Great Smoky Mountains

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Last Updated 8/6/2009

Fall is a beautiful time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is a beautiful wilderness with an abundance of wildlife featuring deer, wild boar, black bears and even red wolves. The park is one of the most visited National Parks in the United States. Despite its popularity and proximity to population centers, our trip will provide plenty of solitude, far away from the crowds on the seldom used Lakeshore Trail / Benton Mackeye Trail and Forney Creek Trails. At higher elevations, there may even be some gorgeous Fall Foliage.

View from Mt. LeConte


We will begin this trip near Fontana Dam and spend the first half of the trip hiking around Fontana Lake. Although we will ascend some ridges, following the shoreline means reasonably level walking.

The trip will continue through a 1000 foot long 2-lane pedestrian tunnel, require us to wade across Forney Creek several times, climb up past the Forney Creek Waterfall, get dramatic views from Andrew's Bald, and end up summiting Clingman's Dome, the 3rd highest peak East of the Mississippi.

Why not enjoy a wild and beautiful vacation and lose some weight (or more accurately, improve body composition) in the process?


We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Because backpacking is rigorous and demanding (as well as rewarding), you must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat nutritious food often, almost continually. Please check out the sample menus for this trip.

These lists are not necessarily comprehensive and may be altered or augmented. Furthermore, if you want to bring personal food, say a big old chocolate cake, go for it. After carrying it 50+ miles through the mountains, your body will most likely not desire those empty calories, nor want to carry the weight around.

Probable Trip Leaders

Todd Soprych lives in Savannah, GA and has hiked the entire 2200-mile Appalachian trail. He recently guided the 2009 Shenandoah and Redwood Fitpacking trips and is a WMA certified Wilderness First Responder.

Rosie Enos has a wealth of experience as a Wilderness Guide for troubled youth. She is a NOLS certified Wilderness First Responder who plans to thru-hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2010.


The Smoky Mountains Fitpacking Trip will be from October 3-11, 2009. More details can be found by examining the proposed itinerary. While all Fitpacking trips are difficult, this one might be considered less strenuous than others because of fewer elevation changes and easier footing than others. If you can make it past the 2nd day where we climb over a ridge, you should have no problem successfully completing the rest of the trip.

Clingman's Dome Sunrise

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring. Please feel free to discuss any items of question with us before the trip.


$1000 per person. At both the outset and end of our trip, we will be staying in a cabin in Fontana Village. Cabins fit as many as 8 people very snugly, so we may opt for a 2nd cabin or a traditional motel room for overflow, depending upon the number of participants.

You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Knoxville if you fly or Fontana Village if you drive. Free parking is available at Fontana Village during the entire length of our trip.

Any restaurant meals eaten off the trail are also your responsibility. This generally is 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners. Finally, you will be responsible for any personal calls you make or receive on our satellite phone (typically for emergencies only -- battery life is limited) or from motel/hotel rooms.


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Fortunately, October is typically reasonably temperate in the Smokies. In fact, it is one of the ideal months with comfortable temperatures and few bugs. Temperature at the lower elevations can reach the high 80s but at altitude can drop below freezing, so you should come prepared for the possibility of freezing weather. On past trips, we've mostly had sunny, 70s weather, but we once had a day with hail and snow is a possibility.<--->