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Hiking help.......

Detroit, Michigan
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Hiking help.......

We will be in the Smoky Mountains 10/19-22.

We have hiked extensively in Glacier National Park, but we have only done shorter hikes in the Smokies when the kids were younger. (Laurel, Grotto, Spruce Flats Falls, Deep Creek Loop) last trip we did Rainbow and were disappointed in comparison to some of the shorter hikes with the destination it was in Oct so not sure if the falls were not raging that time of year? I think we did Abrams, but I am not 100% sure, it has been awhile not opposed to doing it again.

How difficult is Ramsey's? We have done a couple difficult hikes in Glacier such as Siyeh Pass which was 10.3 miles rt with a gain of 2300 and loss of 3440 which was a tough hike, and Ramsey's difficulty rating is higher than that one was. Wondering if it is the same difficulty rating guide.

The others we are considering are:

Alum Cave

Chimney Tops

Charlies Bunion

Opinions on favorites, and why? Which would be best for colors? I know the higher elevations will have peaked by then, and some areas have more spruce trees which is not as good for color viewing?

Mississippi
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1. Re: Hiking help.......

The elevation gain is what gets to folks on that trail. (Ramsey Cascades) 2375 ft. You probably know all that. My biggest concern would be the trip downward. The constant impact on the way down can be rough on my knees. Hiking sticks absorb some of that, but it's the reason I have yet to hike this trail.

Alum Cave is much easier. Really enjoyed that hike. Many great features since it begins beside a stream, has steps up through narrow cavern, and along a ledge with steel cable imbedded in the rock. A nice overlook, and I think you can spot the "Eye of the Needle", but it's been a few years so I'm not sure if that's the same hike.

Chimney Tops is being rehabbed, so check the park website before planning.

Charles Bunion is a little long, but not really rough going unless it's icy. It is a nice ridge hike, and you can check out the Jump Off by taking a short side trail.

nashville
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2. Re: Hiking help.......

i highly reccomend all of these trails.

Ramsay Cascades is beautiful throughout. the falls are my favorite in the park and you'll pass through tons of old forest and a grove including one of the biggest trees in the park (i think it's like 22-ft circumference). the trail climbs about 2,000 feet in 4 miles -- all uphill to the falls, downhill back (8 miles round trip).

Charlie's Bunion is also about 8 miles roundtrip with draw dropping views at the Bunion. you'll climb about 1000 ft to Mt Kephart. i can recommend some good side trips on this one, while you're at it.

Chimney Tops is a great short (but steep) hike with spectacular views at the top. the only catch is, you have to do some mildly scary rock scrambling to get to the views at the top. this hike isn't worth it unless you're willing to do the climb at the end. i think it's closed during the week right now for a restoration project, but open on weekends.

Alum Cave is probably the most spectacular hike in the park. the second half of the climb has nearly constant big views and the view from Cliff Top on Leconte is my favorite vista in the southeast i think.

Detroit, Michigan
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3. Re: Hiking help.......

Alum is an out and back correct? how far to the faux cave and then how far to Leconte? How far each rountrip is what I really meant to ask.

Did I miss any others that are as good or better?

Thank you all for your quick and complete responses!

Edited: 12 October 2012, 00:54
Indianapolis
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4. Re: Hiking help.......

For a little more help and info on different trails.

www.hikinginthesmokys.com

Happy Hiking!

nashville
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5. Re: Hiking help.......

yes, Alum Cave is an out and back hike. it's a little over 10 miles roundtrip if you go up to Cliff Top and back. I'm pretty sure the Alum Cave Bluff is right at the half way point, so 5 miles roundtrip. but you wont get the big views if you just go up to the bluff. if you mean Arch Rock, the rock formation that the trail goes through, that's even closer. not sure on the mileage but it's probably only a couple of miles round trip.

if i had anything to add, i'd suggest Andrews Bald. it's a lovely high elevation hike through spruce-fir forest with spectacular views from the bald. it's like 3.5 miles roundtrip and not too tough of a hike.

Spring Hill...
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6. Re: Hiking help.......

My family and I hiked up to Alum Cave and then on to LeConte over Memorial Day weekend. The entire RT hike will give you an experience of the many trails in GSMNP. At times you will find the trail strenuous, but there are wonderful vistas and overlooks along the way, especially beyond the Bluff. Total hike is just over 10 miles!

It's been some years but I remember Chalies Bunion offered a great payoff at the end and gives you actual time on the AT!

I personally really like Ramsey Cascades for the beauty of the gradual trail along the river for much of the way and for the fact it's the road less traveled!

The Cascades are a lovely end to the hike!

Ponte Vedra Beach...
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7. Re: Hiking help.......

Ramsey is beautiful! My legs were a little sore the next day but not too tough!

I second the suggestion for Andrews Bald. We did it last November and it was beautiful but cold! When we got to the parking lot the car said it was 25 degrees ( and I am from Florida) Brrrrr

8. Re: Hiking help.......

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