Best Backpacking in North Carolina

Looking for the best backpacking in North Carolina? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around North Carolina. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the incredible Outbound community.

  • Hike and Camp the Sam Knob Loop

    This is one of my favorite quick "getaway" loops in the Pisgah Ranger District. Turn onto Black Balsam Knob Road (Mile Marker 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway) go until you reach a dead end and park at the parking lot. You'll see the Sam Knob trail t...

    3.2 miles

  • Hike to Grassy Ridge Bald in the Roan Highlands

    Once you've parked at Carver's Gap (5500'), the trailhead is pretty easy to find. Simply cross the highway and jump onto the Appalachian Trail, right on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Head north on the AT as you head through the Roan ...

    5.3 miles 700 ft gain

  • Catch a Sunset On Green Knob

    Although not as popular as neighboring Shining Rock Wilderness, the Middle Prong Wilderness is equally as beautiful and typically half as crowded. This hike, mostly along the Mountain to Sea trail, leads through forests of oak, birch, spruce and f...

  • Hike the Art Loeb Trail

    Start at The Davidson River Campground just outside of Brevard, NC (276 Pisgah Ranger District). Have a shuttle car or a friend waiting at the Daniel Boone Boy Scout camp for the finish line.Hop on the 30.1 mile long Art Loeb Trail at the trailhea...

    32 miles 7887 ft gain

  • Hike Looking Glass Rock

    This is a really nice, moderately difficult hike along a cascading creek, up switchbacks, and through wildflower fields. A couple miles in, you'll reach a helipad that is used for rescuing injured rock climbers - Looking Glass Rock is a popular de...

  • Hike to the Summit of Shortoff Mountain

    Start your hike from the Shortoff Mountain Trail off of Wolf Pit Road at the base of Lake James. From the summit there is a small grassy area off a side trail that provided awesome cliff side views of the Gorge and Linville River! You can setup af...

    4.4 miles 1321 ft gain

  • Camp on Hawksbill Mountain

    Hidden far above the beautiful Linville Gorge stands Hawksbill Mountain, among many other fantastic hikes. The roughly 1.7 mile hike from the dusty gravel parking lot is steep but worth every step. It took me about an hour to conquer with a few wa...

    1.7 miles 700 ft gain

  • Backpack the Roan Highlands (A.T.)

    The Roan highlands, possibly one of the best sections of the Appalachian Trail, is a section of grassy balds that range from 5000-6000 feet following the A.T.Start at Carvers Gap ( Highway 261 NC / Highway 143 TN) on the TN/NC border. You can eith...

    14 miles

  • Hike to the Wesser Bald Fire Tower

    The road leading to the trailhead is rough the last mile, but doable in any car. Just make sure to take it easy going up and be careful, especially if there has been any rain or snow. You will have reached the parking area for the hike once you ...

    2.8 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Explore the Treasures of Shining Rock

    There are several ways to access the Shining Rock Wilderness Area, but go for the main trail head off of Hwy 276. The trail is split by the Pigeon River, providing a seemingly infinite combinations of trails and routes, keeping in mind that this a...

  • Hike to Skinny Dip Falls

    Park at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook. After enjoying the view of Looking Glass Rock, gear up and head to the right side of the parking area (right side if your back is to the overlook). On the opposite side of the road you'll see a mile marker ...

    2 miles 400 ft gain

  • Hike from Max Patch to Hot Springs, N.C.

    Make a weekend trip from Max Patch to Hot Springs N.C., and be sure to soak in the natural hot springs at the old inn after your hike! This is an incredible, relatively easy hike with the reward at the end being hot springs on the French Broad Riv...