The 10 Best Weekend Backpacking Trips in Tennessee

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6. Appalachian Trail: Roan Overmountain Shelter

Difficulty: varies by section

Only one in four people who attempt anAppalachian Trail thru-hike actually make it from beginning to end, but even shorter, multi-day hikes across a piece of the 2,190-mile route are a worthwhile way to explore the country’s natural wonders. The trail offers more than 250 backcountry shelters along its path, each around eight miles from the next, as well as 100 campsites for backpackers. A particularly great section is the one with Overmountain Shelter at Roan Mountain, often referred to as “The Barn.” Five miles north of Carver’s Gap, you’ll need to veer off the AT for a third of a mile to reach it, but it’s well worth the small detour for an overnight stay in the most unique (and, some say, luxurious) shelter on the entire trail. For a longer hike, start at the Highway 19E trailhead near Roan Mountain, TN. The shelter is 8.7 miles south from here, and includes a 2,000-foot climb, but you can also explore the balds on Hump Mountain and Little Hump Mountain from this route.

5. Fall Creek Falls: Cane Creek Overnight Trail

Difficulty: moderate or challenging

Both the state’s biggest and most frequently visited park,Fall Creek Falls spans 26,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, teeming with waterfalls, streams, and hardwood forest. Embark on the Cane Creek Overnight Trail, with three backcountry sites to accommodate hikers making the trek. Cane Creek comes in two flavors: a 13-mile moderate hike on its Upper Loop or a more rigorous 12-mile voyage around its Lower Loop. This one might not be suitable for younger kids, but bring along your four-legged buddy (just keep him on a leash!).

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