ranger Station – 9.7 miles (including 1.2 mile side trip to Mt Cammerer Fire Lookout)
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