week long backpacking trip in early March

11:25 a.m. on December 26, 2011 (EST)
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Im a college student and me and  4 or 5 guys want to take a backpacking trip to some part of the appalachian trail for our spring break. Ive done some backpacking out west during the summers. But really dont know where to go on the Trail and how to figure out the best spots for weather at that time of the year. We were ideally looking at tennessee or North Carolina or anywhere further south. Any ideas or suggestions?


12:00 p.m. on December 26, 2011 (EST)
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Welcome to trail space tyler and happy holiday's. Well honest with your experiance and haveing 4 or 5 other guy's along. I would suggest the smokey's are just begin the Appalachian trail from springer. I suggest this because you haven't defined what type of experiance your friends have and you will want some bailout points if someting goes wrong. FWIW I would suggest the smokeys because they are well established and you will meet quit a few other hikers.  If you need to get supplies  you can resupply easily.

7:05 p.m. on December 26, 2011 (EST)
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3,956 forum posts

Welcome to Trailspace Tyler.

I will second the suggestion to visit Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

Here is their website:


If you go to the website you will find it filled with info on weather, plant & animal diversity, trails, etc.

They have free PDF trail maps (downloadable in quadrants), road maps, a region map, and a free APP for IPhones.

One thing to note is that hiking dogs are not allowed on the trails, and that you need to be 'Bear Aware' especially with regards to food handling & storage since there are between 1500 to 1800 bears in the park.

Being Bear Aware is very important and something the members here on Trailspace can help with.

Here is the page on the GSMNP website about Bears:


We will be glad to help with any questions Tyler.


1:57 a.m. on December 27, 2011 (EST)
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56 forum posts

Hey Tyler, got some good suggestions for ya:

-Since you said NC or TN as a destination.. Any part of the Nantahala National Forest section is worth looking into. A good week-long trek (depending on how fast you guys want to hoof it) would be to start anywhere near State Highway 64 as a good access/entrance point, then head north towards the NOC and the Smokies. Starting near Silers or Wayah Bald would be perfect for heading north. There are several panoramic views along the way, including a few fire-towers. Wesser and Cheoah Balds are a must-climb in the Nantahala.

-And of course, as already mentioned by TH and denis, one can never go wrong with the Smokies. If I remember right, the AT stretches for close to 75 miles along the length of the park. Starting at the south near fontana lake would include some great points such as shuckstack tower, several fields and what not. North would start you near I-40 i believe, entering the park close to Mt. Cammerer, where another pretty sweet tower has been renovated. Being a college student myself, there's also the option of starting/ending at Newfound Gap which is an easy shuttle ride or hitch-hike into the glorious tourist-town of Gatlinburg. gotta love it. Me and some buddies hitched into town a couple summers ago while AT-hiking and took a couple nights recouperating in a hotel eating and drinking before heading back out. Anyhow, it was well worth.

The thing about the Smokies is that you must register with the forest service and get a permit to stay in the shelters (No tent camping allowed except in very limited designated areas). Just make sure you do a bit of research before heading out.

Hope yall enjoy it out there! and remember, don't plan a tooo demanding of a hike that you don't have time to kick back out there, relax and hoist a few. School always seems to sneak up and start too dang soon. cheers

7:31 a.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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1,261 forum posts

Seriously think about Cumberland Island National Park as your camping destination.


1st border island in Georgia (about 40 miles north of Jacksonville).

physical or equipment demands aren't as difficult as hiking the AT and everyone in your group will be able to stay together.


The island is flat as a pancake.

Check it out on-line and if it interests you, make reservations ASAP

April 2, 2020
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