I have been backpacking for a few years now. I have also carried my pistol, openly, each and every time we go out here in WA area forests.
I carry an XD-45 in a Serpa, on a Blackhawk thigh-holster platform... you can't get much more obvious than that... I call it my "Han Solo Holster"
I have only had two people on any trail even mention it... one was a young kid, probably 16, who basically pointed and said, "Whoa!"
The other was an older gent who asked if it was a "police holster"
Otherwise, I think most folks like the idea of somebody out there with bear spray that is a bit stronger than pepper oil!