Sat, Sep 13 2014 - Backpacking Joyce-Klimer Wilderness / Wildcat Falls (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Paula Schubert, John L
Participants:John L, Paula Schubert, Charles W, Jon Miner

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Write Up:

Our group was awesome.  Paula, Charles and Jon were great to backpack with.  We hiked 18"+ miles with a bajillion feet of ascent and descent.  Everything gets wet and dirty.  It is pure fun.

This write up will just list tips and comments for those who are interested in tackling Joyce Kilmer.   

  1. The drive from N. Atlanta to Wolf Laurel Trailhead is between 3.5 - 4.0 hours, depending on how many stops you take.  
  2. I took a small car with low clearance and 4 people up the forest roads with no issues.  Just take it slow.
  3. Bring a map (or 2) with you if you are doing overnight trips (obviously).  And a compass.
  4. Hiking is summer is sloooow.  Mud, briars, fallen's just tough as crap.
  5. You need poles.  You can't cross rivers safely without them, and you can't go up a steep face easily without them. 
  6. I've been to Joyce Kilmer twice and have yet to see a bear.  They are supposedly all over the place.  I coated my tent in honey and blueberries and still no bears.  (joking).  We did see some wild boar and "heard" lots of commotion in the woods here and there.  I was walking around Bob Stratton Bald and heard 2 loud "thumps" on the ground, which sounded like something big but never saw anything.  No the wind wasn't blowing and it wasn't a tree branch. Maybe it was a bear dancing.
  7. Time to hike from Wolf Laurel Trail to Wildcat Falls (making 1 wrong turn) took about 6 hours (with several breaks along the way - and we had just driven 4 hours to get there).
  8. The maps and trail signs don't always agree.  Bring a compass or load waypoints into a GPS if you have one.  We had 2 different maps and signs were labelled with trail numbers that neither map showed. 
  9. From Wildcat Falls we did not hike up to Big Fat Gap, but instead took the Slickrock Creek trail up the gut to Naked Ground.  We skipped Hangover because it was very cloudy and we had all been to Hangover.  This did not save time...both trails are about the same length but Slickrock by far is much more difficult.  Time to hike from Wildcat falls up to Naked Ground and then to Wolf Laaurel trailhead took about 6 hours.  
  10. A day hike to Joyce Kilmer is do-able, but not practical.  Too much driving time just to get there and back.  You would only get to see small parts of it, and there so much to see at Joyce Kilmer to try to cram it into a day-hike (unless you are willing to leave Atlanta at 4am)
  11. There aren't many great places to eat on the long drive back to Atlanta.  Don't be picky.  Murphy NC probably has the best choices.