Best Backpacking in Tennessee

This list represents the most popular backpacking in Tennessee. Use this list to plan your next Tennessee backpacking trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Mount LeConte via Rainbow Falls and Bull Head


The only way to hike to Mount LeConte and return to your car without backtracking or long road walking is by utilizing Rainbow Falls Trail and Bull Head Trail. The first 2.7 miles to Rainbow Falls is…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Gatlinburg, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 13.6 miles Best Trail in tn - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Fiery Gizzard Trail


The Fiery Gizzard Trail is one of the more interesting and challenging trails in the Southeast. Along the way, Big Fiery Gizzard Creek pours through the slot of Black Canyon, the pillars of Chimney Ro…
From the guidebook "40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland"
Tracy City, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 12.5 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#3. Maddron Bald and Hen Wallow Falls


For people who like trees, this may be the best backpacking trip in the park. Much of the hike passes through old-growth forest, including what many people believe to be the finest “virgin” woods in t…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Cosby, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 18.1 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Cumberland Trail (Prentice Cooper State Forest Section)


Numerous cascading streams, tall bluffs with rock formations, and spectacular views of the Tennessee River Gorge adorn this section of the Cumberland Trail through Prentice Cooper State Forest, named…
From the guidebook "40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland"
Chattanooga, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 13.7 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#5. Lower Loop of the Cane Creek Overnight Trail at Fall Creek Falls State Park


This is one of the premier overnight trails in the Cumberlands. Much of the trail stays on top of the plateau, winding around through ridges with meadows, and goes by many of the scenic highlights of…
From the guidebook "Hiking Tennessee"
Spencer, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 14 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Spence Field via Cades Cove


Anthony Creek cascading over mossy boulders, cove forests carpeted in spring wildflowers, two Appalachian Trail shelters, big trees, great autumn foliage, and scenic Spence Field all conspire to make…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Townsend, TN - Backpacking, Hiking, Horseback Riding - 13.2 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. Franklin State Forest Trails


Franklin State Forest was established in 1936 from 6,941 acres purchased from the Cross Creek Coal Company, which operated in the South Cumberland region. Soon after, the CCC entered the area to const…
From the guidebook "40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland"
Sewanee, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 22.2 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#8. Lower Cane Creek Overnight Loop


The lower overnight loop takes you into the depths of Cane Creek Gorge and provides plenty of opportunity for hiking away from the crowds. Camping is available on the east side of the gorge at Campsit…
From the guidebook "40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland"
Spencer, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 12.4 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#9. Laurel Creek Overlook Trail at Laurel Snow State Natural Area


The Laurel Snow State Natural Area is named for two great waterfalls. It has several overlooks and contains both extensive rock work and remains of extensive mining operations. With over 10 miles of t…
From the guidebook "Hiking Tennessee"
Dayton, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 7.2 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. North Rim and North Plateau Trails


The 6.3-mile North Rim Trail and the 7.1-mile North Plateau Trail combine to provide a walk with little elevation change that loops by numerous overlooks of Savage Gulf. The North Rim Trail has more o…
From the guidebook "40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland"
Dunlap, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 13.4 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#11. Piney River Trail


The Walden Ridge section of the South Cumberland contains Bowater Inc. forests with hiking trails intended for use by the public. On this loop, located on the Piney River Tree Farm, you can climb at…
From the guidebook "40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland"
Spring City, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 10 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#12. Old Settlers Trail


This hike isn’t for everyone. In summer it’s hot, buggy, overgrown, and infested with poison ivy. The views aren’t good and the forest is mostly second growth. It’s long and tiring, though only a few…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Cosby, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 17 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Lynn Camp Prong and Appalachian Trail


This hike provides a good opportunity to get deep into the Smokies without making an overly strenuous effort. You get to experience a few miles of the Smokies crest (without views, though), and after…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Townsend, TN - Backpacking, Hiking, Horseback Riding - 21 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Piney River Trail with Twin Rocks


The Piney River Trail is a wonderful 8.3-mile trail that was originally set aside as a pocket wilderness but is now managed as part of the Cumberland Trail. It is a remote trail, ascending along a “di…
From the guidebook "Hiking Tennessee"
Spring City, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 8.3 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Upper Cane Creek Overnight Loop


On the upper end of Cane Creek Gorge, you’ll travel through a remote area of the park that is a wildlife management area. Camping is available at Campsite 3. If you are backpacking, you must obtain a…
From the guidebook "40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland"
Spencer, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 13.7 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#16. Sheltowee Trace: Southern Terminus to Yamacraw


This section of the Trace offers spectacular natural features amid everywhere-you-look beauty. From the very beginning, at Pickett State Park, the Sheltowee Trace starts with a bang. Within one mile,…
From the guidebook "Day & Overnight Hikes along Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace National Scenic Trail"
Jamestown, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 29.6 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#17. Millington and Meeman - Shelby Forest State Park, TN


Millington hovers just on the south side of the highway about 5 miles north of Memphis. Millington is home of the world’s largest inland navy base. It’s also, according to the mayor, a city in transit…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Memphis"
Millington, TN - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#18. McMinnville, Fall Creek Falls, and State Resort Park (Pikeville, TN)


To get to McMinnville, you’ll pass through the rural town of Woodbury, which has an art center that draws visitors from around the area for its plays, art shows, and other events. McMinnville is known…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Nashville"
McMinnville, TN - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#19. Monteagle, Sewanee, Tracy City, & Beersheba Springs, TN


The quaint community of Monteagle is situated atop the southern end of the scenic Cumberland Plateau. Monteagle is known mainly for its century-old Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, where families hav…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Nashville"
Monteagle, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 0
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#20. Chattanooga, TN, and Lookout Mountain & Fort Oglethorpe, GA


This railroad city of Chattanooga is Tennessee’s fourth largest and became immortalized in a popular song, “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” because of its history as a major rail center. It also was home to t…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Nashville"
Chattanooga, TN - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press