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12 Must-Do Backpacking Adventures in North Carolina

Spend a night or two above the clouds.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Home of the famous Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina is an incredible place to put your backpacking to the test. With so many options to link up multi-day backpacking trips, you'll never run out of trails to explore. Hit up a section of the Appalachian Trail, camp out deep in one of the national forests, or take in a sunset view of the never-ending rolling hills. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Pack your gear, make your plan, and hit the trail!

1. Camp on Hawksbill Mountain

Photo: John Stephens

2. Backpack the Art Loeb Trail

Photo: Steve Yocom

3. Backpack the Forney Creek Loop

Photo: Haresh Soorma

4. Hike from Max Patch to Hot Springs

Photo: Steve Yocom

5. Hike to Grassy Ridge Bald in the Roan Highlands

Photo: Steve Yocom

6. Backpack the Southern Smokies: Fontana Lake to Clingman’s Dome

Photo: Andrew Todd

7. Backpack through Nantahala National Forest via the Appalachian Trail

Photo: Bradley Burgess

8. Catch a Sunset on Green Knob

Photo: Steve Yocom

9. Hike and Camp the Sam Knob Loop

Photo: Steve Yocom

10. Backpack Graveyard Fields Black Balsam Knob Circuit

Photo: Clare Healy

11. Backpack the Roan Highlands Appalachian Trail

Photo: Steve Yocom

12. Backpack the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, Uwharrie NF

Photo: Conrad McGill

Cover photo: Steve Yocom

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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