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  1. #1
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    Default Slackpacking Clingman's Dome to Fontana Dam in a Day?

    Hi everyone,
    I did some Googling before asking this question but I could only find information on hiking this stretch. Are there any runners out there that have done Clingman's Dome to Fontana Dam (32 miles) in one day? Even if you haven't, any thoughts? Advice on what to carry?

    Our group is from Illinois and we have plenty of experience running and hiking on the AT. But not having done this section before and not seeing any posts that cover this specifically, I'm hoping someone has already done it and can share their experience.

    thanks,
    Mark

  2. #2

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    If you have to ask... you’ll never know... jk.... I’ve never done it but I wouldn’t call this slack packing if you’re runners and used to running. This would be a solid 50k or just another long slog. Sounds like fun to me!

  3. #3

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    Also welcome to whiteblaze

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    it's all downhill

    well most of it is downhill....some roller coaster uphills too

  5. #5

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    There would be a lot of down hill going from Clingmans to Fontana, which can be hard on the knees, especially if your running. Good way to get shin splints. Consider going the other way so your mostly going up hill.

    Since this is a National Park, the trail is nicely groomed so there aren't a lot of tripping hazards. But there is a lot of hiker traffic which could get in the way.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
    Leonidas
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    We met a father and son in 2017 going the opposite way with no rain gear after a deluge and a drastic temp drop. They were not happy campers and I heard they didn't make it to Clingman's until very late. The opposite way might not be bad if prepared.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 254 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

  7. #7
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Check out this elevation profile:
    https://tnlandforms.us/at/gsmnpat.html
    There will be something on the order of 4,000' of climbing (including the initial climb to the dome from the parking lot)... which means an extra 4,000' of decent in addition to the no quite 5,000' of elevation change between Clingman's Dome and Fontana Dam.

  8. #8
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    Set aside some time to climb up Shuckstack Tower. Truly some fine views of the Smokies and to the south

  9. #9

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    One of my FB friends hiked from Fontana to Newfound gap in 24 hours. He had helpers via horse back bring him supplies and checkup on him. It can be done for sure. I would say 12-15 hours of steady walking

  10. #10
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    Just the thought of this exhausts me.

    I hiked Clingman's to FD in three days thinking it was all down hill and would be easy. Live and learn.

    Good luck with your challenge. I you do this, please let us know how it went.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by heromuseum View Post
    Are there any runners out there that have done Clingman's Dome to Fontana Dam (32 miles) in one day?
    This sounds like a variation of the Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (S. C. A. R.).

    And at least one person has reported completing a 'double SCAR' (Fontana - Davenport - Fontana).

  12. #12
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    I met two young ladies on the AT in the GSMNP last month that did Fontana to Newfound Gap in a day, got picked up to stay in Gatlinburg over night, then bright and early the next morning did NFG to Mt. Sterling. That was something close to 40 mile days. So yeah, a shorter distance downhill is doable.

  13. #13
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    Thanks everyone for all the helpful replies. The trip is still a long way off. We planned this as next year's trip while on the AT last week. We go there every year. In the interim there will be a lot of hill training happening, as much as that's possible in Illinois. I will keep you posted on the results. All the input is much appreciated and we are considering if it would be better to do the uphill even though that is counterintuitive at first glance, for the reasons you mentioned. See you out there.

  14. #14
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnacraft View Post
    This sounds like a variation of the Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (S. C. A. R.).

    And at least one person has reported completing a 'double SCAR' (Fontana - Davenport - Fontana).
    Ranger runs from Fontana to Davenport Gap in less than 15 Hours

    Haven't heard of someone doing it both ways in one go... what was their time? Based on the story about the ranger, would seem impossible to do it in less than 24 hours.

  15. #15
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    When I was a ridge runner there my patrols were broken up via access trails. Rarely did I leave from Fontana, just because it was a long drive to access, but would commonly get to that end via Cades Cove to Molies then have a patrol to Fontana and back. Those access trails can be used to slack pack that section (and the entire park), into more humane sections. The one you are talking is a nice 3 day slackpacking section, 2 days if one is ambitious enough, though why rush it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    When I was a ridge runner there my patrols were broken up via access trails. Rarely did I leave from Fontana, just because it was a long drive to access, but would commonly get to that end via Cades Cove to Molies then have a patrol to Fontana and back. Those access trails can be used to slack pack that section (and the entire park), into more humane sections. The one you are talking is a nice 3 day slackpacking section, 2 days if one is ambitious enough, though why rush it.
    Fontana to clingmans is 1.5 to 2 days with a pack. I canít picture 3 slackpacking in the ppposite direction, though it depends on how much the sidectrails add. But if they double the trip at some point it might become not worth it

  17. #17
    Leonidas
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Ranger runs from Fontana to Davenport Gap in less than 15 Hours

    Haven't heard of someone doing it both ways in one go... what was their time? Based on the story about the ranger, would seem impossible to do it in less than 24 hours.
    https://fastestknowntime.com/route/scar-tn-nc
    2 days 17 hours and 49 minutes.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 254 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

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