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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Charleston SC
49 posts, read 60,062 times
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My wife wants me to take her hiking when I get back home. It will be in late feb to mid march what can I expect hiking there? Is the bridge going to be closed and how much snow? Luckily I talked her out of camping till warmer weather(had enough winter camping). She went to the local store to pick up some boots and they mention we would need snow shoes. Wondering if will be ok without or get some cleits. Dont do enough to warrant to buy snow shoes and don't like them lol.

Also any other suggestions on hiking just liked that trail for her first hike since it had ladders and bridges it look liked. We may do a few day hike then the biltmore.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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honestly wait until post snow springtime. the trails are hard enough with the roots but I can't even imagine hiking with the snow, winds, and ice on the bridge. March may be OK depending...

There are probably lots of nice trails elsewhere that can get you through the winter hiking needs; then hit Grandfather later in the season.

saw a video where someone cross country skis on Mt Mitchell.

So if you all are up for it winter hiking might be doable.

Check with the park superintendent and website. best info there
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
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Default Hiking Grandfather Mtn.

Definitely check with the local parks and recreation department(s), by telephone. Online information may not be up to date. It is not advisable for inexperienced hikers to go up into any high mountain hiking trails in the winter here. We don't want to read about you in the news. Seriously. Get the most out of your visit by coming here between April and early October if you want to hike.
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
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Too dangerous this time of year. Last Friday, they recorded 120 mph winds on Grandfather Mountain. The wind-chill was well below zero. Not exactly hiking weather.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Charleston SC
49 posts, read 60,062 times
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That's why I was asking personal opinions bout march timeframe. Ill email them and see what they say i am not inexperienced, military trained(explains y i hate snow shoes always had cheap ones or made our own) and recreational for most part Washington state but wife is not and wants to learn. So trying to scope out trail conditions, which she wants a challenge and show some tricks but if there is too much danger then obviously will have to wait.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
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The replies are about the time frame you inquired about. We are not "out of the woods" in higher elevations until after early April. Whoever in Charleston SC recommended snow shoes was either pulling your leg or totally clueless about this area. You do not want to be hiking IN or ON mountain trails before early April. Check with the park services please.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Western, NC
118 posts, read 195,751 times
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Some of our worst snow storms have been in March. I would certainly check the forecast.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Charleston SC
49 posts, read 60,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterChick View Post
The replies are about the time frame you inquired about. We are not "out of the woods" in higher elevations until after early April. Whoever in Charleston SC recommended snow shoes was either pulling your leg or totally clueless about this area. You do not want to be hiking IN or ON mountain trails before early April. Check with the park services please.
I was mentioning someone said the winds past week. Ill definently check out with parks services especially when get closer. They mention that to my wife I'm deployed right now but I have several pair of cleits the kind u strap around boots.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Boone, NC
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Experienced or not, the winds at the summit of Grandfather Mountain are extreme in the winter. For instance the visitor's center and the swinging bridge were closed today because of the weather, and this storm is nowhere near the worst you can expect in the region. You can still access the mountain from other trails, but it would be very dangerous to do so.

If you're willing to go just a bit further, I'd recommend Pilot Mountain or any of the other Sauratown Mountains just north of Winston-Salem. The winter weather is much less intense. There are also plenty of lower-elevation (and therefore less dangerous) trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway like Rough Ridge, but check ahead because some sections of the Parkway close for winter as well.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Chapelboro
10,592 posts, read 11,161,740 times
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You can drive up to the swinging bridge — no hiking required, but it may or may not be open depending on weather conditions. If you're on facebook, check out Grandfather Mountain's fb page since they update with weather conditions almost daily. Today they said it is open to the summit, but the bridge is closed because of ice. I would imagine if the bridge is icy there could well be ice elsewhere on the trail and pretty sure that I personally would not want to attempt those ladders. Obviously, you don't need snow shoes like tennis rackets to climb the ladders, but cleats could be a good idea. You really don't know until the day, though. Sometimes you get really icy conditions from the fog freezing (called rime ice or hoar frost) and sometimes in March it's lovely. We hiked up to the Shanty Spring in late March last year and it was beautiful with spring ephemeral wildflowers blooming all around and we were just wearing t-shirts. However, I recently read a blog of a guy who hikes it in April every year (used to be free for Boone area residents—trail hiking is free for everyone now) and he showed pictures of lots of icy/snowy spots in April.

February/early March is still very much winter in the mountains, but there's no way of telling you what kind of weather you're likely to encounter. NC mountain weather is pretty variable most of the year, but especially so in the winter. Might be snow, might be cold, might not. You'll just have to wait and see.

Here's the weather history for Boone for Feb last year. Keep in mind it was cooler at the summit of Grandfather, but you can see you have highs ranging from 26F-66F in Boone. So who knows what the conditions will be like when you want to go! You'll just have to wait and see. I wouldn't buy any winter gear now.

Here's a link to Grandfather's weather data: http://www.grandfather.com/real-time-weather/
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