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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerve View Post
    You may want to call them to confirm. There is no indication that there are any exceptions, including service animals. Contact info: 865 436-1200


    This is what is says under laws and policies at the park's website:
    Dogs and other pets (except service animals) are prohibited on any park trail except the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconoluftee River Trail. (Compendium of Regulations, Pets, Section 2.15 (a)(1),
    Saltysack's answer to my question is sufficient to identify it as a legal service animal and the park indicates no restriction on this according to their website. The thread is not about service animals, everyone please don't hijack it further on that topic.

    Hopefully both Saltysack and the service dog are properly acclimated to winter hiking in general. I hiked the park in the fall so I don't have any specific input regarding winter conditions. Four days through the park might be a bit quick depending on your hiking speed though. I reduce my mileage the most in the winter due to heavier equipment, boots, weather, daylight, etc. There may be road closings too in the winter? Again not much I know about it but I seem to recall a spring trip where a was potentially still closed. Consider your bailout options carefully.

    There's no parking at Davenport Gap but down the road, maybe 1-2 miles, is a trailhead or campground or ranger station I forget it's been a while where you can park. There's a side trail off the AT that leads there.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    We were supposed to get more snow overnight and this morning.
    The snow didn’t happen. Clear skies.
    But it was 16-18-20 degrees this morning up until about 1pm.
    There’s more to winter than just snow.
    If the National Park is a problem for your pup, Mt Rogers National Recreation Area might be a viable alternative.
    Be warm. Be safe.
    Wayne
    Could you perhaps be a little more specific as to where you are? Your profile says Texas.

    Now MT Rogers I've been to in the winter. Less ups and downs offhand, easier walking, easier to bailout if needed. It's a bit of a long shuttle too for GSMNP.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

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  3. #23
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    Message me here if you need a shuttle. I live pretty close to the East/North end of the Park.

  4. #24
    GSMNP 900 Miler rmitchell's Avatar
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    Snow and ice cover can vary a great deal on the AT through the park. On Wednesday 1/5/2022 I was on a day hike with a group that did a loop out of Cosby campground. We went up Snake Den to the AT at Inadu Knob and north to Cosby Knob. In sunny spots there was some bare ground but in the shade on there were drifts of 18 to 20 inches of snow. I carried micro spikes but didn't use mine although some in the group used theirs going down Low Gap.

    Six weeks ago I did a loop that included the AT from Sweat Heifer to Dry Sluice Gap (Charlie's Bunion) and didn't carry spikes but wish that I had them then. There were areas of thick sheet ice that we had to detour off trail to avoid.

  5. #25
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    Could you perhaps be a little more specific as to where you are? Your profile says Texas.

    Now MT Rogers I've been to in the winter. Less ups and downs offhand, easier walking, easier to bailout if needed. It's a bit of a long shuttle too for GSMNP.
    I moved from Texas.
    Full time resident of Roaring Gap, NC.
    The elevation at the house is 3,000’. Winter has been late coming. Temperatures are well below freezing (teens) overnight and daytime in the 20s and 30s.
    I’m off to fix my Profile.
    Wayne

  6. #26
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    Lots of problems have been reported on social media in recent months with catalytic converters being stolen from vehicles parked at the north end of the park. This would include Davenport Gap, the Big Creek Ranger Station (formerly thought safe), and Maddron Bald trailhead. I do not know if Cosby Campground has had problems. If your trip includes leaving your car at any of these locations, please reconsider.

  7. #27
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    I moved from Texas.
    Full time resident of Roaring Gap, NC.
    The elevation at the house is 3,000’. Winter has been late coming. Temperatures are well below freezing (teens) overnight and daytime in the 20s and 30s.
    I’m off to fix my Profile.
    Wayne
    Profile corrected!
    Salty,
    Your Service Dog will need winter gear. Carhartt makes a sturdy high visibility coat. Our Cavalier is outfitted with a sweater, boots, and Carhartt coat & reflective leash. He loves the snow!
    Wayne

  8. #28
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    Hopefully both Saltysack and the service dog are properly acclimated to winter hiking in general. I hiked the park in the fall so I don't have any specific input regarding winter conditions. Four days through the park might be a bit quick depending on your hiking speed though. I reduce my mileage the most in the winter due to heavier equipment, boots, weather, daylight, etc. There may be road closings too in the winter? Again not much I know about it but I seem to recall a spring trip where a was potentially still closed. Consider your bailout options carefully.
    Here's a link with a good elevation profile of the AT thru GSMNP: https://tnlandforms.us/at/gsmnpat.html
    If you're looking to do GSMNP in only 4 days (3 nights?), that's an average of about 20 miles per day with an average of 5,000' of elevation gain per day.
    There are many roads that are seasonally closed (including the road from New Found Gap to Clingman's Dome). New Found Gap road itself keeps opening and closing since about Christmas due to snow and winds. That could change at any time. If you have to leave GSMNP early, your best exit points (if snow conditions have not closed the roads) include Russle Field and Spence Field shelters down to Cades Cove campground, Derrick Knob down to Tremont, New Found Gap road crossing, and Tricorner down to Cosby (assuming you've been able to contact someone to pick you up when you get to these trailheads).

  9. #29

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    Foot of snow might hit the Smokies this weekend. How long will it last or how much more will come?
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  10. #30

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    If the weather down there looks anything like the long range forecast here a few hours away, it'll be there for several weeks minimum at higher elevations.
    Last edited by CalebJ; 01-13-2022 at 09:58.

  11. #31

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    I didn't read all the posts, but I am concerned that - service dog or not - the dog may be attractive to a bear. In the Smokies, the bears don't always have a fear of humans, or of animals, and sometimes see a dog as a threat (or a treat). I would be extremely cautious about taking a dog through the Smokies.

  12. #32

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    This time of year, isn't bear activity minimal? Do they actually hibernate? If so, January and February would be a good time for them to do it.

    As far as micro spikes; One of the times I did the Smokies was the third week of March and a Nor'easter came through dropping 6 inches of snow. Hiking in fresh snow was wonderful. The next day, however, after it was packed, partially melted, then re-frozen was sketchy. I fell several times.
    .
    So yes, bring micro spikes if you are hiking the Smokies in January or February.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trailweaver View Post
    I didn't read all the posts, but I am concerned that - service dog or not - the dog may be attractive to a bear. In the Smokies, the bears don't always have a fear of humans, or of animals, and sometimes see a dog as a threat (or a treat). I would be extremely cautious about taking a dog through the Smokies.
    Black bears usually run from dogs. Black bears are pretty scaredy animals. They also aren't as isolated as many think in the Smokies. A recent study showed they range around quite a bit. They are omnivores but vegetation is a significantly large portion of their diet. Black bear predation on dogs is practically nonexistent, about as rare as active predation on people. Both are extremely rare in the Eastern US.

    They have been known to stand their ground when attacked by dogs, so always a good idea to use a leash if you can't call the dog off in that type of situation as the dog may end up coming back to you with the bear.

    As MtDoraDave points out, not likely to see many in Feb.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtDoraDave View Post
    This time of year, isn't bear activity minimal? Do they actually hibernate? If so, January and February would be a good time for them to do it.

    As far as micro spikes; One of the times I did the Smokies was the third week of March and a Nor'easter came through dropping 6 inches of snow. Hiking in fresh snow was wonderful. The next day, however, after it was packed, partially melted, then re-frozen was sketchy. I fell several times.
    .
    So yes, bring micro spikes if you are hiking the Smokies in January or February.
    Dave, I go out year 'round in the Smokies and see bear tracks all throughout the winter. Rangers have told me that the males here don't fully hibernate and will wake to roam but are less active than other times.

  15. #35
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Once over a decade ago I managed a winter trip on the AT in the Smokies without spikes, but by the end I'd really wished I'd bought some.
    It's all good in the woods.

  16. #36
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    Shuttle driver Packrat is awesome. 865 469 1707. Out of Gatlinburg—which is a really surreal place to end up, especially as a SOBO. guy has a cool old Jeep.

  17. #37
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post
    Shuttle driver Packrat is awesome. 865 469 1707. Out of Gatlinburg—which is a really surreal place to end up, especially as a SOBO. guy has a cool old Jeep.
    Does Packrat have the required permits to offer shuttle services inside GSMNP?
    Last time I talked to someone in the back country office on the subject (sometime in Spring 2021), the Tennessee side of the park had only issued permits to "A Walk In The Woods" and "AAA Hiker Service" (Mike).

  18. #38
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    I don’t know, he got a lot of good comments in Guthooks, and lived up to them for me.

  19. #39

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    I have gone through the Smokies several times in the winter. The Smokies is one of the few places; you have to be careful about snowfall. Once you get over Clingmans Dome, you will be going downhill as the trail will lose attitude. Before entering the Smokies, check what the forecast is for the next several days. Also, see how frozen the ground was before entering the Smokies. If the ground is hard frozen, it means any new snow will last a long time, and it can be deep. If it is not, the Smokies are less likely to have deep snow, and any new snow is less likely to accumulate.

    Wolf

  20. #40
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    Hiker rescued by helicopter from Smokies a couple days ago. Disoriented, hypothermic. Be careful out there, folks!

    https://www.knoxvilledailysun.com/ne...er-rescue.html

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