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  1. #1
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    Default Section hike - where would you go

    If you only had 3 weeks to hike the AT trail in either April or May, what section of the trail would you hike and which month?

  2. #2
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    Start at Harper's Ferry and head south.

  3. #3
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    I would look at the stretch from the northern border of the GSMNP to the Mt. Rodgers area in soVa. and pick out a route based on how far you think you might cover in 3 weeks. If you over/underestimate your mileage you have no concerns as there are many places to get off here in the SE with ample shuttle opportunities. late April to early May would be the perfect time imo.

  4. #4
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I would go in May, and I would hike from Springer to the Smokies. If you're reasonably fast on the trail you can make it to Davenport Gap. Or stop at Fontana Dam. May is a gorgeous time to be on the trail -- cool nights, warm days, lots of wild flowers, good views, etc. My favorite month, okay maybe I like November as much....

    Happy to make some suggestions on logistics to make this section work, if you like.
    Ken B
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    Saranee, only 3 replies and we have narrowed the entire trail down for you to just the 1,000 mile section from Springer to HF! All for free, saving you hours of grueling research! Is this a great place or what!??

  6. #6
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    Well, I'm doing Harper Ferry to Delaware Water Gap starting the 3d week of April.
    Why?
    Because 1) I need a section I can do in a little less then three weeks, 2) the start and end points have public transportation close by and 3)late April/early May is the best time to hike PA before it becomes ungodly hot and the water dries up.

    How to get to and from the trail is a big factor in deciding where to go. At least for me. There are only a few places where you can get on and off the AT without arranging for a shuttle, a possibly an expensive shuttle depending on how far it has to be.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    I would go in May, and I would hike from Springer to the Smokies. If you're reasonably fast on the trail you can make it to Davenport Gap. Or stop at Fontana Dam. May is a gorgeous time to be on the trail -- cool nights, warm days, lots of wild flowers, good views, etc. My favorite month, okay maybe I like November as much....

    Happy to make some suggestions on logistics to make this section work, if you like.
    Agree that this is a good option. Mid-may would be my choice. With many other options at that time of year, you'd run into crowding issues with thru hikers, which some like & some desperately avoid

    If you were going a bit later (say mid or late May), you could start further up the trail somewhere like fontana dam, and do the smokies & also make it as far as the Roan mountain area if you average a bit over 10mpd.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stepinwolfe View Post
    Start at Harper's Ferry and head south.
    yep i would suggest the shenandoah aswell!

  9. #9
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    My current plan is to start at Harper's Ferry and head north. Thought I'd see if anyone had some suggestions before I committed to flights etc. I appreciate all your insight!

  10. #10

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    I'd probably just start at Springer.

  11. #11

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    If I had only 3 weeks, I'd go from Erwin TN (not too far from Tri Cities airport) to Pearisburg VA (near Blacksburg and Roanoke) This will allow you to experience the Roan Highlands and Grayson Highlands; which are both beautiful; especially the Roan, and the wild ponies in Grayson. Of course, your daily mileage will determine if the roughly 300 mi is too short or long for you. That works out to about 14 mi/day. It's about another 95 mi to Daleville VA ( near Roanoke) if you expect to do bigger mileage. Then you would see McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs; which are pretty spectacular. Going north out of HF doesn't have the vistas that you will experience in the Southern Appalachians since most of the time you will be walking the ridge thru PA. Just my opinion!

  12. #12

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    I think the stretch from Erwin north is very special. Unaka Mtn, the balds through the Roan Highlands, Laurel Falls and Gorge, Watauga Lake and the great trail town of Damascus. Then Whitetop Mtn, Grayson Highlands and the ponies, then the rolling hills of SW Virginia. Several good hostels to consider in that route - Mtn Harbour, Damascus choices and Woods Hole if you get that far.

  13. #13
    Registered User gollwoods's Avatar
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    I might go south from Erwin to Smokies and actually end at Gatlinburg via the boulevard trail and rainbow falls trail off Mt LeConte but I would go to leconte 3 times a year if I could that's just me

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    I'd start the last week of April at southern entrance to the Smokies and hike north with no definite end point.
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

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  15. #15
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Anywhere south of Harper's Ferry - you can't go wrong. If you don't like crowds, Virginia may be a better choice.
    It's all good in the woods.

  16. #16
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Man, you all are getting me even more stoked for my section in May from Hot Springs to Damascus. So many replies that encompass all or parts of this section.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Man, you all are getting me even more stoked for my section in May from Hot Springs to Damascus. So many replies that encompass all or parts of this section.
    Yeah, that's my favorite section of NC, way better then the Smokies. Might be a little early for the wild flowers though. April is really the time to do that section, but they should be starting to bloom as you approach Damascus.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  18. #18
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    So many great options to look at! I am so excited to take my first step on the AT!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4shot View Post
    I would look at the stretch from the northern border of the GSMNP to the Mt. Rodgers area in soVa. and pick out a route based on how far you think you might cover in 3 weeks. If you over/underestimate your mileage you have no concerns as there are many places to get off here in the SE with ample shuttle opportunities. late April to early May would be the perfect time imo.
    What area would you consider the Northern Boarder of the GSMNP?

  20. #20
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    Couple questions about starting in Springer middle of April or on May 1st:

    What low temps would we expect that time of the year? I'd rather not freeze by buns off the whole time :-)
    How challenging is the terrain?
    How far would I be able to go in 3 weeks doing 8 to 10 miles a day?
    What are the vistas like?
    What would the crowds be like in May?

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