Gorges State Park, NC.

6:04 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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In a couple of weeks my family and I will be camping and backpacking there for about 10 days. We will be basecamping @ Ray Fisher primitive, about a .75 mile hike in, then would like to do a couple of over nighters from there. We are experienced campers but relative new backpackers, and wondered if anyone here could advise us of some good overnight hikes that won't be too difficult, especially for a 12 year old. I have done research on the www but can't seem to locate much info on this particular subject. Also, does anyone know much about the Ray Fisher campground itself, and potential for wildlife, especially bears? Any help would be appreciated, thanks. Rob

2:38 p.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Rob,

I've never been there but I pulled up the map on-line and it looks like outside of the Rainbow Falls / Raymond Fiisher trails (near the park office in the north west corner), the only choice for overnight backcountry camping (at least at designated sites) from an established trail would be in the southeast part of the park on the Foothills Trail south of the junction of Toxaway River and Toxaway Creek. However, the website also mentions that the only trailhead access within Gorges is from the Frozen Creek parking lot which is 10.4 "strenuous" trail miles north of the Foothills Trail via the Cane Brake trail.

This is assuming that you want to hike in Gorges State Park.

 

I would advise you to jump in the car and go north to Pisgah national forest and the Shining Rock area. There are many places to camp and great high elevation trails easy to access from a parking lot near Black Balsalm mountain. Check out my trip report from April of 2012 for a sneak peek if interested.

It will be much greener this time of year.

11:43 a.m. on July 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Rob,

I will second Patman's advice to go to Pisgah. There are a ton of beautiful places in there with lots of camping availability. Most of the trails are above 6,000 ft and are moderate. The Davidson River Campground would also be a suitable basecamp.

I visit Gorges St Park every year, but I usually only go to Rainbow Falls, which is beautiful! Nearby Whitewater Falls is also beautiful.

I would also note that anywhere in either of those areas will be susceptible to bear activity.

2:09 p.m. on July 27, 2013 (EDT)
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I thank you both for your replies. Patman those photos look awesome, looks like a great hike and something we would be interested in. I have obtained some maps from that area and we will put together a plan. Ashleigh, may I ask, by bear activity I gather you mean it is important to practice bear basics, keeping a clean camp and hanging food, etc. Do you think it is necessary to get a bear canister for hanging or could we use a bag? We don't have a can but will get one if we need to. And what about bear spray? Also, wondering about temp ranges, weather patterns, etc. Are afternoon thunderstorms likely at that time of year? Thank you for your help, Rob.

September 1, 2014
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