100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina
by Joe Miller (The Mountaineers Books)
© Joe Miller/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
This is a great overnight loop. We parked at the Fontana Dam visitor center and felt very secure leaving our car there. We followed the trail counter-clockwise and hit the AT leg last. We hiked about 6 miles to the lower campsite the first day and really enjoyed the camp site...great open water access and nice sites.
The second half of the trail was much tougher...lots of tedious water crossings and a tough climb with lots of switch-backs. Go ahead and bite the bullet by taking off your shoes early. I wasted a lot of time trying to cross using fallen trees and rocks to avoid removing my shoes. Some of the crossings are too wide to avoid wet feet. I suggest bringing flipflops for that leg of the hike.
We added a few miles to the hike by following the AT to the first campsite and ate lunch there. The hike back to the dam was a ridgeline run and the descent was quite steep. Beautiful section of the trail.
The highlight of the trip was the view from Shuckstack Tower itself. You could see the dam and Fontana lake. I also liked posing with the old rusted cars where the highway used to be. Very cool.
This is a one-nighter or a very full day hike. Highly recommended.
Shuckstack - Some of the best panoramic VIEWS in the autumn in the east. The trail is in good condition. Be fully prepared for a steady, continual uphill hike from Fontana Dam. Great day hike. Classic Fire Tower.
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