Tag Archives: camping

5 of our favorite Whoa! Moments

On Saturday’s final hike of our 2018-2019 Winter Wild hike series, we decided to add an extra mile or so. It was a mile of trail I hadn’t hiked.

As we made our way up the north bank of New Hope Creek, I could hear the gradient increasing upstream, the sound of water cascading over rock a bit more intense than we’re used to hearing in the Piedmont. As the noise grew, some mild scrambling was required; we shinnied up a rock outcrop overlooking the creek and emerged on a slab 30 feet above the water. read more

Fall 2018: Hike, Camp, Backpack with us

Sunset in the Uwharries, atop Little Long Mountain

We’ve got a lot going on this fall, for hikers, campers and backpackers.

Camp/Hike Weekends

You love a mountain hike in the fall. What you don’t love is driving there and back in a day. Or paying leaf season rates for a motel. So don’t.

This fall, we’ve got four weekend camping/hiking trips planned to some of the best hiking in the mountains, and one late fall trip to some pretty cool hiking at the coast.

Not a camper, or at least haven’t become one yet? We’ve got a couple of trips that are perfect for you as well. Our weekend base camp trips fall into two categories: 

  • Experienced Camper. These weekends are geared to established campers, folks who have the gear and have the process and logistics — packing, setting up camp, cooking food — down. We arrange the campground and guide the hikes, we cook one meal, we provide a fun swag bag and you do the rest.
  • Newbie Camper. These weekends are geared toward people new to camping, people who like the idea of camping, but don’t know where to start. Well, you start here, with us. We arrange the campground, cook the food, arrange activities. All you really need is a tent (and if you don’t have that, we have one of those, too, for an additional fee). Feel free to hang with us and learn the ropes, or kick back, relax and let us do the camp work.

What we love about these trips is that there’s time for both great hiking and relaxing. Arrive anytime after 4 p.m. on Friday, get established, settle in, relax. Saturday, we let you sleep in, hitting the trail between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday’s hike is usually in the 10-mile range, a long day on the trail, but without pushing it. Sunday, we sleep in a little later and hike a little shorter, usually around 5 miles.

Here are our trips for fall, including whether it falls into the Basic or Premier category:

=&2=&, Sept. 21-23. Pampered Camper. Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia. Includes a hike to Mount Rogers, at 5,724 feet the highest point in Virginia, and an optional bike ride on the 17-mile Virginia Creeper Trail, nearly all of which is downhill. (If you’re not interested in the bike ride, a hike is planned in its place.) The Mount Rogers area is known for its vast meadows, rock outcrops, Rocky Mountain feel — and ponies.

=&3=&, Sept. 28-30. Practiced Camper. Pisgah National Forest and Montreat Wilderness. The Curtis Creek campground is in the oldest section of the Pisgah National Forest, dating back to 1913. On Saturday, we’ll summit 5,592-foot Graybeard Mountain in the adjoining Montreat Wilderness; Sunday, we’ll hike from the campground up the Hickory Branch Trail into some of the oldest old growth in the Pisgah. 

=&4=&, Oct. 12-14. Pampered Camper. This trip gets a jump on fall color in the mountains by visiting two of the highest points in North Carolina’s northern mountains: 5,520-foot Elk Knob and 4,655-foot Mount Jefferson. Due largely to their high elevation and rich soils, both peaks offer a fall color experience more akin to that found in New England.

=&5=&, Oct. 19-21. Practiced Camper. From base camp at the Briar Bottom Group Campground at the base of Mount Mitchell, we’ll hike from camp up to the Green Knob Tower on Saturday, an 8-mile roundtrip that culminates with great views of the Black Mountains. Sunday, we drive to the highest point on the East Coast, 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell, for a hike on the Black Mountain Crest Trail. Includes a burrito dinner Saturday evening.

=&6=&, Nov. 2-4. Basic. What better way to close out the fall hiking season than with a trip to the coast. Base camp for the weekend is the National Park Service Campground at Oregon Inlet. From there, we’ll head a short distance up the coast and hike 5 miles through maritime forest at Nags Head Woods Preserve. Sunday, we’ll visit some of the oldest and biggest trees in the state on a 5-mile hike at Pettigrew State Park. Learn more and sign up here.

To learn more about the camping weekends mentioned and to sign up, click the appropriate trip.


Since its launch in 2014, GetBackpacking!’s Intro to Backpacking program has minted more than 200 backpackers. With all those backpackers, we eventually had to offer more advanced skills classes and trips. So, if you’re already a backpacker, if you want to be a backpacker — even if you just think you want to be a backpacker, we’ve got something for you this fall.

=&16=&, September, October sessions. Our comprehensive learn-to-backpack program includes a two-hour session on gear and how to pack a backpack; a six-hour session at Morrow Mountain State Park where we go over everything from finding and setting up camp, to cooking, to hanging food, to breaking down camp; and, finally, a weekend graduation trip to South Mountains State Park. Learn more and sign up here.


So many adventures, so few weekends

Peaks of Otter

So many adventures, so few weekends.

That’s the story of summer, the 13-week run between Memorial Day and Labor Day when we pack in most of our adventures for the year. So we set out to pick some destinations that seem most worthy of summer fun. Here are a few places we’re headed this summer, and why:

Peaks of Otter

Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

June 1-3

Adventure: Weekend basecamp hiking

This especially adventurous trip combines hiking with a bit of history and a farm trip. June 6 marks the 74th anniversary of D-Day, and we’ll piggyback this hike with a visit to the National D-Day memorial in nearby Bedford, Va. After a tour of the museum Friday afternoon, we’ll continue on to our weekend basecamp at the Peaks of Otter campground. Saturday, we’ll hike three trails — 4.4-mile Flat Top, 3.3-mile Harkening Hill and 1.5-mile Sharp Top — and on Sunday we’ll make a return trip up Sharp Top to take in the sunrise. On the way out, we’ll stop at A Goode View Alpaca Farm.

Linville Gorge

Linville, NC

June 22-24

Adventure: Weekend basecamp hiking

Linville Gorge is one of the Southeast most iconic adventures. The Linville River drops 2,000 vertical feet on its 13-mile run through a gorge that’s 1,300 feet deep, creating some dizzying drops and heart-pounding climbs. The majority of the region is a designated wilderness, so you get little help in finding your way: no trail blazes and when a towering hemlock drops, no one moves in with a chainsaw to chisel a way through. It’s some of the best true exploring to be had in these parts. We stick to the east rim Saturday, hiking from Table Rock to Shortoff Mountain and back, then Sunday plunge into the gorge on trails out of the Visitor Center.

Wilson Creek

Pisgah National Forest near Mortimer, NC

June 29-July 1

Adventure: Backpacking Solo

For a summer destination, it’s hard to beat Wilson Creek, which serves as the drainage for massive Grandfather Mountain. Water worms its way every which way here, making for refreshing stream crossings, lots of waterfalls and delightful pools to cool off in. Wilson Creek itself can be overrun on a hot summer’s day, so we plan to hit the less popular, more challenging Gragg Prong and Lost Cove portions of this wild area on a trip that includes camping solo on a ridge ending in one of the best outcrop overlooks around; it’s an ideal locale for coffee and a Sunday brunch of oatmeal and Pop-Tarts. We hike out Sunday morning, with the option for a hike to South Harper Falls.

Standing Indian

Nantahala National Forest near Franklin

Aug. 24-26

Adventure: Weekend basecamp hiking

We went to Standing Indian two years ago and loved it. From the group campsite we hike up Kimsey Creek to the Appalachian Trail, cross over Standing Indian, and return to camp on Lower Trail Ridge Trail, so we can loll about back at camp in the cool waters of Kimsey Creek. Sunday, we head up Blackwell Ridge to the AT, with a return down the Long Branch Trail, in an area of old growth woods. It’s the perfect summer send-off.

Curtis Creek

Pisgah National Forest near Old Fort, NC


Adventure: Weekend basecamp hiking

NOTE: This was actually going to be a sneak into summer this coming weekend, but a stormy forecast has pushed this trip to another weekend. We’ll let you know the new date! Curtis Creek became part of the nation’s nascent national forest system in 1913, becoming the first land in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. The area is so rugged that large swaths of land hadn’t been logged yet and weren’t likely to be. Our base for the weekend is the Curtis Creek Campground up the gravel Curtis Creek Road. Both of our hikes emanate from the campground: on Saturday, we’ll take the Snooks Nose Trail 4.1 miles up to the Green Knob observation tower, encountering old growth woods above 3,200 feet. A little off-trail hiking will be required to reach the most impressive stands of poplars in an area off Laurel Knob called the Pompous Bowl. Sunday, after a pancake breakfast, we take a shorter hike out of the campground up Hickory Branch to more old growth.

Join us!

Learn how you can join us on these summer adventures by clicking on the links below.

Peaks of Otter

Linville Gorge

Wilson Creek

Standing Indian

Curtis Creek

Happy trails!