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  1. #1
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    Default Campsites between Hot Springs, NC and Sams Gap (Hwy 26)

    I am going to take 3 days to hike starting in Hot Springs heading to Sams Gap (about 44 mi, NB Mi 273.7 - 317.6). Anyone know of cool places I should camp for a night? My AT guide does not show much other than the shelters on this stretch.
    SC Ed
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    Not a lot goin on in that stretch from what I remember. My first trip ever on the AT was to Jerry cabin, and I tented at the sign post while others stayed in the shelter. If you go .1 miles north of jerrys cabin there is some nice tenting areas trail left.

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    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Rich Mountain Firetower (if it survived the fires)
    Jones Meadows (blue blaze just passed Camp Creek Bald)
    Side trail to the Sheton Graves north of Big Butt
    Sugarloaf Gap to Frozen Knob
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 01-31-2017 at 14:07.
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    Thanks Gambit and TV. Hey Tenn Viking, any of these a "this is way better than the shelter?"

    Ed
    SC Ed
    -- My greatest adventure can be tomorrow!

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    Hello Ft. Mill. I get over that-a-way once a month or so to ride at the velodrome.

    I've done that stretch each summer for the past three years. Going from Hot Springs to Sam's Gap here are a several that come to mind. Most I consider dry-ish which to me means have enough to get through the evening and morning, but if I hunt around a bit I can usually find some. I often eat dinner early at a shelter, fill up, then camp. I hammock but all of these support several tent sites. I'll guess they are not in the books for lack of water.

    Mill Ridge/Stinky Lake and pine forest
    Rich Mt. (continue 1/4 mile past the fire tower access trail)
    Deep Gap plus one more before Allen Gap
    In a pinch there is one just past Allen Gap but before the dirt road (then nothing until Little Laurel shelter
    Big Butt past Jerry Cabin
    Shelton Graves is an awesome awesome camping spot. Plus it is awesome.
    Big Flat (a long mile or so before Hogback Ridge) Big Flat is another incredible spot especially if you catch it in wildflower, raspberry, or blueberry season.

  6. #6
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Check on Hemlock Hollow hostel. Not sure what there status is. If you want to jump off trail for the night.

    Rich Mtn Firetower, Jones Meadows, and Shelton Graves a must.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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    Also, go with the knowledge that this is a pretty demanding section in terms of climbs and descents. If you are in good backpacking shape 3 days is no problem. If you are coming off the couch then make sure those are three long days or try to add another 1/2 day.
    Going in the direction from Sam's Gap to Hot Springs is considered preferred. There is less climbing if you go that way; although parking at Sam's Gap is generally safe, most people prefer to leave car in HS; and if you like to clean up, have a beverage, and a burger after a hike you do not have that option at Sam's Gap.

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    I hope this isn't derailing the thread.... side question, but sorta related I guess
    Is there a source for finding campsites that are not a shelter?
    I love how SCed put it...."this is way better than the shelter?"

    As I consider planning a section trip, I'm wondering about this idea too. I get that part of the trail experience is other hikers, but that's not all of it for me. But when I read the journals and see pics of tent set ups with hand fulls of other tents in eye shot, meh....not really why I'm thinking about when i think of hitting the wildnerness. A few nights of my week sure, get teh trail experience, make some new friends, I'm up for that....but I'd also like to get a taste of wilderness camping too.
    I understand leave no trace, and that it wouldn't be proper to set up a tent right in the middle of a scenic overlook spot.... gotta leave those for everyone to share....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bumpy View Post
    Also, go with the knowledge that this is a pretty demanding section in terms of climbs and descents.
    I was looking at the climb Mr. Bumpy, especially out of Hot Springs that first day and realizing I better get started early for that 2300' elevation gain. I am in decent shape (i.e. 2 weeks ago did Standing Indian and Mt Albert in one day, about 18 miles), but not a masochist either. I am taking food for 3 nights so I really have about 3-1/2 days to hike. I tend to grab sections and go northbound more or less hoping to eventually section hike the entire trail. I think I will consider the following: The first day I might not get started till close to noon and with the climb 8 miles may seem like a lot.




    Hiking Miles
    Hot Springs NC
    273.7

    Rich Mt Lookout Tower
    282
    8.3
    Little Laurel Shelter
    293.3
    11.3
    Flint Mt Shelter
    306.4
    13.1
    Sams Gap
    317.6
    11.2

    The Shelton Gravesite sounds great, just not working for a campsite milage wise. I will plan on lunch there I think.

    You are all AWESOME! I so much appreciate the expertise/experience I find on this website.

    Ed
    SC Ed
    -- My greatest adventure can be tomorrow!

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    When are you doing this? I'm thinking available daylight.

    You are correct HS to Rich Mt. is a MF. That is another reason why it is a much nicer hike going N-S.
    But doing it S-N if you took a late start you can camp at Mill Ridge area and split the climb. Once you cross back over the highway and start heading up Rich Mt. there is no place to stop. Going from Mill Ridge to Little Laurel in a day would not be unreasonable. Also if you hit Little Laurel and still have an hour to hike there is a spot with water near the top. It is on the AT about 1/4 mile past the Camp Creek Bald spur trail.
    Just thinking about this is making me tired. It is also a very long uphill pull from Allen Gap up the ridgeline up to Camp Creek Bald. That section is really a lot better when done N-S
    Flint Mt. Shelter is a better than average shelter for the area- both setting and structure.

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    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Flint Gap/Rocky Fork just got rerouted. I remember climbing the old trail from Flint Gap...ANKLE BREAKER
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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    I am just looking for 4 days of decent weather (at least predicted weather) to go. So hopefully late next week. My history is I end up going further than I plan, getting to the planned stopping point too early in the day to want to stop. With the longest day being 13 miles, I should not run out of daylight. I'll start by about 8am giving me 10 hours of daylight. I am not really bothered by night hiking either, except that if I start in the morning, that would make for a very long day. I usually go till about 6.

    You do have me considering N-S though Mr. Bumpy. I think I would feel a bit like I chickened out from a challenge though??
    SC Ed
    -- My greatest adventure can be tomorrow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    Check on Hemlock Hollow hostel. Not sure what there status is. If you want to jump off trail for the night.

    Rich Mtn Firetower, Jones Meadows, and Shelton Graves a must.
    I just got back from doing Allen Gap to Hot Springs.I called HH about a possible shuttle and also asked will they be ready for this year's thru hikers.Cabins only no operating restaurant.Possible mail drops.Look's like they don't know what they're missing when Hot Springs is full.
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCEd View Post
    You do have me considering N-S though Mr. Bumpy. I think I would feel a bit like I chickened out from a challenge though??
    OK I challenge you to go from Sam's Gap to HS!

    For about the past 2 years there is a hostel on Rector Laurel Rd. I don't know anything about it, like not even its name or if it is open in winter, but something is there if unexpected weather came in. Also, as Tennessee Viking noted the Hemlock Hollow is near Allen Gap.

    Enjoy! I get my next week in the woods in early March. Foothills Trail again, probably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bumpy View Post
    OK I challenge you to go from Sam's Gap to HS!
    LOL...a dare is not the same as a challenge. I just feel like I am cheapening my accomplishment if I decide to take each section in the easiest direction. When I go with friends I do choose the easiest direction as they are generally not regular hikers.
    SC Ed
    -- My greatest adventure can be tomorrow!

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    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cleaner View Post
    I just got back from doing Allen Gap to Hot Springs.I called HH about a possible shuttle and also asked will they be ready for this year's thru hikers.Cabins only no operating restaurant.Possible mail drops.Look's like they don't know what they're missing when Hot Springs is full.
    I heard it was one the market. Is it the same owners as always or did the sale it?
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  17. #17

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    Did you wind up doing this in three or four days? I'm doing it next month, southbound

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