Experienced backpackers will tell you that good planning means a good trip. Chart your route with a map, check on permit requirements, trail and weather conditions, and know what bugs and critters you might encounter.
Gear up and don’t skimp on your equipment. A first aid kit, for instance, could save your life. A backpack and a pair of well-fitting boots can be the difference between a miserable trip and a wonderful adventure.
Now choose an awesome destination! Here are 7 great options for multi-day backpacking trips.
Wonderland Trail, Washington
The Wonderland Trail in Washington is geared for those with some experience. More than 90 miles that can be covered leisurely in 10 days, or more quickly for the pushers. It encompasses some rigorous hiking that takes you along beautiful trails in Mount Rainier National Park on a loop that circles the tallest mountain in the Pacific Northwest. Because of the trail elevation, attempt this adventure after the snow is melted to make the going easier as you cover lots of ups and downs. The panoramas here make the workout worthwhile.
Escarpment Trail, New York
The Escarpment Trail in New York’s Catskill Mountains is tricky, deceivingly short at 23.9 miles but over rough terrain that makes it advisable to plan for a three-day outing. It’s said to be fit for mountain goats! Along the way there are plenty of beautiful views and numerous spots to pitch your tent. Near North Point, look for a unique hidden artifact of sorts: a small airplane that long-ago crashed near the trail and is semi-hidden in the dense foliage.
Continental Divide Trail, Colorado
If you only have a week to hit the Continental Divide Trail consider this easy-to-moderate section from Copper Mountain to Bakerville. It’s an ambitious time commitment of six to seven days, and hikers should acclimatize before heading out from the trailhead at 10,000 feet altitude. The views are spectacular, particularly in the spring when you’ll see thousands of colorful wildflowers in bloom crowding the edges of the path and blanketing the deep mountain valleys.
Uwharrie National Forest Trails, North Carolina
Some of North Carolina’s most scenic hiking trails are located outside of Ashville in the Uwharrie National Forest. Ambitious hikers can enjoy a full week covering the 65 miles winding through dense forest areas lush with greenery that keeps trekkers shaded from the blazing summer sun. Along the route several waterfalls provide spectacular scenery and the opportunity to relax, dip your toes into the water and cool off.
Tonto Trail, Arizona
The Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon National Park is a solid three-day desert hike that covers the route from South Bass Canyon to Hermit’s Rest. The trail runs close to the Colorado River, but water is still scarce during summer months – desert hiking provides these types of challenges – so carry an ample supply with you and make note of other reliable water sources along the 42 miles of trail. Stunning Grand Canyon scenery makes the effort of this moderately difficult hike well worthwhile.
Pacific Crest Trail, California
In the backwoods of northern California, the Pacific Crest Trail provides varying terrain to suit the skills of many hikers, and among the most beautiful section is a 20 mile stretch from Echo Lake to Upper Velma Lake. Plan for a two or three day adventure in this gorgeous area. There are lots of amazing spots to set up your camp, and beautiful waterscapes to admire at nearly every turn.
Teton Crest Trail, Wyoming
The expansive trail system in Grand Teton National Park offers many opportunities for hikers to experience some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country while exploring mountains, forests and pristine snow-fed lakes. The hiking along Teton Crest Trail is ideal for those with intermediate skills, covering 39 miles. Don’t rush…budget four days so you can savor the beauty of the mountains and the Snake River that teases the edge of the trail.
© Brian Flaigmore | Dreamstime.com – Hiking Teton Crest