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  1. #1
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    Default When to hike the trail?

    Is there a best time of year to thru hike the trail? I'm interested in trying it spring 2019.

  2. #2
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Based on my experience with GSMNP, I would say you want to hike the BMT in April or October from the stand point of weather. Prior to April or after October, there is a good chance you would face some freezing temperatures. There's also no leaves on the trees. May to September is more likely to be very hot and muggy.

  3. #3
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    Default Spring might be best.

    Outside GSMNP the trail is not heavily travelled and can be quite overgrown in midsummer. Spring lends to easier navigation and with a more open canopy you can probably get some better views from the trail which has some good ridge walks but views are mainly obstructed by foliage in summer.

  4. #4
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I had planned a NOBO thru starting Sept. 12 last year. Unfortunately tropical storm Irma hit GA that day. Because of road closings and downed trees I delayed a week and skipped the first 110 miles of the trail. With the exception of the GSMNP, I only saw 3 day hikers and no other backpackers. The only time I shared a campsite with other hikers was my last night at Enloe Creek CS 47 in the Smokies. The trail was overgrown in many places, especially north of Tapoco lodge. There were many blowdowns. The temperatures were hot and humid. I had two days when there was light rain. When I do the 110 miles I skipped it will probably be in the early spring before the green tunnel develops.
    More walking, less talking.

  5. #5
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    I wonder with October being a dry month if water will be a problem. Any ideas on that?

  6. #6
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by stilllife View Post
    I wonder with October being a dry month if water will be a problem. Any ideas on that?
    October wasn't a dry month this year.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stilllife View Post
    Is there a best time of year to thru hike the trail? I'm interested in trying it spring 2019.
    I started my "flip flop" hike this year in early April. Starting south from Delaware Water Gap with the idea of flipping back to DWG in late June or early July to head north. This, by the way, is where Pa gets its nickname "Rocksylvania". Unfortunately, I was injured in a fall in Pa and "blew out" a knee. Had to get off trail after only a few days of hiking. The weather was mostly sunny, dry every day; the temps were in the 50s during the days and down to the upper 20s at night. Got snow one night and rain one night. I saw, during my relatively short hike, only one other thru hiker and a few day hikers. Was alone 90% of the time. Would have reached Ga. probably in June; probably would have summited in late August or early September. Would have hit hot weather in New Jersey and New York.
    humor is the gadfly on the corpse of tragedy

  8. #8
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    October wasn't a dry month this year.
    You read my mind.
    Right now would be interesting if the BMT is getting some of the same conditions as the rest of the NC-TN border.
    Wayne

  9. #9
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    Default Water won't be an issue with a little planning

    Quote Originally Posted by stilllife View Post
    I wonder with October being a dry month if water will be a problem. Any ideas on that?
    Water sources on BMT are plentiful and not seasonally affected for the most part. Some springs in the higher elevations are seasonal but unless you are planning on camping at higher elevations relying on a spring for the evening it won't be a problem because there are numerous streams and rivers and you will cross them on a daily basis.

  10. #10
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    I hiked the Southernmost 153 miles 2 years ago in June 2017 and I would have to agree with the others - Spring or Fall! It was hot as hell, overgrown, and little-to-no views due to foliage. I had a blast though and only saw 2 other pairs of people hiking it (excluding day-trippers), so you'll definitely have solitude.
    traveliní light

  11. #11
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    "May to September is more likely to be very hot and muggy."


    Not likely it will be! Late May 14 days on the BMT was analogous to hiking draped in a wet blanket.


    Since the BMTA is an overall lower elev trail than the AT some of the "best" times(months) - for most - can be slightly extended. Mid to late March or an early April NOBO start for spring.
    Expect diversity of weather. For fall I've experienced gorgeous backpacking weather deep into Nov and sometimes when not in the higher elev GSMNP BMT or elsewhere segments early Dec. Pace plays a role.

    Direction plays a role in "best" start times. For most it's probably not "best" to start a SOBO mid late March in GSMNP.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    October wasn't a dry month this year.
    Good observation. It factored into the fall foliage holding late.

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