GSMNP Hammock Info
I'm planning a backpacking trip for this summer. I'm trying to get more info on the Smokeys. I realize that certain campsites require a reservation, and other back country campsites are simply first come first serve.
My goal: minimize contact with other people. I'm not going into the wilderness to share a shelter with 20 others.
I understand that you're supposed to stay in the shelters if there's room. In other words: no tents unless the shelters are full. What about hammocks? Do the designated shelters and campsites have adequate hanging opportunities?
if you don't want to stay in a shelter with a lot of other folks then look at all of the other campsites in the Smokies that don't require reservations.
here is a link to map of the Smokies with all of the campsites.
Only place you are required to stay in the shelters, is along the AT. The rest of the park does not have those restrictions. Plus, the back country sites are much better in my experience.
There are three shelters off the AT, Kephart on Kephart Prong and Laurel Gap near Sterling Ridge and Mt LeConte too. Good luck getting away from people here in the Summer, they're everywhere. Its been my experience the out of the way campsites are the first ones to be shut down for bear activity as no one wants to trek back and monitor any problems. There are however some campsites that are tucked away that don't see many hikers like the Greenbriar area 31 on Injun Creek, 32 on Porters Creek and 33 on Old Settlers trail. If you come in June just suck it up and get reservations for 13 Sheep Pen Gap, the azaleas on Gregory are worth putting up with people.
I'd like to get out for a week. Is it possible to minimize contact with other people? Or should I just look elsewhere?
Any reports on the Benton Mackay trail or lakeshore trail campsites? I think 84, 85, and 86 have been closed due to bear activity.
Can't really say about Lakeshore, haven't done much on NC side yet. I do know that 37 and 36 on Big Creek almost always shut down to bears in the Summer. 35 was down all Fall and Winter. 15, 26, and 29 are problems as well.