Our guide to the best Asheville backpacking trips and Asheville backcountry camping spots will get you out and on the trail exploring some of the absolute most beautiful overnight hiking trails the Asheville area has to offer. When it comes to fun overnight options near Asheville, there are a great number of hikes to choose from, but we’ve narrowed down the hikes to our top five favorites, which you can read about in more detail below. The Asheville area is blessed with an abundance of scenic backpacking trips, including hikes in places like Mount Mitchell, the Art Loeb Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail and the Foothills Trail. All in all, Asheville is home to a seemingly endless amount of great hikes that will keep you lacing up your hiking shoes in search of your next great adventure. For more info and to get geared up for your next big backpacking adventure near Asheville, we recommend heading to Diamondbrand Outdoors on Hendersonville Road near the Blue Ridge Parkway where you can buy maps, find all the camping gear you need and get local insight from the local backpacking experts who love to share their knowledge of their favorite trails with their customers.
Art Loeb Trail (Shining Rock Wilderness): With just over 30 miles of incredible hiking, the Art Loeb Trail is renowned as one of the most beautiful and difficult hikes of its length in the state. The challenging trail takes on the rugged peaks and ridges in the rugged mountains between Brevard and Candler as it crosses over the Blue Ridge Parkway and a series of 6,000+ foot peaks while offering a bounty of astounding long-range views. While some say the trail begins near the Davidson River valley before heading up along some of the highest peaks in the area – including the unique Shining Rock and the peak of the infamous Cold Mountain; we recommend starting at the Daniel Boone Scout Camp as it provides quicker access to the Shining Rock Wilderness, the true highlight of the trail. The trail is best experienced as an extended backpacking trip that with three days of hiking and two overnight camps, but fast hikers and runners have been known to tick this one off in 1 or 2 days.
Directions from Asheville: Merge onto I-240 W/US-70 W. Keep right at the fork to continue on I-240 W/I-26 E, follow signs for Interstate 240 W/Interstate 26 E/Interstate 40. Take exit 31B to merge onto I-40 W towardCanton/Knoxville. Take exit 37 toward E Canton. Turn left onto Wiggins Rd. Turn right onto US-19 S/US-23 S. Follow NC-110 S/Pisgah Dr and NC-215 S to Little East Fork Rd and park just past the entrance to the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp at the trailhead.
Overnight On Roan Mountain: The Appalachian Trail, the nation’s longest marked footpath at 2,178 miles, has numerous access points near Asheville. We like the rugged Roan Mountain section near Bakersville. From the Carver’s Gap (5,500 feet) parking area we recommend heading northeast towards the Grassy Ridge section which includes the longest stretch of grassy bald in the Appalachian Mountains. Don’t forget to take your camera! Some of the best landscapes for pictures there is on the Appalachian Trail can be found along this part of the trail. This section is great for an overnighter because it includes the AT’s highest shelter, Roan High Knob Shelter at 6,275 feet, which is approx. 1.5 miles from the parking area.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 W to exit 9/US-19 N. Stay on US-19, which becomes US-19 E in Yancey County, to Spruce Pine. Take left on NC 226 N. Head 11 miles through downtown Bakersville then becomes NC 261 N. Head 12 miles to NC/TN state line to Carver’s Gap parking area.
Black Mountain Crest Trail: In just 4.5 miles, Deep Gap Trail, which is also known as the Black Mountain Crest Trail, crosses four 6,000-foot peaks while taking hikers across rocky out croppings and through spruce-fir forests. While this is a rugged trail that makes hikers work for their views of the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, the views from the peaks of Mt. Craig, Big Tom, Cattail Peak and Potato Hill are among the best in the East. Campers should consider getting an early start to make it to Deep Gap in order to grab a tent site at the popular National Forest campsite. Don’t forget your binoculars because this is a great spot to catch a glimpse of the Winter Wren and Blackburnian Warbler.
Directions from Asheville: Head north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 388 to the entrance of Mt. Mitchell State Park. The trail starts near the picnic area.
Explore Max Patch On The AT: For those in great hiking shape who want a wonderful Appalachian Trail day hiking experience, this is a perfect route to take. At approximately 20 miles in distance with a couple of shelters along the way to Hot Springs, this is a popular section for backpackers. But, for those who enjoy long mileage days, it sure makes for a great day hike too! If you can’t run your own shuttle to Max Patch, then Bluff Mountain Outfitters has you covered. Beginning the hike at Max Patch, you’ll be wowed by the 360-degree views from this 4,629 foot, 350 acre bald. Head north on the AT, as you wind your way back to town. It’s well marked all the way, and there are plenty of water sources along the trail – although, you will need to be prepared to purify. Get a taste of following the notorious White Blazes of the Appalachian Trail.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26W/US-19N/US-23N to exit 19A for US-25N/US-70W towards Marshall and Hot Springs. Take a left to continue on US-25/US-70 heading toward Hot Springs. From downtown Hot Springs, follow Highway 209 for 7.3 miles to Meadow Fork Road (aka SR1175). Go 5.3 miles to SR1181. Follow SR1181 for 2 miles, and after it turns to gravel, take a right onto SR1182 at the top of the mountain. Continue on SR1182 for 3 miles to the Max Patch parking area.