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  1. #1

    Default Georgia to Clingmans Dome Recommendations

    Hey all, new to this forum (and all forums actually). I am hiking the 200 miles of the southern most AT in April and am looking for some suggestions. I am an experienced mountain hiker/hunter and wanted to ask other hikers their opinion on how many miles I should shoot for per day in this region. I've been told to only expect 8-10 per day, but that seems awfully low. I am trying to keep my days as minimal as possible without killing myself or missing out on the experience. Any advice is appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Firstly welcome to WB and the forum based community experience.

    Daily mileage is a real personal thing that only you can determine for yourself, but I and others will provide their personal experiences...

    For the entire AT I ended up averaging 15 MPD. This being said I was a section hiker and a lot of my days were half days getting on or off trail...My FULL days on trail MPD average was 18.75 which is more like it for me personally.

    BUT for starting out, if you are in reasonable shape 10-12 mpd would be a comfortable starting point with a realistic pack weight. I call realistic sub 30lbs

    The great thing about the AT is the amount of bailout points...your hitting a road I would say on average every 8 miles.

    Another comparison for me would be I hiked 240 miles of the AT in 12 days I think, that was thru CT, NY, NJ and some of PA.

    If it were me in your shoes, I would assume 13 hiking days and 3 zeros giving the lack of experience backpacking.

    When people/ friends have asked to join me on trips, and are worried how they will perform I suggest them running 3.5 miles the best they can and gauge how they feel from that...if you can run 3.5 and feel good afterwards your in fine shape for the AT. Now a disclaimer this 3.5 mile run only has to do with cardio, not your ability to pack and take care of your body.

    Hope this helps and go grab one of them thanksgiving sammiches from the tattooed moose for me(Charleston reference)

    EDIT: I just noticed your termination point being Clingmans Dome...I would suggest pushing on to at least Newfound Gap as the logistics are much easier than Clingmans Dome however, If you can push on to Hot Springs, NC there is some really great trail to be had thru there in April.

    As far as distance/ logistics go, when I go on a 2 week trip I prefer to have a flexible plan with my shuttle driver to pinpoint a pickup location as the trip progresses...With you being in SC I assume you would drive, I would suggest parking at springer/ amicola and get shuttle at end of trip pending where you end up
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 02-01-2024 at 15:22.
    Trail Miles: 4,980.5
    AT Map 1: Complete 2013-2021
    Sheltowee Trace: Complete 2020-2023
    Pinhoti Trail: Complete 2023-2024
    Foothills Trail: 47.9
    AT Map 2: 279.4
    BMT: 52.7
    CDT: 85.4

  3. #3
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    8-10 is reasonable planning, easier to deal with being ahead than behind

  4. #4
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    Good advice above.
    What’s your current expected pack weight for the trip, and what kind of performance/mileage have you had semi recently over a full day or long weekend; with what full pack weight.
    Take your bag for a long walk.
    Even a 3/4 day hike on a flat trail can help you gauge yourself better.
    We used to walk a lot hunting, probably 10 times more than average hunters.
    Might catch you outhere if a snow adventure falls through.

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    I wouldn’t finish at the dome either.

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    I would expect with the info provided you will be on the 12+ mile side of things. Really depends how early you get out of camp. If you get on the trail quickly/early I think you will be at the 8 mile mark quite early in the day and will want to push it a little bit. I did that section in 2022 and had no problem with +12 days. My Stats: 59 and active- fat
    Also, NewFound Gap is a great option but I had no trouble getting a shuttle from Clingmans and a nice night in Gatlinberg is good for what ails you. But make sure you plan your shuttle calls early, My cell service was spotty when I tried to make my shuttle/hotel calls coming into Clingmans.

    Just my opinion. Enjoy your hike
    KK

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by petedelisio View Post
    I wouldn’t finish at the dome either.
    they want you to finish at newfound - but for some reason do not say it

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    they want you to finish at newfound - but for some reason do not say it
    Reason is simple - the road to Clingman's Dome is often still closed in April, so you'll probably have to continue to Newfound Gap anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    they want you to finish at newfound - but for some reason do not say it
    Actually recommend half way between the dome and gap or push on past the gap.

  10. #10
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    To give you an idea of mileage - I started my thru on my 60th birthday on 2009 - there was still snow on the ground - below is my mileage for the first 20 days of my hike - no zero days but a few short ones - you could also log onto a site that posts hiker's trail journals and see their average mpd
    3/4 7.80 Springer
    3/5 12.30
    3/6 13.90
    3/7 12.50
    3/8 14.80
    3/9 6.20 Town Day
    3/10 13.70
    3/11 17.40
    3/12 9.10 Town Day
    3/13 11.00
    3/14 16.30
    3/15 6.90 Stopped early - very rainy day
    3/16 15.20
    3/17 6.60 Town Day
    3/18 13.80
    3/19 16.40
    3/20 13.80 <------- 207.7 mile mark - Summited Clingman Dome
    3/21 12.60
    3/22 18.20 Spent night of 3/22 @ Standing Bear
    3/23 15.40
    253.90
    Daily Average 12.70
    Y
    "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing." Abraham Lincoln (1855)


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