Backpacking opportunities abound near Chattanooga. The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail begins on Signal Mountain, only 20 minutes from downtown, allowing backpackers to make multi-day trips through the rugged gorges of the Cumberland Plateau. While state parks provide short, close to home options for beginner backpackers, our national parks provide unlimited opportunities to wander the woods for days. From downtown Chattanooga, the long distance hiker can access the entire Eastern U.S. trail system. The Great Eastern Trail runs through the city center, providing a vital connection to the Appalachian Trail north, in Virginia, and the Pinhoti Trail, south in Georgia.