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Why not join us on one of our favorite sections of the Appalachian Trail for a 3-day, 2-night backpacking trip? It’s a fantastic way to experience the great outdoors, whether it’s your first trip or your 100th! We’ll cover around 20 miles (32 km) of mostly rolling terrain, with a couple of challenging uphill sections to keep things interesting. You’ll pick up all the skills you need to tackle a backpacking trip and leave feeling ready to hit the trail again. This trip is perfect for those who have some hiking experience or maintain a regular fitness routine. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for seasoned backpackers to share their passion for the trail with others. Let’s make some wonderful memories together!

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  • Get the feel of the A.T.

    Experience a small segment of this iconic 2,200-mile trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine

  • 360-Degree panoramic views

    On a clear day, you can see the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and even into Tennessee

  • Backpacking 101

    Learn how to prepare and execute a backpacking trip while your guide takes care of the logistics

Available itineraries

Group Backpacking at Max Patch

Explore a section of the Appalachian Trail with a group of your peers and an experienced guide! Your days will be filled with exploring interesting sites on the trail, and nights will be spent around the campfire and under the stars. Backpacking at Max Patch will show you the beauty of the A.T. and maybe even give you the motivation to do a longer hike. With each mile, you’ll feel more confident and get a more refined sense of self than you had before!

  • Arrive in Hot Springs, NC in the afternoon or evening hours and meet your guides at their bunkhouse. Pack your things for tomorrow and have a good rest at the bunkhouse for the night.

    You can also meet your guides in the morning of Day 1 if this suits you better.

    No meals are included on this day.

    Sing along the trail
  • Meet your guide and fellow hikers at 9 am to start your trip! Your trip begins with a pack shakedown. Your guide will pass out your gear and food, and will teach you how to pack your backpack and will go through what you’ve packed to make sure you don’t bring too many extra items. Around 11a, you’ll shuttle to the trailhead to start your hike (drive time is 1 hour). You’ll hike to Max Patch for lunch, then continue to your campsite at Walnut Mountain. 1,000ft elevation gain and 1,100ft elevation loss.

    Meals: Lunch, dinner
    Hiking: 7 mi/ 6 km
    Elevation gain: 1,000 ft/ 305 m
    Elevation loss: 1,100 ft/ 335 m

    Backpackers walking through the woods
  • Wake up and break down camp. Day 2 covers mostly rolling terrain, with a couple of challenging climbs throughout the day (up Bluff Mountain and Deer Park Mountain).

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
    Hiking: 10 mi/ 16 km
    Elevation gain: 1,350 ft/ 415 m
    Elevation loss: 3,300 ft/ 415 m

    Backpack full of gear and hiking poles
  • Wake up and break down camp. Start your hike with a short uphill section, then descend into the town of Hot Springs. Hike generally finishes early in the afternoon on the last day.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch
    Hiking: 3 mi/ 5 km
    Elevation gain: 400 ft/ 121 m
    Elevation loss: 1,400 ft/ 430 m

    Itinerary is subject to change based on a variety of factors, including weather, trail conditions, and participants needs and abilities. Please inform us ahead of time if you have a time constraint on the last day of your trip.

    Hikers walking through a meadow
Private Backpacking at Max Patch

Embark on a private co-ed backpacking adventure to Max Patch, spanning 3 days and 20 miles. Experience breathtaking vistas and camaraderie amidst early fall colors. Known for its stunning panoramic views and open grassy bald, Max Patch offers a unique and unforgettable hiking experience. This tour is great for families or larger groups, especially if you want to backpack in the less popular months.

  • Arrive in Hot Springs, NC in the afternoon or evening hours and meet your guides at their bunkhouse. Pack your things for tomorrow and have a good rest at the bunkhouse for the night.

    You can also meet your guides in the morning of Day 1 if this suits you better.

    No meals are included on this day.

    Sing along the trail
  • Meet your guide and fellow hikers at 9 am to start your trip! Your trip begins with a pack shakedown. Your guide will pass out your gear and food, and will teach you how to pack your backpack and will go through what you’ve packed to make sure you don’t bring too many extra items. Around 11a, you’ll shuttle to the trailhead to start your hike (drive time is 1 hour). You’ll hike to Max Patch for lunch, then continue to your campsite at Walnut Mountain. 1,000ft elevation gain and 1,100ft elevation loss.

    Meals: Lunch, dinner
    Hiking: 7 mi/ 6 km
    Elevation gain: 1,000 ft/ 305 m
    Elevation loss: 1,100 ft/ 335 m

    Backpackers walking through the woods
  • Wake up and break down camp. Day 2 covers mostly rolling terrain, with a couple of challenging climbs throughout the day (up Bluff Mountain and Deer Park Mountain).

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
    Hiking: 10 mi/ 16 km
    Elevation gain: 1,350 ft/ 415 m
    Elevation loss: 3,300 ft/ 415 m

    Backpack full of gear and hiking poles
  • Wake up and break down camp. Start your hike with a short uphill section, then descend into the town of Hot Springs. Hike generally finishes early in the afternoon on the last day.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch
    Hiking: 3 mi/ 5 km
    Elevation gain: 400 ft/ 121 m
    Elevation loss: 1,400 ft/ 430 m

    Itinerary is subject to change based on a variety of factors, including weather, trail conditions, and participants needs and abilities. Please inform us ahead of time if you have a time constraint on the last day of your trip.

    Hikers walking through a meadow
Women-Only Backpacking at Max Patch

Embark on an all-women's backpacking adventure to Max Patch for 3 days, covering 20 miles. Enjoy panoramic vistas and camaraderie amidst early fall colors and experience the Appalachian Trail on a 2-night trip to Max Patch. This tour is perfect for all levels as you’ll learn backpacking skills and create cherished memories.

  • Arrive in Hot Springs, NC in the afternoon or evening hours and meet your guides at their bunkhouse. Pack your things for tomorrow and have a good rest at the bunkhouse for the night.

    You can also meet your guides in the morning of Day 1 if this suits you better.

    No meals are included on this day.

    Sing along the trail
  • Meet your guide and fellow hikers at 9 am to start your trip! Your trip begins with a pack shakedown. Your guide will pass out your gear and food, and will teach you how to pack your backpack and will go through what you’ve packed to make sure you don’t bring too many extra items. Around 11a, you’ll shuttle to the trailhead to start your hike (drive time is 1 hour). You’ll hike to Max Patch for lunch, then continue to your campsite at Walnut Mountain. 1,000ft elevation gain and 1,100ft elevation loss.

    Meals: Lunch, dinner
    Hiking: 7 mi/ 6 km
    Elevation gain: 1,000 ft/ 305 m
    Elevation loss: 1,100 ft/ 335 m

    Backpackers walking through the woods
  • Wake up and break down camp. Day 2 covers mostly rolling terrain, with a couple of challenging climbs throughout the day (up Bluff Mountain and Deer Park Mountain).

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
    Hiking: 10 mi/ 16 km
    Elevation gain: 1,350 ft/ 415 m
    Elevation loss: 3,300 ft/ 415 m

    Backpack full of gear and hiking poles
  • Wake up and break down camp. Start your hike with a short uphill section, then descend into the town of Hot Springs. Hike generally finishes early in the afternoon on the last day.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch
    Hiking: 3 mi/ 5 km
    Elevation gain: 400 ft/ 121 m
    Elevation loss: 1,400 ft/ 430 m

    Itinerary is subject to change based on a variety of factors, including weather, trail conditions, and participants needs and abilities. Please inform us ahead of time if you have a time constraint on the last day of your trip.

    Hikers walking through a meadow
Get free trip brochure
Download Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip at Max Patch Brochure
The brochure contains:
Adventure and location overview, itinerary, available dates, what's included, how to prepare, and much more.
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Talk with us and let one of our adventure experts help you plan your perfect adventure.

Meet your guides

Matt Dobson
5.00
Matt Dobson
Blue Ridge Hiking Company
Having moved around the world pursuing other professional interests, Matt has decided Western North. He has over 12,000 trail miles on his legs, including thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, John Muir Trail, and Long Trail. He has a Plant Sciences degree from the University of Tennessee and has spent many of his hours in nature studying its science and history.
Amy Hunsucker
5.00
Amy Hunsucker
Blue Ridge Hiking Company

Born and raised in South Carolina, Amy grew up hiking in the Carolinas. Her love for backpacking started on the Appalachian Trail with her first overnight trip in 2012. Since then, she has thru hiked all of the triple crown trails - Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail - along with other trails throughout the US, totaling over 8,000 miles of backpacking.

Hannah Brock
5.00
Hannah Brock
Blue Ridge Hiking Company

Born and raised in Georgia, Hannah’s love of the outdoors began while digging for worms in the mud and playing in the red clay. Her passion for being in nature has grown since then and she has backpacked over 3,500 miles including a southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2013, sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, and many smaller backcountry trails in between!

Heidi Nisbett
5.00
Heidi Nisbett
Blue Ridge Hiking Company

Heidi grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and after graduating from Winthrop University with a BFA in Painting and Printmaking, she found herself falling in love with hiking and the outdoors.  She thru-hiked the A.T. in 2018 and kept a detailed sketchbook of watercolor paintings to document her travels.  She has since hiked a number of shorter trails and enjoys finding new ways to incorporate her creative practice into hiking.

Adam Kampouris
5.00
Adam Kampouris
Blue Ridge Hiking Company

Born in the Catskills of NY and raised in the Blue Ridge of NC, Adam has always called the mountains of Appalachia home. Having survived a childhood of blissful, unsupervised galavanting through the local woods, he derives great joy in sharing his love of the natural world with others, and has yet to meet an outdoor activity he doesn’t like!

Blue Ridge Hiking Company
5.00
Blue Ridge Hiking Company
Blue Ridge Hiking Company
Blue Ridge Hiking Company's mission is to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable for everyone. They strive to provide a safe experience with knowledgeable, engaging, and trained guides. All of Blue Ridge Hiking Company guides are certified in Wilderness First Aid (or higher) and CPR. They have permits to guide in Pisgah National Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount Mitchell State Park, Dupont State Forest, all along the Blue Ridge Parkway, 120 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail and more.
5.00 (1 reviews)
L.H. (source: Guide’s website)

Our guide was an awesome leader! She was so kind and knowledgeable. She made each of us feel welcome.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 3 Days of hiking and backpacking
      • High quality, ultralight, cottage industry backpacking gear
      • Meals as described in the itinerary
      • Accommodation in a bunkhouse on Day 0
      • All necessary backcountry permits

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to and from Hot Springs, NC
      • Accommodations before or after the tour
      • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
      • Guide gratuities — optional
      • Travel and medical insurance — optional
  • This 3-day, 20-mile backpacking trip is ideally suited for hikers with good fitness levels and no prior backpacking experience. However, all hikers should have prior hiking experience and be comfortable enough on trail that they can hike for up to an hour on their own. Hikers using all of the gear typically carry approximately 25-30 lbs/ 11.5-13.5 kg, including food and water.

    Hikers should be active 3-5 times per week (eg. walking 30 minutes). This is similar to someone who works an active job (eg. retail work or construction).

  • Your guide will send you a detailed list of everything you’ll need a few weeks before the trip.
    Here’s a list of things your guide can provide at no additional cost:

      • Backpacks (lightweight 60L pack)
      • Tents (one-person or and two-person)
      • Sleeping bags (20 degree synthetic sleeping bag with sleeping bag liners)
      • Sleeping pads (closed-cell foam pad)
      • Trekking poles

    We will ask for your height and weight in order to fit the pack appropriately to you. Please let us know if you’d like to bring your own gear.

    Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
      • 2 1L water bottles (Nalgene or disposable Smart Water bottles are good options)
      • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
      • Comfortable hiking clothes
      • Warm spare clothes for layering
      • Waterproof rain jacket
      • Sunhat
      • Beanie
      • Lightweight gloves
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Headlamp or flashlight
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)
      • Inflatable sleeping pads — available for an additional rental fee

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. Please pack synthetic or wool athletic clothing rather than cotton. Cotton does not dry quickly and will not keep you warm when wet. For most trips you will need only one outfit to hike in and one outfit to sleep in.

    You will not need a new set of clean clothes for each day, make-up, hair products, scented products or deodorant. Just bring a toothbrush and toothpaste and enjoy going all natural for the trip!

  • Hikers are able to choose their meals and snacks from an assortment of trail-friendly options. That way, each hiker gets the types and amount of food that best suit their needs and preferences. Exact menu options vary throughout the season, but generally consist of the following:

      • Breakfast: oats or grits, coffee or tea
      • Lunch: chicken packets, tuna packets, meat sticks, hummus/guac, etc.
      • Snacks: chips, trail mix, dried and fresh fruit, cheese, bars, etc.
      • Dinner: dehydrated backpacking dinners (Good to Go brand) in a variety of flavors

    Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advanced notice.

  • Lodging is provided at the guides’ bunkhouse on the Appalachian Trail. The bunkhouse can accommodate up to 10 hikers in 2 bunkrooms (one sleeps 6, the other sleeps 4). There are 2 full bathrooms. Additionally, all guests have access to our common areas – a living room, kitchen and dining room, and large front porch.

    WiFi access, linens, and morning coffee/tea are provided for all overnight guests. The bunkhouse has a live-in caretaker.

  • Group sizes and pricing

      • For the group tour, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 7:1.
      • It takes a minimum of 3 people for the group tour to operate.
      • Private tours can be arranged for 1-9 people.

    Min. age requirements

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
      • If your group has hikers under the age of 18, It is recommended to book a private tour. Contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
  • All tours for women will be guided by female guides.

    Our all-women’s hiking trips are about comraderie, teamwork, feminine energy, and great conversations under starry skies. All these pieces come together to create profound, encouraging, and transformative adventures in some of the most impressive natural destinations in the world, led by some of the best women guides in the business.

  • This hike includes several exposed balds, so weather can change quickly, and can be up to 20 degrees cooler than in Asheville, NC. June and September are the best times to visit, for the summer rhododendron blooms and fall foliage.

    This hike will happen rain or shine! While it is incredibly rewarding, backpacking is an endurance sport, and it can be challenging and/or uncomfortable at times. Maintaining a positive mindset, even when it is uncomfortable, is key to enjoying your time in the wilderness. With our focus on lightweight gear, our goal is for your pack to weigh around 25 lbs/ 11.5 kg (or no more than 25% of your body weight).

  • To get to Hot Springs, NC, most people fly into the Asheville Regional Airport, 1 hour away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to get to your meeting point.

    You will meet your guide at Blue Ridge Hiking Company’s Appalachian Trail-er Bunkhouse (200 Lance Ave, Hot Springs, NC 28743). The guide will choose the appropriate terrain and your adventure is ready to begin.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance.

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on tourism and safety on the Appalachian Trail, please refer to the official website of the State of North Carolina.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
      • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
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