Winter Expedition to Great Balsam Mountains in NC

As always - No need to RSVP "No"

UPDATE 1/23 NOAA and the NWS are predicting Ice/Snow for the area on friday, 4-8 inches of fresh snow up in the mountains is a real possibility, along with the likelihood of the blue ridge parkway closing.  We'll need to be on our toes and play it by ear.  If an ice storm develops then the reality is that we may need to cancel.  We won't know much until friday, but let's keep an eye on the weather.

 

Great Balsam Mountains Winter Trip.  We'll use some connector trails and the Art Leob trail to access Shining Rock Wilderness/Cold Mtn area.  Trip should total around 20-25 miles.  It will hopefully involve very cold, snowy conditions.  My current plan is to begin/end the hike from the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp.

Leave right after work Friday and drive the 5 hours to the trailhead.  Immediately saddle up and hike a strenuous 5 miles to the top of Cold Mountain to establish a camp.  Sleep a few hours and hopefully enjoy an incredible winter sunrise from the summit.

Saturday we'll put in around 13 miles, enjoying the beautiful vistas and exposed terrain of the Great Balsams (many spots are over 6000ft and I intend to do some peak bagging).  We'll mostly be on the famous Art Leob Trl along the main ridgeline.  Camp somewhere along the route, but I'm hoping to make it all the way to the summit of Sam Knob.

Sunday we'll return 9 miles mostly downhill via the Ivestor Gap Trl and Little East Fork Trl to the car/cars and drive back to Nashville (arriving late!)

More details will follow as we get a read on the weather.  You should have previous winter backpacking experience!

I've never been to the Great Balsams before, so please be flexible.  Questions? Ideas?

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  • Irvin M.

    Good trip! Art Loeb trail is one of the best trails in the east!

    January 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What route did you end up hiking?

    January 27, 2013

    • Rob C.

      we stuck to the planned route, it was a nice hike.

      January 27, 2013

  • Rob C.

    One of the best backpacks I've done in the south. Challenging, beautiful views, and a nice trail. We didn't have much winter, just icy trails.

    January 27, 2013

  • Doug H

    Oops, i meant to say the ban is in Shining Rock!

    January 25, 2013

  • Doug H

    Check with the forest service before going because overnight camping in Slick Rock was banned in October because of agressive bears. Unfortunately they haven't posted this on their website. See:
    http://www.smokymountainnews.com/outdoors/item/9169-bear-alert-forays-against-backpackers’-food-prompts-camping-ban-in-the-pisgah-forest

    January 24, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks to stupid campers no doubt. If you go, keep the food, any scented items, and your packs away from the sleeping area, and out of reach of the bears. Some bear spray would be a good item to take.

      January 24, 2013

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