00-20170224_Tennessee_Knoxville Clingmans Dome

7 Most Stunning Sunset Hikes Around Knoxville

What better way to reward a vigorous effort on the trail—or up a summit—than by sitting back and soaking up the serenity of one of nature’s most beautiful shows? Fortunately, Knoxville has plenty of gorgeous sunset hikes right in its…
Wicked Weed

5 Dog-Friendly Carolina Cities Worth a Visit

For many dog owners, an outdoor adventure just isn’t complete without their canine companion. Looking at those wishful eyes while backing out the front door as you’re all set for a day outdoors is tough enough. And once you’re out…
Haw River

6 of the Best New Trails in Charlotte

Dedicated organizations such as the Carolina Thread Trail, the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail, and the Tarheel Trailblazers are the engines driving new trail projects across the Carolinas. From flat, wide rail trails to gnarly sections…
201608_Lake_James_State_Park_Charlotte_CA_paddling

The Best Paddle-In Campgrounds in the Carolinas

Imagine unloading your kayak or canoe and setting up camp on an island in the middle of a mountain lake. A brilliant Carolina sunset reflects on crystal clear water as you finish tying off your hammock. Or maybe you’ve reached a coastal…
The 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail has brought boosted tourism to Greenville.

Greenville Weekend Getaway: Hikes, Bikes, and Beers in a Southeast Adventure Hub

Greenville, S.C. is the perfect basecamp for countless mountain adventures. Located at the edge of the rain-soaked Blue Ridge Escarpment, where the famed mountain range tumbles low into the Piedmont, Greenville is near some of the most…
Image for Profile Trail to Calloway Peak

Hiking Profile Trail to Calloway Peak

Intro Beginning off of scenic highway 105, the Profile Trail offers hikers an opportunity to witness some of the spectacular and beautiful views the high country has to offer - views famed naturalist John Muir once wrote about in 1898. You’ll…

Hiking Elk Knob State Park

The nearly 3,500 wild acres of Elk Knob State Park, which includes the second highest peak in Watauga County, was nearly lost to developers in the early part of the 21st century. The area was being considered for the construction of a summer…
Just out of frame to the left is the welcoming Spring Creek Tavern and Inn

Insider's Guide to Hot Springs, NC

On any given summer weekend in Hot Springs, North Carolina, pack-laden hikers and paddlers in wetsuits can be seen traversing the sidewalks of this tiny, no-traffic-light Appalachian Trail town, population 575. Acoustic music drifts from…

Feasting on Fall Views at Doughton Park

Doughton Park, located between milepost 238 and 246, is the largest recreation area along the 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway. It also happens to be one of the most spectacular locations to soak up fall color changes in the area.It’s easy…
Image for Shining Rock

Hiking Shining Rock

Intro In the heart of the Shining Rock Wilderness, high atop the Great Balsam Mountains, stands a peak of other-worldly beauty. Locals consider Shining Rock to be the “crown jewel” of the Appalachians. An elaborate network of Quartzite…

The Top 5 Swimming Holes Near Asheville

The West Coast may have hot springs and glacier-fed lakes, but here in the sultry Southeast we have our swimming holes—and we're damn proud of them. Just listen to the Top 40 Country Countdown: people are always jumping into water, fishing…
Honk if you love Pisgah!

Your Ultimate Post-Adventure Guide to Brevard

Brevard, North Carolina is situated at the entrance of both Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest, two of the most preeminent outdoor destinations in the Southeast. Just one hour outside of Asheville, Brevard is a…
Image for Art Loeb Trail

Hiking Art Loeb Trail

Intro Art Loeb was a man who “deeply loved these mountains.” If you travel to the highest point on the trail bearing his namesake you will see a weathered plaque commemorating these words. On a clear day, from this high point, you will…
Looking Glass Rock

Playing in the Pisgah: How to Spend a Weekend in Western Carolina

It's no secret that the mountains of Western North Carolina have a wide array of wonderful places to live and play. With vibrant mountain towns like Boone, Brevard, and Asheville, as well as well-preserved national forests and serpentine…

Mt. Mitchell: On Top of the East

There’s a bit of Tarheel pride in the fact that Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. So important is the peak that, in 1915, it was named the first state park in North Carolina.Mt. Mitchell didn’t…
Image for The Jump Off

Hiking The Jump Off

Intro Unique features are scatted throughout the Smoky Mountains, from deep valleys with quick rivers to steep summits with rocky slopes. Trails that explore this Appalachian diversity will stick in your memory and keep you searching for…
Image for Alum Cave

Hiking Alum Cave

Intro A round trip of 4.4 miles, this trail starts with a pleasant walk through green canopies of rhododendrons, as you follow along a creek. The trail continues to give you plenty of nice photographic moments. The hike is moderate in difficulty…
Near the trailhead for Mt. LeConte

Hiking Mt. LeConte

Intro Mt. Le Conte is one of the most iconic mountains in Great Smoky National Park. Not only is it the third highest point in the park, but it's also the highest peak that is completely within the state of Tennessee, and from base to summit,…
Yellow Mountain

Hiking Yellow Mountain Fire Tower, WNC's Toughest Hike

In a corner of the state inundated with undulating mountain chains and punctuated with soaring summits that include a generous number of 6,000-foot peaks, Yellow Mountain is far from western North Carolina’s loftiest summit at 5,127 feet…
Image for Charlie's Bunion

Hiking Charlie’s Bunion

Intro Delving into the etymology of Charlie’s Bunion reveals a historical tale of exploration during the earliest days of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Famed author and adventurer, Horace Kephart, was leading a reconnaissance…
Image for Graveyard Fields

Hiking Graveyard Fields

Intro The etymology behind Graveyard Fields is somewhat smoky. Centuries ago massive wind storms uprooted a once prominent spruce forest in this 5,000’ high, hanging valley. Root balls from the uprooted trees slowly decayed and overtime…
DuPont State Forest

Hiking Dupont Forest

Intro DuPont State Recreational Forest is a beautiful 10,000-acre outdoor playground in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With roughly 80 miles of multi-use trails meandering through dense forests, alongside mountain lakes, and next to cascading…
Image for French Broad Paddle Trail

Paddling the French Broad Paddle Trail

Intro The French Broad Paddle Trail is a series of campsites along the French Broad River connecting over 140 miles of river. It was created by the Western North Carolina Alliance, a non-profit in Asheville that houses the French Broad Riverkeeper,…
Skinny Dip Falls

Hiking Skinny Dip Falls

Intro The waters of Yellowstone Prong spring from the peaks of the Great Balsam Mountains and gather themselves in Graveyard Fields. Born from springs above 6,000’ and purified through the 5,000’ meadow, these waters run crisp and clean.…
Panthertown Valley

Hiking Panthertown Valley

Intro Early settlers who ventured into this tract of land found it so wild they referred to the main valley as “a town of painters.” This town of painters – an ancient Appalachian term for Panthers – has vocally transformed into the…

Hiking Boone Fork Trail

The Boone Fork Trail is renowned not only for the sultry beauty of the mountains it passes through but also the range of ever-changing terrain that one will encounter on this dynamic five-mile loop. The hike begins and ends in Julian Price…
20180118_Gear

Keep Your Gear Like New: Cleaning, Repair, and Storage Tips

After a few days in the great outdoors, the last thing you want to do when you finally get home is tackle the task of cleaning your gear—we get it. But, as any outdoor enthusiast knows, gear is pricey stuff—and that’s if you buy it…
20170428_Virginia Staunton River State Park

6 Best Stargazing Spots in the Southeast

When you live near a city it can be easy to forget just how many stars are in the night sky. But if you take the time to get away from the light pollution, spread out a blanket, and look up, there are more to see than you can imagine. It’s…
20170906-Smoky Mountains-Clingmans Dome

3 Amazing Weekend Backpacking Loops in the Smokies

Across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, miles of interconnected trails meander through lush, green valleys, hug the banks of moss-laden, rocky creeks, and climb through thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron to the blue-tinged…

The Movie Buff’s Guide to Asheville’s Outdoors

The lush and timeless beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains has appealed to movie producers and location scouts for the last 90 years. In fact, North Carolina has more sound stages and production complexes than any other state outside of California.…
Glen Falls

10 Must-Visit Waterfalls in Western Carolina

Western North Carolina is a land of waterfalls. Countless cascades punctuate the waterways braiding the vast expanses of forest and lofty Appalachian peaks dominating the western corner of the state, lending the landscape an undeniably enchanting…
The dog days of summer.

Tubing the French Broad: A Local’s Guide

Tubing the French Broad River is a quintessential Asheville experience, one which combines languid, fluvial enjoyment with artistic urban charm. You will float through forests, breeze past breweries, and find ample opportunity to shore…

4 Strange and Unusual Adventures in Western Carolina

It's no secret that the wilderness of Western North Carolina is brimming with swimming holes, staggering mountain views, and thousands of miles of trails. But there is also a wealth of fascinating places that lie far off the beaten path—the…
High above the High Country.

4 Adventurous Weekend Escapes Near Asheville

Autumn has reached its peak here in Asheville, and we have the traffic to prove it. Our small city has been jam-packed with leaf-peepers, weekend-warriors, festival-goers, and tourists in search of pumpkin ale from Wicked Weed and mountain…
The Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville are home to a number of oasis-like hikes, perfect for summer.

6 of the Best Summer Hikes in Asheville

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a paradise in the summer, alive with flowers and fireflies. But the blazing heat can sometimes feel brutal, driving many people indoors to the comfort of air conditioning. There's no reason to stay cooped up…
Tidal Watersports Logo

Frugal Backpacker Has Boats!!

Whether you’re brand-new into kayaking, or a paddler with years of experience under your belt, dropping thousands of dollars on a single boat is a hard decision to make. So, we here at Frugal Backpacker made your decision just a bit easier…
Catawba Falls - Romantic Asheville

Hiking Catawba Falls

With steep cascades as far as the eye can see, Catawba Falls is one of WNC's best examples of stunning waterfalls. The fairly gentle 1.5-mile climb to the falls runs alongside a stream and offers beautiful scenery the whole way. Plenty of still…

Hiking Moore Cove

As summer temps heat up, we're always looking for refreshing hikes to help beat the heat. Moore Cove Falls offers beautiful scenery, solitude, and a great spot to cool off. You can even walk behind the cascading falls - how cool is that?Distance:…

Teresa Baker to Speak at Asheville Outdoor Show

The Asheville Outdoor Show returns to Salvage Station on the banks of the French Broad River on Sunday, September 23. The fourth annual iteration of the festival celebrating all things outdoors promises big changes. The one-of-a-kind community…

Summer Trail Challenge

At Frugal Backpacker, we believe that the outdoors are for everyone — and we love helping our community discover new places to get outdoors. To celebrate the arrival of summer, our local experts have put together a list of their favorite…

Favorite Hikes: Hardtimes Loop

On those days when you'd like to get a decent hike in, but don't have time to head too far out of town, head to the Bent Creek area and give this gentle loop a try.Difficulty: EasyDistance: 6-mile loopMap: USGS Bent Creek and SkylandDirections:…

7 Gifts for Dad $30 or Less

With Father's Day right around the corner, we asked our team to share some of their favorite gifts for dad. The best part? All of these awesome finds are $30 or less!Prana Journeyman Trucker - MSRP: $30.00 Frugal Price: $21.00Finally,…

Free $10 Card When You Buy $50 for Dads + Grads

With summer on the horizon, the time to celebrate your favorite dads and grads has arrived. Looking for a personal gift that will take them on their next adventures? Frugal Backpacker gift cards are a great idea for graduates according to proud…
Photo: Romantic Asheville

Hiking Lover's Leap

With its namesake springs and abundance of incredible hikes, Hot Springs is the perfect spot to sneak away to for a daycation. Of course, the perfect way to start a day in Hot Springs is with a hike to Lover's Leap, a stunning rock outcropping…
Photo HikeWNC.com

Hiking Coontree Loop

If a serene hike through hardwood forests, alongside a mountain stream, sounds like your perfect summer day, give the Coontree Loop trail a try. Since the trailhead starts at a great picnic area, it's perfect for a morning hike followed by an…

Mom Approved Gifts Under $50

Searching for the perfect gift for mom? We've got you covered with 10 great gifts that will make mom feel special this Sunday. The best part? All of these awesome gifts are available at Frugal Backpacker for less than $50. 1-…

Hiking Big Glassy Mountain

When I have limited time, but am in the mood for a nice solo hike, I invariably turn to my childhood stomping grounds - the Carl Sandburg home. This lovely gem in Flat Rock offers the perfect balance of solitude and safety, lovely views, and…

Get $10 When You Buy a $50 Mother's Day Gift Card

Looking for a personal, thoughtful gift for Mother's Day? Give the gift of days spent outdoors and exploring new adventures with a Frugal Backpacker gift card. You can even pick up a gift for yourself in the process.For many of us, our mom…
The dog days of summer.

Tubing the French Broad: A Local’s Guide

Tubing the French Broad River is a quintessential Asheville experience, one which combines languid, fluvial enjoyment with artistic urban charm. You will float through forests, breeze past breweries, and find ample opportunity to shore up…

7 Date-Worthy Trails

There are few things as romantic as a great day outdoors - stunning overlooks, rushing falls, and the shared experience of overcoming obstacles together. Whether you're looking to hit the trail with a new crush or your main squeeze, the Asheville…

Hiking Max Patch

Max Patch is just one of those hikes that everyone should try to do at some point in their life. It is one of the largest maintained balds in the Southern Appalachian mountain range and boasts incredible 360-degree views of equally beautiful…

Intro to Backpacking Part Two: Picking the Right Apparel

My first backpacking trip was a fiasco. Because I was inexperienced and took some rather questionable advice, I found myself in a wilderness area on a rainy weekend, with a leaky tent, wet jeans, and a sopping down sleeping bag. That experience…

Intro to Backpacking Part One: Trip Planning Basics

If you’re an avid hiker or car camper, but crave an immersive experience with mother nature, backpacking may be your perfect solution. Not sure where to start? In this series, we'll explore everything you need for a successful backpacking…

Hiking Table Rock

An iconic rock formation in the northern section of Pisgah National Forest, Table Rock is a surprisingly moderate hike and great fun to explore. You will enjoy spectacular views of Linville Gorge and the surrounding peaks.Difficulty: ModerateDistance:…

5 Romantic Hikes Near Asheville

When you live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet with fantastic access to the outdoors, top restaurants, and every type of art there is, for something romantic that’s different from your weekly routine is easy: take a hike!A…

Hiking Black Balsam-Ivestor Gap

From the parking area for Black Balsam hop on to the Art Loeb Trail and begin your climb to Black Balsam Knob. 400 feet of elevation gain comes quickly and relaxes into a mostly flat hike as you emerge on the bald. Follow the trail north across…

Hiking Hawksbill Mountain

The trail to Hawksbill is 1.5 mile out and back to one of the dominant peaks overlooking the beautiful Linville Gorge. At the summit, you will sit 2000 feet above the valley floor and its winding Linville River. On low haze days you can even…

Hiking Frying Pan Mountain/Lookout Tower

All you need to do to reach one of the better views in WNC is go on this short hike that climbs to a USFS lookout tower offering 360° views of Pisgah National Forest. From the parking area follow the old gravel roadbed up towards the summit…

Winter Hiking in the North Carolina Mountains

A brisk trek with friends is one of our favorite activities during the season of staying inside. When a sunny day shines down between bouts of frosty mornings and blustery afternoons, it’s a great time to explore new trails that are harder…

503 Coats for Eblen Charities

Even after 54 years, the spirit of the mountains we call home continues to amaze. We issued a challenge to collect 300 coats during our annual Bundle Up for Good coat drive for Eblen Charities. You helped us blow past that goal by donating…

Lake Julian Festival of Lights

Time spent with family creating lasting memories is what the holiday season is all about. Lake Julian's 17th annual Festival of Lights is a local favorite with games, crafts, s’mores, and an impressive collections of 50 animated light displays.…
Photo: Romantic Asheville

Hiking Looking Glass Rock

There's no rock structure in the Pisgah Ranger District quite as iconic as Looking Glass Rock. The trail is challenging, but for those willing to brave the lengthy ascent, the views from the top are an ample reward. Exercise caution…

Bundle Up for Good Coat Drive 2017

Last year, you helped us get over 200 coats to those in our community who need them most. This year, we’ve set a goal of 300 coats for Eblen Charities and you can score a discount for doing good.November 12-December 24, you’ll…

Hiking Joyce Kilmer Memorial Loop

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is a truly special place. Getting there takes some time - about 2hrs, but the opportunity to wander around it's exceedingly rare old growth hardwood is well worth the trip. Wandering around it's numerous…
Photo Courtesy of Romantic Asheville

Hiking Crabtree Falls

There are few things as awe-inspiring as watching water rush down a mighty waterfall while you're enveloped in fall foliage. That's what makes Crabtree Falls one of our favorite hikes for reveling in WNC's stunning fall colors.This…

Your Total Solar Eclipse Checklist

Your opportunity to experience a rare total solar eclipse in western North Carolina arrives on Monday, August 21. To make sure you’re prepared and packed for totality, the experts at Frugal Backpacker have assembled this helpful checklist.…

3 Tips for Traveling Frugally

Travel, especially international travel, is a perennial wish list topper for most adventure lovers, but is all too often brushed aside by budget concerns. As an avid traveler on a budget, I can relate. But, if done properly, international travel…

Hiking Skinny Dip Falls

If you’re looking for a fun family afternoon in the great outdoors, check out one of our favorite hikes for a summertime splash - Skinny Dip Falls. This short hike to idyllic falls and swimming hole on the Yellowstone Prong of the Big East…

4 Tips for Raising Kids Who Love the Outdoors

The struggle is real. Between busy schedules and the prevalence of digital entertainment, fewer and fewer kids are spending any significant time outside. Sadly, we’re seeing the results in the form of rising rates of obesity, depression, and…

Hiking Pink Beds

If a relatively easy hike that still offers some distance and stunning views of rare flora sounds like your perfect afternoon, you've gotta check out the Pink Beds Loop hike in Pisgah. Named after the rare pink swamp lily, this fun and…

3 Tips for the Stargazing Beginner

Western North Carolina is renowned as a haven of outdoor beauty. Our night skies are no exception; Asheville’s relatively low level of light pollution and easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway make it an ideal spot for seeking fantastic…

WNC Trail Triple Crown Challenge

We’ve partnered with our friends at Asheville Trails and Diamond Brand Outdoors for the WNC Trail Triple Crown Challenge.Visit Frugal Backpacker or any Diamond Brand Outdoors location to check out the awesome new Asheville Trails…

Hiking John Rock

The unseasonably warm weather we’ve been experiencing in WNC this winter has us jonesing for a day on the trail. One of our favorite spots for a long-ish hike with a serious payoff at the end is John Rock. This fairly steep hike to…

Winter Hiking in the North Carolina Mountains

It may be a little hard to imagine layering up for a winter hike with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve seen over the past few weeks, but a chilly trek with friends is one of my favorite activities during the season of staying inside. When…

Hiking Mount Pisgah

We're all too familiar with the winter challenge of trying to squeeze in a quick after-work hike before the sun sets. That's why we're always happy to find an enjoyable but relatively close to town hike like Mount Pisgah, that's. A 3-mile round…

Thanks for Donating Over 200 Coats

Thanks for helping us collect over 200 coats for Eblen Charities. As the lowest temperatures of winter hit the mountains, they'll make sure they make it to those in our community who need them the most.During November and December, we joined…

Get 20% Off During Eblen Charities Coat Drive

Last year, you helped us get over 400 coats to those in our community who need them most. This year, we’ve set a goal of 450 coats for Eblen Charities and you can score a discount for doing good.November 19-December 24, you’ll receive…

Backcountry Cooking

One thing we’ve found to be almost invariably true is that people who love the outdoors also love food. Food is, after all, one of life’s pleasures, and is rarely appreciated more than when you can dig into a hot and satisfying meal around…
Jackets and Hats

What Are Samples, Anyway?

Short Answer: Samples are current season items from top brands that we make available below MSRP.But seriously, where do they come from? Producing high-quality clothing is an involved process. About a year before you see items hit stores,…

Hiking Craggy Gardens

If you want the reward of a beautiful view without an arduous hike, look no further than Craggy Gardens. A short 1.4-mile hike provides you with postcard-perfect 365-degree mountain views. The views are particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset…

Outdoor Safety Basics

We truly live in an outdoor paradise. WNC offers hundreds of beautiful hiking trails and breathtaking overlooks. But to make the most out of your adventure, it’s vital to be well prepared and think about a few essentials for a rewarding (and…

Backpacking Basics: How to Fit a Pack

Western North Carolina is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. Gorgeous views, rugged terrain, and temperate weather make it ideal for a variety of outdoor pursuits, including backpacking. However, nothing ruins an adventure as quickly as an…

NPO 100 Great Smoky Mtns

We're celebrating National Parks Week from April 16-24. The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates an important milestone this year: 100 years of the National Park Service Organic Act. Today, the NPS manages 401 park units and attendance hit…

NPO 100 Blue Ridge Parkway

On August 25, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates an important milestone: 100 years of the National Park Service Organic Act. Today, the NPS manages 401 park units and attendance hit a peak last year. While we’ve got easy access to…