View Full Version : A few questions about Back Country Camping

08-24-2006, 08:51 AM
I want to do a little back country camping in the park. I just have a few questions.

Can you build a fire?

Where is a good place to go?

I am going by myself; is that a good idea?

I am not much of a hiker; is it hard to get to them?

The equipment that I have is not really for hiking so would it be a good idea to just go Front Country camping?

I will be my myself and I like roughing it a bit. It is just when I did this in the past I would do it in a boat and pull up to a bank somewhere so my stuff was pretty easy to get to the campsite.

I hope this all makes sense and ANY suggestions is appreciated.

Thanks and God Bless

08-24-2006, 09:23 AM
I want to do a little back country camping in the park. I just have a few questions.

Can you build a fire? *Most back country sites have a fire pit.

Where is a good place to go? *Depends on what you are wanting to do. *

I am going by myself; is that a good idea? *If you take a gun ;), you probably wont see very many people

I am not much of a hiker; is it hard to get to them? *Back country means a long hike maybe 4 miles or more and some of them are pretty steep. *You need to be prepared to carry 40-50 pounds for a few miles if you are going to stay a few nights.

The equipment that I have is not really for hiking so would it be a good idea to just go Front Country camping? *Hiking is required for back country camping. *If you don't want to hike or don't have the proper equipment then drive into a campground and set up your tent behind your truck.

I will be my myself and I like roughing it a bit. It is just when I did this in the past I would do it in a boat and pull up to a bank somewhere so my stuff was pretty easy to get to the campsite.

I hope this all makes sense and ANY suggestions is appreciated.

Thanks and God Bless

My answers are in italics but they are hard to see. It sounds like you may not be prepared for a back country camp yet. You will probably have to hike in 4 or 5 miles to get to a site and some of them require a steep climb depending on where you go. If you get to a shelter like the ones on the AT they have a little shelf thing that is covered and has three walls built around it so you wouldn't have to have a tent. On the other hand it can get pretty cool up there even this time of year so you may want a tent.

08-24-2006, 09:32 AM
Russ thanks for the input

For the fire pits I am sure that there is no Firewood up at the sites so I need to pack in my own right?

I think I can pack my stuff in without to much of a problem.

I usually take a gun especially if I am by myself I just did not know what the rangers would think of that. Not so much for the people this time but more for what I might run into up there. Is there still a lot of boar in the park?

I am planning on staying a couple of nights.

I want to get some fishing in so any recommendations on where to go. I am mainly just going up there to get a way a little while and for religious reasons.

How hard is it to get a permit?

I am a newb to this type of camping (hiking in and stuff) so any suggestions is appreciated. Like taking water and everything like that. I am not planning on eating anything other than some trail mix and granola bars and stuff like that.

08-24-2006, 10:26 AM
You can probably find enough wood lying around for a fire. i wouldn't pack any in. I've never had to get a permit but I immagine getting one is as easy as requesting one at the visitor center.
Firemars are illegal in the park. the rangers will not like it but i'd take one anyways and risk it. If a bear attacked me and i had to shoot it then I'd happily pay the fine for carrying a gun ;). there are boars in the park but like the bears you're probably not going to see any.

If I wanted some solitude and wanted a place to fish i'd go to Lynn Camp Prong (if there's a shelter?) above Tremont or Fish Camp Prong/ Goshen Prong in Elkmont, or better yet, the headwaters of Deep Creek on the NC side. Good luck and give us a report. ;D

Rog 1
08-24-2006, 10:38 AM
Guns are illegal and are frowned upon by the rangers. Have backpacked and camped primitive sites for 30 years without a problem. There is usually some firewood around....the sites are picked pretty clean so look to the creek banks above and below the site...might want to take some fire starter sticks if things are on the damp side. I have only seen one small pig in all my time up there. If you want to fish the best site may be Rough Creek above Elkmont. This is about 4.2 miles above the trail head and not too steep of a walk. From here you can fish a lot of water.
Use the bear cables, no food in the tent and change your clothes after cooking and leave them outside and you should be fine....biggest problem is mice....even with the cables they will get into your packs and food bags....this site does require a reservation which you can get at any ranger station...good luck.

08-24-2006, 12:10 PM
I have a few more stupid questions.

I have to work the day that I am planning on going up. I should have at least 3 hours to pack in and set up camp; is that enough time?

Should I take water in with me or just boil it when I get there on the fire?

Also in the pits do they have grates (Things to sit things on) or should I bring my own?

I am assuming that the bear cables are at the camp site is that correct?

Rog 1
08-24-2006, 01:56 PM
If you don't ask you'll only be guessing and that can only hurt your trip. If your questions are about Rough Creek primitive, this is campsite 24, then 3 hours should give you plenty of time. This is a pretty easy walk...mostly a gravel road bed for the first 3.7 miles....the last half mile is a pure trail and still not very steep. The bear cables are located at the campsite. The fire pits do not have grates....I have generally carried in some hardware cloth or one of those metal paint strainers for use as a grate....either are light enough not to add to your load. Don't drink the water without some kind of treatment. Will usually carry in some for the walk in and then boil what I need once I get there....purification pills or a filter pump are other options. If you are looking for solitude there are several tent sites on the upper end of the campsite that are pretty much off to themselves.

08-24-2006, 03:13 PM
Thanks for all the input Rog and Russ I really appreciate it. Yeah I am looking for solitude as my main goal in this adventure. I also want to work in some fishing.

Ok here is my plan. Get reservation with the park service for the Rough Creek Campsite (already got a map).
Pack my tent, Find something for a fire grate, Sleeping bag (leaving the air matress at the house :'(), Some crackers, trail mix, granola bars, Battery Lantern, Fishing gear (of course) including wading boots and shorts, Some pretty warm fleece clothing for the night time, A pot for boiling water, Tooth Brush and paste, Fire logs to help start the fire, and my Bible.

Anything else I am forgetting?

As you can tell I am already looking forward to this.

Rog 1
08-24-2006, 03:32 PM
Just to make sure you did not misunderstand me....don't get the "logs"....what I was referring to is the small starter sticks...pretty sure you can find them in camping section at wally world...be sure to take somme kind of rain protection....even one of those $1 poncho's will work.

08-24-2006, 03:48 PM
One more thing before I go home for the day. (Not the most productive day at work today but Oh well) ;)

I got my reservation and he gave me instructions on checking in. I know what you are talking about so I will get some of those fire starters.

I don't want to get over my head but how about cooking the fish that I catch. The guy I talked to about the reservation even brought that up. I thought that might be a special treat one night. I am just worried about cleaning the fish and stuff like that. I don't want to be the idiot that gets all the animals into the campsite by doing something stupid.

Any recommendations or should I just stay away from it this time.

08-24-2006, 04:42 PM
Clean the fish while you are still in the stream. once you eat them, put the left overs or scraps in a plastic baggy or two and seal them up really tight and put them in your pack and hang it from the cable. The AT shelters that i have seen all have a chain link fence on the front of them that would keep out most critters. Now if a big enough bear wanted to get into the fence badly enough then you're just cornered ;). i'm messing with you about the bear ;D

Rog 1
08-24-2006, 04:49 PM
Always a hot topic on this and other boards...catch and release or eat a few.....a couple of those cold water bows eat pretty good while camping. Best way to cook them up there would be to wrap in foil with a lemon wedge, salt and pepper and bake over the fire. Wash out the foil and pack in your garbage bag....if your fire is big enough you can pretty much burn the bones...

08-24-2006, 06:50 PM

Thanks for posting this on the board. I must say I'm a city boy (and a bit of a scaredy cat, Hans can verify this!) and I had ruled out any back country camping, but the information here has opened the door for trying it. Please let us know how it goes...


08-24-2006, 08:51 PM
Don't forget toilet paper! If you have a small (very small) shovel for digging a cat-hole, that would be a useful item to bring. Take several plastic trash bags, they are extremely useful in the back country. Good for stuffing your wet fishing gear in for the hike out. Take a small flashlight like a mini mag light that you can hold in your mouth for hands-free work. Some parachute cord is also always useful. Matches and knife.
Ramen noodles are a cheap, light-weight back country meal, and only require boiling for preparation. Take a couple of water bottles as well.

Thats about all I can think of right now.
Have fun and be safe.


08-24-2006, 10:21 PM
Dont forget to read over the park rules for backcountry camping.
If you have an extra $60 pick up a Katadyn hiker / water filter cause it beats the heck out of boiling.
Cook the fish well and do be mindful of snakes.
I saw many copperheads two weekends ago.
Doing the snake dance can be very dangerous when you are backcountry alone.

08-25-2006, 08:51 AM
Man keep the suggestions coming. This is exactly what I need.

I thought about bringing some tea but I thought it might actually have an adverse affect but now I am for sure going to take some tea bags.

08-30-2006, 08:55 AM
Already got an update.

#24 was closed for bear activity. They said it was a very aggresive bear and they do not even recommend hiking on the Little River Trail.

I think I am going to go in at Abrams Creek. The lady at the help center (BTW she was very helpful) recommended a couple of sites on Abrams Creek.

I am really excited and have been packed for a couple of days now :D. When I got home and the message was that the site was closed kinda had me worried but now it looks like it is going to be fine.

I almost recommended a couple of my buddies that could take care of that bear problem but I thought that might be out of line.

Also any recommendations about fishing below Abrams Falls. Not directly below them but down stream a bit. Is this good fishing? Any recommendations.

Byron Begley
08-30-2006, 02:34 PM
I think the water in lower Abrams Creek would be too warm for trout. I've never done well down there however there is a good smallmouth fishery in Lower Abrams. Trout do run up there from Chilhowee Lake to spawn but they are usually gone in late Spring. A backcountry site that I like is number 18 on the West Prong of the Little River. You'll catch small trout but they are abundant. It's a short hike though, only 1.75 miles. You could take the ferry to Hazel Creek then hike up to the Sawdust Pile or farther. It's great.

Byron Begley

08-30-2006, 03:29 PM
I think #18 and all the others in that area she said are closed. I asked about them.

How about just hiking up to the falls and fishing above them. Any luck?

08-30-2006, 04:03 PM

I sent you a PM about site #18. Check your inbox...


08-30-2006, 04:18 PM
I got it and replied back.

09-25-2006, 11:37 AM
I know it has been a long time since I went camping but I wanted to give an update.
Sorry it took so long but been very busy.

First off the hike in was a lot harder than I thought. I packed to much and did not have a good pack so it was very tough.
Well I finally get there after getting attacked by Yellow Jackets and getting stung once right on the back on the neck. Man did it hurt.
Set up my tent and everything is great. Spend quite a bit of time trying to round up some dry firewood. Start boiling water. First thing I know I am getting a pump filter for the next time I want to do this. Way to much trouble.

I could go on but I figured I will make this story short. Ended up only staying one night. Fishing was great. First time doing this by myself I got a little nervous from time to time but no major issues. First thing I saw was a real big snake about 10 yards from the tent. I don't think it was poisonous.

Well packed up and left the following day instead of staying over another night. Ran for my life from the yellow jackets up hill; with to much weight; thought I was going to pass out.

Had a lot of fun and got what I went for. Will be a little time before I go again and if I do I will get equipment better suited for this type of camping.

Thanks again for all the help in planning this trip. I really appreciate it.

God Bless,