Where To Hike For 3 to 5 Days In The Southeast?

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Guests
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Post by Guests » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:03 am

Birdshooter,

A group of three of us are looking to go on a nice 3 or 4 day backpacking trip somewhere in the southeast, preferably north of Florida. We're coming from Philadelphia and don't want to drive farther south than we have to in order to find warm weather and some spring foliage. Spring break comes early this year, about the middle of March, and we're looking to avoid a hike that would find us suffering cold nights. How far south do you think we need to go? And what suggestions might you have on a loop hikes in that region? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Brandon

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Post by BirdShooter » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:05 am

Brandon,

As far as a 3-5 day trip in March .... hmmm... let me think for a minute. That time of year, the weather can do anything in GA/NC/SC/VA - probably where you want to target. It can be 80 or 10 degrees on the high ridges of the Appalachians. It can be beautiful, or rain, or snow. You'll need to watch the weather carefully, but here's a few suggestions:

1. The A.T. - there's a section in Southwest Virginia (near the TN border) that is the best backpacking in the Southeast. Yes, it is heavily used by hikers and horseback riders, but it is just amazing. You could probably find a good 4-5 day route along the A.T. that traverses this area. It is by far one of my most favorite places in the South:

https://n2backpacking.com/my_hikes/virg ... 08_93D.htm
https://n2backpacking.com/my_hikes/virg ... 03_94D.htm

Trail Traffic - Heavy; Scenery - Awesome


2. The Foothills Trail - the Gorges section A4-A8 is the best section. It's not heavily used, but you will probably see some people near the trailheads. It's lower in elevation so not as dramatic as the Smokies. You could easily hike the Gorges section in 4-5 days.

https://n2backpacking.com/long_trails/fht/fht_main.htm

Trail Traffic - Low to Moderate; Scenery - Good


3. The Chattooga River Trail - It's pretty heavily used but there are some nice campsites along the river. It's pretty low in elevation. You could do the entire trail in that time frame.

https://n2backpacking.com/long_trails/crt/crt_main.htm

Trail Traffic - Moderate to Heavy; Scenery - Good


4. The Bartram Trail - I'd do the last 40 miles that end at Cheoah Bald which is really pretty. The Bartram Trail is pretty lonely in this area, but rugged and not always well marked. It's also a lot higher in elevation that the Foothills and Chattooga River Trails which may be a plus for you. Follow the link below and email the author of the Bartram Trail guides. He can give you a lot of details on it.

https://n2backpacking.com/long_trails/bt/bt_main.htm

Trail Traffic - Low; Scenery - Good to Very Good


5. The Benton MacKaye Trail - It starts at Springer Mountain (So. Terminus of the A.T.) and criss-crosses the A.T. some but is relatively unused and it's pretty cool. I'd hike north for 4-5 days and see how far you can get.

https://n2backpacking.com/long_trails/bmt/bmt_main.htm

Trail Traffic - Low; Scenery - Good


March is a nice month to hike in this area, but it can be chilly if a front pushes into the Southeast. I don't think you need to go to Florida. Just do hikes in the lower elevations (ie. Chattooga River) if the temperature drops. The ridges over 5000' can get pretty windy/cold, so be prepared for that if you hike above 4000 feet where it could easily snow in March. You could also have 80-90 degree weather - you never know. Have fun and let us know how it goes.

Best Wishes,

BirdShooter

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Post by Tree Top Flyer » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:24 pm

Great advice Birdshooter, was hoping you had BMT on your list.
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Post by Guests » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:27 am

The Pine Mountain Trail is also good - nice campsites, well marked and established trails and user-friendly. It's just south of the Atlanta airport near Columbus, GA and is just over 20 miles. You could do three casual days in one direction, or 3-5 more intense days by looping back to your starting point. There are a number of intersecting trails that would give you some new terrain to explore without backtracking entirely. It's definitely easier than the other trails listed here if you don't want to work too hard.

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Post by Found-2-Gether » Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:10 pm

[quote="BirdShooter"]

5. The Benton MacKaye Trail - It starts at Springer Mountain (So. Terminus of the A.T.) and criss-crosses the A.T. some but is relatively unused and it's pretty cool. I'd hike north for 4-5 days and see how far you can get.

https://n2backpacking.com/long_trails/bmt/bmt_main.htm

Trail Traffic - Low]

We are doing this one in June for our Honeymoon. I'm so stoked.

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Post by Guests » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:45 pm

NICE. Wish I could get my lady on the trail. I can't even get her to go car camping.

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Post by Tree Top Flyer » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:38 pm

Guests wrote:NICE. Wish I could get my lady on the trail. I can't even get her to go car camping.
Try bribery (shopping or a fancy dinner) works for my wife but you know your lady better than me, and if not, I'm in big trouble.
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Post by andyblack » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:20 am

Don't forget the Duncan Ridge Trail in GA. It's very rugged. Like its name implies, it mainly follows the high ridgelines. You don't get very many switchbacks to relieve you from the straight uphills and big downhills. You can usually see pretty far from the tops of the ridges this time of year, unless it's early in the morning and the fog is still around. If you did the whole thing I think it would take about four days. I'm not sure.

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