Fall is prime backpacking season in the Southeast. Warm days, cool nights, cloudless skies and lots of autumnal color make this the season to explore the backcountry — and spend the night in the most remote locations. If you’re a backpacker with some experience, we’ve got several trips for you this fall. And if you’re not a backpacker but want to be, we’ve got you covered as well.
Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock/Citico Creek Wilderness
- Sept. 16-19
Basecamp Backpack trip. On this four-day, three-night trip we hike in 1.5 miles, set up basecamp, then spend three days day hiking these adjoining wilderness areas. A wilderness that epitomizes the concept. $195. Learn more and sign up here.
Appalachian Trail at Standing Indian
- Oct. 28-31
We spend Night 1 at the Standing Indian group campground, then head out Friday morning for three days on the trail, mostly the AT as it follows a horseshoe-shaped ridge over Albert Mountain and Standing Indian Mountain. Great views along the way, great end-of-season color as well. $195. Learn more and sign up here.
Weekend Quick Escapes
Fall rolls around, you’re out of vacation time. With our Weekend Quick Escapes, you don’t need any PTO; these trips are designed to let you work a full day, then, when the whistle blows at 5, hop into your loaded car and drive to a trailhead requiring a short hike in to basecamp and two days of hiking in daypacks.
GetBackpacking! Weekend Quick Escape: Doughton Park
- Oct. 22-24
It’s a flat, 1.5-mile hike to basecamp along Basin Creek. Saturday, it’s a long hike up Cedar Ridge Trail to the Bluff Mountain Trail and back down; Sunday, we hike 3.3-miles up Basin Creek to the Caudil Cabin at the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Learn more and sign up here.
GetBackpacking! Weekend Quick Escape: Rock Castle Gorge
- Nov. 19-21
The shortest hike in to basecamp, at just under a quarter mile, followed by a 10.8-mile loop Saturday on one of the iconic trails in the Southeast. Sunday on the drive out we stop at Fairy Stone State Park for a 4.5-mile hike. Learn more and sign up here.
GetBackpacking! Weekend Quick Escape: Birkhead Mountain Wilderness in the Uwharrie National Forest
- Dec. 10-12
A great end of year trip, taking advantage of warmer Piedmont temperatures and a shorter drive to the trailhead. Basecamp is a 3-mile hike, followed Saturday by a 9-mile loop day hike. Sunday, we take a short hike to the best mountain view in the Uwharries. . Learn more and sign up here.
Backpacking for Non Backpackers
You’re an avid hiker but have yet, for whatever reason, tried backpacking. With our Basecamp Backpack option you can enjoy the best of both worlds — the solitude of a backcountry campsite and the ability to hike miles on end without 40 pounds on your back. We supply the basic backpacking gear — backpack, tent, sleeping pad, cook stove and coolest, plus guidance on how to use it all and be a backpacker. This option is available on our Basecamp Backpack trips that require on a short hike — between a quarter mile and 3 miles — to camp in full pack. We provide a list of everything you’ll need to bring.
- Backpacking for Non Backpackers: Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock/Citico Creek Wilderness, Sept. 16-19. $295. Learn more and sign up here
- Backpacking for Non Backpackers: Weekend Quick Escape: Doughton Park, Oct. 22-24. $195. Learn more and sign up here
- Backpacking for Non Backpackers: Weekend Quick Escape: Rock Castle Gorge, Nov. 19-21. $195. Learn more and sign up here.
- Backpacking for Non Backpackers: Weekend Quick Escape: Birkhead Mountain Wilderness in the Uwharrie National Forest, Dec. 10-12. $195. Learn more and sign up here.
Intro to Backpacking
Not a backpacker — yet? In just three sessions you can become a bonafide backpacker in time for the prime fall hiking season. We start with a gear session via Zoom, then meet for a 5-hour in-field training session before our weekend graduation trip to South Mountains State Park. Some loaner gear is available on a first-requested basis. We have four sessions scheduled for the fall. Click the appropriate link for details and to sign up. $225.