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AT Section Hike; Hot Springs NC > Davenport Gap

Completed my first section hike of the AT this past week.  I drove up to Hot Springs, NC on Tuesday and stayed at the Laughing Heart Hostel which is located just off of the trail.  The following morning I rose with the sun and was on the trail by 7am.  The first ascent up Bluff Mountain was tough and had me second guessing my goal of 13 miles for the first day.  I rested at the summit which was still tree covered so offered no views and then continued on to Walnut mountain shelter which I reached about 3pm and set up camp.  The following day took me over Max Patch, which was probably the highlight of my hike.  Max Patch is a bald void of trees offering 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains.  I removed my pack and shoes and rested for about 45 minutes enjoying a few snacks and taking in the beautiful views.  The remainder of my day took me to Groundhog Creek Shelter where I retired for the evening.  Another approx 13 mile day.  My 3rd and final day was spent hiking in a constant rain...for nearly 6 full hours.  First was the ascent of Snowbird Mountain and to my shock, the remaining 6 or so miles were all downhill which did not agree with my knees and newly formed blister on my toe.  Nevertheless I made good time the last day and arrived in Davenport Gap just across the Pigeon River around 1pm.  It was fantastic experience and I can't wait to get back out on the trail to tackle another section soon.  Here's a few photos













nice trip report and pics. You did the section hike in the opposite direction of how I want to do it.

I am glad you enjoyed this section, Jamie. I haven't done the whole section, but I've been around Max Patch, Hot Springs, and the Davenport Gap area a pretty good bit. Max Patch is my favorite local place to go. I've been all over our country and I still say Max Patch is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. It looks different almost every time I go. Thanks for shaing your report.

It is a special place, isn't it, Ashleigh?

Holy cow! Breathtaking photos, thank you for sharing!

Awesome photos Jamie and Ashleigh!  I'm doing a section from Newfound Gap going north to Davenport next month.  You guys are pumping me up!  My friend and I are planning on one full day of disc golf at our old stomping grounds, then three days for this trek.  

Thanks again for the pics!

Thanks, guys!


I know that is a great section. I've done part of it (and I had planned to do that whole section, but there was too much snow at the top).

PS, if you haven't tried the Richmond Hill disc golf course in Asheville, you should give it a look. It is tough!

Good deal.  My friend and I were actually part of the crew that worked on clearing out holes 1-3 when they were building the new course back in '07 or '08.  Haven't played in a few years so it'll be excited to head back. It'll be there or our old stomping grounds near Waynesville and Western Carolina Uni.  Just have to wait for the trip report!!

How cool! I am looking forward to the report!

Very cool! Maybe I can add that to my bucket list; my very long and growing bucket list. Thanks for the report.

Congratulations on your first AT section hike, Jamie.

It looks like a beautiful hike.

May 10, 2021
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