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  1. #1

    Default water availability

    How is the availability of water along the AT in the GSMNP in November and December?

    I'm using the Guthook/Farout app and I see full drop icon reliable water sources every few miles. Is this accurate? I am not counting on the half drop icon seasonal water sources.

    My tentative plan is a 3 day 2 night trip, starting at Clingmans Dome. Haven't decided whether to hike north or south.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Generally speaking, the Smokies are a wet place, even at the higher elevations. Back in 2016, the year of the big fires in the Smokies, Gatlinburg, and surrounding areas, we were in an exceptional drought, and water reliability became an issue.

    I would have zero concerns about water availability this November and December.

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    I agree that water should not be an issue, but Clingmans Dome Rd is scheduled to close on 11/28 for the season. Donít know if that will impact your planning and it can always be closed due to weather as well.

    https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvis...sonalroads.htm

  4. #4

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    Here is a map of drought conditions in the US. By colors it shows conditions from no drought, to extreme drought. Currently no drought conditions are shown in GSMNP.
    https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

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    The Smokies are a rainforest.

    Good chance Clingmans Dome Rd will be closed.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Maintainer
    Former TEHCC (AT) Maintainer
    Falls Lake Trail: 2011

  6. #6
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Basically, every shelter has a water source... though you may have to work for it.
    In some cases, you'll have to down-climb a steep hillside for maybe 100' vertical to get to the water (Derrick Knob comes to mind).
    In some cases, you'll have to got pretty far off the AT. Spence Field, Mt. Collins, and Pecks come to mind as these shelters are 0.1 to 0.25 miles off the AT, and the water source is then beyond that.
    Occasionally, these water sources will run low. But because they are at campsites, the park's Temporary Closures page usually includes a warning of such in the
    Trail Closures, Warnings & Cautions section.
    https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvis...proadclose.htm


    On the southern half, there are also a few side trails (I'm sure are listed on your guide) that, again, you drop off the ridge to access water.

    There's almost no where the water crosses the AT.
    Icewater Springs shelter and the trail rounding Mt. Guyot being the major exceptions.

  7. #7

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    I hiked from Clingmans Done north to Davenport Gap this past week. Water was generally scarce. I started with 3 bottles (about 20oz each) so didn't start looking until after Newfound Gap. I found an OK (not great) source. Fortunately my pump filter has a small inlet so works well with shallow sources. I made it to the Icewater Spring Shelter OK. The shelter had a pipe with constant water flow. The 12.5 miles between the Icewater Spring Shelter and the Tri-Corner Knob shelter had some wet spots on the trail but none that I could get water from. I suppose that in an emergency situation one could sop up the wet surface with a piece of fabric (towel, shirt, spare sock, ...) and squeeze it into a bottle. Fortunately the weather was cool and the hike not too strenuous and I made it to the Tri-Corner shelter OK. There was another pipe with decent flow at the shelter. From Tri-Corner shelter to Davenport Gap were several decent water sources.

    I'd never used the bear cables they have there so that was new. It's basically cable on a pulley with an S-hook to hook your pack on one end and a clip-hook (sort of carabiner) to attach to an eye-bolt on a tree on the other end. There are YouTube videos that show reasonably well how it works. One guy at the first shelter said some bears have learned that if the cable is shaken that sometimes the pack comes off the S-hook so it's a good idea to bring a carabiner to attach one's pack to the cable. I didn't have one but at the second shelter I found a strap so in addition to the S-hook I tied my pack to the cable. It was a windy night. In the morning my pack had come off the S-hook and was secured only by the strap. As I had an external frame pack and an expensive Bearikade bear can on the outside of my pack I was glad it didn't go through a drop test. I assume it was the wind and not a bear.

    I don't know if naming vendors is acceptable so if its not, let me know and I'll delete this paragraph. I used the Standing Bear Farm/Hostel for parking and shuttle and stayed at the Scottish Inn motel in Maggie Valley before and after the trip. I felt that both were reasonably priced and I was happy with the service.

    All in all a successful short trip.
    Last edited by perrymk; 11-13-2021 at 19:24.

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