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  1. #1
    Senior Member stevebo's Avatar
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    Trip planning- GSMNP

    I am thinking about taking a 2-3 night backpacking trip in the Smokies this fall. I would like to stay on the north Carolina side of the park, and am looking for hammock friendly backcountry sites, a safe place to park my car, and a moderate route ( 8-10 miles a day max). Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  2. #2
    Lots of great options for 2-3 day hikes-

    On the far east side, Cataloochee valley is a good spot to start a loop of varying size. Boogerman loop is a must when doing a loop there in my opinion, theres Hemphill bald, and the Elk as well.

    On the South, Fontana Dam, Shuckstack and the lakeshore trail makes a good are for a loop with some neat stuff to see.

    There's also Mt Sterling on the Northeast side. We've done that loop as a 3 day hike twice in the past years, its a great hike.


    I believe I've posted trip reports on all the above here, although I don't recall how much info I supplied really. Search posts started by me in the trip reports section if you want those details.


    I'm not sure I recall seeing a non-hammock friendly site so far. You can't go wrong with about any trail in the Smokies in the fall!

  3. #3

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    Enloe Creek is a great little site but only has a few viable options to hang a hammock. My favorite sites from my BMT hike were 38 Mt. Sterling and Newton Bald. Most of the sites on the Lakeshore Trail are good too. This didn't happen to a hammocker but I hear they closed down this site....good stuff starts at 7:38.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo5UOA2kH7o&t=588s

  4. #4
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    I'll second the vote for Cataloochee. A couple years ago I hiked into Site 41 and then day hiked the area for a couple of days. Lots more details and photos here - https://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com...ee-valley.html

    Or checkout the Gregory Bald area for some amazing views - https://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com...gory-bald.html If you take a couple days in this area, you should checkout the Shuckstack Fire Tower.

  5. #5
    Senior Member stevebo's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!!!!!!!
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  6. #6
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    You already have some great suggestions and there are so many options in the park. I haven't found a campsite (or shelter) yet that wouldn't work for a hammock. Some less than optimal but functional none the less. Hopefully they will still be allowing camping around the shelters in the fall and that might open up some options as well. There are a number of loop possibilities with a lot of campsites on the trails leading from Lake Shore Dr/Road to No Where. Here's a link to my general GSMNP planning map. A lot of stuff on there including the park service trail map overlay, but maybe it will give you some ideas as well.

    https://caltopo.com/m/U2CM

    Attached is a zipped JSON file with all of the backcountry campsites that you can import into Caltopo if you want.

    GSMP_Campsites and Shelters.zip

  7. #7
    Senior Member stevebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsp_scott View Post
    I'll second the vote for Cataloochee. A couple years ago I hiked into Site 41 and then day hiked the area for a couple of days. Lots more details and photos here - https://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com...ee-valley.html

    Or checkout the Gregory Bald area for some amazing views - https://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com...gory-bald.html If you take a couple days in this area, you should checkout the Shuckstack Fire Tower.
    One more question.... how is the road leading to cataloochee? is it ok for a passenger car? Also, is my car safe at the trail head for a few days?
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevebo View Post
    One more question.... how is the road leading to cataloochee? is it ok for a passenger car? Also, is my car safe at the trail head for a few days?
    I was just in Cataloochee last week. The road is in great shape, any car can make it.
    There are enough people/tourists/rangers in the area (and it is a long way from a population center), so I doubt you would have any problems leaving your car. I've never had a problem even in a more isolated area like Twentymile.

  9. #9
    Senior Member stevebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsp_scott View Post
    I was just in Cataloochee last week. The road is in great shape, any car can make it.
    There are enough people/tourists/rangers in the area (and it is a long way from a population center), so I doubt you would have any problems leaving your car. I've never had a problem even in a more isolated area like Twentymile.
    Thanks!!!!!!
    FYI: If you want to know what type a certain bear is, sneak up behind it and kick it. Then,
    run like crazy and climb up a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black
    bear. If the bear just pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly bear : )


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

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