Pond Mountain to Watauga DAm Road on the AT

DATE: Sep 20, 2018 Thursday
END DATE: Sep 20, 2018 Thursday

Trip/Event Location: Hampton TN

Trip Leader(s)

Jacksonville, FL United States

Meeting Time: 8:30 AM

Max # People: 8

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level:


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Region: South Atlantic

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Disclaimer: The club and its members take no responsibility and will not be held responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur during club events. Outdoor sports are inherently dangerous and accidents will happen. By joining the club or participating in any events posted on the GayOutdoors web page you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. Anyone with an internet connection can post a trip on the GayOutdoors web site. It is your responsibility to determine if this person has the experience and competence to lead the trip. GayOutdoors does not certify or confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips.
Be Prepared: Please be prepared to be self-sufficient. Have your own provisions such as first aid kit, food, water, extra clothing for unplanned weather, etc. Have your EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET completed and in your backpack; it may save your life, and help reach someone who greatly cares!
Pace: There may be activities when the group is either slower or faster than your current ability. Please know that because this is a group activity, it's hard to accommodate everyone's pace perfectly. Our desire is not to leave anyone, however there have been times when it is in the best interest of all to split up. Please do your part by knowing your own abilities, communicating with the organizer head of time if you would like to start early and have us catch up or fine with finishing on your own.

We will begin the hike from the Laurel Falls Trailhead located on US 321, just to the east of Hampton, and end at Watauga Dam Road in the Watauga Recreation Area. This will be a one way south to north hike of 11.1 miles and will require an auto shuttle. Plan on spending 6 to 8 hours on this hike.


The hike begins on a blue blazed trail (Laurel Fork Trail) and will continue for about one mile before intersecting the AT. We shall take a left on to the AT at this point. The next mile will be the most difficult portion of the hike, as it will gain about 1700 feet in that mile as we ascend Pond Mountain. We will have views of Laurel Creek Gorge and Potato Top and the Roan Massif during the ascent.


The trail then descents slightly to Pond Flats. There are mountain ponds here that may be dry this time of year.

As the trail descends via switchbacks from the Pond Flats the trail will go through alternating rhododendron and oak forest. We will get a view of Watauga Lake and the dam at the 4.9 mile mark .From here we descend through white pines and hemlock which give way to large smooth-barked beeches. A pretty farm valley opens up on the right. 


We walk US 321 for 0.2 of a mile into the Shhok Branch Recreation Area. 

The remainder of the hike, leaving the Shook Branch Recreational Area, has some easy ups and downs as it winds along the southern edge of Watauga Lake. We will cross Watuaga Dam into the Watauga Recreational area and the end of the hike.

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

The meeting place for this hike will be the Subway Restaurant in Hampton. The address for the Subway is:

4861 US -19E, Hampton, Tennessee 37658. Telephone number for the Subway is (423) 725-2400.


We will be leaving the Subway for the trailheads at 8:30 AM sharp. Please arrive earlier for breakfast and trip information.

Trip Leader


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Jacksonville, FL

United States

members signed up for this event


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate

Hickory, NC

United States
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