Since we've gotten back into backcountry camping, my wife and I have been wanting to take a real backpacking trip. We've done a few walk-in state park sites with our daughter, but we know from our day hikes that she's not up for more than a few miles without major complaints and delays. We made plans to leave her with my mom in Chattanooga as soon as school ended for the summer while we backpacked in the Smokies. Despite having lived a good portion of my life in Eastern Tennessee, I had never spent any time in the backcountry of the the Smoky Mountains, so I got pretty excited about the idea.
Bryson City, NC
I kinda wanted to stay away from the busy areas of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN, so I decided we would try to find a fairly easy loop on the North Carolina side. The Deep Creek area offers a number of campsites fairly close to the trail head, and there are a number of opportunities for loop routes. After much contemplation, we chose a few campsites that would make up about a 20 mile loop, and our plans were set.