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bama4x4
2003-01-10, 10:36
I am planning my first section hike on the AT in late March or early April. I was wondering about both the weather and if there would be many people on this section of the trail this early in the year. Does anyone have a suggestions for a better section to hike in GA/TN/NC?

Lone Wolf
2003-01-10, 10:44
That area will be slammed with thru-hikers Late March/early April. You won't be alone.

smokymtnsteve
2003-01-10, 10:57
agreed ..fontana to newfound will be very busy with lots of hikers and tourist...the standing Indian loop between winding stair and deep gap is good .. you can park at Standing Indian campground and get a shuttle to deep gap...missing most of the climb up standing indian ..then the first night at carters gap there are two shelters so you could most likely have space...and there are lots of side trails that you can to get out if nesscessary..and you get to go over albert mtn and the fire tower....beautiful piece of trail and where my son made his first solo section.

Bandana Man
2003-01-10, 13:55
smokymtnsteve,
Is it ok to park a pickup truck at Standing Indian campground for a 2-week section hike? By any chance, do you know how much it costs?

Rock Gap shelter is just a mile away on USFS Road 67. Rock Gap is where I'm starting my section hike this year. Your post is the first I heard that unattended parking is allowed. I thought parking was only for day visitors and registered campers but would like to hear I've been misinformed!

Thanks in advance for any first-hand info you can provide.

smokymtnsteve
2003-01-10, 15:19
there is parking at rock gap the last time I was there this past fall there was no fee..there is also parking down about a mile or so down USFS 67 at the standing indian backcountry information center...I have left my truck there for 3-5 days and no problems and no fee..there is parking inside the standing Indian campground day use area that cost $2.00...mr gilstrap has been the campground host there for the past several years and keeps a good eye on things.. not knowing when your section hike will begin or when/ if Mr gilstarp will be coming for this season....I have used him for a shuttle a couple times up to deep gap which is a backcountry road crosssing about 1 mile south fo the standing indian shelter,,,there is also parking at deep gap plenty of it and no fee...this is a very isolated area..i have left my truck there overnight with no problems ..the road going into deep gap is a dirt road but all weather passable...check with the wayah ranger station to make sure that the road will be open ..I have never seen it closed but you never know,,,

Rainbow falls campground is close by Rock/wallace gap and I am sure that they would be happy for you to park there for a fee...even though there are things that I don't like about staying at Rainbow falls I am sure that buddy and jenisine can provide safe parking for your truck...also for a 2 week section hike I assume that you will need a shuttle and they can provide that..

there is parking at NOC at wesser...

fontana dam has a huge parking lot and no fee as of last summer when I was there..fontana dam parking lot is very secure the dam area has it own police/security dept ..I have left a truck there for a week long period in the fall of 99...I checked in with the fontana police dept first...they keep a great eyes on things..

of course my friend Cathy lives in franklin and I usually leave my truck there now and she drops me off..and she is a great cook..and she keeps a good eye on things too

bama4x4
2003-01-12, 19:16
Thanks for the information. I thought that the thru-hikers would pass through this section later. I will probably wait until later in the spring for my trip, when the trail is not as crowded

Uncle Wayne
2003-01-21, 05:21
bama4x4,

If you're interested, we hiked from Clingmans to Fontana last October and my abridged journal report is over on Whiteblaze.net under "Member Forums and Trip reports" or some similar title. Several of my photos of that section are in the photo gallery also. Another good section hike is from Winding Stair Gap to Wesser. But there are several in the areas you mentioned.