Virtual escapes: Videos of the places you’d love to be exploring

Every Thursday until the world reopens, we’re going to share with YouTube videos of the outdoor world. Each week will have a different focus. This week’s: The places our GetBackpacking! program hopes to visit this year.

OK, so maybe we can’t hike some of the places we want. But somebody has, and odds are they’ve posted a video about it on YouTube. They may not be the real thing, but they do provide voyeuristic escape, a bit of humor (both intentional and otherwise), and they can inspire your planning for trips in the hopefully not-too-distant future. And the videos cover just about every trail you can imagine.   

For instance, this coming weekend our GetBackpacking! group was supposed to head up to Roan Mountain for a 14-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. Ah, Carvers Gap to US 19E in the spring: perhaps the most scenic stretch of trail in the Southeast in the most inspiring season of the year. 


In lieu of an actual visit, we’ll start with revisiting one of our trips from last year, with this short recap on our GetGoingNC! YouTube Channel.

Then, we can get a different perspective on the trail by tagging along with HikingFreak on his trip there last September. And to help envision a longer version of the hike, we can go with

Zpacks on his 50-mile trip on the AT in 2017, which included this stretch.

Some other regional options:

Shining Rock Wilderness

Virtual Escapes
A mountain meadow hike at Shining Rock.

We had to postpone our trip at the end of this month to Shining Rock. In the meantime, check out these videos, including the channel, title, duration, date and a one- or two-sentence description.

Explore Your Land’s “Shining Rock Wilderness Loop,” 22:15, January 2019. Captures the essence of wilderness exploration by starting out on the wrong trail. Watch here.

Golden Blaze’s “Backpacking in the Shining Rock Wilderness,” 9:26, May 2017. A solo loop including Art Leob Trail, Chestnut  Bald, Silvermine Bald, Black Balsam Knob, Tennent Mountain, Shining Rock, Sams Knob. Watch here.

TrailTakers’ Solo Backpacking in the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness, 59:51, July 2018. Includes Shining Rock’s wacky neighbor, the Middle Prong Wilderness. Five days, four night solo trip. Watch here.

Southeast Backpacker’s “Shining Rock/Flat Laurel Backpacking 2-Night,” 8:32, February 2017. A winter trip by SB, who notes at the beginning that he hasn’t been out in a while. Hijinks ensue. Watch here.

Art Loeb Trail

Virtual escapes
Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest.

The Art Loeb was to be one of four thru-hikes we were planning this year, and hopefully we’ll still be able to pull it off. Until then, we’ll watch these videos to help with trip planning.

Wolf Packs’ “Art Loeb Thru Hike,” 27:14, September 2017. Hiked from north (Daniel Boone Boy Scout camp south to Davidson River Campground. Watch here. 

Golden Blaze’s “Art Loeb Thru Hike,” 14:32, March 2018. Two buddies hike the 30-mile trail with good humor, which is good because it’s not an easy hike. Watch here.

Shug’s “Art Loeb Trail Thru-Hike with the Hickery Brothers,” 11:58, October 2014 (Part I). Shug lives in Minnesota, grew up in Charlotte and shoots some of the most entertaining backpacking videos around. Watch here.

The Blackalachian’s “Art Loeb Trail 2020,” 29:31, February 2020. Yup, one of the last videos before the shut-down.

Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock-Citico Creek Wilderness

Virtual Visits
Slickrock Wilderness

Another trip we do every year, and a trip I hope we can do in August. 

GetBackpacking! “Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock Wilderness,” 1:39, July 2019. A tidy recap of our visit last year. Watch here.

Zachary Robbins’ “Backpacking The Hangover: Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness,” 22:28, October 2017. A 3-day trip in one wild, wild place. Watch here.

Bryan DeLay’s “Slickrock Creek-Yellowhammer Gap Loop, Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness,” 11:59, January 2017. A three-day in winter, with lots of crossings of Slickrock Creek. Bold. Watch here.

Wilson Creek

Virtual visits
Gragg Prong, Wilson Creek area

GetBackpacking! “Hiking for Shutins: A Virtual Visit to Wilson Creek, 3:30, Summer, 2019. Our last visit, last summer, including Hunt-Fish Falls, Gragg Prong, Big Lost Cove Cliffs. Watch here.

Side Trail Adventures’ “Backpacking on Harper Creek Trail,” 28:25, February 2019. We don’t go here in winter because of all the creek crossings, so it’s all the more interesting to tag along on a winter trip. Watch here.

Preloheded Hiking’s “Lost Cove Loop,” 22:02, October 2019. Fourteen-mile loop with 15 creek crossings. Watch here.

Southeast Backpacker’s “Wilson Creek: Hunt Fish Loop,” 11:20, May 2014. A spring visit to the popular Hunt-fish Falls area. Watch here.

Linville Gorge

Virtual Visits
The view from Shortoff Mountain, Linville gorge Wilderness

We try to hit Linville three times a year, on different levels: an intro to Linville, a basecamp trip from Shortoff, and the southern half of the Grand Loop (which is in our GetBackpacking! video).

GetBackpacking! “90 Second Escape: Linville Gorge,” 1:30, June 2015. Snippets from our successful trip on the southern half of the gorge’s Grand Loop. Watch here.

Sintax77’s “Hammock Camping in the Linville Gorge,” 54:25, July 2014. A four-day visit, an hour-long video: a good intro to the gorge. Watch here.

River Kings’ “The Linville Gorge Loop: Is That All Ya Got,” 1:51, May 2019. High water on the river, “sketchy weather” — pretty much sums up a visit to the gorge. Watch here. 

Outdoor Adventures’ “Linville Gorge: 2-Day Backpacking the Grand Loop,” 57:54, April 2018. WARNING: includes a sequence of backpackers eating Spam. Watch here.

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