Join us for 3 classic backpack trips in 2024

I used to tell my Intro to Backpacking students that to get the most out of backpacking, to become proficient and competent, you need to take three trips a year. Not necessarily big trips, though one should be at least four days. And a quick overnight just to get away is fine, too. Go any fewer than three times and backpacking could become more of an ordeal: even with a packing list, packing can take twice as long as you fret over each item wondering when you last used it and whether it’s still in good shape. There’s more pressure on trip planning: you only backpack once a year, it better be a good one. And what if the weather goes south? Is that it for the year.

There’s strength in numbers, and to me the sturdy number for backpacking is three.

I recalled this bit of advice I used to hand out when I was contemplating my to-do list for 2024 — and realized I’d only backpacked once last year.


It wasn’t long ago that I was getting out about once a month. Sure, it was part of my job as a guide, but still, it felt natural. Once? Once did not feel natural.

So this year, I’ve vowed to follow my own advice. I’m scheduling three backpack trips. And I’m hoping you’ll go with me.

Here are the three, selected because they’re my three favorite. Click on the link for more information and sign up.

Standing Indian AT loop

Where does the trail lead? Find out!

Thursday – Sunday, April 25-28

Standing Indian Basin, a portion of which is in the Southern Nantahala Wilderness, is one of the few places where you can create a loop hike incorporating a large (about 20 miles) stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The AT portion of this hike is along the basin’s rim, offering expansive views of one of the most undeveloped regions in the Southeast. We meet Thursday evening at the Standing Indian campground (camping and welcome beverage and snacks included), hit the trail Friday morning.

Learn more and sign up here.

Virginia’s Triple Crown

Thursday – Sunday, June 20-23

On this 4-day, 35-mile trip you’ll visit the three most iconic spots on the Virginia portion of the Appalachian Trail: Dragon’s Tooth, Tinker Cliffs and McAfee Knob. Views abound on this trip, and you’ll work for them. This trip includes a training program that should whip you into shape for the challenge ahead. Note: Only one spot remains for this trip.

Learn more and sign up here.

AT from Carver’s Gap to US 19E

Friday – Sunday (Aug. 23-25)

Hiking north, from Hump Mountain, on the Appalachian Trail

The 14-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail between Carver’s Gap and US 19 E is perhaps the most scenic stretch of the AT in the Southeast. We take our time and savor this hike, over Round and Jane balds, over Hump and Little Hump mountains, and past all the scenic hardwood splendor along the way on this 3-day, 2-night backpack trip. Trip includes shuttle.

Learn more and sign up here.

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