Ascent of Shuckstack on 2017-05-28

Climber: Zachary Robbins

Date:Sunday, May 28, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:4020 ft / 1225 m

Ascent Trip Report

Shuckstack is your introduction to GSMNP if you are thru-hiking the AT, but it is also a popular, excellent day hike. While you're there be sure to explore Fontana Dam, the tallest in the East. Views from the dam are great, and you can see Shuckstack lookout tower from the lake. You'll need to keep driving over a mile beyond the dam, where Lakeshore Drive ends and turns into the Lakeshore Trail. The Appalachian Trail follows the dam and road, and turns left here at the parking area. The AT follows a ridge towards Shuckstack, and at these low elevations in GSMNP the forest is mostly boring unless you are near water. You might get occasional views of Fontana Lake in the winter, but in May it's barely visible. The climb is continuous with barely a level breather. You climb around 2,100 feet in 3.3 miles, so the gradient is manageable for most.

There is one rockslide view as you get close to the mountain, but this view is easily surpassed. When the AT reaches a rocky intersection an obvious, unsigned trail goes straight, this is the spur to the summit. The tiny summit of Shuckstack pales in comparison to the much larger peaks of the Great Smokies, but the 60-foot tower likely provides some of the best views in the national park. The tower has also been refurbished in the last decade, even though it gets windy and narrow on those top flights of stairs, you can feel safe the stairs won't collapse. The tower cab itself still has most of the windows, so your best views will be on the stairs just below. You have 360 degree views of the region. You can see Gregory Bald and Thunderhead Mt most prominently in GSMNP, rising above the isolated Hazel Creek and Eagle Creek watersheds. Clingmans Dome is visible on clearer days. Fontana Lake sparkles below, bordered by the Cheoah and Yellow Creek Mtns. The Snowbird and Unicoi Mtns look phenomenal from the tower, some of the most remote hiking in the area.
Summary Total Data
    Round-Trip Distance:6.7 mi / 10.8 km
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Zachary Robbins
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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