GetBackpacking! Spring 2022

Spring: you can’t wait to get out on the trail — and stay on the trail. Which is why backpacking was invented. We’ve got opportunities for you to do just that this spring: hit the trail Friday and not leave it until Sunday.

Your options …


Mount Rogers, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Virginia

  • 20 miles (basecamp backpack)
  • 2 nights
  • March 11-13
Mount Rogers ponies along AT

The Mount Rogers area of southwest Virginia is one of the most scenic and popular backpacking destinations in the Southeast. It includes the two highest points in Virginia and open terrain akin to what you might expect out West. If you’re a backpacker and it’s not on your bucket list, it should be. On this trip we hike in a mile or so east from Elk Garden off Whitetop Road and set up basecamp. Saturday, we don daypacks for a 12.5-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail into the heart of Mount Rogers (including summiting the 5,772-foot peak, returning on the Virginia Horse Trail. Sunday, we hike to 5,525-foot Whitetop for more great views.

Learn more and register here.


Ideally, you don’t want to see anyone on a backpack trip, save perhaps for the folks in your group (and even then … ). That’s what tends to keep us away from some of the more popular areas. Unless you happen to know where the back door is, such as this one to …

Shining Rock Wilderness via Big East Fork

  • 19-mile loop
  • 3 days, 2 nights
  • April 22-24

There are days when the Black Balsam parking lot at the mouth of Shining Rock is more jammed than a Walmart lot on Black Friday. Everyone wants a piece of the Shining Rock/ Art Loeb/Tennent Mountain/Black Balsam action. But head in from the Big East Fork trailhead off U.S. 276 and you’ll think it was Christmas Day. Sure, there’s a challenging 4.5-mile climb to Shining Rock Gap, but the carrot — sunset from atop the white quartz outcrop — is so worth it. You’ll mix it up briefly with the BBM (Black Balsam Masses) on Day 2 as you cross the Art Loeb Trail, but lose them when you slip behind Graveyard Fields and head down Big East Fork.

Difficulty: Strenuous, though about three quarters of the climbing is on Day 1.

Learn more and sigh up here.


In our backpacking lives there comes a trip where stop repeatedly and marvel, “This hike’s got it all.” “This hike,” in our case is the …

Virginia Triple Crown

  • 35-mile loop
  • 4 days, 3 nights
  • May 19-22

On this trip you start (after 4 miles) with McAfee Knob — and it gets better from there. Mainly, that’s because you drop the hordes who hike this iconic outcrop for a trademark selfie. On Day 2 you hit Tinker Cliffs, with many of the same attributes, minus the crowds. An awesome and seemingly endless ridge line hike marks Day 3, which is capped with a day-hike scramble up Dragon’s Tooth. The hike out includes passage through a blissful meadow.

Difficulty: Strenuous
Learn more and sign up here.


Welcome to the most scenic stretch of trail in North Carolina (and Tennessee).

Appalachian Trail: Carver’s Gap to US 19E

  • 14-miles
  • 3 days, 2 nights
  • June 17-19

From the git-go at Carver’s Gap, the Appalachian Trail passes over Round and Jane balds (with a side trip to a third, Grassy Ridge, possible), offering sweeping views of the North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia mountains. There’s some intimate high-ridge hiking (the mountain ash should be coming into bloom), then more balds: Little Hump and Hump mountains. At this altitude, which flirts with 6,000 feet, we may even catch some rhododendrons still in bloom

This three-day, two-night trip starts from Carvers Gap on the Appalachian Trail and heads north for 14 miles. Particularly stunning are the three balds in the first couple of miles and the famous Hump and Little Hump mountains about 10 miles later.
Day 1: We will set off from Carver’s Gap around 2 p.m., hike 5.5 miles and establish camping the meadow at the Overmountain Victory Shelter.
Day 2: We hike 5.3 miles, past Yellow Gap, over Little Hump to Hump Mountain and on to Doll Flats for camp on night 2..
Day 3: Hike out, a little more than 3 miles, to US 19E.

Difficulty: Moderate

Learn more and sign up here.

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Thru-hikes on shorter trails in 2022

off trail

Also on tap for 2022, we will lead four thru-hikes on the state’s shorter long trails. They are:

  • N.C. Bartram Trail, Nantahala National Forest, 50 miles (approx), summer, date tbd.
  • Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest, 31 miles, fall, date tbd.
  • Foothills Trail, North Carolina/South Carolina line, 77 miles, date tbd.

We will have details on the last three hikes soon. In addition, we will offer a spring training program pertinent to these trips but also appropriate for anyone who plans to have an ambitious summer and fall of backpacking. Maybe you’re planning your own long hike, maybe you’re planning a trip out west. Our program will help get you where you need to be by the end of spring. Details coming shortly on this program, as well.

* * *

Intro to Backpacking

Not a backpacker, but want to be? In two training sessions and a weekend, 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.

Dates & locations

  • Getting to know you, getting to know your gear, Zoom meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 2 . 5:30 – 7 p.m. 1.5 hours
  • Training Day: Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Morrow Mountain  State Park, Albemarle
  • Graduation trip: Friday afternoon thru Sunday, June 10-12, South Mountains State Park, Morganton.

Included in the program

  • Instruction, including:
    • Zoom gear session
    • 5-hour in-field training session
    • Graduation weekend
  •  Info packet, including:
    • Gear lists
    • Tips sheets for:
      • Packing
      • Water crossings
      • Winter camping
  • GetBackpacking! Guide to 10 Great Places to Backpack in North Carolina once you’ve graduated
  • eguide outlining the program and covering what you’ll learn
  • 20 percent off coupon to Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Loaner gear. We have a limited number of backpacks and tents available on a first-requested, first-awarded basis, at no extra charge.

Cost: $295

Learn more and sign up here.

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