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XII to XII - Fall Foliage Viewing @ Siler Bald: Appalachian Trail Overnight Backpacking

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Winding Stair Gap - 8 mi West of Franklin NC on US 64
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Oct 23 2021  12:00 pm >> Sun, Oct 24 2021 12:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 12:00 pm   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Sun, Oct 10 2021 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Oct 23 2021 11:30 am
Event Duration:1 Days
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:8.4 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Tom Jarosz (Juh'rose)
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:8
Minimum Group Size:6
Number Registered So Far: 8 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes



This event is not for first time backpackers.

We will all meet at the Indian Trail Park and Ride off I-85 at 12 PM, and assemble a caravan to the event. Carpool may availalble but not guaranteed. You are ultimately responsible for getting yourself to the event trailhead and back. 

  Itinerary is subject to change before and during event.


Come join us on this short and scenic fall foliage 24 hour overnight backpacking trip to Siler Bald on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.  What better way to see the foliage peaking in the mountains!

There are many scenic vistas on the Appalachian Trail within a couple hours driving time of Atlanta, but perhaps none more so than Siler Bald. With a summit of 5,216 feet it offers a sweeping 360 degree view of the surrounding valleys. And while there is almost 1500 feet in elevation gain, most of it is fairly gradual over four miles. The total distance hiked over two days will be a little over eight miles. 

Our meetup start time/date for the event will be at the Indian Trail Park & Ride at 12:00 PM, Oct 23rd & return back by 12 PM, Oct 24th.

Although the total driving distance is close to 240 miles round trip, all of it is over major highways. So driving time should be no more than 2-2 ½ hours each way.

If you have any questions, please e-mail the Event Coordinator.

Required Items to Bring:

Please bring plenty of water, and/ot water filter, food for Saturday night and Sunday morning (enough for yourself), utensils, cups and plates, cooking stove, tarp, backpacking sized tent, sleeping bag, flash light, change of cloths, rain gear, etc.

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad: most of these items can be rented at REI.

***Reminder – keep it simple and as lightweight as possible***

1 Dinner, 1 Breakfast, and snacks: Dehydrated dinners can be purchased at REI, and you only need to add hot water.

For breakfast I usually bring pop tarts or instant oatmeal and coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc.

My dinners are usually freeze dried food packets, or those foil packets of tuna or chicken on either peta bread or tortillas.. things that wont get squished in a backpack.

Good snacks are trail mix, healthy energy bars or even plain ol Snickers.

You will also need appropriate clothing. Synthetic hiking clothes are perfect. I discourage wearing cotton or denim for hiking because if it rains you can get very wet and it doesn’t dry quickly, and therefore you can get very cold. For sleeping clothes bring whatever is comfortable.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

North on I-85. Take I-985 near Mall of Georgia. Continue on I-985. After 26 miles this intersate will become US 23. Continue on US 23 through Clayton GA and into North Carolina. At Franklin NC take exit to US 64 West. Continue eight miles until Winding Stairs Gap parking lot.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):235Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 12:00 pm
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $94.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.


If you have any questions e-mail the Event Coordinator and save phone calls for the day of the event.

10/22 Pretrip notes:  

1. If you're meeting at the event, please wait for the rest of the group to arrive before you start hiking the trail to Siler Bald. Our estimated arrival time is unpredictable but we will target 2:30 - 2:45 but not guaranteed since the carpool group will be stopping at Ingles in Clayton for a rest stop and any last minute food items to pick up. I would advise those not carpooling to meet up with the group at Ingles since there may not be phone reception at Winding Stair Gap. 

2. As mentioned in the event write up, we leave the carpool parking lot on Saturday at 12 PM sharp so please arrive 10-15 minutes early (If you arrive later or can't be at the carpool on time, you will have to drive yourself to the event).

3. Carpooling is not a guarantee so if there are not enough drivers or enough cars, you are responsible for getting yourself to the event.

3.  We plan to return to the Indian Trail parking lot Sunday by 12 PM +/-, so we should be packed and ready to leave our campsite at 8 AM Sharp.  It's your option to stay longer at Siler Bald but you're responsible for your own safety and well being and if you're in a carpool, please drive with like minded individuals who will leave Siler Bald at the same time.

4. If you're in the carpool, please bring extra money to share gas cost.  Gas is very expensive now!

5. If you plan to use a water filter and to fill up your water bottles there is one small creek we will pass before reaching Siler Bald. That is the only time we will make a stop for water.  

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.

Late cancellations, particularly within 36 hours of the event make it difficult for those on the wait list to attend. Please be courteous to your fellow AOC members and cancel with as much notice as possible.