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  1. #1

    Default Favorite S.E Loop

    Howdy Folks

    I prefer long walks, but I only get to do long hikes once a year or so. However the good ole weekend warrior trip is a more feasible option most of the time. I want to compile a list of loop hikes in the South East to keep in the quiver. Im looking for 3 day, 2 night trips in the 20-30 mile range. Here are some of my favorites....

    - Gregory Bald loop (GSMNP)
    - Standing Indian loop (AT)
    - Shinning Rock, Graveyard fields, Art Loeb (Pisgah National Forest)
    -Big Creek loop (GSMNP)

    What are yours??

  2. #2
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Gregory Bald (GSMNP) is a favorite destination of mine...
    But I would have to say that there is no single path you could call THE Gregory Bald Loop. I've got at least a half-dozen different ways I've done Gregory Bald as a two night loop.
    The smallest loop would be 'Parson's Branch Road', Gregory Bald Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail.
    The longest loop I've done would be 3 Mile Road walk to Abrams Falls, Hannah Mountain Trail, Gregory Bald Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail.
    Then there's a couple of different loops starting from 20 Mile Ranger Station on the North Carolina side.
    You could even do loops starting from Fontana Dam area.

    Given that you say you like 20-30 mile trips, I'm curios what your Big Creek Loop (GSMNP) was.
    The most obvious is Deep Creek Trail to #37, then Swallow Fork & Mt Sterling Ridge Trails to #38, and Baxter Trail to complete a loop of just under 17 miles.
    I've also made a loop of Baxter to #38, Mt Sterling, Swallow Fork, Low Gap, Lower Mt Cammerer to #35, and Lower Mt Cammerer, the AT, Chestnut Branch (and a short road walk) for a little more than a 27 mile loop.

  3. #3
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    Bowtie or Fig 8 loops like the BMT/AT Loop or BMT/AT GSMNP Loop. Loops in Big S Fork and Red River Gorge.

    Like your Shinning Rock, Graveyard fields, Art Loeb (Pisgah National Forest) loop. need to get to that one.

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    Kings Mt. State/National Park loop as a winter or shoulder season hike. Longer variation of the same is to make a lollipop hike starting at Crowders Mt. State Park

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    dont leave out the Snowbirds or Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock areas.....

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    also, cohutta and big frog can be combined for a loop of that distance....

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    dont leave out the Snowbirds or Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock areas.....
    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    also, cohutta and big frog can be combined for a loop of that distance....
    There are so many backpacking loops in my neck of the woods---not including the GSMNP---that it would be a hard choice. Snowbirds/Kilmer/Slickrock/Citico come to mind if you want a real workout.

    Big Frog/Cohutta is vast and not as rugged.

    One of my faves are the Harper/North Harper and Lost Cove Creek wilderness study areas in Pisgah NF---East of Linville Gorge and north of Morganton NC. This place is packed with creek crossings and giant creek boulders and deep gorge canyons.

    Harper+Lost+Cove.jpg

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Gregory Bald (GSMNP) is a favorite destination of mine...
    But I would have to say that there is no single path you could call THE Gregory Bald Loop. I've got at least a half-dozen different ways I've done Gregory Bald as a two night loop.
    The smallest loop would be 'Parson's Branch Road', Gregory Bald Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail.
    The longest loop I've done would be 3 Mile Road walk to Abrams Falls, Hannah Mountain Trail, Gregory Bald Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail.
    Then there's a couple of different loops starting from 20 Mile Ranger Station on the North Carolina side.
    You could even do loops starting from Fontana Dam area.

    Given that you say you like 20-30 mile trips, I'm curios what your Big Creek Loop (GSMNP) was.
    The most obvious is Deep Creek Trail to #37, then Swallow Fork & Mt Sterling Ridge Trails to #38, and Baxter Trail to complete a loop of just under 17 miles.
    I've also made a loop of Baxter to #38, Mt Sterling, Swallow Fork, Low Gap, Lower Mt Cammerer to #35, and Lower Mt Cammerer, the AT, Chestnut Branch (and a short road walk) for a little more than a 27 mile loop.

    Im having trouble remembering our exact route, but it looks similar to your idea.

    Im going to have to take a close look at that last suggestions. Looks like alot of elevation gain/loss but you probably get to see alot

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    There are so many backpacking loops in my neck of the woods---not including the GSMNP---that it would be a hard choice. Snowbirds/Kilmer/Slickrock/Citico come to mind if you want a real workout.

    Big Frog/Cohutta is vast and not as rugged.

    One of my faves are the Harper/North Harper and Lost Cove Creek wilderness study areas in Pisgah NF---East of Linville Gorge and north of Morganton NC. This place is packed with creek crossings and giant creek boulders and deep gorge canyons.

    Harper+Lost+Cove.jpg
    Right on. Ive done a few trips into the Cohutta, but they have always been out and backs or basecamp > day hike

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    dont leave out the Snowbirds or Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock areas.....
    I need a good map for this area. Ive been to Joyce/Kilmer but never backpacking

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Bowtie or Fig 8 loops like the BMT/AT Loop or BMT/AT GSMNP Loop. Loops in Big S Fork and Red River Gorge.

    Like your Shinning Rock, Graveyard fields, Art Loeb (Pisgah National Forest) loop. need to get to that one.

    That Pisgah loop was one of the best weekend hikes ive done. So much cool landscape in 3 days

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    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue indian View Post
    Im going to have to take a close look at that last suggestions. Looks like alot of elevation gain/loss but you probably get to see alot
    Day one is that 4,000' climb in only 6 miles going up Baxter.
    For some, the 2nd day is worst because there is just SO MUCH DOWN HILL... more than the 4,000' that you came up Baxter. It's almost a 3,000' decent from CS#38 to CS#37. The climb to Low Gap isn't bad... but then it's perhaps another 2,000 foot drop to Cosby.
    Once you get past Cosby, things are not too bad.

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    The Big South Fork NRRA is full of loops and a great place to hike, though not nearly so mountainous as those suggested already. Depends on what you're after.
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    At Cheaha State Park in Alabama there is an approx. 22 mile hike that includes the Pinhot Traili, Chinnabee Silent Trail and the Skyway Trail. You can park at Cheaha at the hotel there.

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    excellent thread. I've subscribed, Thank you!

  16. #16

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    Hey Uncle Fungus,

    Do you have any loops you are particularly fond of?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue indian View Post
    Hey Uncle Fungus,

    Do you have any loops you are particularly fond of?
    Favorite loops . . .

    ** Go in at Bald River Falls and hike thru the wilderness and take Kirkland Creek trail up to Sandy Gap and head East on State Line Ridge to Sled Runner Gap and come down Brookshire and circle back into Bald River wilderness and out. About a 30 mile loop.

    ** Big Junction down Snowbird Creek trail and up Kings Meadow to Hooper Bald and back to Big Junction.

    ** Your standard North Fork/South Fork loop in Citico wilderness.

    ** Kilmer side loop---Get to Bob Stratton Bald and take the ridge trail to Haoe Peak and pull the Haoe Lead/Deep Creek loop to Hangover Mt.

    ** Get to Big Frog Mt and take BMT down to Double Spring Gap and pull Hemp Top trail to Jacks River and go downriver 18 crossings to Penitentiary Branch and up Penit to Hemp Top and back to Frog Mt.

    ** Several Jacks loops like Rough Ridge/Cowpens north (or Hickory Ridge to Cowpens south) and Panther Creek down to Conasauga River and up Hickory Creek to Rice Camp and down to Jacks.

    Just a few off the top of my head.

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    Eagle rock loop in AR. 27 miles fits bill.

    Waterfall, steep climbs, numerous water crossings ( 39 i counted), wild and scenic river ford that will wet the dingleberries, and requires weather planning.

    hdr_LittleMissouriFalls.jpg

    467960_408121705883157_1647055712_o.jpg


    9999_201111110756407.jpg


    Some good short loops can be made in alabamas sipsey wilderness too.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-14-2019 at 14:19.

  19. #19
    Registered User cneill13's Avatar
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    Did anyone mention the Georgia Loop? If you park at Byron Reese parking area, you can hike over Blood Mountain twice making the loop roughly 65 miles (I think).

    The Duncan Ridge portion is being rerouted but I would bet you could still hike on the old trails.

    https://www.outdoorproject.com/adven...s/georgia-loop

  20. #20

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    Lots of good suggestions yall! Thanks!

    The main concern of mine is travel time. Living in Atlanta, I try to limit travel time under 4 hours for weekend trips. Anymore than that and it becomes too much car time, not enough trail time.

    But I hope everyone can get some good ideas here!

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