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  1. #1
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    Default School Group Trip

    A teammate and I are hoping to take a small group (8 - 12 max) of middle school students on a backpacking trip on a section of the AT. We were curious about the sections around Franklin, NC. Could anyone give us any insight on this part of the AT in terms of appropriateness for a group? We would be coming from Colorado.


    This trip would probably be happening late summer or early fall, if feasible / appropriate. We have a lot of experience taking students on backpacking trips and a lot of personal backpacking experience but mostly Rocky Mountain hiking. I took a group several years ago from Springer Mountain to Jared Gap / Lake Winfield Scott in GA but that's the extent of AT experience.



  2. #2
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    That part of Ga is easier than the Nantahala’s. Adjust mileage as appropriate from your Ga experience.

    Top of Siler Bald would be a great tent spot for a group like that.

  3. #3

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    Standing Indian Loop. Start at Standing Indian Campground, hike Kimsey Creek trail to meet the AT at Deep Gap, then hike AT northbound to Long Branch Trail or Rock Gap, either one gets you back to SIC. Did this hike with middle school scouts, 3 days/2 nights. You can also do it in reverse, of course, but hiking Albert Mtn. northbound is part of the experience.

  4. #4
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    That area would be great for something like that. However, its a popular section and you'd want to know what areas have large enough sites for your group if in tents. If hammocking then you should be ok. Not sure what your timing is like, but I'd do a Balds trip and then supplement on either end as needed to fill out the time. I'm thinking Winding Stair Gap to Fontana Dam, 5-6 nights with stops at Siler Bald, Copper Ridge Bald (pass Wayah Bald), NOC (pass Rocky & Wesser balds, dinner & bed midway), Cheoah Bald, Hogpen Gap and Fontana shelter.

    p.s. there isn't much room on top of Siler Bald for a group of tents. There is another cleared bald area opposite of where the AT crosses the trail from the trail to the top of Siler (check satellite image on Maps) that would work well IF they have cut the grass, which was 5' tall on 6/25. But there's always the shelter to stay at.

    p.s.s. the Standing Indian loop is a great suggestion for a 2-night trip and is a relatively easy hike compared to the balds section.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  5. #5
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    • Please visit in the smallest possible group size. If your group is large, recruit enough leaders so you can break into smaller groups to travel and camp, for example, in groups of up to 8 or 10
    • Carry tents or tarps and leave shelters for solo hikers and groups of 4 or less.

    https://appalachiantrail.org/explore...es-for-groups/
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  6. #6
    AT 11,000 Miler
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    You will want to avoid any areas that are designated wilderness areas as group sizes are usually limited to 10 people in wilderness areas.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the recommendation. A loop would be nice to connect back with our vehicle.

  8. #8
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    The heat and humidity can be a problem in the South in late summer and early fall even in NC. That said another possibility is the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama if you are not hung up on just the AT. It is a great trail for beginners.

  9. #9

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    I might also suggest something closer to Colorado. Or maybe in Colorado. Don’t you have mountains and trails over there, or are you set on Appalachian Trail?

  10. #10

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    Middle school kids might be strong in the leg but weaker in the head….

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