Backpack the Standing Indian Loop on the Appalachian Trail

Rate this Adventure North Carolina Standing Indian Campground

Added by Kelsey Willis

Scenic starting trip for backpackers and a great introduction to the Appalachian Trail. Views, lots of river time, and scenic campgrounds.

Begins at the parking lot for the Standing Indian Campground. (No permits are needed to park here) For the first 3.7 miles, take Kimsey Creek Trail, which runs along the water, until you meet up with the AT at Deep Gap. Rolling hills and lots of foliage throughout, leading up to Standing Indian Mountain. Views camping on top of the mountain are incredible, though it gets cold and windy and night. Take a slight detour from the trail to look around, even if you don't camp there - there are spots to camp slightly before and beyond this site as well.

The best views come with the hike up Albert Mountain, to the fire lookout at the top. It's quite a scramble, but the full 360-degree views of the Appalachians once you get to the lookout at the top are completely worth it. On the other side of Albert Mountain, there's campgrounds aplenty in the midst of the rhodedendron forests along the trail, as well as a shelter further along.

The last day, continue along the AT until reaching Long Branch Trail, which runs for another 2.2 miles back to the Standing Indian parking lot.

Notes: We hiked this over three days in early April. At this season, the trail was packed with AT through-hikers. We were surprised with un-forecast cold weather, and got stuck in a major snowstorm on top of Standing Indian Mountain - while Days 2 and 3 were chilly but pleasant, Day 1 was shocking. If you're doing this in the spring, be sure to prepare for rain and cold, as well as lower-elevation heat.

*Location of Standing Indian Campground is incorrect on this website's map - it's a marked location on the map, on Forest Road 1448, on the S side of I-64.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Camp Stove
  • Water
  • Water Filter
  • Food
  • Hiking Boots
  • Clothes
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



24 Miles


Easy Parking

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