A reader recently sent me a good question... “Can you recommend a good one-night backpacking trip, dog-friendly, for some fit-but-out-of-hiking-shape people?”
I’m not much of a backpacker...I’m more of a day hiker (actually, more of a half-day hiker!), so I sent the question on to my friend Hiking Bill, and here was his response...
Without knowing how many miles they are looking to walk, and not knowing how physically fit they are, it's just hard to make a good recommendation. But, in my opinion the very best overnight backpacking trip in our region is from Carver's Gap to 19E. It's about 14.5 miles with tons of views, campsites, and water sources. If that is too many miles for them or too tough, then another option would be still to start at Carver's Gap and go north, but once at Yellow Mtn Gap you could go down the Overmountain Victory Trail. This would cut off about 5 miles and would be a lot less strenuous (all downhill).
Another option would be in the Grayson Highlands (Southwest Virginia) (more park information here), 12 miles and simply a wonderful one-night backpack! Click here for description and details of the hike. Click here for an 8 mile option from Elk Garden to Massie Gap in the Grayson Highlands.
Another one that I loved in the Grayson Highlands gives you the chance to summit Mount Rogers (Virginia's highest peak). It's only 11.3 miles and is one that I took some beginners on for their first backpacking experience. Click here for more information.
Another friend, Marty Silver, also weighed in on the question and recommended...
The hike from Carver's Gap to Yellow Mountain Gap along the AT - you can stay at the "barn" at the gap, or push on to any of a number of great camping spots near Little Hump or Hump Mountain.
If you have another one night backpacking trip in our area that you’d like to recommend, please let us know!
Above: Duke stops for a breather along a section of the Appalachian Trail on Roan Mountain (8/08).