Waynesville, North Carolina

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

Top Backpacking Spots in and near Waynesville

  • Canton, North Carolina

    Sam Knob and Flat Laurel Creek Loop

    4.9
    3.84 mi / 807 ft gain
    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 to the right of the public bathrooms. From there, i...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Shining Rock via Shining Creek Trail

    4.3
    8.69 mi / 2569 ft gain
    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 area intersects often with the well known Art Lobe ...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Graveyard Fields-Black Balsam Knob Circuit

    4.4
    9.83 mi / 1522 ft gain
    When the weather is in your favor, these treeless mountain tops will have your jaw on the floor with layers upon layers of Blue Ridge Mountains. This hike can be done in one day, but with panoramic views at multiple points, you'll want to take your time along this link of trails. This ~10-mile l...
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  • Cullowhee, North Carolina

    Exploring two legendary Cherokee sites: Judaculla Rock and Devil's Courthouse, North Carolina

    5.0
    0.9 mi / 258 ft gain
    Judaculla was an ancient Cherokee spirit being and giant. He ruled in western North Carolina in the traditional Cherokee homeland. Once while chasing some hunters, when he jumped to the ground, his hand hit a rock. You can still see the print on Judaculla Rock. It is the most elaborate piece of r...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Skinny Dip Falls

    4.8
    1.03 mi / 148 ft gain
    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 and a little trail to the left of the marker. Foll...
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  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Looking Glass Rock

    4.6
    5.43 mi / 1572 ft gain
    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 destination for world class climbing. There is a sma...
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  • Newport, North Carolina

    Hike to Mt. Sterling's Fire Tower

    4.0
    12 mi / 4200 ft gain
    On your way in, stop at the ranger station parking lot to use the outhouses and grab a map for $1. Once at the Baxter Creek trailhead you have two options: 1. The Out and Back (12.2 miles) 2. The Loop (17 miles)Out and Back: Start on the Baxter Creek Trail and continue up for 6.1 miles until you...
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  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Art Loeb Trail

    4.8
    30.07 mi / 7467 ft gain
    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 trailhead in the Davidson River Campground. Pull into th...
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  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Camp at Davidson River Campground in the Pisgah National Forest

    4.5
    Pisgah National Forest, in my opinion, is one of the best national forests in the United States. Being just a short drive from Great Smokey Mountain National Park it has all the feel of being in the smokies with more to explore. Pisgah has anything you could want to see or do from tens of water...
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  • Del Rio, Tennessee

    Max Patch Mountain

    5.0
    1.51 mi / 315 ft gain
    Max Patch Mountain was once cleared for pasture land, leaving an expansive flat summit that now serves as the ideal location for a picnic hike, flying a kite, or laying in the sun surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains. With little elevation gain and a short distance it is also very family (and ...
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  • Del Rio, Tennessee

    Max Patch to Hot Springs, N.C. via Appalachian Trail

    3.0
    14.06 mi / 2966 ft gain
    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 River. You can break this up however you like, this i...
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  • Bryson City, North Carolina

    Deep Creek to Clingmans Dome Loop

    32.82 mi / 7400 ft gain
    This is a ~36 mile loop that goes up Clingman's Dome (the tallest point in Tennessee). Pretty challenging, not for the novice backpacker. Park at Deep Creek campground in Bryson City, NC. We did it as a 3-day, 2-night camping at sites 53 and 61. As it is a loop it could easily be done in reverse....
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  • Bryson City, North Carolina

    Hike to Lonesome Pine Overlook

    5.0
    7 mi / 2300 ft gain
    To start the hike to Lonesome Pine Overlook begin from the Noland Divide Trailhead in Deep Creek. The trail is a steady climb with an average gain of 700 ft. every mile. Approaching the top you'll walk along a rocky ridge line where you are able to see the overlook. As you continue, be sure to lo...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Hike to Clingman’s Dome via Newfound Gap

    4.5
    16.6 mi / 1600 ft gain
    This route to Clingmans Dome is available throughout the year. But during the winter months from December 1 through March 31, the 7-mile Clingman’s Dome Road that branches off Highway 441 at Newfound Gap, stays closed. This means the usual drive to the parking area located just a half mile below ...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Mount LeConte Lodge via the Boulevard Trail

    15.95 mi / 3000 ft gain
    Begin your adventure by arriving at the Newfound Gap parking lot - before first light. Why? Because you won't want to miss the incredible sunrise from the parking lot - even before you step foot on the trail! It is said that a hiker will never get overly warm hiking the Boulevard to Leconte due ...
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  • 35.610235,-83.426410

    Myrtle Point via Alum Cave

    5.0
    15.43 mi / 3100 ft gain
    This hike can be started at the Alum Cave trailhead or the Boulevard Trailhead. For this particular adventure, the starting point is Alum Cave. If you're lucky enough to stay the night at the backcountry shelter on top of Mt. LeConte, (add 0.2 miles if coming from the Lodge), head east on the Bou...
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