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#170007 - 10/01/12 04:03 AM GSMNP Reccomendations
AmadeausDemetri Offline

Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 1
Hallo! This is my first backpacking trip, I am spending two days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I was hoping for some expert advice about the place. I have a few questions but if you have any other advice please let me know.
1. Are there backcountry sites where I can have a fire going or is it all off limits? I checked the website ( and couldn't find anything.
2. What would be a decently long and light-moderately difficult trail?
3. Any reccomended backcountry camping sites?
4. How much water should I bring for two people for two days?

#170023 - 10/01/12 03:05 PM Re: GSMNP Reccomendations [Re: AmadeausDemetri]
billstephenson Offline

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri

Hope you have a great time on your trip. I'll take a shot at giving you some generic answers to your questions:

1. You should call the NPS office and ask about campfires, and check the local NOAA weather forecast for the local current fire risk level.

2. Depends on several things. The shape you're in, how much weight you're hauling, elevation both up and down. I'll offer that since it's your first trip you might want to keep close to the trail head, something under 5 miles should be plenty good, but even a mile or two is plenty good too. It's not about miles, it's about fun.

3. Can't help you there, but the NPS should be able to answer that.

4. Depends. The further you go the more you'll need. If you have water sources you can resupply from, then you can carry less. If you're eating dehydrated food and drinks like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, you need enough for that, and to drink, and some to clean up with. A gallon each per day is probably close to a minimum if you're going five miles or less. It's hard for me to say because we have lot's of water sources here where I do most of my backpacking, so I usually carry between 1 and 1.5 liters when I start hiking and refill when I can or need to and I usually camp near a water source and use all I need while there.

Again, ask the NPS about water sources, and you'll want a good filter and/or some disinfectant to treat the water.


"You want to go where?"

#170024 - 10/01/12 03:43 PM Re: GSMNP Reccomendations [Re: AmadeausDemetri]
ETSU Pride Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
1. Are there backcountry sites where I can have a fire going or is it all off limits?

All backcountry sites has a fire ring with the exception of the Mt. LeConte backcountry shelter. There are no fire ban in the Smokies, but maintaining a fire can be challenging due to constant wet conditions of woods.

2. What would be a decently long and light-moderately difficult trail?

Define decently long and light-moderately in terms of miles and elevation gain. Everyone has different definition of this. lol.

3. Any reccomended backcountry camping sites?

37 at Walnut Bottom on Big Creek is a huge campsite and it's a easy hike (6 miles from the Ranger Station's parking lot with 400-600 feet of elevation gain) 69 is a quality campsite on a river. The campsites all along the Little River Trail are nice too. Keep in mind, some campsite requires a reservation. Walnut Bottom is one of them. As well as Mt. Sterling and few others. There is a list of campsites on the park's website on which one requires reservation and which one that don't. The ones with reservation requires you call Backcountry Office and inform them, then they will give you a reservation number to write on your permit on the day of the hike. If you choose to camp at a site that don't require a reservation, you simply show up and fill out a permit without making any calls to the Backountry Office.


4. How much water should I bring for two people for two days?

Depends on the route, a lot of campsites are near the creeks. There is A LOT of creeks in the Smokies. Many shelters have springs where you can get water. If you can, get a National Geographic Map of the Smokies and they've done a good job of being accurate of where the springs are located along the trails. Least only to the extent of where I been and saw the springs personally. grin In another words, to my knowledge they exists, but cannot tell you if they're dried up or no longer exist.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance. I live about 30 miles or less from the nearest ranger station in the GSMNP. I'm about 1.5 hours depending on how bad the tourists are clogging up traffic from the park's headquarter.

Edited by ETSU Pride (10/01/12 03:45 PM)
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart


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