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    Default camping at non designated sites between mt rogers HQ and catawba

    are there any stretches through here where one can not camp?

    at a rough preliminary glance, i'm considering camping at davis path campsite, somewhere around lick creek (mile 562), hunting camp creek (mile 579), someplace in the vicinity of va 611 (mile 599), watipi shelter (obvious this one is ok i would think) the "campsite and spring" at mile 632, possibly pine swamp branch shelter, though if i can stop 2-3 miles before that'd be ideal, the "stream" at mile 669 (may just do laurel creek if the prior night does end up being pine swamp), and this last one may be trickiest- somewhere between niday and pickle branch shelters. in essence, trying to split the distance between 669 and VA 311 roughly in half. i have a feeling that might not be legal.

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    When we went through the Pine Swamp Branch area, there were signs indicating that shelter was closed, I think due to concern about trees in danger of falling. That was last spring I think. Might not be an issue now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    When we went through the Pine Swamp Branch area, there were signs indicating that shelter was closed, I think due to concern about trees in danger of falling. That was last spring I think. Might not be an issue now.
    i dont suppose you have any recollection of seeing a good camping spot a couple miles south of there by chance?

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    I hiked that Mt. Rogers to Bland section last May and Bland to Catawba section in the last two weeks, so my memory is still pretty fresh:

    Davis Path campsite: remember seeing the foundations of the old shelter but don't remember if there was good tenting or water.

    Lick Creek: I tented there and there were multiple places to tent.

    Hunting Camp Creek: Lots of good tenting around Jenkins Shelter (I tented there) including places well away from the shelter. I don't remember if there was tenting right at the creek (a tenth of a mile away).

    Vicinity of VA611: Sorry, I don't remember.

    Wapiti: I tented there along with a few other folks -- plenty of good spots and reliable water.

    "Campsite and Spring": I remember seeing good tenting there -- it's just past the Wilburn Valley overlook, which is six tenths of a mile short of Angel's Rest. Since I wasn't looking for water I just can't remember seeing any there or not.

    Pine Swamp Branch Shelter or 2 to 3 miles short of it: PINE SWAMP BRANCH SHELTER HAS REOPENED. I know because I just hiked by there. I had originally hoped to camp 2.3 miles short of this shelter at the intersection with the Allegheny Trail as my map showed there was water there and I hoped there would be tent sites. Because I tired out early that day I dry camped 1.5 miles short of this (and 3.8 miles short of the shelter) right after the stiff climb up from Dickinson Gap. Because I had tanked up with lots of water right before Rice Field Shelter in anticipation of the possibility of dry camping on that long Peters Mountain ridge I was prepared to dry camp and when I saw the great site for lots of tents I grabbed it (four other thru-hikers also did a couple hours later). The next morning I found NO water or good tent sites at that Allegheny Trail vicinity and didn't find any water at all until a few tenths of a mile short of Pine Swamp Branch Shelter (I also didn't notice any good tenting in that stretch). I don't recall if there was good tenting right at that shelter but water in the nearby stream was abundant.

    Stream at mile 669: Sorry, but I can't remember. What I do remember is that there is some tough hiking in the 12 miles between War Spur Shelter and Sarver Hollow Shelter. Two long uphills in that stretch.

    Between Niday and Pickle Branch shelters: Good tenting and water shortly after you cross Craig Creek (1.5 miles past Niday). Good tenting and water again a mile before Pickle Branch where you cross Trout Creek (though closer to a road than some would like). The stretch in between (after a climb) features an easy ridge walk with no water unless you fill up in the Craig Creek valley. A lot of this is on turf that's grown over an abandoned forest road and so wide that you could pitch a tent on it and still give the trail a wide berth.
    Last edited by map man; 05-17-2018 at 20:23.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    i dont suppose you have any recollection of seeing a good camping spot a couple miles south of there by chance?
    I don't remember what was south of there - did that on a separate weekend a year or two before. There was a place to camp about a quarter mile north of the Captain's Place. When we were there, the creek was up, so we didn't attempt to do the zipline across.

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    When I did this section I ate dinner at War Spur but chose not to camp there as there was a bear hanging around the shelter. So I hiked a few extra miles at dusk to John's Creek by VA 632 (good spot, good water).

    The next day I got to VA 42 around lunch time. Don't make the mistake I did and refill your water bottles from the cow pasture at VA 42. Hike another mile Sinking Creek (much better water). In that mile from VA 42 to VA 630 I recall some level meadows. I assume you could camp there. After VA 630 at the base of Sinking Creek Mtn there is a giant oak tree (the Keffer Oak). I saw some people setting up camp there. I think they may have been car campers. It was early afternoon, too early for me to stop but I didn't think I could make it as far as Niday and didn't want to loose all the elevation to get down to Sarver Hollow, so I carried water to dry camp on the top of Sinking Creek Mountain. I found a great campsite in the rocks where the ridge was narrow, but I seem to recall there were more open spots on the south/west end of that ridge.

    As reported by Map Man, the next ridge is wide, flat, and grassy, at least as far as the Audie Murphy Monument. I think you could land a 747 up there. There's even a bench at the top of the climb. I love that bench! But it would be another dry camp if you are up on the ridge. I continued to down to the next valley and camped at Trout Creek. The road there (VA 620) is pretty quiet so I didn't find camping by the road much of a problem. I didn't have much choice as going up and down all those ridges blew out my knee and I was barely able to walk coming down that last hill. There was no cell phone service to call for help so I had to rest there until the next day, and then go up and down the Dragon's Tooth with only one good leg to get to "civilization" at VA 624.

    Once you get past Pickle Branch, there won't be too many camping options and it will be dry from there to VA 624. The ridge to Dragon's Tooth is very narrow. You could camp at the summit or at Lost Spectacles Gap, just down from the summit (both dry). There is no camping allowed after VA 624 except at shelters and designated campsites after VA 311.

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    lots of great info to sort through, thanks.

    camping after pickle branch wont be n issue if things go at all to plan. the idea is to camp somewhere 18 miles or south of 311 and hike out the next day

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    I camped next to Trout Creek south of Pickle Branch when I went through there, and only a couple of cars came down the dirt road it crosses so it wasn't bad. Here's a pic of where I camped, right after you cross the footbridge over the creek.
    6.197 trout creek.jpg
    -tagg

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    Quote Originally Posted by tagg View Post
    I camped next to Trout Creek south of Pickle Branch when I went through there, and only a couple of cars came down the dirt road it crosses so it wasn't bad. Here's a pic of where I camped, right after you cross the footbridge over the creek.
    6.197 trout creek.jpg
    that looks good but at that point if i'm that close to pickle branch and it isnt already 9pm i'd just push on.

    this isnt about trying to avoid shelter areas because i dont like them. they just arent laying out anywhere near reasonable for the pace i am shooting for.
    something around brushy mountain or the audie murphy monument is what i'd likely be aiming for. seems others have said thatll be doable if i haul water, which i'm probably willing to do

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