Hiking the Great Smoky Mountains – Backpacking Trip – 3 Days

Join me for a 3 day, 57 mile backpacking loop through the Smokies.

Trailhead: Lakeview Drive,  +35° 27′ 26.32″, -83° 31′ 35.75″

Trails Used, in order:

Day 1  (20.5 miles)
Begin at Lakeview Tunnel at the end of the “Road to Nowhere”
Benton MacKaye Trail / Lakeshore Trail
Bear Creek Trail
Welch Ridge Trail
High Rocks Vista – Great views of Fontana Lake!
Cold Spring Gap Trail
Hazel Creek Trail
End at Backcountry Campsite 82

Day 2  (24.5 Miles)
Hazel Creek Trail
Lakeshore Trail / Benton MacKaye Trail
End at Backcountry Campsite 76

Day 3  (12 Miles)
Lake Shore Trail / Benton MacKaye Trail
End at Lakeview Drive (Road to Nowhere) Trailhead and the Car!

Downloadable GPS Data

Season: Early Summer (First week of June)

Detailed Gear List to follow in separate video,
but here’s the major items:

Osprey Hornet 46 Backpack
Hennessey Hammock – Expedition A-Sym
Sea to Summit Toaster – Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner (used as primary bag)
Klymit Inertia X-Frame Sleeping Pad

11 pounds Base Weight + extra filming gear and electronics that the average person probably won’t need.  I was actually carrying closer to 13 lbs while filming.  See the full Ultralight Gear List Video for a detailed look at the 11 pound system, plus tips for going sub-10-pounds if desired.

Link to official trail map from National Parks Service, as seen in video: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/GSMNP-Map_JUNE14-complete4-2.pdf

All content, including video, music and sound effects, are original works created by myself, Sintax77.

6 thoughts on “Hiking the Great Smoky Mountains – Backpacking Trip – 3 Days

  1. Love your videos man! Thanks for a ton on useful info!

    You ever worry about snakes on the trails? Im trying to get my wife out backpacking but she freaks out about snakes.

    • I’ve had very few sightings after a good deal of miles. Only twice have I come across one in the actual trail – once in Pennsylvania and once in North Carolina, and neither appeared to be an aggressive species, let alone poisonous. I just hopped right over them. I’m not sure where you’re at in the country, but anything from New England up is free of poisonous snakes, so that’s a selling point for your wife as well.

      Be cautious of course, but I wouldn’t worry too much about the snakes. Out of all my wildlife sightings and encounters I’ve seen them the least by far. Even less than bears, and that’s pretty rare in it’s own right. Of course, telling your wife “there’s more bears than snakes” isn’t probably the best strategy either, but I think you get my point. 😉

  2. I’m considering getting a Hennessy like yours only with the bottom entry and in researching the snake skins I’m coming across #3, #4 and #4 XL. I would like to be able to roll the hammock and tarp for ease of deployment and storage. Would you be so kind to state the snake skin size you purchased. I would hate to purchase the wrong one and then have to exchange. Thanks my friend! Keep on backpacking!! I enjoy the videos.

    • Mt hennesey came with snake skins in the correct size. I have used them along with the tarp although it’s a little tight

  3. All in All how would you rate the Smokies ? I am just starting out with backpacking and buying my gear now. I am looking at wanting to run the Smokies in the fall of 2015. Maybe the same trail you did in this video. I could be bring my son how is five. Would you have any tips or advise for one on a trip like this?

    • I really enjoyed that trip and the Smokies in general. The only downside i can come up with is the heavier regulations and need to pre-register and commit to specific camp sites. Certainly not a deal breaker by any means, but as someone who is centrally located between the northern and southern Appalachians, it’s something I do take into consideration when planning a trip. For a trip planned out well in advance though, it’s not really a big deal. Considering that you’re bringing your son, you’ll probably be following more of a set schedule with less aggressive miles per day, so it should work out fine. It’s a beautiful area, and the historical angle gives it a cool vibe.

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