Best Backpacking Trips in North Carolina

North Carolina offers some of the best backpacking trips on th east coast. From Oceanside to the mountains, you can find the backpacking adventure that is right for you.

For the outdoor adventurer, North Carolina has the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Here you will find nature, history, and all of the beauty that the national park system offers. Your trip can follow the comfort of pre-planned hikes along the numerous hiking trails. Or you can seek adventure on your own as you explore the natural wonder of the Smokey Mountains. Some of the more remote areas include the Big Creek Campground and the Chestnut Branch Trail; both perennial hiking and backpacker favorites.

The Pisgah National Forest offer mountain adventures. But the forest offers and intriguing twist with constant surprises in foliage. The aromas will captivate you as you stumble upon Magnolias, or Flowering Dogwoods, or azaleas; each bringing a wonderfully exciting new scent as you journey on your path.

This author’s favorite is Bear Island! Hike the beaches and mostly uninhabitted shoreline and you will often find yourself joined by dolphins traveling alongside you. The island has a rich history of pirates and pirate hideouts, and was a refuge for Indians in the Indian Wars. The military used it as an outpost from the Civil War through World War II. Today the park service has very strict camping regulations but they are well worth complying with, even if they are a bit rugged.

If rugged camping is not your style, then perhaps the comfort of a hotel or hostel and an urban hiking experience might be better. North Carolina offers many hostels that are happy to cater to the backpacker accommodation needs. For the more urban minded, Charlotte offers a variety of hikes with the luxury of everything that urban Charlotte has to offer.