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  1. #1

    Hanging in the Smokies on the AT

    I'm planning a 3 day hike from Davenport Gap to Clingmans Dome in April/May 2011. Sounds so far away!

    However, like many of you, I've become an ardent fan of hammocks. I've got a HH that I really like and am working out how to really make myself comfy in it. On planning this trip, I'm learning that I have to register for and stay in shelters while in the Smokies (on the AT). There doesn't seem to be any campsites between shelters.

    I chose hammocks because I don't like mice after some bad experiences in shelters in the past. I'd rather sleep good and not have to worry about anything crawling, scratching, running, chewing, *******g, etc. near me.

    So, based on your experience, please tell me... is it possible to hammock in the Smokies on the AT? How did you "get away with it"? I'm not trying to break the law (and I don't want a fine) but I'm just wondering if it's possible.

    I'm a big fan of LNT principles and we won't eat, cook or build a fire where we are hanging. It'll just be sleep time and then we are off.



  2. #2
    peanuts's Avatar
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    beau, that is prime thru hiking season. if you are starting 50 miles b4 gsmsp and end 50 miles outside the park, you qualify as a thru hiker. all u do is wait till the end of the day and the shelter gets full, then hang your hammock you should be ok. i had never had trouble..

    since i missed your 3 day hike, i still say wait till the end of the day , shelter is full, then hang.....
    Last edited by peanuts; 11-19-2010 at 13:43. Reason: i missed 3 day hike!

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  3. #3
    Senior Member TNhitman's Avatar
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    I always thought there was a tremendous amount of snow at that elevation at that time of year?

  4. #4
    you will have to get permits to stay at the shelters. Like peanuts said if the shelter is full then you can hang outside of the shelter. Don't hang in the shelter esp if it is full. No one is going to want you hanging above them.

    Oh BTW mice can run down your suspension to snuggle up with you in the hammock
    'Classic.' A book which people praise and don't read.” ― Mark Twain

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  5. #5
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhitman View Post
    I always thought there was a tremendous amount of snow at that elevation at that time of year?
    At 4-6k in elevation in the GSMNP during late April or in May, there's not much of a chance of snow still being around. You might see the occasional snow falling, but the Winter snow has already melted.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    I did a Smokies hike...this may help you out some:

    You're only required to hang in the shelters if you're on the AT (or a couple other specific trails), so if you want to see the Smokies but don't care if it's actually the AT there are plenty of campsites to choose from. I hit a lot of the waterfalls on my hike and only spent a short time on the actual AT. One benefit of this is that water is more common once you get off the ridgeline (where the AT is).

    If you really want it to be an AT hike, then you have two options...shelters or stealth camping. Stealthing is against the regs, and b/c the AT is on the ridgeline you'll have to either pick your sites very carefully to be near water or pack all your water in each night for a dry camp. The vegetation may limit your options a bit at that time but probably not much.

    I hung in a couple shelters while I was on the AT and one off the AT. Both times I asked everyone there and no one cared, but I wasn't hanging over a sleeping platform either time. On the AT, another hanger arrived during the night and hung his hammock in there as well. The shelters weren't full at that'll probably have many more people in the shelters for your trip, so it may inconvenience some hikers and not everyone appreciates hangers in shelters. You could always wait until it fills up and hang outside, though.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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