10 Wilderness Backpacking Trips

There’s something about striking out from a trailhead with your food and overnight gear strapped to your back – nothing more. Traveling light, the anticipation of the hike is exciting and step-by-step, you slowly find yourself becoming part of the wilderness landscape around you.

Overnight backpacking is an activity that should be done by accomplished hikers, familiar with backpacking techniques and travel. From individual thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail to a family adventure into Desolation Wilderness – with careful planning and some experience, the backpacking journey can be both enjoyable and rewarding.

For example, located in the Uwharrie Mountains of North Carolina, Birkhead Mountains Wilderness hosts old-growth hardwood forests, an understory of shrubs, wildflowers and moss, as well as cool, clear mountain streams. The Birkhead family moved here in the late 1800s, leaving a mark on the land including remnants of homesteads, farms, old roads, gold-mining operations and timber harvesting.

You may still see some of these historic features as you hike through this wilderness. Begin an approximate seven-mile loop hike at the Robbins Branch Trailhead off State Route 1107, Lassiter Mill Road. Hike the Robbins Branch Trail northeasterly towards the trail junction with the Birkhead Mountain Trail. Birkhead Mountain Trail then takes you south as you connect with Hannahs Creek Trail, heading west back to the trailhead. Backpackers should camp at least 200 feet from all streams, creeks, roads and wildlife fields.

In honor of these special places and landscapes, here are 10 one- to two-night backpacking trips into wilderness across the country.


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