Happy Gnomads Hiker Hostel: A Review


Hiking in the rain sucks! Everything gets wet and covered in mud. It saps your morale and makes each mile a torment. Packing up a tent or hammock in the rain is a nightmare and sometimes you think about why you’re even out here slogging through puddles and a thick morass of mud to hike all the way to Maine. That’s when you need a hostel stay. A Happy Gnomad to be exact.

New Kid on the Block

That’s how we arrived at the Happy Gnomad Hiker Hostel just outside of Hot Springs, North Carolina. After a long day of hiking in the rain, the four of us, Highlander, Linnaeus, Meatsuit, and I decided a hostel stay would be the right move. We found an advertisement for their place just before Max Patch and we were enticed.
As we reached Garenflo Gap, we found a radio that we could use to contact the hostel located just down the road, in case we weren’t able to get service. After waiting less than fifteen minutes we were greeted by the beaming Jumanji, his trail name earned by looking like Robin Williams after he emerged from the jungle. But Jumanji reminded us more of Tolkien’s Tom Bombadil for his colorful outfit, constant laughing, and generally high spirits.
Upon reaching the hostel we thought we had found heaven. A lovely home upon a hill with two private rooms and six bunks, with a shared living room and kitchen stocked full of soda, beer, pizza, and snacks. Astonishingly, we found out the place had only been open for three weeks!

Experts in the Field

Run by thru hikers Jumanji and Sunshine, Happy Gnomads is a place for thru hikers, by thru hikers. Here you can take a hot shower, do laundry, and stuff your face without feeling guilty or dipping too deep into your savings. You can watch movies, play board games, or spend some time in their beautiful yard if you haven’t spent enough time outdoors already.
I really can’t say enough about the hospitality of the hosts of Happy Gnomads, who are more than happy to pick you up, take you to town, or take suggestions on how to improve their business.

We’re Going Back…

Happy Gnomads was such a great stay, we decided to go back. After two days of hiking, we found ourselves facing more rain in the evening and a closed hostel ahead of us. One of us suggested calling up Jumanji and we all wholeheartedly agreed. Without any qualms or hesitations, Jumanji was willing to take the nearly two-hour round trip drive to pick us up from Allen Gap.
In the time we had been gone, the hostel had only improved by taking our suggestion of loaner clothes and in only two days, multiple sets of clean clothes were available for hikers who needed to wash all their dirty, stinky hiker clothes.

This is the Place…

I can’t say enough about Happy Gnomads. If you’re thru-hiking or just section hiking the Appalachian Trail and you need a place to stay near Hot Springs, do yourself a favor and call up Jumanji or Sunshine and you will not regret it. Located about six miles south of Hot Springs and thirteen miles north of Max Patch, the Happy Gnomads Hiker Hostel can be reached at (865) 256-2654 or (828) 206-2074. Bring an appetite and be ready to smile at the wonderful location and the extremely gracious hosts. For only $15 a bunk, you won’t regret it, I promise.

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Comments 1

  • pearwood : Mar 31st

    Any place run by Tom Bombadil has got to be good. Did he speak in meter?


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