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The Best National Park Day Hikes

Only have a day to spare? Here are our short-and-sweet picks for 10 popular national parks. By Drew Allred

The Best Ghost Town Hikes in the U.S.

These eerily beautiful ghost towns—complete with abandoned mines and train depots—add historical interest to nearby hikes. By Paul Chisholm

America's Best Watchtower Hikes

These towers offer the best views in town—and you can hike to them. By Paul Chisholm

The Best Fossil Hikes in North America

Want to feel young? Hike to some of the continent's coolest prehistoric sites.
By Katie Ewen

Reading List: White Mountains, NH

Steve Smith, 60, of Lincoln, New Hampshire, owns The Mountain Wanderer (a specialty map and guidebook shop) and co-authored the AMC's White Mountain Guide, which details 1,420 trail miles—all of which Smith has hiked, making him one of about 20 people to have "red-lined" the entire guide. Here are his favorite books for learning more about the area

The Best Stargazing Spots in the U.S.

Pitch your tent in one of these 9 parks for a prime view of the cosmos.
By Abbey Dufoe

Make an Ottomani Pocket Sun Compass

You don't need no stinkin' sextant! Use this ancient technique to make and calibrate a portable compass that will point you in the right direction sure as the sun is shining. Photos by AJ Powell

25 Heat-Busting Hikes

Cool off this summer with these shade-filled trails and swimming holes.

Insider's Guide

Expert advice and the inside scoop on your favorite national parks and other premier areas

Readers Dish: The Hardest Hike You've Ever Enjoyed

As part of our story "Proving Grounds" from our August 2014 issue, we surveyed almost 500 readers about their toughest hiking experiences. Your stories of the hardest hike you ever enjoyed were so moving, we compiled some of our favorites.

17 Really Good Reasons to Save Your Money for Kilimanjaro

Yes, you could hike the PCT twice for the cost of a two-week trip to the roof of Africa. But you won’t see any monkeys in the Sierra.

Climbing Mount Shasta

Two teams of BACKPACKER readers are climbing 14,180-ft. Mount Shasta to help Big City Mountaineers! Check out the photos from their summit bid.
Text and images by Dennis Lewon.

Reading List: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Daniel Pauly, 47, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, wrote a guidebook for the area after he spent the past two decades exploring the 1,500 miles of canoe routes and portages. “I’ve covered pretty much all it,” he says. In addition to his own book, here’s the rest of his must-read list.

My Partner Ate My Socks!

A goatpacking adventure in Utah’s High Uinta Mountains.
Text by Casey Lyons. Photos by Julia Vandenoever.

10 Hikes to Do Solo

Because sometimes, you just need to get away from it all.
By Mattie Schuler

Celebrate National Trails Day 2014

A cross-country roundup of events for National Trails Day (June 7).

Reading List: Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Mike White, 61, of Reno, NV wrote two guidebooks to the area and has personally hiked every trail in both parks. Here's what's on his local-reading bookshelf.

Gear Review: Power Practical Lithium 4400 Battery Bank

Battery pack has enough power to charge many devices.

Gear Review: Bushnell SolarWrap 250 Battery

Solar powered lithium battery recharges efficiently.

#trailchat

Your opinions, photos, feats, and everything else backpackers are talking about this month.

7 Aspirational Outdoor Jobs

Working in the great outdoors is (mostly) a dream come true. Here are seven wilderness-driven careers that'll make any cubicle-dweller green with envy. Text by Shey Kiester.

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area

Spokane, WA: Scratch your itch for alpine splendor.

St. Croix River, Governor Knowles State Forest, WI

Minneapolis, MN: Explore a pristine river corridor.

Hike Smarter: 4 Ways to Camp in Comfort

Lean how to set up bear bags and a cozy camp. Also, how to protect yourself from wind and eat right.

Hike Smarter: 7 Ways to Fix and Maintain Gear

How to fix zippers, wash a sleeping bag correctly, waterproofing and make boots last.

Hike Smarter: 4 Ways to Climb higher

Learn how to acclimate to higher elevation, descend safely, use crampons, and self-belay.

Destinations: March 2014



Destinations: March 2014



Destinations: Central



Destinations: West



Arizona: Santa Catalina Mountains

The Catalinas tower 6,500 feet above Tucson, providing a cool escape in the summer and unlikely snow in the winter. Target these high-desert peaks and canyons to explore a maze of contrasting environments.

Rip and Go: Birch Knob

Complete the newest section of the Great Eastern Trail with big-mile days on this big-view mountain.

Sand Ridge Loop, Illinois

Traverse dunes through wooded corridors in the state's largest forest.

How to Do (Almost) Everything

You'll find a ton of useful tips in this issue--but some things you have to learn for yourself.

Readers' Choice 2014: Favorite Hikes

We recruited 38 regional experts to share their top trips from coast to coast.

Readers' Choice 2014: Favorite Southern Hikes

Discover a host of great activities below the Mason-Dixon line.

Readers' Choice 2014: Favorite Northeast Hikes

Peakbag and explore in the Northeast's thick forests.

Readers' Choice 2014: Favorite Midwest Hikes

Find the best views on- and off-trail throughout the varied Midwest.

Readers' Choice 2014: Favorite Southwest Hikes

Explore the deserts and distinctive features of the American Southwest.

Readers' Choice 2014: Favorite Mountain West Hikes

Gain some elevation in the high country of the jagged Rocky Mountains.

Readers' Choice 2014: Favorite Western Hikes

Find big features under big sky with these hikes in the Western US.

Tennessee: Virgin Falls Trail

Camp alongside a thundering waterfall and explore some of the region’s best karst features on a short-distance overnight into an old-growth forest.

Trail Mix: South

Experience the best the south has to offer: a shoreline hike in Florida, stargazing in North Carolina, and spelunking in Kentucky.

Multisport Playgrounds

Going by foot is only one way to see what’s best in the South. Bring your climbing gear, fins, or mountain bike to find the rest.

Trail Mix: Northeast

Take in a beautiful waterfall in Pennsylvania, spend the night in of New York's iconic mountain huts, and take a day trip out of NYC.

The Pemi Loop: New Hampshire

Pass from deep hardwood forests to above-treeline mountaintops again and again.

Peakbagging Treks

Go high in these dense clusters of mountains to hit several summits on a single hike.

Trail Mix: Midwest

Find solitude in Minnesota, peak Arkansas' highest mountain, and view wildflowers in the grasslands of Illinois.

Isle Royale National Park Loop

See our readers’ top spot, from lakeside to mountaintop, on a two-day loop.

Time-Scultpted Treks

Discover rock formations so unique you won’t even miss the mountains.

Trail Mix: Southwest

Hike beneath a breathtaking arch, bask in warm, spring water, and take in a bird's-eye-view of the Colorado River in this collection of hikes.

West Rim Trail

Score a unique perspective of half-mile-deep Zion Canyon on this big-view shuttle hike.

Canyon Hikes

Sample the Southwest’s most distinctive scenery—from intricate to immense—on these reader favorites.

Trail Mix: Mountain West

Wildflowers in Indian Peaks, CO, an old climbers' trail in Wyoming, and more.

Cramer Lakes, Idaho

Follow the chiseled Rockies to a cluster of secluded alpine lakes and waterfalls.

Alpine Lakes

Kick back at one of these campsites—where nothing but an idyllic, high-country pool separates you from the Rockies skyline.

Trail Mix: West

Backcountry swimming in Oregon, alpine lakes in John Muir Wilderness, and more.

Rip & Go: Alaska's Hatcher Pass Wilderness Area

Follow the footsteps of old miners to three alpine lakes beneath the snow-capped Talkeetna Mountains.

Destinations: Top 3 West



Gorgeous Timelapse Shows Why You Should Hike Up North, Eh?

Incredible footage from western Canada.

Inspirational Video of the Week: A Gorgeous Timelapse from the Canadian Rockies

The night sky in all its glory.

Inspirational Video of the Week: Incredible Wildlife in Slow Motion

A winter wonderland of animals.

Scientists Study Obesity Via Grizzly Bears

Who are you calling fat? Grizzlies could help scientists shed new light on weight gain.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: Sugru Repair Kit

A quick-fix for practically any gear in need of repair.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: Rab Strata Hoodie

Stay warm and dry in the backcountry with this breathable synthetic.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: The North Face Thermoball Hoodie

A synthetic puffy that rivals the weight and warmth of down.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: Mammut Alpine Rider Helmet

A helmet to handle both warm and cold weather conditions.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: Power Practical Powerpot V Charging Station

Charge your gadgets while cooking your grub.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: DPS Wailer 99 Skis

Skis built to take on the slopes and tackle backcountry snow.

Gear Review: Salomon S-Lab Skate Cold Nordic Skis

Fly downhill with these Nordic skate skis.

Gear Review: Mammut Light Pump Mat EXP Sleeping Pad

A lightweight, inflatable pad that resists compression.

Gear Review: Exped Downmat XP 9 Sleeping Pad

Withstand glacial nights with this 700-fill down pad.

Gear Review: Singing Rock Kappa Helmet

A well-ventilated, comfortable design for all skull sizes.

Gear Review: Komperdell Alpinist Snowshoes

Snowshoes that stay a step above the snowy slush.

Gear Review: Kind Dark Chocolate Chili Almond Bar

A sweet-and-spicy trail mix combo.

Gear Review: Packit Gourmet A Shepherd's Cottage Pie

A filling comfort food for cold camp days.

Gear Review: Stanley Classic 20-oz. One-Hand Vacuum Mug

A push-button lid makes sipping from this mug hassle-free.

Gear Review: Patagonia Untracked Hardshell Pants

These ski pants have seemingly bulletproof durability and loose, freeride styling.

Adventure Travel 2013: Africa

Wildlife, waterfalls, and epics await in Africa, where there's more than enough scenery and solitude to go around.

Gear Review: Seirus Heattouch Hyperlite Gloves

Affordable battery-powered warmth

Best Adventure Eating: Baked Guinea Pig



Best Scenery: Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile



Best Wildlife Safari: Pantanal, Brazil



Best Culture Hike: Santa Cruz Trek, Peru



Best Sunrise: Laguna Torre, Argentina



Ecuador: Top 3 Training Hikes

Got your eye on Cotopaxi? Work up to it on a series of acclimatizing hikes before tackling the big one. These trips, in ascending order of difficulty, are ideal proving grounds: close to Quito, tall enough to help your legs and lungs adjust, and all doable without a guide.

Best for Peakbaggers: Volcan Cotopaxi, Ecuador



Gear Review: Patagonia Knifeblade Softshell

Classic softshell for any winter sport

Gear Review: Big Agnes Shovelhead Puffy

A jacket that packs some serious heat without being a heavyweight.

Gear Review: Crux Plasma Puffy

A jacket built to bring the heat in any winter weather.

Gear Review: Montbell Plasma Puffy

A lightweight jacket designed to keep you warm - in the loftiest way possible.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Halogen Hoody

A breathable jacket built to withstand all kinds of cold weather.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol LT Softshell

All-weather defense in a light and stretchy softshell.

Gear Review: The North Face Kichatna Shell Jacket

Armor for tall hikers

Gear Review: Flylow Lab Coat Hardshell

For style, form, and function

Gear Review: Dynafit Patroul GTX Hardshell

Outstanding lightweight shell with serious breathability

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 0 Sleeping Bag

A bag with down-like features for a fraction of the price.

best camping with big-five animals: Makuya Hiking Trail, South Africa



best habitat diversity: Miriakamba Hut Circular Trail, Tanzania



best wildlife walk: Naukluft Hiking Trail, Namib Naukluft Park, Namibia

Seize a rare opportunity to hike unguided through big-game country.

best easy view: Sentinel Trail, South Africa



best canyon hike: Fish River Canyon Trail, Namibia



best swimming hole: Devil's Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia



most audacious: Margherita Peak, Uganda



best quick climb: Cathedral Peak, South Africa



best peak: Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kenya National Park, Kenya

Scale an airy, exposed twin-pronged volcano to killer Kili views in East Africa.

best art hike: Malealea Village Trek, Lesotho



best coffee “bar” crawl: Simien Mountains Trek, Ethiopia



best culture hike: Wild Coast Hiking Trail, Silaka and Huleka Nature Reserves, South Africa

Visit eight rural villages on this five-day tour along an undeveloped stretch of coast.

best landform: Wolfberg Cracks and Arch, South Africa



Gear Review: Millet Matrix 30 MBS Backpack

A pack low on price but full on features.

Gear Review: Gregory Targhee 45 Backpack

A pack with plenty of easy-to-access storage.

Gear Review: REI XT 85 Backpack

A big-load capacity pack that's big on comfort.

Gear Review: Osprey Kode 32 Backpack

A pack perfect for backcountry skiing or snowboarding.

Best Shangri-La: Kingdom of Bhutan

Trust a country that didn't allow television until 1999 to provide a portal into traditional Buddhist culture and unspoiled landscapes. But get there soon: Thanks to a new democracy, Bhutan is modernizing fast. Luckily, getting around has never been easier, and strict regulation keeps the hordes away. Mix and match these three adventures into a trip of a lifetime.

Best Discovery: Hai Country, Japan

Can you really find true wilderness in the most civilized country on Earth?

Silent rattlesnakes emerging in South Dakota’s Black Hills

All the venom, none of the warning.

Adventure Travel 2013: North America

Think you know adventure travel on your home continent? Not unless you've mixed paddling and hiking in Utah, highpointed the Caribbean, summited a Mexican volcano, and taken a few more trips on the wild side.

Packraft Utah

Can't decide between river and trail? Paddle and pad your way to the best of Canyonlands National Park.

2013 Adventure Travel Award Nominations

What's the best backcountry guide service in Nepal? The best trail town in Chile? New Zealand's best hiker bar? Nominate your faves on every continent for our first-ever Adventure Travel awards!

Local Hikes in the East - August 2013

Trace a West Virginia ridgeline in the Alleghenies, show your family eight waterfalls on one Pennsylania hike, check out a rare moonbow in Kentucky, and go on nine more adventures.

Local Hikes in the Central - August 2013

Trek along the country’s first national river in Arkansas, find solitude in Michigan’s Trap Hills, watch whooping crane chicks learn to fly outside Madison, WI, and plan for nine more summer trips.

Local Hikes in the West - August 2013

Hike through wildflower-laden alpine meadows in Washington’s volcanic high country, see a meteor shower in dark-sky New Mexico, escape the crowds above Lake Tahoe, and more.

Local Hikes in the West - August 2013

Hike through wildflower-laden alpine meadows in Washington’s volcanic high country, see a meteor shower in dark-sky New Mexico, escape the crowds above Lake Tahoe, and more.

Drink Up: Hydration and Purifying Gear for the Trail

Stay hydrated on the trail with these innovative filters and containers.

One Night Wonders: Anglers, Deep Creek Lake

Stalk golden trout.

One Night Wonders: Ocean Lovers, Peanut Island Park

Snorkel among manatees.

One Night Wonders: Urban Escapees, Ibantik Lake

Savor instant solitude.

One Night Wonders: Urban Escapees, White Rocks Loop

Bust out beyond the beltway.

One Night Wonders: Urban Escapees, Berryman Trail

Hide out in Ozark Hollows

One Night Wonders: Mileage Monsters, Hut Traverse

Hike New England's highest paths.

One Night Wonders: Mileage Monsters, Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass

Gobble the PCT's tastiest morsel.

One Night Wonders: Mileage Monsters, Kings Peak

Scale Utah's mightiest mountain.

One Night Wonders: Couples, Honeymoon Lake

Escape to a high-alpine hideaway.

One Night Wonders: Couples, Goodwin Lake to Granite Hot Springs

Soak in simmering springs.

One Night Wonders: Couples, Caribou Rock Trail

Retreat into a watery labyrinth.

One Night Wonders: Peak Baggers, Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point

Tag two tough fourteeners.

One Night Wonders: Big Kids, Bench Lakes

Explore the Rockies' sharpest peaks.

One Night Wonders: Little Kids, Sages Ravine

Splash in swimming holes.

One Night Wonders

Make the most of your precious weekend Freedom. These 15 hikes deliver epic to all types of time-crunched hikers.

Testing the Waters

Four days on New England's idyllic waterways. Is it enough to win a father's blessing for his daughter's new life?

The Great Best Views Debate

In our September 2013 issue we polled our experts on their favorite views in the U.S. What are your favorite views in each state?

Trail Mix: East

Your region's go now guide: Find wild horses near D.C., spot 8 waterfalls on a family-friendly loop, view the "Niagara of the South" in Kentucky, and more.

From the Field: East

Trace a West Virginia ridgeline in the Alleghenies, show your family eight waterfalls on one Pennsylvania hike, check out a rare moonbow in Kentucky, and go on nine more adventures.

Rip & Go: North Fork Mountain, Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, WV

Climb sandstone outcroppings and spot raptors on this wildlife-packed ridgeline.

Trail Mix: Central

Your region's go now guide: HIke with your kids in Missouri, watch the endangered whooping crane in Wisconsin, and more.

From the Field: Central

Trek along the country's first national river in Arkansas, find solitude in Michigan's Trap Hills, watch whooping crane chicks learn to fly outside Madison, WI, and plan for nine more summer trips.

Rip & Go: Buffalo River Trail, Ponca Wilderness, AR

Traverse craggy cliffs flanking America's first national river.

Trail Mix: West

Your region's go now guide: Explore the Pacific coastline in California, hike in isolation near Lake Tahoe, and more.

From the Field: West

Hike through wildflower-laden alpine meadows in Washington's volcanic high country, see a meteor shower in dark-sky New Mexico, escape the crowds above Lake Tahoe, and more.

Rip & Go: Goat Ridge Loop, Goat Rocks Wilderness, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA

Explore an alpine oasis amid volcanic terrain along the crest of the Cascades.

Mountain Map: Indian Peaks, CO

Of all the reasons to be jealous of Denverites (craft beer, deep powder, Peyton Manning), the Front Range's backyard peaks might top the list. These glacier-carved mountains straddle the Continental Divide and offer 133 miles of maintained trails, plus endless serrated ridges to explore. Local or visitor, venture into this land of massive crags with these routes that promise views from every vantage point—if you don't live here yet, you'll wish you did.

Top 3: Quad Burners

You're in mid-season shape—reap the rewards on some of the country's steepest hikes.

Life List: Moonlit Presidential Traverse, New Hampshire

An after-hours trek on one of the Northeast's best hikes yields unexpected sights.

Share It: Edit and Share Trip Data

You're back from the trail with a bunch of beta--now show it off.

Do It: Make the Most of Your Phone

Pick the right case to shield your device, never lose touch, boost your juice, and conserve battery power with these tips and tricks.

Record Better Media: Picture and Video Masterpieces

You can't beat a dedicated camera for clarity, control, and quality, but smartphones come close enough for most of us-this magazine has even published iPhone photos. Use these tools and techniques to amp up your device's multimedia power:

Utilize the Top Backcountry Apps

These apps help you navigate through weather, identify plants, and navigate.

Plan It: Master the Latest in Trip-Planning Technology

In the past, route-planning involved browsing guidebooks, consulting rangers, and convincing locals to give up their secret places. Today, that information lives on the internet; you just have to know how to find it.

Local Hikes in the East - June 2013

Snake through swamplands in Congaree NP, see fireworks atop Vermont's highpoint, catch a firefly light show in the Smokies, and grab nine more early summer trips.

Local Hikes in the Central - June 2013

Hike the border country in Big Bend NP, bring your kite on an Illinois hike, see bison duel in Wind Cave NP, and go on nine more adventures.

Local Hikes in the West - June 2013

Trek past eight lakes in Lassen Volcanic NP's high country, check out the newest national park. hike the Wonderland Trail in Rainier NP like a pro, and more.

Grand Traverses

Ever wished the view never stopped? It doesn't on these mountain-straddling routes. Here's how to conquer the skyline.

Trail Mix: East

Your region's go now guide: See synchronous fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hike through a Civil War battlefield, witness a July 4th celebration on a Vermont peak, and more.

From the Field: East

Get magnificent coastal views in Maine, snag a few fish in West Virginia's Otter Creek Wilderness, spot sunning alligators in the Florida panhandle, and more.

Rip & Go: Kingsnake Trail, Congaree National Park, SC

Spy diverse swamp wildlife in one of the newest national parks.

Trail Mix: Central

Hike the border country in Big Bend NP, bring your kite on an Illinois hike, see bison duel in Wind Cave NP, and go on nine more adventures.

From the Field: Central

Hear various bird songs during Ohio's bird breading season, cool off in clear swimming home in a hidden Oklahoman gem, and more.

Rip & Go: Outer Mountain Loop, Big Bend National park, TX

Trek through wide-open desert and ascend big-view mountains in the still-wild West.

Trail Mix: West

Your region's go now guide: Trek past eight lakes in Lassen Volcanic NP's high country, check out the newest national park, hike the Wonderland Trail in Rainier NP like a pro, and more.

From the Field: West

Experience the varying habitat in California's Lobo Canyon Trail, get a high-vantage view of the Colorado River in Arizona, hike former mining roads, and more!

Rip & Go: Summit Lakes Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

Pass sparkling alpine lakes on this easy weekend through volcanic high country.

Mountain Map: Glacier National Park, MT

With 1,584 square miles of soaring peaks, alpine tundra, and yes, glaciers, this mountain mecca belongs on every hiker's life list. We rounded up five of our scouts' top treks in the Many Glacier region—so when you get there, you'll shoot straight to the park's best terrain.

Top 3: National Park Hikes

Sample the best of our crown-jewel lands on these superlative trips.

Life List: Stillwater Canyon, Utah

Travel rugged, red-rock backcountry in Canyonlands National Park the easy way—by boat.

Grand Traverses: Great Range

Bag eight peaks on the way to New York's high point.

Grand Traverses: Franconia Ridge

Enjoy panoramic views on an exposed, granite ridgewalk.

Grand Traverses: Greenstone Ridge

Tackle 40 miles of an island ridge above Lake Superior.

Grand Traverses: Teton Crest Trail

Take this park's best tour.

Grand Traverses: Guadalupe Ridge Trail

Hike the length of an ancient fossilized reef.

Grand Traverses: Superstition Ridge

Catch an eye-full of the volcanic Superstition Mountains just 45 minutes from Phoenix.

Grand Traverses: Monroe Skyline

Bag six of the state's loftiest peaks in a single, stout day on the Long Trail.

Grand Traverses: Sierra High Route

Breathe in the views and grandness of the Sierras without the crowds of the John Muir Trail.

Grand Traverses: Great Northern Traverse

Cross the top of Glacier National Park.

Grand Traverses: Ruby Crest

Soak up the alpine solitude in the "Swiss Alps of Nevada".

Grand Traverses: Sawtooth Ridge

Tick of Washington's alpine gems the fast-and-light way.

Grand Traverses: Roan Highlands

Gorge on views that don't quit on a high stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

Grand Traverses: Pfiffner Traverse

Choose your own adventure on this rocky mountain routefinding test piece.

Local Hikes in the East

Paddle an Outer Banks island, hit a new trail in Tennessee, stargaze in Pennsylvania, and grab nine more adventures.

Local Hikes in the Central U.S.

Sample a section of Missouri's Ozark Trail, harvest Minnesotan morels, see endangered sea turtles in coastal Texas, and more.

Local Hikes in the West

Get your waterfall fix in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge, find solitude in Wyoming, check out a new Denver-area state park, and tag more spring hikes.

First Night Out: Fauna

Three trails teeming with wildlife

First Night Out: Water

Three beautiful water-side hikes

First Night Out: Views

Three hikes with spectacular views

First Night Out: Flora

Three hikes with scenic wildflower vistas

Life List: Grand Challenge

Push yourself on a self-supported, 167-mile race through the Southwest. The blisters will go away; the accomplishment will stay with you forever.

Trail Mix — East

Your region's go-now guide: Take in Pennsylvania's nighttime skies in the Cherry Springs State Park, ascend the 2,625-foot Mt. Moosalamoo in Vermont, enjoy the new 38-mile section of the Cumberland Trail in Tennessee, and more.

From the Field — East

Let our field scouts' beta fuel your next adventure from the wildlife-rich Sky Meadows State Park Loop, to thickets of mountain laurel in Georgia, and more.

Mountain Map: The Wasatch Front, UT

Minutes from Salt Lake City, The Wasatch Front is a gold mine for adventure. The 2.1-million-acre area includes 22 peaks above 11,000 feet and with at least 300 feet of prominence, houses 78 bikeable miles on 11 different bike trails, and boasts an average of 226 sunny days annually.

Trail Mix — Central

Enjoy the wildlife of Mississippi, search for Morels in Minnesota, view the nesting turtles on Texas' Padre Island, and more.

From the Field — Central

Take in the birder's paradise around Vern Wolf Lake in Wisconsin, cleanse yourself in the mist of a 15 foot waterfall in Arkansas, marvel at a 320-million-year-old sandstone formation in Ohio, and more.

Top 3: Knife-edge Ridges

Test your bravery with these scrambly hikes that take you to airy heights and rewarding views. Don't forget to watch your step.

Trail Mix — West

Your region's go-now guide: get your heart rate up by climbing 1,500 feet in 2.4 miles in Santa Barbara, visit the newest state park in Colorado, enjoy the solitude of the Wyoming Range, and more.

From the Field: BACKPACKER Trail Scouts' Top Western Local Hikes

From a panoramic hike above Sin City and Lake Mead to a slot canyon adventure in Utah, our scouts provide trail beta.

Rip & Go: Eagle Creek Loop, Columbia River Gorge, OR

Spot waterfalls and wildflowers on a rainforest loop into one of the gorge's wildest canyons.

Rip & Go: Shackleford Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore, NC

Paddle to explore beach, dunes, and maritime forest on an uninhabited barrier island.

Rip & Go: Ozark Trail, Huzzah Conservation Area/Mark Twain National Forest, MO

Climb from ravine to ridge for views over a trio of river valleys.

Editors' Choice 2013: Garmin fenix

Stay found and stay fit with this best-in-class GPS watch.

Gear Review: MSR Aquatabs Water Treatment

Go ultralight while staying healthy with the MSR Aquatabs.

Gear Review: Platypus GravityWorks 4.0L Water Treatment

Spread the joy of clean water with this group-friendly filtration system from Platypus.

Gear Review: SteriPen Ultra Water Treatment

Get clean water fast with this easy-to-use SteriPen Ultra.

Gear Review: Trimble Outdoors Elite Mapping Software

Get a trip planner, online, and print maps in one bundle from Trimble Outdoors.

Gear Review: Suunto MC-2 Global Compass

Get to your destination quickly and reliably with the Suunto MC-2 Global.

2013 Adventures NYC



Save Money on Your Trailhead Drive

Are you blowing big bucks driving to your favorite hike? Use these gas-mileage-boosting tips so you can get to more trailheads for less money.

The Truth About Bears: The Maps

Bears in the lower 48 have rebounded from decades of declining populations and shrinking habitat. Also improving: your chance of seeing a bruin in the wild. By Ted Alvarez

The Truth About Bears: The Mystery

Grizzlies vanished from North Cascades National Park five decades ago. Or did they? Our scout joins the search for Washington's elusive mountain ghosts. By Ted Alvarez

2013 Reader Photo Contest - Your Best Shots

For 40 years, BACKPACKER readers have explored the wilderness and returned with photographic gold. But we were wowed by the entries for this contest—more than 650 of them. Check out these finalists (and this year's winner), then go to backpacker.com/photos to submit your own images. We’ll showcase the best entries in upcoming issues.

Local Hikes in the East — March 2013

Tromp through a Florida cypress swamp, find solitude on a Catskills peak, look for rare Carolina blooms, plus 9 more.

Local Hikes in the Central U.S. — March 2013

Snag a dozen great winter trips, including a texas Hill Country overnight, a Lake Superior snowshoe, and a hike to Apostle islands ice caves.

Local Hikes in the West — March 2013

Soak in a New Mexico hot spring, spot wintering bighorn sheep in the Winds, hike to a lost California oasis, and more.

Gear and Go Tour

In celebration of our readers, we have designed a second tour (in addition to our popular Get Out More Tour) that will launch in 2013, the GEAR and GO TOUR.

10 Steps to Raising Kids Who Love the Outdoors

You want your kiddos to enjoy the outdoors – camping, hiking, biking, etc. – as much as you do. Northwest editor Michael Lanzas has 10 tips on how to accomplish that – and have fun along the way.

Trail Mix — East — March 2013

Your region's go-now guide: Visit a new hikers' hostel connected to 50 miles of trail in Maine's Bigelow Mountains, see the rare Oconee bell in South Carolina's Jocassee Gorges area, explore the world's longest mapped cave system near Louisville, and more.

From the Field — East — March 2013

Our trail scouts' top local hikes, including fire tower views in New Jersey, a New York waterfall, and more.

Rip & Go: Florida Trail, Big Cypress National Preserve, FL

Traverse a primeval landscape of cypress swamp, hardwood hammocks, and pinelands.

Mountain Map: White Mountains, NH

The Granite State's crown jewel is an epicenter for alpine adventure, from peakbagging to ridgewalking to hut camping. Where to start? In the heart of the Whites, with beta from our map team. Trek across windswept plateaus, tag a handful of the range's 48 peaks above 4,000 feet, and get a taste of high-altitude tundra.

Trail Mix — Central — March 2013

Your region's go-now guide: Explore ice caves on Wisconsin's Apostle Islands, overnight in peace in northern Missouri, and more.

From the Field — Central — March 2013

Follow the footsteps of Wild West outlaws in Oklahoma, marvel at Gooseberry Fall's frozen cascades, search out arrowheads at Hot Springs National Park, and more.

Rip & Go: Lost Maples Loop, Lost Maples State Natural Area, TX

Warm up for hiking season with a mellow escape to a maze of limestone plateaus.

Top 3: Better in Winter

What off season? Bundle up and reap the benefits of colder weather in these snowy playgrounds.

Trail Mix - West - March 2013

Your region's go-now spring guide: Scramble to Salado Indian cliff dwellings in Arizona, spot bighorn sheep in Wyoming, and more.

From the Field — West — March 2013

Our trail scouts' top local hikes: ancient Oregon volcanoes, a Nevada slot canyon, a hidden California oasis, and more.

Rip & Go: Jordan Hot Springs, Gila Wilderness, NM

Explore a slot canyon and soak in a warm backcountry pool in the country's first designated wilderness.

Life List: Northern Lights Ski Tour, Alaska

See the world's best sky show from your private backcountry cabin.

Hiking Wales: Fresh Tracks Through History

Beachside trek meets pub crawl meets castle tour on Europe's newest long trail, the 870-mile Wales Coast Path, officially opened in May 2011. We have the beta on its highlights.

The Path to Shangri-La: Eastern Tibet's Unclimbed Peaks

Climb hiker-friendly 16,000-foot summits--and maybe nab a first ascent--on a shoestring budget, plus get an unchaperoned glimpse of Tibetan culture.

Gear Review: Rab Generator Alpine Jacket

A jacket revered by a search-and-rescue team.

Limit Pusher: Three More Epics

Test yourself on these wild routes.

Chile: Private Patagonia - Five More Multisport Trips

Explore spectacular places by air, land, and sea.

Chile: Private Patagonia - Puerto Toro

Take your pick of adventures from this major ferry stop about three hours from Natales: Beach camp next to a private glacier or paddle to a gem lake.

Chile: Private Patagonia - Cordillera Baguales

Escape to trekking and horseback riding nirvana on Patagonia's high plains.

Chile: Private Patagonia - Fjord De Las Montanas

Explore peak-lined Chilean waters by boat or by foot—in solitude.

Chile: Private Patagonia

Explore Chile's mind-bending terrain without joining the throngs on the popular trekker circuit. On this paddle/hike/horse adventure, you'll have glacier-chiseled fjords, sky-piercing mountains, and best-ever camping all to yourself.

Canada: Treasure Island

You don't have to travel across the world to get off the map. British Columbia's Haida Gwaii boasts uncharted coastline, seaside hot springs, and more sea lions, whales, and bears than you can count.

Norway: Home of the Giants

Norway's Jotunheimen National Park bristles with glacier-clad peaks amid northern Europe's highest mountains, but a five-star hut system makes it a place you can bring your kids. And mom.

Mountain Map: Los Angeles - San Gabriel Mountains

Find solitude high above Los Angeles.

Local Hikes in the Central U.S.

Camp lake-side in Arkansas, summit 800-foot Nebraska bluffs, see Wisconsin's best foliage (alone), and dayhike near Dallas. Plus: 8 more autumn hikes.

Local Hikes in the East

Kentucky's Land Between The Lakes, see a South Carolina swamp (without the bugs), hike through four states in one huge day, and more.

Local Hikes in the West

Make a late-season hike to an aspen-dense Colorado mesa, spot bears in the Beartooths, explore gypsum dunes, and discover more fall must-hikes.

Carry the best maps for your adventures.

New Elite program from map partner Trimble Outdoors serves up best-in-class trip planning tools, exclusive map data, and mobile app extras.

Navigating in the desert

Tips from our experts and readers about traveling in deserts and canyon country

Master Class: Read the Wilderness

Use nature's signs to orient yourself, pick your path through varied terrain, and predict the weather.

Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades



Smokies Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 5 of 6)

Leave it to our seasoned map contributors to find solitude in America's most-visited park. This exclusive trip planner serves up routes guaranteed to get you off the tourist trail and into deep wilderness.

The High Life: Granite Park Chalet, MT

Discover Glacier's historic lodging.

The High Life: White Mountains Traverse, NH

Hike our quieter insider's variation on this classic route.

The High Life: Never Summer Yurts, CO

Discover your own private Rockies paradise.

The High Life: Haute Route Pyrenees, France

Go high and wild in Europe's other Alps.

The High Life: Hidden Lake Peak Fire Lookout, WA

Claim an eagle's roost above Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The High Life: Hut, Hut, Hike!

Why should a backpacker want anything other than a tent? Michael Lanza can think of five good reasons.

The High Life: Maine Hut Trail, ME

Explore a new shelter system with old-school wild.

The High Life: Pennine Alps, Switzerland

Dine lavishly in the homeland of huts.

The High Life: Kepler Track, New Zealand

Score iconic Kiwi scenery without lining up.

The High Life: Lake O'Hara, Canada

Explore the best of Yoho National Park.

The High Life: High Sierra Camps, CA

Hike Yosemite's granite-rimmed loop.

The High Life: Rifugio Lagazuoi, Italy

Climb to a view over all of the Dolomites.

Winter Survival Guide: Navigate

Especially in winter, getting there is half the battle. Find your way through the white with these tips.

Top 3: Ghostly Hikes

Test your courage—and your quads—this Halloween on one of these spooky cemetery trails.

Life List: The Source of the Amazon

Trek to the Peruvian high spot where the planet's most powerful river is born.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops via Newfound Gap

Follow fern-lined trails to scramble up a rocky pinnacle.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Maddron Bald Loop

Pass waterfalls, cross empty peaks, and visit monster-size trees.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mid-Smokies Circuit

String together the Appalachian, Benton MacKaye, and Mountains-to-Sea Trails for a 48-mile instant classic that hits the park's best views and backcountry campsites.

Skier's Paradise: Backcountry Hut & Yurt Destinations

Maximize your winter fun with a backcountry basecamp where you can spend all day skiing or snowshoeing, and all evening lounging by the fire. These 10 huts and yurts will make you hope the snow never melts.

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: CamelBak All Clear UV Water Purification System

A fast, integrated, and rechargeable water purifier.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2012: First Ascent BC MicroTherm 2.0 Jacket

An outstanding winter performance combo.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2012: Sierra Designs Tov Jacket

Warm, high-tech, and fitted for optimal winter performance.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2012: L.L. Bean Ultralite 850 Puffy

The ultimate bang-for-buck ratio jacket.

Gear Review: The North Face Polar Hooded Fleece

This fleece will keep you warm, light, and unrestrained.

Gear Review: Mammut Eigerjoch/ Biwak Jacket

This coat redefines what warm means.

Gear Review: SmartWool MerinoMax Full Zip Midlayer

This midlayer will go with you on any adventure requiring more than short sleeves.

Gear Review: Stoic Luft 60 Anorak Pullover

A bullet-proof pullover that doesn't add pounds.

Gear Review: Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

This insulated hoody keeps performing, even when conditions are at their worst.

Gear Review: Marmot Variant Hoody

The perfect jacket for when your hardshell is just too much.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Incandescent Jacket

A versatile and lightweight puffy you won't be disappointed by.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Insulation

If these heat-makers don't keep you from freezing, nothing will.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Headwear

Keep your noggin' warm or protected with these three hats and two helmets.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Dome Beanie

A slim, 100-percent polyester skull cap.

Gear Review: Dale of Norway Weatherproof Hat

A classic Norwegian wool hat with Teflon-treated yarn for enhanced water resistance and the windproof Gore liner.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Aria/ Transcendent Beanie

"It's a parka for your melon!"

Gear Review: Smartphone and Tablet Apps for Map Lovers

Three apps for map lovers of all tech denominations.

Gear Review: Magellan eXplorist 310 North America GPS

A perfect starter GPS unit, with a great price and minimal drawbacks.

Gear Review: Magellan Switch Series GPS

This GPS is perfect, however you get from A to B.

Gear Review: Suunto Ambit Watch

The sleekest, best GPS watch yet.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Navigation

Never get lost with these navigation tools.

The Survival Issue: Weather

From hypothermia to heatstroke, the elements kill in myriad ways. Protect yourself with 34 tips on wind, rain, snow, and more.

Year of the Reader: Win a Gear or Skills Makeover!

We're matching your needs with our expertise and making over six lucky readers with new skills and gear to get more out of their trail time.

Gear Review: CamelBak Gambler Hydration Backpack

For sidecountry hikes and day tours from huts, the Gambler offers the next best thing to no pack at all.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012

261 reviews and camping tips

Killer Trips: Wildlife

Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

Killer Trips: Terrain

Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

Killer Trips: Gravity

Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

Killer Trips: Weather

Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

How to Find North

Learn how to orient yourself for when it really counts.

Weather Anecdotes: Explained

Mnemonics make it easy to remember weather sayings and make weather predictions, but is there any truth behind the prediction rhymes?

Trail Mix: East

Your region's go-now guide

Trail Mix: Central

Your region's go-now guide

From the Field: East

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

From the Field: Central

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park: Longs Peak

Climb this iconic summit on an uncrowded sneak route.

2012 Be A Mapper Contest Official Rules



Out Alive: Hammered by Falling Rocks

After an off-trail slide tosses two hikers down a slope, they’re trapped by their injuries.

Trail Mix: West

Your region's go-now guide

From the Field: West

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

The Long Way Home

When Karl Bushby set out to hike 36,000 miles across four continents, he vowed he would only return to his native England on foot. Which could be a real problem if he ever wants to get there.

Life List: Walking Safari, Kruger NP, South Africa

Trek among giraffes, rhinos, lions, and elephants in one of the world's premier wildlife parks.

Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades

We asked a few of our favorite pros how to fix some common backcountry annoyances

Grand to Grand Ultra - Win a free race entry!

Grand to Grand Ultra is a 160-mile stage race from the Grand Canyon’s North Rim to the highest point in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument--and we have a free race entry to give away!

From The Field: East

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

From The Field: Central

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

From The Field: West

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

Canyonlands Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 4 of 6)

Our field scouts scrambled up airy ledges, trekked to giant arches, and dropped into deep gorges to bring you the best dozen trips in this slickrock paradise.

September 2012 Table of Contents



Summit Fever: The Sierra Challenge

When 37 hardcore hikers set out to scale 10 of the Sierra's highest and remotest peaks in a single Herculean, 10-day, 154-mile push, it will be an all-pain, 54,000 feet of gain kind of adventure.

Trail Mix: East

Your region's go-now guide.

Trail Mix: Central

Your region's go-now guide.

Trail Mix: West

Your region's go-now guide.

Apps and Maps

From GPS data to navigation apps and printed maps, we have you covered and can get you ready for your next adventure.

Navigation Webinar: FOR TESTING



Troubleshoot This: Stalked by a Cougar



Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades



Heroes: Rue Mapp, 40

This culture activist is bringing diversity to the outdoors.

Make a custom map for your next adventure

We've partnered with myTopo to bring you the best in maps for your backcountry pursuits.

Manually Adjust Declination

Change declination to navigate more accurately over long distances.

The Troubleshooter’s Handbook

Murphy’s Law, meet your match. Our experts offer trip-saving fixes for 44 mishaps, from bug bites to bad partners to broken bones.

Heroes: Kyle Maynard, 26

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is plenty hard with two strong legs. Imagine crawling to the top, like the first congenital quadruple amputee to reach the summit.

Gear: Ultralight Layers

Stay comfortable and carry less with these versatile, all purpose pieces.

The Other Way In

Hike to life-list hot spots without waiting in life-list lines. These under-the-radar trails deliver everything but the crowds.

The Last Bus

A former Denali ranger shares her secrets for finding solitude, scoring the most coveted permits, seeing wildlife, beating the weather, and more. Follow her from-the-field advice for the ultimate trip in America's wildest park.

Survival: Lightning Myths: Busted

Knowing fact from fiction can help you avoid—and survive—a 54,000℉ strike.

Mountain Map: Coast Range - Olympic Mountains

Explore peaks and forests in this coastal range.

Life List: Buckskin Gulch, Utah/Arizona

Yes, all wilderness is sacred. But this mystically beautiful slot canyon is holier than most.

Grand Teton Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 3 of 6)

Our map scouts scaled 13,000-foot peaks, trekked to hidden lakes, and explored glacier-carved canyons to bring you our 21 favorite routes in America's most vertiginous range.

Master Class: Find Yourself on a Map

The best way to avoid getting lost? Always know your location. Study up on these key techniques for identifying terrain features, translating GPS data to a map, and triangulating your position.

August 2012 Table of Contents



Heros: Becca Stubbs, 21

Student and president of the Hiking Club at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Hiking Makes You Smarter

Yes, the views and fresh air and exercise make every backpacking trip worthwhile. But now, new research shows, staying home is just plain dumb. Learn why backpacking boosts brainpower in this exclusive report from the frontiers of environmental neuroscience.

Survive Coastal Dangers

Waves, currents, and tides threaten thousands of miles of American trails (any within a quarter of a mile of a waterway), and hikers can get caught in the barrage. Headland-sculpting, beach-pounding waves can swallow an unwary trekker without so much as a burp. Learn how to recognize, negotiate, and avoid nearshore hazards

Trail Mix: Central

Explore Chicago's wild places, seek out solitude, and experience three perfect days, all this summer.

Trail Mix: East

Explore wilderness bounty, see fawns in Shenandoah National Park, and experience three perfect days, all this summer and all in the east.

Trail Mix: West

Explore high points, see astronomical rarity and experience three perfect days, all this summer and all in the west.

From the Field: West

Explore the west coast in a whole new way with these five summer hikes.

From the Field: East

Experience the east in a new way this summer with hikes that each offer a special glimpse of what the east coast has to offer.

From the Field: Central

Looking to relax this summer? These central hikes offer beautiful lakes, great views, and a breath of fresh air.

Navigate in Low Visibility

Leapfrogging, following benchmarks, and more.

Navigation Webinar: Go Farther with Maps and GPS

In this beginner friendly course, BACKPACKER Map Editor Andrew Matranga teaches the essentials of map reading, GPS, and compass, plus how to use today's best digital mapping tools to plan trips, to navigate in the field and to share adventures once you get home.

Trail Running Apparel: Jacket, Shorts, Hydration Pack

These three key pieces will keep you comfortable on the trail.

Gear Review: First Ascent MicroTherm Down Hoodie

A featherweight, 800-fill puffy

Over The Edge

Nearly 150 years after John Wesley Powell's pioneering trip through the Grand Canyon, the park still conceals remarkable places no humans have ever seen. Contributing editor John Harlin joins a crew of explorers on a journey of discovery.

Burn After Reading

Empty White Mountain summits. Tourist-free Yellowstone geysers. Rarely hiked Yosemite ridges. Rangers, guidebook writers, outfitters, and ultra-hikers dish their favorite routes for the first time.

Best Week: Continental Divide Loop

Tour glacial valleys and navigate to off-trail lakes and waterfalls on this six-day circuit.

Best Weekend: Gorge Lakes

Hike cross-country to explore this secluded chain of hanging lakes.

June 2012 Table of Contents



Best Day: Longs Peak via Clarks Arrow and the Keyhole

Scramble up a 12.7-mile sneak route to the park's highest peak.

Rocky Mountain Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 2 of 6)

Our map team scouted more than 500 miles of trails and cross-country routes to bring you a summer's worth of escapes in the Rockies.

Gear Guide 2012: The Ten Essentials

Get prepped with this core gear.

Gear Guide 2012: Outdoor Research Revel Convertible Cap

The Revel offers two domes for maximum versatility.

Gear Guide 2012: SteriPen Freedom Water Treatment

Light, compact, and easy to use, the Freedom treats water in seconds with just a push of a button.

Gear Guide 2012: Brunton O.S.S. 10B Compass

Simple, yet reliable, this compass is great for spot checks and map consults.

Gear Guide 2012: MyTopo/BACKPACKER Pro Maps

Get customized maps that give you turn-by-turn directions and campsite information all in one, easy to use and waterproof map.

Gear Guide 2012: Pocket Profile Maps

Waterproof maps pack in all the information you need for AT and JMT thru-hikers.

Local Hikes

Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.

Gear Guide 2012: Adventure Travel Gear

A duffel, shirt, and water purification system that make the life of an adventure traveler that much safer and easier.

Mt. Rainier Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 1 of 6)

We mapped nearly 300 miles of trail to bring you the only resource you'll need to jump-start your adventures in this premier park.

Gear Guide 2012: Highgear Axio HR Altimeter Watch

Track elevation, weather, and workout intensity with this powerful watch

America's Best Campsites

Park your tent in one of these 10 spots, and you'll be happy in the morning. Guaranteed.

May 2012 Table of Contents



Editors' Choice 2012: Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

Ultralight, affordable, and idiotproof. What's not to like?

Kids, Camping, and Abuse: A Q&A with Tracy Ross

Contributing editor Tracy Ross talks about the aftermath of publishing her abuse memoir, The Source of All Things, which originated as a BACKPACKER feature story and is now available in paperback.

Hiking Switzerland: Around the Alps in 80 Days

Well, maybe 105. But who's counting? Contributing editor John Harlin defies conventional wisdom with a 1,400-mile circumnavigation of this mountainous kingdom.

America's Newest Long Trail

Don't have time to hike all 1,200 miles of the Pacific Northwest Trail? No worries: Our scout pinpointed the finest two-week stretch.

Died and Gone to New Zealand

Hiker heaven, redefined, is a month-long hike/paddle/camp in Adventureland.

Everest Confidential: Trekking Through Nepal's Khumbu Region

See the Himalayan giants--and cross three passes more than 17,000 feet high--on this off-the-radar route through the Khumbu region.

The Jesus Trail: Hiking from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee

Every hike is a pilgrimage, but this new path from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee is holier than most. Literally following in His footsteps, the 40-mile route immerses hikers in biblical history.

BACKPACKER GPS Trails PRO Trips

We've taken the best trips on backpacker.com and made them even better. Check out updated, interactive PRO trips and PRO bundles on GPS Trails. Use your Android or iPhone to discover these premium guides, or map your own adventures and share them with your friends.

Travel Like a Pro

Adventure Travel Tips for Backpackers

Gear Review: SteriPEN Freedom

Our favorite UV light water treatment tool just got lighter, smaller, and easier to recharge.

BACKPACKER PRO Maps: Custom maps for your adventures

We've teamed up with map partner myTopo to create custom, pre-planned adventures printed on waterproof topo paper. No need to buy and carry multiple maps. Bonus: PRO Maps sync with your handheld GPS, your smartphone, or your tablet for a complete in-field mapping experience. Our archive is over 100 maps strong and growing.

Outdoor Retailer Roundup: Face First Travel Pillow and Saxx Men's Underwear

Day 2 had this reporter looking for comfort - gloves, hats, travel pillows, and undies.

Passion Player: Q&A with Michael Franti

On Wednesday night, reggae-hip-hop-fusion artist Michael Franti was recording a new track for his follow-up to the hit album "The Sound of Sunshine." On Thursday night, he rocks The Depot at Outdoor Retailer in a concert presented by Wolverine. BACKPACKER's Jonathan Dorn and Anthony Cerretani spoke to Franti right before the show about how the outdoors influences his music, lifestyle, and clothing line.

Backpacker Bible: Find Your Way

Join a long line of enlightened travelers who have navigated the wilderness–and discover a whole new world that lies beyond well-marked trails and guided trips.

Backpacker Bible: See More Wildlife

Get closer to the mystery of life: Put yourself spine-tingling distance from the fanged and clawed and horned.

International Adventure Travel

From Nepal to New Zealand, we have stories and tips to help you plan the perfect 'life list' backpacking trek abroad.

Backpacker Expeditions

Backpacker magazine has teamed up with AvidTrips–the leading travel platform that connects travelers directly to local tour guide operators–to create three awe-inspiring expeditions exclusively for Backpacker readers. Our Backpacker Expeditions will challenge your outdoor fortitude and indulge your passion for discovery

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Drop into a Slot

Explore wildly sculpted rock.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Paddle Pristine Shorelines

Sea kayaking unlocks a new world of solitude and scenery.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Catch a Golden Trout

Cast for beautiful fish that live in beautiful lakes.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Hike 30 Miles in a Day

See a week's worth of terrain on an epic dawn-to-dusk hike.

Adventure Upgrade: Navigate Off Trail

Open up a new door to adventure–by leaving the well-trod route behind.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Easy Upgrades

Kick it up a notch with these quick fixes.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Discover the World Off-Trail

Be a real explorer by going where others don't.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Climb to Heart-Pumping Heights

Scramble a class 3 route and claim your own private peak.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Become a Backcountry Batali

Serve a 5-star meal that matches the scenery.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Grab Steep Thrills

Ski remote winter terrain—and have the most winter fun.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Climb Big Trees

Discover a higher world.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook

Tired of the same old weekend loops? Looking to create memories your grandkids will talk about? In this how-and-where guide, we serve up 15 extraordinary escapes that will shatter your expectations of "normal." From adventure moviemaking to canyoneering, we'll take you places you've never been—but will long to visit again soon.

Case Study: Lost in the Gila Wilderness

Name: Ross Mason, 44
Predicament: Off-course and severely dehydrated
Location: Gila Wilderness, New Mexico; November 2010

Rip & Live: Lost

More than 1,000 hikers go missing every year in our national parks alone. Most are found within hours, but basic skills can help you get home without making a serious—or even fatal—mistake. Follow this advice for staying on course.

Adventure Travel: New Zealand

Hiker heaven, redefined, is a month-long hike/paddle/camp in Adventureland.

Secret Switzerland

Discover solitude on the Swiss border with this highlights tour of John Harlin's favorite trips—rope not required.

Churchill River Canoe Route

Escape time as you glide through an endless chain of connected lakes.

Asulkan Valley, Glacier National Park

Hit four technical summits in the birthplace of North American mountaineering.

Woodbury to Silver Spray Huts, Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park

Link two gorgeous cabins by scrambling through craggy alpine country.

Drinnon Pass to Gimli Col, Valhalla Provincial Park

Routefind across precipitous ridges to an ice-filled lake.

Backpacking Canada, the Big Empty

Empty of people, that is. Because the 3,000 miles of wilderness that stretch from Newfoundland's fjordlike coastal cliffs to British Columbia's rainforest and skyscraping peaks are brimming with every type of mountain, water, and wildlife adventure a card-carrying backpacker could want—crowds not included. Our Rocky Mountain Field Editor spent two months exploring places we've never covered to assemble our most extensive guide to Canadian backcountry yet.

Editors' Picks with Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn

BACKPACKER's Editor-in-Chief weighs in on his favorite products of 2011.

Editors' Picks with Senior Online Producer Katie Herrell

A cozy hat and a cozy jacket for our always-cold staffer.

Escape Plan: Get High and Avoid Quicksand

Strategies for staying alive in flash floods and quicksand.

True Tales: Struck by Lightning

Bad decisions and running scared got this reader struck by lightning--but he survived.

True Tales: Can't Breathe at High Altitude

A scape of pulmonary edema sends this reader down the mountain, fast.

True Tales: Caught in a Flash Flood

Rising water sends this reader running--and hiding--in Utah.

Select a Safe Route: Study the Snowpack

Hidden layers are the key to stable—or slide-ready—slopes.

Select a Safe Route: Watch the Weather

All conditions affect avy potential. Check forecasts and assess risk.

Prep Your Gear: Pack to Backcountry Ski

Use this advice to hone your backcountry layers for any trip length or conditions.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Hats

Cover your head...and ears...even your face, with these cold-weather coverups.

Readers' Choice 2012: Reader Leader: Glacier Magic

More than 150 of you entered our contest to become a BACKPACKER field scout. Meet the winners here, starting with Colleen Contrisciane-Lewis, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. She earned the all-expenses-paid grand prize: an assignment to hike—and report on—her dream trip. Read about her 85-mile, weeklong transect of Glacier National Park on the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.

Readers' Choice 2012: Glacier Magic

Iconic scenery bolstered by serious solitude? Get them both on this weeklong traverse.

Readers' Choice 2012: Reader Leader Contest Winners

More than 150 of you entered our contest to become a BACKPACKER field scout. Meet the winners.

Readers' Choice 2012: Appalachian Trail, 100-Mile Wilderness, ME

Tackle the Northeast's most remote wilds for bears, moose, and berries.

Readers' Choice 2012: Grasshopper Glacier, Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, MT

Visit a glacier with millions of extinct grasshoppers entombed in its ice.

Readers' Choice 2012: Skyline-To-The-Sea Trail, Castle Rock Sp, Ca

Hike through a towering redwood forest on this easy-access overnighter.

Readers' Choice 2012: Evolution Loop, Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP, CA

Hike cross-country to a pocket of dreamy lakeside camps on the John Muir Trail.

Readers' Choice 2012: Creekside Loop, Pisgah NF, NC

Looking for a mellow weekend with swimming options? We have you covered.

International Appalachian Trail, Quebec - Readers Choice 2012

Find caribou, moose, and bald eagles on a hut-to-hut trek in an undiscovered park.

Readers' Choice 2012: Shoal Creek Loop, Gros Ventre Wilderness, WY

Backpack to a local ranger's favorite mountain getaway.

America's Best Backcountry Ski Tours

Upgrade your winter fun at these 8 beginner-friendly, expert-ready spots.

Iceland: Tested

After a season of backcountry skiing, hiking, and climbing everywhere from the Rockies to the Andes, we took the year's best winter gear for a final shakedown in Iceland's remote Glacier Fjords. What we found: awesome ice-carved terrain and the sweetest boat-in camping and skiing on earth.

Gear Review: SCOTT Roam

A versatile helmet that can cover deep freeze to shoulder season.

Gear Review: Helly Hansen HH Dry Balaclava

Made with Helly Hansen's Lifa material, this balaclava wicks and dries super quickly.

Gear Review: SmartWool Reversible Training Beanie

This 100-percent merino cap will be your go-to three-season and winter-workout hat.

Gear Review: Fjällräven Skare Softshell

A 93-percent nylon, double-woven cap that is extremely lightweight and low profile.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Roj Headband

A super wide ear band with a brim that blocks sun while encouraging air flow.

Great Family Hikes: Chosen by the Editors of Backpacker

Hit the trail with your kids on these family-friendly hikes all over the country.

Reader Leader Application: Become a Backpacker Field Scount

Tell us about your dream destination and why it fits in the pages of Backpacker Magazine...and we may just send you there.

Readers' Choice 2012: Top 3 - Southeast Hikes

Our prolific map contributor has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and notched more than 90 bag nights while scouting routes for BACKPACKER.

Readers' Choice 2012: Destinations

Get more hiking, gear, and wildlife-spotting advice from our map contributors—and see our full survey results.

Rip & Go: West Clear Creek Canyon, Coconino National Forest, AZ

Rock-hop and wade your way down a wild sandstone corridor.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator Down Jacket

A 650-fill down jacket that's super warm and packs to the size of a pineapple.

Gear Review: Stoic Luft Down Sweater Jacket

An ideal down midlayer made with 750-fill down and a Pertex Microlight shell.

Gear Review: Sherpa Ananta/Priya Pullover

For those days when a baselayer is not enough and a puffy jacket too much.

Gear Review: Patagonia Winter Sun Hoody

A top pick for its combination of warmth, weather resistance, fit, and packability.

Gear Review: REI Spruce Peak/Nevis

Get maximum bang for your buck with this two-in-one, synthetic-fill jacket.

Gear Review: L.L. Bean Packaway Pullover Jacket

This bargain jacket costs less than $100--and it was worthy of an AT thru-hike.

Gear Review: Icebreaker Sierra/Cascade Full-Zip

This baseslayer packs a lot of warmth and versatility into a sub-one-pound package that scrunches up small

Gear Review: The North Face Jakson Jacket

Warmth where you need it most; mobility and breathability where it counts.

Survival: Don't Always Trust a Topo Map

Look around, not just at your map.

Survival: Cross a River

Don't get swept away, use this technique.

Survival: Learn Patience in Alaska

Don't let low points get you down.

Survival: Bring Your Own Gear

Don't scrimp on survival equpiment.

Survival: Carbon-Dioxide Poisoning

Ventilate your tent to avoid this danger.

Survival: Predict a Flash Flood

Stay alert in canyon country.

Survival: Lightning Attire

What not to wear in a lightning storm.

Rip & Go: Little Lyford to Gorman Chairback - 100-Mile Wilderness, ME

Ski (or snowshoe) hut-to-hut in the East's wildest preserve.

Rip & Go: Iron Mountains - Little Dry Run Wilderness, VA

Score quiet views of the southern Virginia highlands on this lush loop.

Rip & Go: Two Lakes Loop - Hoosier National Forest, IN

Camp next to forest lakes and rock-hop across clear streams.

Survival: Unexpected Accidents

Hard-won-lessons and tips about unexpected dangers from the front lines of survival.

Survival: If I Only Knew Then...

On the path to good judgment, you’ll find the wreckage from a whole lot of bad decisions. Your plan: Learn from others’ mistakes, and wise up to outdoor hazards without risking your life. Your guide: Veteran adventurer Mark Jenkins. Plus: Guides and rangers share hard-won lessons they wish someone would have told them.

Perfect 10: North America's 10 Most Memorable Hikes

Ten trails. Ten unmatched miles each. Get maximum bang for each boot step on hikes that our most-traveled contributors call their all-time favorites.

Rip & Go: Cranberry Loop - Monongahela National Forest, WV

Circle an upland swamp rich with views, solitude, and wild edibles.

Rip & Go: Lake of the Clouds to Summit Peak - Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, MI

Hike a high escarpment above a northern forest and Lake Superior.

Local Hikes: Extend Your Season

Cooler days mean fewer crowds and bugs—and riots of leafy color. Here are 38 fall-weekend classics near you.

Rip & Go: Trapper Creek Wilderness Loop - Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA

Climb through towering evergreens to in-your-face Cascade views.

BACKPACKER Map Maker iPad app

Plan hikes and backpacking trips, plus other outdoor adventures like never before on detailed, interactive topo maps and aerial photos.

Rip & Live: Spiders

Itsy bitsy? Sure, but spiders loom large in hiker phobias. They shouldn't: Only a few subspecies of the black widow and brown recluse can inflict enough damage to cut short a hike. Here's what you need to know about North America's most venomous spiders, from how to avoid them to treating their bites.

Rip & Live: Survive Spiders

Itsy bitsy? Sure, but only a few subspecies of the black widow and brown recluse can inflict enough damage to cut short a hike. Here’s what you need to know about North America’s most venomous spiders, from how to avoid them to treating their bites.

Deepest Daks

Journey through America's most accessible wilderness in search of untouched places, and you might just find peace of mind to match the lakes and hills.

Rip & Go: Godwin Trail to Inspiration Point - Shawnee National Forest, IL

Cross deep, vine-laced forests to bluff-top views over rivers and prairie.

Rip & Go: Two Gorges Loop - Gorges State Park, NC

Trace the watery divide between the Carolinas.

Rip & Go: Debsconeag Loop - Maine Public Reserved Lands, Nahmakanta Unit, ME

Cross the northeast's wildest moose country beneath fall's fiery canopy.

Perfect 10: Free PDF Trip Planning Guides

We've picked the top 10 miles of North America's 10 most memorable hikes. Find your way to wilderness nirvana with these map and planning guides.

Rip & Go: Stratton Loop - Lye Brook Wilderness, VT

Climb to an expansive view of green rollers that inspired two long trails.

Rip & Go: Hilgard Basin - Lee Metcalf Wilderness, MT

Climb to a wonderland of tundra, rugged peaks, and dreamy lakes.

A Piece of Quiet

America’s leading advocate of wilderness silence shows the way to Mt. Rainier National Park’s quietest corner. Plus: 9 more campsites with life-list listening.

Rip & Go: Three Sisters Loop - Lava Beds National Monument, CA

Discover hidden wonders in a cave-riddled wilderness.

Rip & Go: Horse Heaven Loop - Wyoming Range, WY

Discover a pocket of wildlife beyond Yellowstone's borders.

Professor Hike: Your Must-Have, Favorite, Can't-Leave-Behind Gear

What's the one item you can't leave home without?

Rip & Go: Broken Top Loop - Deschutes National Forest/Three Sisters Wilderness, OR

Cross ancient lava fields on a lake-filled weekend.

Recording Nature: Calls of the Wild

Enrich your trip memories by recording nature's soundscapes.

Green Guide

Articles on nature and climate change as they relate to backpacking, and environmentally friendly backpacking gear.

Rip & Live: Survive Desert Extremes

Triple-digit temps by noon. Freezing at night. Scarce water. The desert is as dangerous for unprepared hikers. Give yourself an edge and learn to survive this hostile territory while backpacking.

Rip & Go: New England National Scenic Trail - Mt. Grace State Forest, MA

Walk deliberately into woods filled with waterfalls and stone walls.

Madman Walking?

Warren Doyle has hiked the Appalachian Trail 16 times, and he has a no-fee plan guaranteed to help others complete the 2,180-mile trek. The hardest part? Hiking with Warren Doyle.

Ultimate Peak Planner

BACKPACKER and CLIMBING have teamed up to bring you a one-stop resource for scaling the best treks and technical climbs in the country.

Backyard Everests: Mt. Wilson

Navigate a vertical sandstone maze to guaranteed solitude on a high-desert summit.

Backyard Everests: Mt. Stuart

Scramble a sneak route to Rainier-worthy views-of Rainier and much more.

Backyard Everests: Stone Mountain

Top a Yosemite-like dome in a sea of green.

Backyard Everests: Mounts Webster and Jackson

Claim a rare feat on this classic-in-waiting loop.

Backyard Everests: Spruce Knob

Stand atop The Mountain State's most famous peak.

Backyard Everests: Mt. Alice

Feel like you've notched a first ascent.

Backyard Everests: Mt. Conness

Walk a scary-narrow rock fin to an airy summit.

Backyard Everests: Elephant Head

Tackle tricky terrain to gain a solitary alp.

Backyard Everests: Pfeifferhorn

Bag a stout weekend adventure-and vistas from the big lake to the High Uintas.

Backyard Everests: Lone Pine Peak, Inyo National Forest

Climb without crowds to the state's top mountain view.

Rip & Go: Tonahutu Loop - Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Cross elk-filled woods and bighorn- busy flats on this park's quiet side.

Rip & Go: Santa Rosa Island - Channel Islands National Park, CA

Venture off SoCal's coast for long beaches, hidden canyons, and sea life.

Rip & Go: Rocky Point to Round Lake - Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, MN

Glide through back-to-back lakes on a classic North Country canoe trip.

Summer Adventure Atlas: 50 Hikes / 50 States

When you're planning a weekend outing, you don't want good, you want the best. Well, here's perfect. These hikes tour the deepest backcountry, best views, and quietest wilderness areas in every state.

Gear Review: Suunto Core Anniversary Edition Watch

This watch features an altimeter, barometer, compass, and logbook, and is dead-on accurate.

Navigation Center: Videos

Learn the basics of using GPS devices and watch amazing Google 3D flyovers in our special navigation focused video center.

Navigation Center

Learn how to make custom maps, navigate any terrain, and the ins-and-outs of GPS devices and mobile apps in our comprehensive navigation center.

Prof. Hike: The First Five Minutes

When you're lost, your initial decisions will make the difference.

National Parks: Grand Canyon

Discover surprising solitude and endless vistas on an easy-access multiday trip between rim and river.

National Parks: Glacier

Rule #1 when planning a hike through this iconic park: Let your ambition match the scenery.

National Parks: Olympic

On a climb from the Hoh River's silty riffles to high-country glacier views, pass through a moss-hung rainforest that might be the lushest place in America.

National Parks: Grand Teton

Wade through wildflowers, listen to wolves, and escape the crowded trade routes in this secluded corner of the park.

National Parks: View Finder

Go ahead, look again. And again. These images are worth a third, fourth, and then a tenth gaze.

National Parks: Yosemite

Enjoy this legendary park (without the legendary crowds) on a four-day trip through the Clark Range.

National Parks: Yellowstone

A forgotten explorer's route leads to off-trail, high-peak adventure and bona fide solitude.

Gear Review: Tilley TWP1 Waterproof Hat

A fully-featured topper, the Tilley TWP1 waterproof hat has enough style to satisfy even the snobbiest hiker.

Rip and Live: Learn to Survive a Bear Attack

With 1 million bears roaming North America, chances are pretty good that you'll cross paths with one of them at some point. To make every encounter safe, from grizzly bears to black bears, bone up on bruin identification and etiquette.

How to Use Online Weather Resources

Conditions mean everything when planning your weekend adventure. Check out our Rocky Mountain Editor's favorite weather sites.

Tough Guy Challenge: Week 5

It's the final push. Complete the final week's challenge and get ready for next week's call to submit your video.

Editor's Note: New National Parks

The prognosis for naming new sanctuaries looks grim. Is our best strategy to vote a few misfits off the island?

Prof. Hike: The Backpacker's Reading List

Seven great books and the outdoor places to enjoy them

Local Hikes: Midwest

Hike these long trails in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and head south to Texas to see Horned Lizards.

Local Hikes: Southeast

Hike these long trails in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida, and paddle three days in the Everglades backcountry.

Rip & Go: Long Path Loop - Harriman State Park, NY

Enjoy soaring views from open ridges on this easy-access overnight.

Rip & Go: Rockytop Loop - Shenandoah National Park, VA

Escape Skyline Drive to discover secret summits and hidden valleys.

Rip & Go: Twin Valley Trail - Five Rivers MetroParks, OH

Ramble along a wide river to quiet, old-growth hollows.

Summer Trail Smarts: Purify Water

Learn several techniques to purify water in the backcountry.

Tough Guy Challenge Week 4

We're down to the last two weeks of our five-week Tough Guy Challenge. Are you still hanging in there?

National Parks: Best of the Rest (Acadia to Zion)

Your life-list only starts with the top 10 parks. Our favorite hikes from the next 40 will fill it with glacier-edge paddling, desert-oasis exploring, and more.

National Parks: Great Smoky Mountains

For guaranteed solitude in the park's southwest reaches, explore this quiet loop during the off-season.

National Parks: Denali

Denali isn’t just for experts. These guinea pigs will prove it. Probably.

Going to Extremes

Can you ever really have too much of a good thing? Once you've seen the biggest tree, largest glacier, and deepest canyon, nothing else compares.

The High Life: Hiking Utah's Highline Trail

Watch your step on Utah' Highline Trail. The nonstop views and rampant wildlife are distractingly spectacular. Plus: Gaze away on 9 more elevated hikes.

Tough Guy Challenge Week 3

Week three of our five-week challenge will have you navigating obstacles and increasing mileage.

Rip & Go: Alamo to Capulin Canyon - Bandelier National Monument, NM

Climb across mesas and up canyon walls to a cave full of pictographs.

Rip & Go: Rock and Serene Lakes Loop - Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

Discover real wilderness just two hours from Portland.

Local Hikes: Mountain West

Hike these long trails in Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and Colorado, and raft an eight-mile section of the Arkansas River.

Local Hikes: West

Hike these long trails in Washington, Oregon, and California, and climb to a 10,064-foot peak in Angeles National Forest.

National Parks: North Cascades

Come for the sheer, glaciated peaks, but be mesmerized by rain-fed waterfalls that pour down on all sides.

National Parks: Capitol Reef

Discover a private paradise by crossing the park’s convoluted Waterpocket Fold.

Hiking Hells Canyon, ID

This remote chasm boasts big views, craggy mountains, abundant wildlife, and staggering solitude.

Ask A Bear: Electric Fence As Deterrent?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

National Park Slideshows

See scores of stunning images from the Grand Canyon, Denali, Yosemite, and more.

Ask A Bear: Skunk Spray As Deterrent?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Gear Guide 2011: Essentials

Welcome to accessory and apparel heaven: puffy jackets, stoves, windpants, knives, iPad apps, solar panels, GPS, hydration, first aid, socks, camp food, baselayers, and more.

Gear Review: SCARPA Terra GTX/Luna GTX Hiking Boot

The Terra's soft PU midsole, gives the boot a cushy, shock-absorbing feel.

Gear Review: Merrell Refuge Core Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

It crushed the competition in terms of support.

Tough Guy Challenge Week 2

Build on week one's regimen by mastering even more survival and navigation skills and improving your overall fitness level.

Tough Guy Challenge Week 1

Rev up for the first week of our plan to make you the ultimate tough guy, or gal.

Mother's Day Gift Guide: Outdoor Research Solar Roller

Fool-proof sun protection for her noggin

Mother's Day Gift Guide: Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka

Maximum warmth for minimum weight

Tax Rebate Gear: Build a Better Backpacker

This year, spend that extra dough on at-home workout gear that will make it easier to get out and log miles. Basically, you're investing in you.

Mother's Day Gift Guide: Bobo's Oat Bars

Yummy organic trail bars

Ask A Bear: Why Did You Steal My Empty Pack?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will Music Attract A Bear?

Got a burning ursine question? Ask our resident bruin expert in our new weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Scare a Marauding Bear

Got a burning ursine question? Ask our resident bruin expert in our new weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Do Bears Really Like Toothpaste

Got a burning ursine question? Ask our resident bruin expert in our new weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Is Submerged Food Safe?

Got a burning ursine question? Ask our resident bruin expert in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Can Boat Horns Scare Bears?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Can Mothballs Keep Away Bears

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: How Many Bear Attacks, Really?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will Camp Fire/Cigar Smoke Keep Away A Bear

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Run Away From A Bear?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear Christmas Present

Usually, our bear answers burning ursine questions, but this week he's dropping off a holiday gift.

Ask A Bear: How Should I Handle MaMa Black Bear With Cubs?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Can Bears Get Drunk

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Ditch the Deodorant In Bear Country?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: How Long Do Food Smells Stick to My Tent?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Mountain Biking In Bear Country?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask a Bear: Will Backcountry Sex attract a Bear?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Followed By A Dangerous Bear?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will Dryer Sheets Attract a Bear?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Soap-Eating Bear?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in out weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will Pet Hair Attract a Bear

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Is It Ok To Cook In An RV In Bear Country?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will My Farts Attract a Bear?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Charging Bear Caught on FIlm

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Storing Food Above Treeline?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Why is Black Bear and Grizzly Bear Behavior so Different?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will Cider Vinegar Attract a Bear



Ask A Bear: Bear Steals, Destroys Car for PB&J Sandwich

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will you Eat me In Rocky Mountain NP?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Do Ultrasonic Noises Repel You?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Do Bear Bells Really Work

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Which Park Has The Most Bear Attacks

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Can Wasp Spray Repel You?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Never Look a Bear in the Eyes?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Break a Stick to Scare Away Bears?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Do I Need to Bear-Bag Unopened Freeze-Dried Foods?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: More Active During a Full Moon

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Will a Flashlight Make You Mad?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: Why Did You Destroy my Van?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask a Bear: Bear Canisters in Winter?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask a Bear: Are you a Picky Eater? (Video)

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Ask A Bear: What Color Are Your Eyes At Night?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

2011 Be A Mapper Contest Official Rules



Ask A Bear: Scared By Flashing Lights?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Gear Review: XC navigation skills

Learn everything you need to know to get from point a. to point b.

Gear Review: Polar Pure Water Disinfectant

An iodine treatment that doesn't taste like iodine.

Gear Review: MSR Dromlite Bag

A lightweight, six-liter bag.

Gear Review: Tech4o Data Center II Watch

A watch with all the whistles, but you don't have to wear it on your wrist.

Gear Review: REI ecoSensitive Revelcloud Jacket

PrimaLoft, DWR-treated Pertex Quantum, and recycled polyester make this a warm and eco-friendly puffy jacket.

Gear Review: Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka

A hooded, 800-fill down puffy.

Gear Review: Sky Tonight Star Charts

Chart your campsite's night sky with customizable maps.

Gear Review: America the Beautiful Annual Pass

If you plan to hit more than one national park in a year, consider this national parks pass.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Echo Cap

A stretchy, superbreathable sun hat.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Downpour Wide Brim Rain Hat

A storm shell and umbrella for your head

Gear Review: Chaos Dri-Release Multi-Tasker Pro Balaclava

A versatile balaclava made of a blend of fabrics.

Ask A Bear: Can You Smell My Marijuana?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

The Birth of the Rockies

A new theory might solve the mystery of how these mountains formed.

Get Higher: Best Firetower Hikes

For sheltered scenery high above the trees, there's no better place than a fire tower. Try one of these editor-approved hikes to backcountry rooms with a view.

Sign Up For the Go Farther with Maps and GPS Webinar

Master essential navigation skills and turn into an interactive backcountry explorer.

Ask A Bear: Stay Away From My Honey!

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Editors' Choice 2011: SteriPEN Adventurer Opti

This ultralight water purifier is fast, easy, and leaves zero aftertaste.

Editors' Choice 2011: MontBell Alpine Light Down Parka

Low weight, high warmth, and modest price make this jacket a perfect fit.

Local Hikes: Mountain West

Hike Denver's lost wilderness, a twofer of peaks in Idaho, lava tubes in New Mexico, Zion's sneak route, and Bozeman's trout-filled lake.

Ask A Bear: Will My iPod Keep You Away?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Hike. Pray. Protest.

Does God love camping? A new church movement foot-soldiered by wilderness-loving young people could transform the way conservative Christians perceive and protect the environment. We hit the trail with the new green evangelicals.

Lighten Up: Losing Weight by Hiking

Make one simple resolution–to hike more –and we guarantee you'll lose that spare tire around the middle. Here's the proof, the plan, and the inspiration.

Gear Review: Solar Powered Backpacking Gear

Five of our favorite solar items to make your next trip brighter, safer, and less stinky

The Wrong Way: Top 52 Hiker Mistakes

Your guide to 52 common mistakes hikers make--and how to avoid them.

Right Place, Perfect Time: An Oasis in California's Desert Peaks

Peakbag in the White Mountains—without lugging in water.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Olympic's Spring Waterfalls

Hike through a wild water park in Enchanted Valley.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Aurora Borealis

Notch the best northern lights show in the Lower 48.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Frazil Ice

Witness a river of slush flow through Yosemite Valley.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Geminid Meteor Shower

See shooting stars from a five-star backcountry observatory.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Best River Paddle

Hit Idaho's Owyhee River just right, and you get one of the West's best paddles to yourself.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Monarch Butterfly Migration

See these colorful flutters fuel up for the long flight to Mexico.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Showiest Fall Colors

Hit the leaf jackpot on these classic footpaths.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Golden Eagle Gathering

Soar with the world's largest migration.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Brightest Wildflower Bloom

Wait for El Nino and cruise through mesmerizing fields of seldom-seen desert blossoms.

8 Ways to Treat Water

Stay hydrated–and healthy–with a filter or purifier that's right for you.

Ask a Bear: Bivys in Bear Country?

When I sleep in my beloved bivy, am I just wrapping myself up like a six-foot bear burrito?

Local Hikes: Southeast

Ascend Rocky Top in Tennessee; spot herons and Pelicans in a Florida bayou.

Local Hikes: Midwest

Discover east Texas's longleaf pine forest; see the Boundary Waters on foot.

Rip & Go: Turkey Creek Trail

Hike through three ecological zones in east Texas's carnivore country.

America's Best-Kept Secrets: Wind River Range, WY



America's Best-Kept Secrets: Gila Wilderness, NM



America's Best-Kept Secrets: John Muir Wilderness, CA



America's Best-Kept Secrets: Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, MT



America's Best-Kept Secrets: Dark Canyon Wilderness, UT



America's Best-Kept Secrets: Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, WA



America's Best-Kept Secrets: White Cloud Mountains, ID



America's Best-Kept Secrets: Eagle Cap Wilderness, OR



America's Best-Kept Secrets: Linville Gorge Wilderness, NC



America's Best-Kept Secrets: Eagles Nest Wilderness, CO



America's Best-Kept Secrets

The only thing better than enjoying the life-list scenery in the country's premier national parks? Getting that same scenery, minus the crowds. Find it in these 10 backcountry hotspots, along with no-hassle permits, choice campsites aplenty, and solitude to match the world-class terrain.

Local Hikes: West

See California dunes, Nevada red-rock canyons, Alaska's deep forest, quiet Oregon Coast, and Washington's Cascade lakes.

Rip & Go: Pine Tree Loop

Paddle to shoreline solitude, then perch on dunes above the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland's Assateague Island National Seashore.

Rip & Go: Goldmyer Hot Springs - Snoqualmie NF, WA

Track beneath waterfalls and icicle-hung trees to a soothing soak.

BACKPACKER MAGAZINE Digital Editions and APPS

From the iPad to the iPhone and Android, check out these BACKPACKER mobile apps.

Ask A Bear: Can I Survive On Your Diet?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Editors' Choice 2011: Video Gear Reviews

This year's Editors' Choice testing trip took place in Utah's Capitol Reef National Park -- a perfect testing ground for our favorite gear of the year.

Ask A Bear: Sleeping In Hammocks?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

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Ask A Bear: How Fast Can You Run?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Rip & Go: Thunderhead Loop

Hike from forest floor to a rocky ridge linking twin summits in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Gear Review: GoLite Demaree Canyon Jacket

A packable puffy with a sleek, athletic fit.

Gear Review: CamelBak Groove

A water bottle that makes chemically treated water taste better.

Gear Review: Katadyn MyBottle

Water bottle and filter in one.

Gear Review: Steripen Adventurer Opti

An easy-to-use tool that zaps water drinkable withe the use of ultraviolet rays.

Gear Review: Platypus GravityWorks

A fast, effective way to filter water for a big group.

Gear Review: MSR HyperFlow Filter

A lightweight filter that filters at a rate of three liters per minute.

March 2011 Table of Contents



Ask A Bear: Bags vs. Canisters?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Gear Review: Acu-Rite Wireless Weather Station and Weather Station Forecaster

Rainshell or fleece? Know at a glance with this wireless weather station.

Ask A Bear: Are You A Good Swimmer?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Trip Finder: West

Your favorite western hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Rip & Go: Lyell Canyon, Yosemite

Escape front-country crowds on a trek to the park's idyllic interior.

Our Backyard: Joshua Tree National Park, California

Climb, hike, and camp in Joshua Tree National Park.

Readers' Choice: West

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the west.

Readers' Choice 2011: America's Best Hikes

The undisputed local experts—you—chose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways from Alaska to Alabama.

2011 Reader Photo Contest Winners

These six winning shots represent the best photos we saw all year from you, our readers.

Gear Review: Platypus Insulator Hydration System

An all-in-one lightweight hydration system for snow lovers.

Gear Review: SCOTTEVEST Fleece 5.0 Jacket

Has 24 pockets to keep all your gadgets in place

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Virtuoso Puffy Jacket

This puffy has high-end weatherproofing and an insulated, versatile hood

As Seen on The Martha Stewart Show

Our own gear diva met with Martha on December 20th to talk about cold-weather layering. Here's the gear Kristin suggested:

Print & Go Weekend Trip Planners

Free Print & Go PDFs give you turn-by-turn trail instructions and photos embedded on a usable topo map. Also: gear checklists, driving directions, and geo-references for finding the nearest campground, restaurant, gas station, and grocery store.

Trip Finder: Southeast

Your favorite Southeast trips—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Rip & Go: Approach Trail Loop, Chattahoochee National Forest, GA

Relax in a hiker-friendly lodge at the Appalachian Trail's southern tip.

Our Backyard: Everglades National Park

Paddle to a beach-camping paradise in the Everglades.

Readers' Choice: Southeast

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the southeast.

Readers' Choice: Southwest

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Southwest.

Trip Finder: Southwest

Your favorite Southwest hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Rip & Go: McKittrick Canyon

Soak up high-desert views amid the Lone Star State's tallest peaks.

Trip Finder: Great Plains

Your favorite Great Plains hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Rip & Go: Big Piney Trail

Roll from dark hollows to dolomite ridges in the Ozark highlands of Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest.

Our Backyard: Black Hills National Forest

Explore the wildest corner of the Great Plains.

Readers' Choice: Great Plains

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Great Plains states.

Our Backyard: Glen National Recreation Area

Explore slots and marvel at arches in Glen Canyon.

Rip & Go: Big Creek Loop

Hike from a wildlife-choked river valley to soaring mountain views.

Rip & Go: McCargoe Cove to Rock Harbor

Hike among moose and wolves on this two-day escape to Isle Royale National Park.

Trip Finder: Alaska

Your favorite Alaska hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Trip Finder: Appalachians

Your favorite Appalachians hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Trip Finder: Northwest

Your favorite Northwest hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Readers' Choice: Appalachians

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Appalachians.

Rip & Go: Devil's Path

Conquer the rocks, ridges, and ravines on the East's toughest trail.

Trip Finder: Northeast

Your favorite Northeast hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Our Backyard: Denali National Park

Explore Denali's top dayhikes, photo ops, and epic wildlife treks.

Our Backyard: Trinity Alps Wilderness, CA

Follow trail-savvy locals to nine sweet spot in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

Readers' Choice: Great Lakes

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Great Lakes.

Readers' Choice: Northeast

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Northeast.

Our Backyard: Chequamegon National Forest, WI



Our Backyard: Green Mountains

Nine ways to see Vermont's Green Mountains

Gear Review: Silva Guide Series 426 Compass

A basic sighting compass that is lightweight, durable, and unsinkable.

Readers' Choice: Rockies

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Rockies.

Trip Finder: Rockies

Your favorite Rockies hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Rip & Go: Four Pass Loop

Like peaks, lakes, and wildflowers? You'll love this Rockies classic in White River National Forest.

Our Backyard: Glacier National Park

Trek through grizzly terrain in Glacier National Park.

Rip & Go: Enchantment Lakes Basin - Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

Discover a hidden basin filled with wildlife, lakes, and granite peaks.

Rip & Go: Crow Pass Trail - Chugach State Park, AK

Cross the west edge of the Chugach for glaciers, bears, and wildflowers.

Readers' Choice: Northwest

The undisputed local experts—you—choose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways in the Northwest.

Readers' Choice: Alaska

The undisputed local experts—you—choose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways in Alaska.

Reader Rated

Extra gear reviews from our January 2011 Reader Test Team reports.

Gear Review: Sawyer 4 Way Water Filter

A 32-ounce dip-and-sip filter that lets you refill in about 10 seconds.

Rip & Go: King's Canyon CA, Grand Canyon AZ, Shenandoah VA

From routes to food to post-hike brewski, we've got your weekend backpacking plans dialed. This week, we've got three killer adventures in Kings Canyon, Shenandoah, and the Grand Canyon. Ready? Read. Rip. Go!

Fall/Winter Gear Guide: Best Winter Trips

We traveled to Fjordland and discovered that nothing compares to skiing glacier-clad mountains above deep-water fjords. Plus: 20 winter adventures, from California to New York.

Top 25 Winter Trips: United States

Find the best skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter camping trips in the U.S.

Best Winter Trips: 10th Mountain Division Huts, Colorado

Get backcountry spoils--snorkel-deep pow on remote Rockies peaks--with frontcountry comforts (warm fire and hot toddies, anyone?) in this famed hut system. More than 350 miles of trails wind through prime winter terrain, connecting the 31 full-service cabins.

Best Winter Trips: White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Few places serve up fierce, unpredictable winter weather quite like Mt. Washington, the 6,288-foot capstone of New Hampshire's White Mountains. Battle hurricane-force winds--and 20-plus feet of annual snowfall--while tackling the East's best mountaineering, or choose from hundreds of miles of snowy trails for a lower elevation romp.

Gear Review: Zerogoo Fuel Injector System

A gel/water system for those hard efforts when stopping and refueling isn't an option.

Best Winter Trips: Teton Range, Wyoming

Towering 7,000-plus feet above Jackson Hole, the Tetons wrest more than 30 feet of snow from passing storms and pile it thick on road-accessible slopes.

Best Winter Trips: Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington

The granddaddy of the Cascades looms above Seattle like a great white beacon for snow junkies. The mountain's 25 major glaciers hold enough ice to bury Manhattan 150 feet deep, and some of the planet's highest recorded snowfalls guarantee powder for all. Paradise, the park's winter epicenter, has year-round road access.

Norway: Tested

Traverse a Glacier: On Norway's west coast, ancient ice scapes offer an otherworldly adventure.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover

A perennial favorite of BACKPACKER editors, the Nano Puff is a no-brainer layer that your gift-ee will use 12 months a year.

Winter Camping Skills: Bring the Right Cooking Gear

Don't forget these essentials when you're headed into the cold.

Winter Camping Skills: Plan Your Menu

Use these tips to plan perfect winter camping meals.

Winter Camping Skills: Melt Water

There are two basic ways of melting water: passive and active.

Winter Camping Skills: Build a Camp Kitchen

Site your stove a few steps from your tent, so you can conveniently melt snow or brew drinks. If you're camping in the same spot for several days (and in deep snow), dig out a snow kitchen.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Navigation Devices

Stay on track with the best GPS units. Plus, awesome navigation apps.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: MiiR 600ml Water Bottle

These days, water bottles are all the rage. Our office has literally been inundated them, and this stainless steel bottle has risen to the top for several reasons.

3 Top Navigation Apps

Stay on track with these three navigation and hiking apps.

Best Hikes Ever: Northville-Placid Trail, Ny

Explore the Adirondack's valleys.

Best Hikes Ever: Willow Gulch, UT

Explore resurrected sandstone slots.

Best Hikes Ever: Olympic Traverse, WA

Go from rainforest to glaciers.

Best Hikes Ever: Redwood Creek Trail, CA

Feeling small among the world's tallest trees.

Wyoming Hikes

Go high and wide in Wyoming's untamed range.

Best Hikes Ever: Boundary Waters, MN

Immerse yourself in Minnesota's liquid wilderness.

Long Trail Hikes

Traverse the first long trail in Vermont.

Best Hikes Ever: Sabino Canyon Trail, AZ

Hike to a natural day spa.

Best Hikes Ever: Four-Pass Loop, CO

See the Rockies' most iconic mountains.

Best Hikes Ever: Bucking Mule Falls Trail, WY

Watch a waterfall cascade from the sky.

Best Hikes Ever: Southern Traverse, AK

Tackle an epic adventure in the far north.

Best Hikes Ever: Wonderland Trail, WA

Circumnavigate the West's most majestic mountain.

Best Hikes Ever: North Vista Trail, CO

Aim upward for majestic views over an ancient canyon.

Best Hikes Ever: Ben Avery Trail, AZ

Trek a desert landscape under a purple sun.

Best Hikes Ever: Gospel Hump Loop Trail, ID

Find private valleys, mountain passes, and riverside campsites.

Best Hikes Ever: Duffer Peak Trail, NV

Ascend a remote summit pyramid far away from civilization.

Best Hikes Ever: Jenkins Mountain Trail, NY

Skirt lakes to soaring ’Daks views.

Best Hikes Ever: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, AK

Find deep solitude where the continent crashes into a frigid ocean.

Best Hikes Ever: Falls Hollow Trail, VA

Hike through waterfall spray to a rarely summited grassy bald.

Best Hikes Ever: Chupadera Mountain Trail, NM

Rise from the desert floor to an airy, see-all perch.

Best Hikes Ever: St. Mary to McDonald Lake, MT

Hike lake to lake through bear central in Glacier National Park.

Best. Hikes. Ever.

We've covered 245,591 miles of trails in our 37-year history. Here are our 20 all-time favorite trips, plus—shocking!—20 routes we never covered.

Best Hikes Ever: Grand Island Loop, MI

Hike along bluffs and fern forests in total solitude on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Best Hikes Ever: Zion Narrows, UT

Sluice through towering walls of sandstone in Utah's Zion National Park.

Best Hikes Ever: Mt. Cabot Loop, NH

Bag a little-known triple crown in New England's northern woods.

Best Hikes Ever: Prairie Trail, ND

Weave around grassy meadows and mirror lakes.

Best Hikes Ever: Summit Lake Trail, CA

Backpack a knee-trembling route through an active geothermal zone.

Best Hikes Ever: Turkey Trail, KS

Snag views of swaying prairie grass stretching to the horizon.

Best Hikes Ever: Burr Oak State Park, OH

Traverse rolling hills to star-gazing meadows.

Best Hikes Ever: The Needles Traverse, CO

Forge your own route through the Rockies' most rugged corner.

Best Hikes Ever: Appalachian Trail, GA-ME

Thru-hike America's most revered long trail: the Appalachian Trail.

Best Hikes Ever: Denali, AK

Pick your pilgrimage through the backcountry Holy Land: Mt Eielson Loop or Kesugi Ridge.

Best Hikes Ever: Elk Trail, PA

Track through dense forests ringing with bugling.

Best Hikes Ever: Balsam Cap and Friday Mountain, NY

Brave thick forest to reach rugged twin summits.

Best Hikes Ever: Presidential Traverse, NH

Tag a team of the East's most challenging peaks in the White Mountains.

Best Hikes Ever: Logging Lake Trail, MT

Hike a forested, fire-scarred trail between two iconic pools.

Best Hikes Ever: Sandpiper Trail, SC

Emerge from crane-crossed coastal grasslands to pristine beaches.

Best Hikes Ever: Escalante Route, AZ

Plumb the wild depths of the Big Ditch.

Best Hikes Ever: Teton Crest Trail, WY

Traverse the nation's most photogenic range on the Teton Crest Trail.

Best Hikes Ever: John Muir Trail, CA

Step for scenery-packed step, nothing else compares to the John Muir Trail.

Winter Hiking: Master Winter Travel

Quick tips for your transportation of choice.

Blizzard Wizards: Cold Weather Hiking Experts

Meet our four cold-weather experts.

Winter Hiking Repair Kit

Pack this essential kit to handle your unpredictable gear mishaps.

7 Steps to a Bombproof Tent

Your tent will withstand anything with these tips.

4 Key Winter Camp Accessories

Don't leave home without these winter camping essentials.

Build a Winter Basecamp: Beat the Deep Freeze

Our pros tell you how to set up a deluxe–yet weatherproof–winter basecamp.

Cold Weather Camping: Sleep Better Than a Hibernating Bear

12 secrets for keeping your core (and your gear) warm in the coldest weather

Layering For Cold Weather: Dress to the Nine-Belows

Master the art of layering to keep comfy all winter.

Winter Hiking: The Cure for the (Un)Common Cold

Life's too short to be a three-season hiker. Follow these expert tips on staying warm, picking your route, and cooking savory meals--and add winter's deep solitude and frozen dreamscapes to your adventure calendar.

Four All-Star iPad Apps for Camping

Is the iPad coming to a campsite near you? It saves its weight in maps, guidebooks, novels, songs, and more. Here are four top apps for hikers.

Reader Leader Contest Winner!

After sifting through scores of submissions, we've chosen a reader who will be an official BACKPACKER field scout.

Backpacker Photo School: Tips for Great Fall Photos

Before all the leaves drop, read these quick tips and take your camera out on the trail for one more shot at Autumn photos.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Insulation

Insulating pieces from down to fleece.

Gear Review: Magellan eXplorist GC

Geocaching just got easier with this palm-size GPS unit.

Gear Review: Garmin GPSMAP 62st

The pinpoint accuracy of this GPS system will keep you on track even in the most narrow valleys.

The Peak: Mt. Marcy, Adirondacks, NY

Take the scenic--and sporting--route to New York's highest summit.

Natural Wonders: Hells Canyon, Bighorn Sheep, and Longleaf Pines

See North America's deepest river gorge, the west's most violent mating Display, and the Southeast's last longleaf pines.

Natural Wonders: Longleaf Pines, GA

Walk beneath trees that predate the Revolutionary War.

Natural Wonders: Sparring Bighorn Sheep

Witness bighorn rams' skull-bashing attempts to win a date.

Natural Wonders: Hells Canyon, OR/ID

Hike into North America's deepest river gorge--a canyon that could hold five stacked Sears Towers.

Top 3 Rainy Season Hikes: Neshannock Creek, PA

Cast a fly to land lunker brown trout.

Top 3 Rainy Season Hikes: Emerald Pools, UT

Explore Gushing, Rain-fed waterfalls.

Top 3 Rainy Season Hikes: Mill Creek, CA

Rains summon salmon and slugs.

Top 3: Rainy Season Hikes

Make the best of fall storms on trails that improve with soggy weather.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: The Press Traverse, WA

Cross the Olympic Range on a forgotten explorers' path.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: Middle Fork Trail, NM

Trek along–and in–the Gila River.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: Foothills Trail, SC

See bears, gorges, and waterfalls on this 77-mile South Carolina hike.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: Resurrection Pass Trail, AK

This 39-mile Alaska hike offers big scenery without a bush plane.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: Knobstone Trail, IN

Climb high (really!) in the Midwest.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: Greenstone Ridge, MN

Traverse a seldom-hiked national park.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: West Coast Trail, BC

Tackle Vancouver Island’s wild coast.

High Sierra Trail, Ca: 50-Mile Thru-Hikes

Go straight to the top in the Range of Light.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: Toiyabe Crest Trail, NV

Cross Nevada's loftiest range in 6-7 days.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: Loyalsock Trail, Pennsylvania

A 59-mile "long trail" through Pennsylvania.

Less is More: 50-Mile Thru-Hikes

Ten point-to-point treks with the payoffs of a thru-hike, but hikeable in a week.

Survival: Off-Course With No Map or Compass

Uh-oh, you forgot to download free maps at Backpacker.com, and now you're lost in the woods without any navigational tools. Smart! Now follow these rules to get found.

Rip & Go: Mathews Arm Loop - Shenandoah National Park

Ramble through brilliant red and yellow fall foliage.

Rip & Go: Grandview Loop - Grand Canyon, South Rim

Descend to the Ditch's primitive core on a three-day loop.

Rip & Go: Paradise Valley - Kings Canyon National Park

Hike in the spray of waterfalls deep in the heart of black bear country.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Hats, Helmets, Face Masks

Protect your beaner, or just keep it warm, with these headwear options.

Gear Review: Smith Vantage Helmet

The most comfortable helmet in our test.

Gear Review: Grivel Air Tech Helmet

An ultralight helmet with 16 vents.

Gear Review: Grivel Air Tech Helmet



Gear Review: SmartWool Lupine Hat

A merino wool beanie for temps down to 25°.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Hat for All Seasons

A two-in-one hat that keeps out cold and precipitation.

Gear Review: Sugoi RSE Windblock Cap

A cap that lives up to its name

Gear Review: Chaos Adrenaline Multi-Tasker Pro Balaclava

A full-face balaclava

Gear Review: MontBell Neige Down Cap

A winter ball cap that's filled with down.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Beanie

A barely there beanie for high-octane workouts.

Coming Soon: BACKPACKER's Life List: The International Edition

Our free guide to the 20 best international hikes ever written about in the pages of BACKPACKER.

The Manual: Forecast the Weather

Can crickets tell you the temperature and a cup of coffee forecast storms? Here's how to become a backcountry meteorologist.

October 2010 Table of Contents



20 Best International Hikes: Sign Up for a Free Digital Download

BACKPACKER's Life List: The International Edition is a free guide to the 20 best international hikes ever written about in the pages of Backpacker.

Local Hikes: Knoxville, TN

The best hikes near Knoxville, TN.

Local Hikes: Spokane, WA

The best hikes near Spokane.

Local Hikes: Portland, OR

The best hikes near Portland.

Local Hikes: Anchorage, AK

The best hikes near Anchorage.

Local Hikes: Boise, ID

The best hikes near Boise.

Local Hikes: Portland, ME

The best hikes near Portland, ME.

Local Hikes: Rochester, NY

The best hikes near Rochester.

Local Hikes: Burlington, VT

The best hikes near Burlington.

Local Hikes: Philadelphia, PA

The best hikes near Philly.

Seattle Hikes

The best hikes near Seattle, WA.

Local Hikes: Manchester, NH

The best hikes near Manchester.

Local Hikes: Boston, MA

The best hikes near Boston.

Local Hikes: Pittsburgh, PA

The best hikes near Pittsburgh.

Local Hikes: Albany, NY

The best hikes near Albany.

Local Hikes: New York City, NY

The best hikes near New York, as selected by the Big Apple's best hiking clubs.

Local Hikes: Southeast

The best local hikes in the southeast, as chosen by the area's best hiking clubs.

Local Hikes: Northwest

The best hikes in Northwest, as suggested by the best local hiking clubs.

Rip & Go: Horse Mountain to Traveler Mountain - Baxter State Park, ME

Reach great granite heights on Katahdin's next-door neighbor.

Rip & Go: Watchtower to Sheephead Loop - Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, MT/ID

Have rocky ridges and sparkling alpine lakes all to yourself.

Natural Wonders: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Watch 10,000 birds take wing daily.

Natural Wonders: Devil's Tower, WY

Marvel at America's first national monument.

Natural Wonders: Pando Aspen Colony, UT

Meander through a sprawling forest of clones.

Natural Wonders: Giant Aspens, Devil's Tower, and Hawk Heaven

Visit the world's largest aspen colony, the Plains' highest skyscraper, and a raptor super-flyaway.

Rip & Go: Stuart Fork to Alpine Lake -Trinity Alps, CA

Discover the inner sanctum of California's second largest wilderness.

Great Easy-to-Difficult Boundary Waters Paddling Trips

Want to test the waters before attempting a Primitive Management Area? Get some experience on these traditional Boundary Waters trips first.

Disappearing Act: Paddling the Boundary Waters

Want to vanish into the quietest, wildest corners of the Boundary Waters? Say these magic words: Primitive Management Area.

Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the National Park Rangers

True tales from the front lines--and behind the scenes--of America's national parks.

VIDEOS: Winter Test Fest

Video footage & backcountry skills tips from Backpacker's winter ski testing in Norway & Colorado.

Gear Review: Casio Pathfinder Solar-Powered Watch

With solar power and atomic timekeeping, you'll never be late for a summit bid again.

The Manual: Travel Off-Trail

Navigate across scree, snow, and rivers without getting blocked or lost.

September 2010 Table of Contents



Print & Go: Charlies Bunion Loop, Great Smoky Mountains NP

Pack a camera for this lollipop loop to one of the best mountain views in the park: a sit-awhile panorama, atop a 5,565-foot knob with thousand foot drop-offs on three sides, that stretches from Mt. LeConte to the jagged peaks of the Sawteeth Range.

Print & Go Weekend Trip Planners

Free Print & Go PDFs give you turn-by-turn trail instructions and photos embedded on a usable topo map. Also: Gear checklists, driving directions, and geo-references for finding the nearest campground, restaurant, gas station, and grocery store.

Tahoe Rim Trail: Above it All

On a thru-hike of the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, two brothers get some perspective - on America's largest alpine lake, and each other.

Glacier's Gladiator: Harvey Locke's Glacier National Park Mission

For 20 years, Harvey Locke has fought to protect the park's Flathead River.

Top 3 Trailhead Pub Hikes: Buttermilk Falls SP, NY

Explore waterfall-filled Gorges with fossils preserved in the shale walls.

Top 3 Trailhead Pub Hikes: The Barr Trail, CO

Climb a fourteener for a view across the continental divide.

Top 3 Trailhead Pub Hikes: Deschutes River Trail, OR

Hike streamside near pacific northwest greenery and caribbean-blue eddies.

Natural Wonders: The Southeast's Living-Dead Plant

See ferns that play dead, then dramatically come back to life.

Natural Wonders: Florida's Sea Turtle Capital

Witness the birthing of a species that shared the seas with dinosaurs.

Natural Wonders: America's Deepest Lake

Gaze into a 2,000-foot-deep tub of snowmelt.

The Peak: Mt. Mitchell

Enjoy solitude and fixed-rope scrambling on the East's highest mountain.

Life's Short, Hike More!

What makes a backpacker a backpacker? It's not the garage full of gear or piles of guidebooks--it's the experiences, from thru-hiking a long trail to pushing your personal envelope to inspiring a child's love of wilderness. Here we present BACKPACKER's new Life List: 10 experiences to add to your tick-listnow--and the key skills you need to nail them.

New Life List: Explore Patagonia

Experience the thrill of being a pioneer: Trek to a remote corner of the globe.

New Life List: Summit a Himalayan Peak

The roof of the world is open to everyone, and your personal Mt. Everest is waiting.

New Life List: See a Grizzly

Coming face to face with the biggest predator in North America might just alter your worldview.

New Life List: Bag a Remote Peak

Stand alone atop Washington's Glacier Peak--a summit that others rarely see, let alone climb.

New Life List: Traverse a Mountain Range

Walking a high ridge with countless views and no people is the stuff of dreams. Make it real in Olympic National Park's Bailey Range.

New Life List: Tackle a Monster Dayhike in the Grand Canyon

See a week's worth of scenery in 24 hours, and redefine your idea of what's possible.

New Life List: Ultimate Family Paddling Adventure

World-class scenery, luxe camping, and easy paddling await your family on the Green River in Canyonlands. Your kids will remember this forever.

New Life List: Climb a Via Ferrata

Get a taste of the vertical alpine world--no experience required.

New Life List: Thru-Hike the JMT

A lifetime of weekend trips is like trying to live on appetizers. Get real sustenance with a two-week trek through the best of the Sierras on California's John Muir Trail.

20 Full Moon Hikes

The moon is full on Monday, July 26. Get out this weekend to explore open meadows and ridgelines at night.

Download BACKPACER Photo Wallpaper for Your Computer, iPhone, iPad, or Blackberry

Need instant inspiration? Download these BACKPACKER destination photos–Switzerland, Grand Canyon, & John Muir Wilderness–and get lost.

Rip & Go: Snowy Range Loop, Medicine Bow National Forest, WY

See snaggly summits and hook trout galore on a high-alpine trek.

John Muir Trail, Cherokee National Forest, TN

Contemplate the south's wild side on the trail that launched America's greatest wilderness champion.

Rip & Go: Hoh River to Third Beach Olympic National Park, WA

Cross a rugged coastline on the edge of Washington's Hoh Rainforest.

Hiking Wales: Plan Your Trip

Use our guide to make your Wales hiking adventure a reality.

Hiking Wales: Brecon Beacons National Park

Cross a sprawling preserve of broad mountains, lonely ridgelines, and lush river valleys.

Hiking Wild Wales: Offa's Dyke Path

Follow a long-distance trail along the once-violent, now-bucolic border between England and Wales.

Hiking Wild Wales: Snowdonia National Park

The highest peak. The wildest ridges. The largest lake. Find them all in Wales's alpine heart.

Hiking Wild Wales: Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Tiptoe along oceanside bluffs with views across the Irish Sea.

Secret Hikes: Yellowstone National Park

What crowds? Lose yourself in the Lamar Valley on this weeklong hike.

Secret Hikes: Appalachian Trail

The last lonely stretch of the AT beckons from the mountains of western Maine.

Secret Hikes: Glacier National Park

Score wildlife sightings daily, choice views hourly--and at least one juicy burger--on this weeklong circuit.

Secret Hikes: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Explore a granite wonderland, cross two little-used passes, and score High Sierra solitude on this point-to-point hike.

Secret Hikes: Zion National Park

Pack an extra memory card for what is, mile-for-mile, the most photogenic hike in the Southwest.

Secret Hikes: North Cascades National Park

Dive into the heart of the Lower 48's wildest park.

Secret Hikes: Badlands

Ever dreamed of exploring another planet? Hike here.

Secret Hikes: Isle Royale National Park

Trek to shoreline campsites through woodlands rife with moose, birds, and wolves.

Secret Hikes: Olympic National Park Hiking

Walk from lush rainforest to wide-open glacier views on this 43-mile sneak route.

Secret Hikes: Hiking Grand Canyon National Park

Surprise: This park's busy corridor trails offer a fast track to a private slice of heaven.

Secret Hikes: Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Climb from sublime desert to pine forests and peaks with 100-mile views.

Secret Hikes: Grand Teton National Park

Rise above the crowds and earn solo views of elk, wildflowers, and summit sunsets.

Secret Hikes of the National Parks

The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.

High Note: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with Rock Stars for a Cause

The only problem with cancer survivors and rockers joining forces for a fund-raising concert on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro? It's hard to cheer when you can't breathe.

Hiking Wild Wales

Don't be fooled by the cozy pubs and low elevations. The birthplace of mountaineering overflows with challenges, from rugged peaks to history-laden coastal treks.

Natural Wonders: World's Tallest Geyser, North America's Smallest Bird and Best Shade Tree

Discover the world's tallest geyser, North America's smallest bird, and the country's best shade tree on these three treks.

Wildlife: Where to See Wolves

Find these nocturnal animals at dawn.

Wildlife: Where to See Bald Eagles

Look high for huge nests when trying to spot these beauties.

Wild Things: Where to Spot Wildlife

If seeing bears or bighorn sheep, moose or mountain lions is on your life list check out our tips for where, when, & how to catch an eye full.

The Manual: Plan an Expedition

Go big with these expedition trip planning tips.

Where to See River Otters, Javelinas, & Manatees

Check out the top spots to find these three quirky creatures

Where to See River Otters, Javelinas, & Manatees

Check out the top spots to find these three quirky creatures

10 Top Animal Viewing Tips

There are some fundamental rules to follow when seeking out wildlife.

Wildlife: Where to See Elk

Elk mostly travel in herds making them easier to spot.

Wildlife: Where to See Alligators

Head to the Southeast to spot alligators.

Wildlife: Where to See Mountain Lions

Mountain lions can be found from Central America to the Pacific.

Wildlife: Where to See Moose

Moose love water and hate black flies–two good tips for spotting them.

Wildlife: Where to See Bears

It's true that fish love their berries and fish– a great place to catch a glimpse of them.

Wildlife: Where to See Bighorn Sheep

Scout high deserts and mountains for these scrambling sheep.

How to Predict the Weather

Learn to identify three families of clouds and you'll be able to forecast rain, sun, and deadly storms.

June 2010 Table of Contents



Watch it, Save it: Preview the Film Flathead Wild

The next best thing to hiking Glacier National Park's Flathead River Valley? Seeing the movie! Watch a trailer for Flathead Wild by the Epicocity Project.

The Future of Maps

Four cutting-edge cartographers--from Google's explorer-in-residence to Tom Harrison himself--help us chart the course of the next revolution in wilderness mapping.

Zones: 6 Topographies, 18 Amazing Trips

Whether you're looking for Coastal, Canyon, Peak, Forest, or Urban hikes, we have those. Plus some paddling (Water) trips for good measure.

Zones: Urban

Check out these city hikes in Walt Disney World, Las Vegas, and Manhattan.

Zones: Forests

Hike amongst the trees in these Washington, California, and Vermont hikes.

Zones: Peaks

Hike high points on Mt. Rainier, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Whitney.

Zones: Canyons

Marvel at Mother Nature on these canyon hikes in Utah and North Carolina.

Zones: Coastal

Hug the coastline in these Michigan, California, and British Columbia hikes.

Zones: Water

Hit the water, and see plenty of wildlife and scenic views, on these paddling trips in Alaska, Florida, and Minnesota.

Water: Boundary Waters, MN

Looking for animals? This Minnesota paddle is a sure bet.

Water: Ten Thousand Islands Loop, FL

See the Everglades by boat on this 23 mile trip.

Water: Muir Inlet, AK

Paddle along Glacier Bay's dynamic shores.

Coastal: Nootka Trail, British Columbia

Hike Canada's Pacific Coast harbor on this British Columbia trail.

Coastal: Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, MI

Hike Lake Superior's shoreline in this 12+ mile hike.

Coastal: Lost Coast Trail, CA

This 26-mile trek along California's coast should have been a highway...except it was too riddled with cliffs to build on.

Canyon: Davis Gulch, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, UT

This picturesque Utah hike features natural arches and ancient petroglyphs.

Canyon: Linville Gorge Loop, NC

Head to Asheville, North Carolina for this beautiful gorge loop.

Canyon: Narrows of the Virgin River, UT

Hike, swim, and scramble in this 16-mile slot canyon route.

Peak: Mt. Washington, NH

If you don't mind the potential of extreme weather and wind, Mt. Washington is your hike.

Peak: Mt. Whitney, CA

Check out the Mountaineer's Route of Mt. Whitney if you're looking for a challenge.

Peak: Mt. Rainier: Disappointment Cleaver Route

This challenging climb on Mt. Rainier gains almost 2,000 feet per mile.

Start Mapping: Tools To Help You Map Your World

5 ways to embark on your own cartographic adventure

My Island, My Map: Creating a Custom Map of Bainbridge Island

If you think you missed the age of exploration and discovery, you haven't tried the latest mapping tools. Join our tech scout as he learns how to hike like a cartographer--and sees the wilderness in an entirely new way.

Forest: Giant Forest Loop, CA

See giant sequoias, including General Sherman, on this great family hike.

Forest: Hoh River Trail, WA

This Olympic National Park trail features serious elevation gain and switchbacks galore.

Forest: Monroe Skyline, VT

This 15-mile section of the Long Trail traces the spine of Vermont's Green Mountains.

Urban: The Vegas Strip, NV

This 5.3 mile sunset tour of Vegas takes in all the sights and sounds.

Urban: Manhattan, NY

If you don't mind the crowds, hiking Manhattan is urban hiking at its finest.

Urban: Walt Disney World, FL

Hike Disney's Magic Kingdom with the family.

Cloud Quiz

Test your knowledge of cloud types, and how you can use them to predict the weather.

Navigate: Whiteout, Darkness, and Fog

Just because you can't see in front of you doesn't mean you can't navigate.

Navigate: Forests and Mountains

Skirt forests and mountains with ease with these tips and gear.

Navigation: Canyons and Deserts

Learn how to stay on track and find water safely in the desert and canyons.

Navigation: Lakes and Oceans

Triangulate, forge through wind, and learn the tides with these water-bound navigation tips.

Navigation: Exploring Off-Trail

When your route takes you off-trail you can still be on course with these navigation tips.

How to Navigate Any Condition, Terrain

Field-proven skills for wild weather and terrain.

Reader Wildlife Photos

A call for reader wildlife photos returned outstanding shots of true wild life.

Table of Contents: May Maps Issue 2010



Hike America's Long Trails

We know. You've always wanted to hike a long trail. Lucky for you, we've got the comprehensive guides to make your dreams a reality. Check out the best sections and dayhikes along the AT, PCT and CDT. PLUS: See how four hikers beat the recession...by hiking through it.

Gear Review: SteriPen FitsAll Filter

Strain and filter your water with this SteriPen product.

Gear Review: Katadyn Base Camp Gravity Filter

Filter water for a group with this big bladder.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Photo Galleries

Catch the best views in the nation's marquee parks from the comfort of your computer. Prepare to drool...now.

Gear Review: Freestyle Shark

This waterproof watch is surfer approved.

Gear Review: Tech40 TraiLeader Jet

A wristtop altimeter, compass, and accelerometer.

Gear Review: Highgear Axio Mini

This easy-to-use watch is perfect for small wrists.

Gear Review: McNett Tenacious Tape

Repair any fabric with this super sticky tape.

Toughest Gear: Trails Illustrated Maps

These waterproof maps are unruffled by rain, sleet, and snow.

Spring Hikes: Trip Planner

From Georgia to Oregon, spring blossoms are finally pushing through the winter frost. That means it's time to clear the cobwebs out of the boot soles and bag your first hike of the spring. Here's our exclusive guide to the best spring dayhikes around the country from east, middle, and west.

Backpacker GPS Trails App for iPhone

Want to map and share your own adventures with the click of a button? Looking for instant access to thousands of GPS-enabled hikes? Look no further than GPS Trails. Just download the app and turn your phone into the ultimate navigation device and portable trip database.

Backpacker GPS Trails for Android

Want to map and share your own adventures with the click of a button? Looking for instant access to thousands of GPS-enabled hikes? Look no further than GPS Trails. Just download the app and turn your phone into the ultimate navigation device and portable trip database.

Gear Review: Patagonia Down Sweater

A sweet, packable puffy with big warmth

Gear Review: Marmot Eigerwand Jacket

This synthetic-filled puffy stays warm even in wet, sloppy snow.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Flex Down Jacket

This stretchy-baffled down jacket traps mega heat for serious warmth.

Gear Review: Lowrance Endura Sierra

A fully-featured GPS

Gear Review: Garmin Dakota 20

A bargain GPS

Gear Review: Bheestie Bag

Resurrect electronics that have taken a swim

National Parks Center

We've collected the best hikes, most amazing photos, and mind-blowing videos for the ultimate National Park planning center. Get inspired and get hiking now!

Gear Review: CamelBak Flow Meter

This digital device measures both how much you've drunk and how many ounces you have left in your hydration reservoir.

Liquid Assets: Hydration Gadgets

Quench your backcountry thirst with these new water (and wine!) products.

Shoot Photos Like a Pro: Wildlife

Capture great wildlife photos with patience and know-how regarding their movements and your camera.

Natural Wonders: Smallest Deer, Frozen Waterfall, and Death Valley's Wildflowers

Three treks to life-list phenomena from Death Valley to Colorado.

Top 3 Luxury Hikes

Hit the trail, then hit the oh-so-soft mattress at one of these hiker-friendly lodges.

The Big Easy: Backpack Alaska

Plan your perfect Alaskan trip–from a budget-friendly weekend to an entry-level expedition–with field reports from Steve Howe.

The Rangers are Watching: Webcams in Yellowstone

Are wilderness webcams good for the backcountry–or bad for privacy?

Higher Love: Father & Daughter Climb Mt. Chamberlin

On a remote Arctic peak, a father and his teenager encounter the hardest of all human challenges.

Fly Fishing Mystery Alaska: A Fish Story

Imagine an Alaskan paradise with trout bigger than your leg, bears, and caribou traipsing by camp, and no people–except your good friends. This place exists, we just can't tell you where it is.

Destination Alaska: Castner Glacier

Witness the effects of climate change on a challenging trek in the Delta Mountains.

Destination Alaska: Devil's Pass

Easy routefinding and life-list sights make this thru-hike a must for Alaska novices.

Destination Alaska: Grizzly Pass

Hike to a private paradise deep in the Talkeetna Mountains.

Destination Alaska: Harding Icefield

Hike a classic in Kenai Fjords–and escape the crowds by making it an overnight.

Destination Alaska: The Goat Trail

Tackle an epic route through Chitistone Canyon in Wrangell-St. Elias National Preserve.

Destinatons Alaska: Johnson Pass

Hike a historic, kid-friendly trail to wildflower meadows and fish-filled lakes.

Destination Alaska: Flute Glacier

Just minutes from town, score big scenery fast on the South Fork of Eagle River.

Destination Alaska: Lost Lake, Chugach Mountains

Bring plenty of supplies to this alpine plateau in the Chugach Mountains–you'll want to extend your stay.

Destination Alaska: Thompson Pass

See the awesome Valdez Mountains on this off-trail adventure to Point Odyssey and beyond.

Rip & Go: Big Moose Mountain - Maine Public Reserved Lands Little Moose Unit, ME

Hike to an historic fire tower and camp beside secluded ponds.

Rip & Go: Soldier Creek Loop - Fort Robinson State Park, NE

Explore an unknown Nebraska wilderness for a surprising dose of rolling hills, wildlife, and solitude.

Rip & Go: Dewey Point - Yosemite National Park, CA

Discover the rewards of winter camping on this easy snowshoe trek.

Gear Review: Innate Esse Water Bottle

Keep your wine at the perfect temperature in the backcountry with this perfectly sized bottle.

Southern Rockies: Truchas Traverse, NM

Hit three 13,000-foot peaks in the wildest wilderness south of Glacier.

Southern Rockies: Wheeler Peak, NM

Climb to the crown of the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Southern Rockies: Twilight Peaks, CO

Explore a secret wonderland in the West Needle Mountains.

Southern Rockies: Continental Divide Trail, CO

Hike high on this above-treeline route through the Weminuche Wilderness.

Central Rockies: Green River Lakes, WY

Hike to the heart of the Winds.

Central Rockies: Highline Trail, UT

Discover Utah's best-kept secret.

Central Rockies: Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park

Climb this iconic summit on an uncrowded sneak route.

Northern Rockies: Gallatin Skyline, Yellowstone National Park

Go high for the see-it-all hike in this iconic park.

Northern Rockies: Dawson Pass Loop, Glacier National Park

See the best of Montana without the crowds.

Northern Rockies: Moose Creek, Grand Teton National Park

Find solitude with this surf-and-turf trip.

Northern Rockies: Thompson Peak, ID

Climb the high point of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Northern Rockies: Imogene Pass Loop, ID

Swim, climb, nap–repeat. This Sawtooths trek has it all.

The Peak: Mt. Tamalpais, CA

At Mt. Tam you'll find wilderness solitude with Pacific views only 20 miles from San Francisco. Plus, there's a beer garden.

Natural Wonders: Death Valley's Wildflowers

Trek through lush fields that thrive on just two inches of annual rainfall.

Natural Wonders: America's Smallest Deer

Glimpse miniature deer that barely escaped extinction.

Natural Wonders: Colorado's Tallest Frozen Waterfall

See a 365-foot cascade turned to ice at Bridal Veil Falls.

Luxury Hikes: Amicalola Falls SP, GA

Trek to an off-the-grid bunkhouse.

Luxury Hikes: Muleshoe Ranch, AZ

Discover a desert oasis.

Luxury Hikes: Navajo Lake Trail, CO

Hike to a hot springs and private cabin.

Editors' Choice 2010 Videos: Hiking the Swiss Alps

Hike Switzerland's Via Alpina route with the Backpacker editors in our video series.

Editors' Choice 2010: Switzerland Photo Slideshows

View stunning vistas and snowy passes in these photos of Switzerland's Via Alpina route. Included: the Eiger, the Wetterhorn, and Jungfrau Glacier.

Reader Tip: Make a Leak-proof Hydration Bladder



Reader Essays: Close Encounter

Paula Patterson learns how to share the trail–but not her tent–with the wildlife.

Reader Essays: Yogi, Meet the Kids

Finding it hard to get the whole family out for a hike? Let Danny Griffs show you the way.

Your Favorite Places: Readers' Choice Trips 2010

Who knows the secret trails and must-do classics in every corner of the country? Our teams of regional experts, recruited from the ranks of readers like you. Here are their top hikes from coast to coast.

Midwest Readers' Choice Hikes

Mississippi river vistas, ocean-size grasslands, and guaranteed solitude.

Mountain West Readers' Choice Hikes

A weekend in Glacier, a quiet 14er, and the Rockies' best hot springs.

Northeast Readers' Choice Hikes

A state high point, killer foliage, and a hike loaded with waterfalls

Northwest Readers' Choice Trips

Crashing waterfalls, hidden lakes, and a choice Denali view highlight the 2010 Northwest Readers' Choice hikes.

Southeast Readers' Choice Hikes

Colossal trees, sweet swimming holes, and the USA's best picnic spot.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes

The world's prettiest shoreline, giant pines, and Yosemite's premier view.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Kalalau Trail, HI

Hike Hawaii's all-world coast to a secluded beach.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: The Ruby Crest Trail, Humboldt NF, NV

Explore lonely alpine scenery in this off-the-radar wilderness.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Thru-hike the John Muir Trail, CA

Trek 211 miles through hiker heaven.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: California's Giant Sequoias, Sugarbowl Loop, Kings Canyon NP

Take a lightly trafficked trail into the word's biggest grove.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Sentinel Dome, Yosemite NP

Bag a granite peak with big views and small crowds.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Lakes Trail to Pear Lake, Sequoia NP

Get a highlights tour of the High Sierra backcountry.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Ramsey Cascades, Great Smokies, TN

See big water, massive trees, and tiny amphibians.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Mt. Rogers NRA, VA

Celebrate the arrival of summer with an unrivaled circus of color.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Max Patch Bald, NC

Have a picnic on one of the Southeast's biggest balds.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Clingmans Dome to Silers Bald, TN

Bag four scenic peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Thru-hike the Florida Trail

See wild, historic surprises in the Sunshine State.

Readers' Choice Southeast Hikes: Raven Ridge - Blackbird Knob Loop
Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV

See a Great White North south of the Mason-Dixon.

Readers' Choice Northwest: Golden Larches - Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

See this deciduous pine turn electric-yellow.

Readers' Choice Northwest: Wahtum Lake, OR

Find primo lakeside camping on a rainforest-to-alpine loop.

Readers' Choice Northwest: Lost River Range, ID

Want guaranteed peace and quiet? Hike to two of the Lower 48's most remote alpine lakes.

Readers' Choice Northwest: South Spur, Mt. Adams, WA

Climb the Northwest's tallest nontechnical volcano.

Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park

This classic alpine loop belongs on every backpacker's tick list.

Readers' Choice Northeast Hikes: Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

22 falls in a one day. Need we say more?

Readers' Choice Northeast Hikes: Panther Gorge and Mt. Marcy, Adirondack Park, NY

Bag New York's high point and two other big peaks.

Readers' Choice Northeast Hikes: Bernard Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME


Hike to a crowd-free view of the ocean.

Readers' Choice Northeast Hikes: Vermont's Green Mountains Foliage

Ogle fiery color in the Green Mountains.

Readers' Choice Northeast Hikes: Maine's 100-Mile Wilderness

Explore the Appalachian Trail's wildest stretch.

Readers' Choice Northeast Hikes: Burroughs Range Loop, Catskill Mountain Preserve, NY

Scramble to the Catskills' highest peaks.

Readers' Choice Mountain West Hike: Santa Maria Spring, Grand Canyon NP

Gaze into the world's most beautiful labyrinth.

Readers' Choice Mountain West: Mr. Bubbles, Yellowstone NP

Relax in an effervescent bath far from the dayhiking crowds.

Readers' Choice Mountain West Hike: West Maroon Pass, CO

Trip through kaleidoscopic color amid high-alpine splendor.

Readers' Choice Mountain West: Mills Lake, Rocky Mountain NP

Get big payoffs on an easy hike.

Readers' Choice Mountain West: The Colorado Trail

Thru-hike America's highest trail.

Readers' Choice Mountain West: Gunsight Pass, Glacier NP

See the park's famed glaciers from a high mountain pass.

Readers' Choice Midwest Hikes: Nachusa Grasslands, IL

Explore a vast, trail-free prairie.

Readers' Choice Midwest Hikes: Aurora Borealis Isle Royale NP, MI

See the country's best light show.

Readers' Choice Midwest Hikes: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK

Bushwhack into what very well might be the quietest spot in America.

Readers' Choice Midwest Hikes: Effigy Mounds National Monument, IA

Climb to views of the mighty Mississippi River.

Readers' Choice Midwest Hikes: Ice Age Trail, WI

Thru-hike one of the country's least-known National Scenic Trails.

Midwest Reader Map Team



Readers' Choice Midwest Hikes: Garden of the Gods to Lusk Creek Canyon, Shawnee NF, IL

Hike the River-to-River Trail over rugged ridges, through narrow canyons, and into small caves.

Gear Review: Nunatak Arc Specialist Sleeping Bag

Stuffed with 800-plus-fill down, the Arc Specialist is a hoodless, mummy-shaped bag that's warm right down to its 32 F degree rating.

Gear Review: Aquamira Water Bottle and Filter

Hate hoses? This bottle/filter combo is perfect for ultralighters in wet places

Reader Essays: Grandpa's Lesson


William G. Godlove discovers that even a short hike can last forever.

Reader Essays: Wilderness Served

James Dammar dishes up some brotherly love on Isle Royale.


Reader Essays: Great Smokies Solitude

Greg Hoover shares his secrets for finding quiet on the busiest trail in the country's busiest park.

Reader Essays: Timber!

Jon Heaton and his son survive a deadly Yellowstone windstorm.

Reader Essays: If Clark Griswold Went Camping ...

The trip would start like this, imagines Wayne Wright.

Reader Essays: Going in Circles

Reece Price finds himself lost and alone in the desert.

Reader Essays: Hold Your Fire

Robert DeNike demonstrates how NOT to greet a bear.

Reader Essays: Stampede!

Caught between a goat and a hard place? Don't move, says Daniel Claar.

Reader Essays: The Ridge of Defeat

Barrie Imhoff tempts fate in Glacier National Park.

Reader Essays: Bullfight!

John Joy goes fist-to-nose with an invasive species.

Reader Essays: My First, Worst Trip

New to hiking? Brian Simpson 
has a foolproof plan for doing it all wrong.

America's Worst Trail: A Love Story

Is the reward always equal to the effort? Uh...maybe, says this bloodied, bruised, and bandaged reader.

Inspirational BACKPACKER Readers

Meet five of BACKPACKER's most inspirational heroes–they're also readers.

Gear Field Test: Outdoor Watches

Map a route. Predict the weather . Record altitude data. Track your speed and heart rate. Today's outdoor watches do it all–and then they send it to your computer.

Rip & Go: Iron Mountain Loop - Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Lose the leaf-peeping crowds on this quiet ramble above Virginia's loftiest canopies of color.

Rip & Go: Sage Creek Loop - Badlands National Park, SD

Explore off-trail in a wilderness with more bison than boot prints.

Rip & Go: Badwater Basin to Gold Valley - Death Valley National Park, CA

Don't waste winter: Tackle this cross-country canyon trek in the Lower 48's largest national park.

The Peak: Mt. Greylock

Take the 5.5 mile trek up Bellows Pipe Trail to the summit; while you're there, enjoy a local cocktail and a cup of chowder at Bascom Lodge.

National Parks Hall of Fame

The all-time best. That's what every hiker wants on a national park trek, and that's what you'll get if you tackle one of these 25 trips.

Natural Wonders: Blowholes, Salmon Runs, & Wine Country

Hawaii's Nakalele blowhole rivals Old Faithful. Plus: Trek to Oregon's salmon run and California's wine country.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Solitude

If less people, more elk has become your mountain mantra, check the Guadalupe Mountains backcountry camping sites and trails and get that so sought after alone time.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Loop

Don't go up, go around. Rainier's Wonderland Trail loop offers the marathon hiker two weeks of backpacking bliss.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Park Finder

Zero in on your perfect hike, from thrilling slots to soak-awhile hot springs.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Alpine Hike

Live longer, take the North Circle Route. Glacier's highcountry views and crisp alpine air are rumored to add years to a backpacker's being.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Dayhike

Beat the crowds by tackling this classic dayhike by moonlight.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Canyon

The Tanner Trail in the grandest of U.S. canyons is a camping classic.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Wildlife

Who ever said out of sight, out of mind was certainly not referring to the wealth of wildlife that are making some big noise in Thorofare Valley.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Cross-Country Adventure

Traverse alongside delicate ecosystem, open tundra and hit nine summits on this "grand slam" of cross-country treks.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Wildflowers

Smelling the flowers doesn't require slowing down your trek (though you might want to) through the explosion of wildflowers that cover the Great Smoky Mountains each year.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Coastal Hike

Swap summits for sand scrambling along nearly 18 miles of quiet coastal terrain.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Peak

No crowds. No frills. No cakewalk. This hang-on-for-your-life climb is not for the meager-hearted.

Natural Wonders: Sonoma Valley's Wine Country

Wine making and hiking come together perfectly in the Sonoma Valley, where California meets the Mediterranean.

Natural Wonders: The Pacific Northwest's Salmon Run

Every year the salmon of the Pacific Northwest return to their birth place to spawn. See this natural phenomenon and a river of fish on an easy hike through tall pines.

Natural Wonders: Maui's Nakalele Blowhole

Get sprayed by an oceanic geyser. Erupting every few minutes under perfect conditions, this is a natural wonder you can't miss.

Top 3 Ansel Adams Hikes and Reader Photos

The legendary shooter once said that photographs were "usually looked at, seldom looked into." Take a look into three hikes that inspired some of Ansel Adams greatest photos, and take a few pictures yourself.

Gear Review: Timex Expedition WS4 Watch

This one-glance watch was built with the input of renowned alpinist Conrad Anker.

Gear Review: Atrek Electronic Trekking Poles

If wrist gear isn't for you, check out these versatile trekking poles

Gear Review: Tech40 TraiLeader Pro Watch

This compact piece packs all the technology and none of the size.

Gear Review: Freestyle Nomad Watch

This durable and accurate timepiece is also a bargain.

Gear Review: Tissot T-Touch Expert Watch

This touch-screen timepiece combines durability, accuracy, and elegance.

Gear Review: Garmin Forerunner 310XT

This watch boasts all the bells and whistles of a great training watch and GPS device.

Gear Review: Suunto X10 Watch

Map your route and much more with this high-tech wrist watch.

Is Blue the New Green?

A new Switzerland-based company, bluesign, is trying to regulate green manufacturing claims.

Winter Camping: Navigation

Learn to figure out where you are (even in a whiteout) and prevent, or stop, a snowy fall.

BACKPACKER Halloween Special

Heading out into the woods this weekend? Stock up on scary ghost stories and frightening trail tales in our special Halloween section.

Fall Foliage Photo Special

Learn how to take the perfect fall foliage photo with our tutorials and slideshows.

BACKPACKER 3D Trail Flyover Videos

Fly these classic hikes in 3D with our guided tours.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Cold

Staying warm is easier than getting warm: Plan ahead.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Heat

Think like a desert dweller to stay cool and comfortable.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Rain

In the wettest conditions, learn to create and maintain a personal bubble of dry space.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Wind

Read the terrain and use anchors to stay grounded.

America's Scariest Trails: What are You Afraid of?

Haunted mountains? Vanished campers? Bloodthirsty creatures? An evil wind that lures hikers over a waterfall? We dare you to hike America's scariest trails.

America's Scariest Trails: Really, I Saw it Myself

True tales from BACKPACKER editors and readers

America's Scariest Trails: Bloodthirsty Creatures

Bigfoot? He's a softy compared to the other menacing monsters lurking in the woods near you.

America's Scariest Trails: Vanished

Lost? Murdered? When the wilderness swallows people without a trace, who's to say what happened?

America's Scariest Trails: Supernatural Sights

Alpine views and starry skies are nice, but on these unsettling hikes you might see something really stunning.

America's Scariest Trails: Tragedy in the Grand Canyon

When bodies can't be buried, do their spirits ever rest? Hike to the scene of this wreck and find out.

America's Scariest Trails: Yosemite's Supernatural Wind

Go ahead and hike to this park's famous lakes and waterfalls. Just watch your step–and your back.

America's Scariest Trails: Mt. Washington's Phantom Crowds

Never let your guard down on this deadly peak, where the weather–and spirits–are unpredictable.

America's Scariest Trails: Big Bend's Deadly Past

With more than 200 murders recorded here, it's no wonder the Chisos Mountains are named for ghosts.

The Lost Boy of the Ozarks

After three decades of silence, a reporter reveals the story he was afraid to write.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather

Sunny and 70 is nice, but makes for a mighty short hiking season. Hit the trail all year long by learning how to thrive–not just survive–in wet, cold, hot, and windy conditions. Here are 115 guide-approved tips.

Bushwhackers Wanted: Portland's Forest Park to the Pacific Ocean

Be the first to thru-hike an exploratory route from Portland to the Pacific.

A 2,175-Mile Dayhike: Trekking the Appalachian Trail in One Day

The Dartmouth Outing Club targets an Appalachian Trail hiking record.

Your Daily Tread: Local Hikes Across the U.S.

What's better than hiking every weekend? Hiking every day. Here are the best big-city escapes from New York to Los Angeles. Plus: Bill Donahue explores the remote reaches of Portland's Forest Park and discovers secrets even locals don't know.

The Wild Edge: Exploring Portland's Forest Park

When urban trails blend with raw wilderness, the sum is much greater than the parts.

Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

Rip & Go: 10,000 Islands Loop - Everglades National Park, FL

Kayak to pocket beaches and Gulf islands at Florida's southern tip.

Rip & Go: Wood Lake - Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, MT

Cross the Stillwater Plateau to trout-rich ponds at the foot of Montana's second highest peak.

Rip & Go: Loowit Trail - Mt. St. Helens National Monument, WA

Tackle a challenging, rocky route in the shadow of America's most famous volcano.

The Peak: Mt. Le Conte, TN

It's not the tallest peak in the Smokies, but spend a night on its summit (no tent required), and you'll agree it's the finest.

Natural Wonders: Freaky Bats, Dry Falls, Winter Witch Hazel

Washington, Arkansas, and Georgia are host to these three life-list phenomena treks.

Top 3 Battlefield Hikes

Close your eyes and hear the bullets fly: These three routes pass through parks drenched in United States military history.

Insider's Guide: Yellowstone

From camping with wolves to fly-fishing smarts this insider's guide has you covered.

Vanishing Act: Explore Yellowstone's Northern Fringe

Disappear into Yellowstone's secret northern fringe, where you'll find a rejuvenated landscape and total solitude (except for the bison and grizzlies).

Find the Trout: Scouting a Stream

Learn to read a stream and snag the big fish.

Plot an Off-Trail Route

Try these 10 tips for cross-country travel.

Out of Africa: Interview with Ultrahiker Justin Lichter

In an attempt to hike the continent's wild divide, one ultrahiker does something he's never done–quit.

Gear Review: 20Sub3 Rugged Maps Lite

No more plastic bags or map cases, these waterproof, and tear-resistant topos will last a lifetime.

Obama's Wilderness Point Man: Interview with Ken Salazar

Parks czar Ken Salazar talks trails, nixes ANWR drilling, and defends his boss's controversial guns-in-parks decision.

Undiscovered Hikes: 19 New Trails

Hike these paths before the masses find them.

Footprints Needed: Colorado's Undiscovered Black Canyon

Descend into Colorado's Black Canyon and explore a park that has everything–life-list scenery, challenging terrain, a revitalized river–except hikers.

Rip & Go: Black Balsam Knob to Cold Mountain - Pisgah National Forest, NC

Trek 18.2 miles from the South's best view to its most famous mountain.

Rip & Go: Wheeler Peak Loop - Wheeler Peak Wilderness, NM

Connect alpine lakes and tag three summits on this wildflower- and wildlife-packed loop.

Rip & Go: Loon Creek to Horseshoe Lake - Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, ID

Explore a supersized wilderness that's home to Idaho's densest population of gray wolves.

How to Lead a Summit Hike

Keep a group of peakbaggers safe with these field-proven tips.

The Manual: How to Explore a Slot Canyon

Explore these redrock mysteries safely with expert tips on gear and technique.

The Peak: Windom Peak, CO

Take a historic train to the trailhead and climb this Colorado beauty, nestled deep in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Natural Wonders: Tallest Hoodoo, Largest Gators, Lost Maples

These three treks to life-list phenomena will take you to Bryce Canyon, Florida gator land, and fall foliage in the Texas desert.

Top 3 Family Dayhikes

Pack up your brood for a day in the outdoors with these kid-friendly trails.

Insider's Guide: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From secret spots to the perfect campsites, this insider's guide has the goods on the Smokies.

Time Travel: Hiking Historical Homesteads in the Smokies

A unique route linking historic homesteads yields an exciting Smokies adventure for hikers and history buffs alike.

The Boy Scout Quiz

Could you earn a merit badge in wilderness travel? Better ace this test, taken straight from the Scouts' own backpacking manual.

Are You Smarter Than a Boy Scout?

Scoutmasters wrote the book on camping, and built an army of pack-toting teens. But do the troops truly rule when it comes to outdoor skills? We pitted three Scouts against three average readers to find out.

Higher Education: Should 13-Year-Old Jordan Romero Climb Everest?

Romero climbed Denali at 11 and has bagged five of the Seven Summits. He hopes to climb Everest in 2010, but is mountain climbing good for a growing kid?

Vote on America's Best Trail

For our 2010 Readers' Choice issue we want to know your favorite trail in America.

Phantom Menace: Air Pollution Threatens Western National Parks

Invisible but dangerous, airborne pollutants are a danger to the West's most iconic national parks

Backpacking Alaska: Glaciers, Wildlife, & Peaks On Every Corner

During a one-month August journey, BACKPACKER undertook multiple crowd-free Alaskan backpacking routes and returned with extensive photos, video, & GPS.

Gear Checklist: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From the deep wooded hollows to the lofty Appalachian summits prepare for rain (Clingmans Dome, the park's high point, averages 85 inches each year), humidity, rapidly varying weather conditions, and lots of creek crossings. Here's what you'll need.

Rip & Go: Five Mountain Loop - Adirondack High Peaks, NY

Trek to the trail-free summits of Macomb, Hough, and The Dixes

Rip & Go: Paintbrush-Cascade Canyons Loop - Grand Teton National Park

Climb through bear country to a campsite with views of The Grand.

Rip & Go: Spider Glacier - Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA

Stroll through wildflower-filled meadows to a frozen slice of the Cascade Range.

Top 3 Perfect Substitute National Forests

Get national park-caliber scenery without crowds (or entry fees!) in these dead ringers for Great Smoky Mountains, Zion, and Yosemite.

The Peak: Mt. Rainier

From the best guiding service to ultimate summit routes, Washington's highest peak is still the greatest.

Insider's Guide Rocky Mountain National Park

From the top day hike to the key skills you'll need, we'll have you ready for the Rockies in no time.

Full Circle: The Rocky Mountain Grand Loop

Follow a long-forgotten loop in Rocky Mountain National Park across the Continental Divide, through moose-infested meados, and up Longs Peak via a rarely climbed route.

The Smokies' Homesteads: Exclusive Google Flyover Video and Tracklog

Marcus Woolf explores history and wilderness during a six-day trip through the Smokies.

Professor Rescue: Q & A with SAR Statistician Robert Koester

By crunching numbers on the thousands of lost hiker cases in the backcountry each year, Robert Koester hopes to keep you on track.

August 2009 Table of Contents



Gear School: Water Filters

Remove most micro-nasties, draw water from barely-there puddles, and quench thirst fast with the versatile pump filter.

Weekend Planner: Go High-Tech

Go wireless, get dialed in, and navigate like a pro with these gadgets.

Weekend Planner: Bring the Kids

Follow our fool-proof three-stage guide to getting your kids as psyched as you are about getting outside.

Weekend Planner: Pack Less

Get outside earlier and faster by taking less with you. Here's how to ditch excess gear and pack light, tasty food.

Weekend Planner: Join Others

Team trips will help get you outside faster than solo outings.

Weekend Planner: Organize Your Gear

If you want to hit the trail before everyone, you'll need to get your gear in gear. Here's how.

Weekend Planner: Work Smarter

A little thought and planning in the office can put you on the trail earlier than everyone else. Get started with this primer from productivity experts.

BACKPACKER's Ultimate Weekend Planner

We guarantee you can triple your trail time this summer. How? Our step-by-step guide solves every challenge–work overload, gear chaos, no partner, family demands–so you can enjoy more of what you live to do every weekend: hike.

Hike It, Save It: Red Buttes, Oregon/ California

Threatened by OHVs, logging, and overgrazing a 120,000-acre proposed addition to Red Buttes Wilderness would quintuple its size and benefit the Pacific Crest Trail.

Hike It, Save It: Tumacacori Highlands, Arizona

Urban sprawl and local opposition lead the threats to this 84,000-acre tract of Coronado National Forest.

Hike It, Save It: Seneca Creek, West Virginia

A two-day, 17-mile zigzag along blueberry-lined mountain ridges will give you a dose of the 24,000-acre "Crown Jewel of the Monongahela," threatened by oil and gas drilling.

Hike It, Save It: Handies Peak, Colorado

The biggest threat to his critical gap between the Weminuche and Uncompahgre Wilderness Areas? Off-highway vehicles.

Hike It, Save It: Upper Desolation Canyon, Utah

Oil and gas development threaten these 65,000 acres. Float the Green River to see what's at stake.

Hike It, Save It: Utukok Uplands, Alaska

On the Brooks Range's Arctic slop, coal mining and oil and natural gas drilling are threats to half a million caribou, and the Arctic's highest concentration of grizzlies.

Hike It, Save It: Scotchman Peaks, Montana/Idaho

Development, bureaucracy, and apathy threaten this Glacier-like mecca, home to grizzlies, fields of beargrass, and superlative alpine hiking.

Hike It, Save It: Chestnut Ridge and Tracy Ridge, Pennsylvania

Oil drilling and vacation homes threaten on of the last Chestnut tree bastions, a 5,191-acre proposed Wilderness Area in the Allegheny National Forest.

Hike It, Save It: Maine's Grafton Loop

The thread to this Down East trail? Vacation homes. Passing through roughly 10 miles of private land that has yet to be protected, wilderness designation could neutralize the looming threat.

Hike It, Save It

It's never been easier to help save the wilderness–no donations, no petitions, no pulaski swinging required. The only thing you have to do is go backpacking.

Rip & Go: Eagle Rock Loop - Ouachita National Forest, AR

Climb riverside bluffs in the South's oldest national forest.

Gear Review: Evernew EL9 Solar Clip Light

This sustainable light gives cap-wearers a viable headlamp alternative.

Natural Wonders: Three Treks to Life-List Phenomena

Check out the world's hottest hydrothermal fumarole, Glacier's grizzlies, and a venus flytryp in North Carolina.

Swimming Hole Hikes

Time to cool down. Hike to these refreshing swimming holes and settle right into summer.

Rocky Mountain National Park's Grand Loop: 3D Flyover and Tracklog

Fly the Rockies with our 3D video, then download the GPS track to do the route yourself.

Perfect Substitutes: Crowd-Free Destinations

You know that the big-name parks draw big-time crowds. But each of those outdoor icons has a lesser-known replacement that offers some of the same classic features and epic scenery–and you get it all to yourself.

The Mosquito Truth: Behind the Bite

Get the bug dope ready: The bloodthirsty mosquito is heading your way this summer.

America's Best Day Hikes: Midwest

Beaches, wildlife, and prairies in Minnesota, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, North Dakota, Kansas, and Illinois make the Midwest a hiker's paradise.

America's Best Dayhikes: Northeast

From blueberry picking in New York and New Hampshire to pure solitude in New Hampshire and Maine, moose sitings in Vermont, and peaks in New York, these the hikes feature the best of the Northeast.

America's Best Day Hikes: Southwest

From canyons to rock art to waterfalls, the Southwest has an abundance of natural beauty.

America's Best Day Hikes: South

Take is stunning rivers and waterfalls, killer views, and amazing wildlife in Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Texas with these hikes.

America's Best Day Hikes: Rockies

With alpine views, hot springs, wildflowers and wildlife, these hikes in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana offer the best of the Rockies.

America's Best Dayhikes

From dawn-to-dusk epics in Utah canyons to lazy-picnic blueberry strolls in Maine–plus hikes to peaks, redwoods, hot springs, beaches, and more–here are 100 ways to spend a perfect day on the trail.

Insider's Guide: The Grand Canyon

From dayhikes to weekends to weeklong hikes our Grand Canyon expert will have you ready to hit this natural wonder in no time. PLUS: Get dialed with essential skills.

Depth Perception: Trek to Grand Canyon's Royal Arch

The best view in the Grand Canyon can't be seen from the rim. Brave the trek to Royal Arch, hidden deep in the gorge, and your world will never look the same.

Rip & Go: Glen Camp Loop - Point Reyes National Seashore

Hike across forested hills to gape at ocean vistas just one hour north of San Francisco.

Rip & Go: Bowen-Baker Loop - Never Summer Wilderness, CO

Get national park scenery without the crowds on an alpine overnight with lakeside camping.

Rip & Go: Jacks River Trail - Cohutta Wilderness, GA

Disappear into the largest–and probably the wettest–wilderness east of the Mississippi.

Climb This Peak: Katahdin

This iconic summit shouldn't be rushed. Save the experience on this 33-mile trek.

Hike the Wind River Range

A stunning new hike—plus two thrilling classics—in the Rockies' top spot for big backpacking adventures.

Yosemite's North Rim: Exclusive Google Flyover Video & Photo Slideshow

Kelly Bastone hiked a long-forgotten trail through Yosemite's North Rim and documented the trek on video, in photographs, and using GPS.

Readers' Choice 2010: Submit Your Favorite U.S. Hike



Readers' Choice 2010: Submit a Backcountry Story



Gear Guide 2009: Weeklong Packs

Heading out for a long haul? With these backpacks, you'll have the room you need for long trail comfort.

Gear Guide 2009: Weekend Packs

From this year's Editors' Choice winner to the ultimate organizational wonder, these weekend packs are perfect for heading to the hills Friday to Sunday.

Gear Guide 2009: Daypacks

Heading out for the day? We have your can-do ultimate daypack. From the best bargain to the lightest on the market, these packs have everything you need.

Gear Guide 2009: 3-Person Tents

From the most headroom to the best deal, three isn't a crowd with these tents.

Gear Guide 2009: Tarps

All you need is a roof over your head you say? A tarp might be just what you're after.

Gear Guide 2009: Mountaineering Tents

Head to the high-country with these altitude-ready tents.

Gear Guide 2009: 1-Person Tents

Going solo? Options abound with these 1-person tent choices.

Gear Guide 2009: 2-Person Tents

From the most innovative to the most eco-friendly, pitch one of these 2-person tents for your home away from home.

Gear Guide 2009: Heavy-Duty Boots

We tested 150 boots this year, tallying enough trail miles to hike from Acadia to Denali–and back. Why? To help you find the perfect outdoor footwear.

Gear Guide 2009: Light-Duty Boots

We tested 150 boots this year, tallying enough trail miles to hike from Acadia to Denali–and back. Why? To help you find the perfect outdoor footwear.

Gear Guide 2009: Mid-Duty Boots

We tested 150 boots this year, tallying enough trail miles to hike from Acadia to Denali–and back. Why? To help you find the perfect outdoor footwear.

Gear Guide 2009: Boots

We tested 150 boots this year, tallying enough trail miles to hike from Acadia to Denali–and back. Why? To help you find the perfect outdoor footwear.

Gear Guide 2009: Tents

Home improvement: The best new shelters are roomy and light, thanks to innovative pole structures that expand space and reduce weight and bulk.

Gear Guide 2009: Backpacks

How do we know this year's packs are lighter and more comfortable than ever? We spent the last 12 months lugging loads from Denali to the 'Daks to bring you the 32 best.

Gear School 2009: Essentials

From sleeping pads to trekking poles, we'll have you good to go in no time.

Vote Now! What's the Best City to Raise an Outdoor Kid?



Editors' Choice 2009: Garmin Oregon 400t GPS

Meet the ultimate GPS: simple enough for beginners, wonky enough for experts, powerful enough for all.

Get This Gear: Essentials From A to Z

We tested more than 500 products–stoves, clothes, cameras, filters, tech tools, knives, and meals–to find these proven performers.

Bioluminescent Organisms: 3 Living Lights

According to folklore, the soft light emitted by bioluminescent organisms is magical. In reality, the eerie glow results from a chemical reaction–but it still looks enchanting on a moonless or cloudy night. Here's where to glimpse these living light bulbs.

Survive This: Caught in a Blizzard

Use these simple tips to survive the storm.

Ethiopia Backpacking Trips

Explore secret Africa on an alpine wildlife safari.

Polar Route, Greenland

See sheer-sided fjords, calving glaciers, and the northern hemisphere's largest ice sheet.

Rolwaling And Khumbu Valleys, Nepal

Experience the magic of the remote Himalaya.

Sarek National Park, Sweden

Lose yourself in Europe's last great wilderness.

Overland Track, Australia

Explore a hiker's fantasy island on Tasmania's rough-and-wild long trail.

Cordillera Apolobamba, Bolivia

See the Andes the way Cortez did–totally wild.

Tongariro Northern Circuit and Heaphy Track, New Zealand

Discover the best of Kiwi wilderness–north and south–with these two hikes.

Austria Backpacking Trips

Score classic Alps scenery, adventure, and hut culture without the classic crowds.

Field Test: Global Apparel for Men

Get technical layers that work everywhere from hotel bars to high-mountain trails. Our testers vetted more than 50 products from the Alps to the Andes to bring you these top systems.

Field Test: Global Apparel for Women

The BACKPACKER ladies tested made-for-trail clothes that can double as street wear–wherever the streets may be.

Higher Calling: Adventure in Valencia, Spain

Spain's little-known Valencia region beckons the mountain-minded adventurer with dramatic topography, sun-drenched hiking and biking, and sumptuous end-of-day feasts.

Review: prAna Supplex Hat

A quick-drying, simple cap for any global traveler

Review: EMS All Mountain Sweater

Add this comfy fleece hybrid when those temps start to drop

Review: Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap

For searing sun or relentless rain, pack the Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap.

Stateside Adventures: Closer Than You Think

A veteran traveler discovers a world of adventure in his backyard.

China: The People's Hiking Revolution

As prosperity spreads across China, so does a passion for the outdoors. But can millions of new trekkers save Asia's vast wilderness from the march of development? Welcome to the world's next hiking frontier. PLUS, check out China's Top Treks.

Travel Like a Pro

Master every detail of far-flung adventure–from visas to vaccinations–with these time-tested tips from guides and veteran globetrotters.

Travel Like a Pro: How to Stay Healthy

Tackle everything from jet lag to malaria (and those pesky mosquitoes) with our guide to staying healthy abroad.

Travel Like a Pro: What to Do When You Get There

Start your adventure right with these tips on getting to the trailhead and keeping in contact once you get there.

Travel Like a Pro: What to Do Before You Leave

Don't suffer through a poorly planned trip: Use our tips to choose a destination and create a to-do list to begin your adventure.

The World's Best Unknown Treks

We've traveled to 10 countries and uncovered the best adventures you never knew existed.

Eco-Friendly Gear Packaging



Passport Protection: Aloksac ShieldSak Review

This tech-saavy passport sleeve protects your documents from radio wave scanners

Camera Pack: LowePro CompuRover

LowePro CompuRover is the outdoor photographer's best friend.

Traveler's Daypack: Patagonia Scramble 35

For a rough day on the trail, wear Patagonia's stable Scramble 35 daypack.

All-In-One Luggage: High Sierra Overpass Wheeled

Roll, carry, or tote around your gear with the versatile High Sierra Overpass Wheeled bag.

Classic Duffel: The North Face Base Camp Series

The North Face Base Camp Series duffel is reliable through the worst dragging, zipper-yanking and rain.

Lightweight Roller: Granite Gear Ultraflight 115

Durable and lightweight, the Granite Gear Ultraflight 115 will keep you rolling.

International Multisport Meccas: Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

Trek across the roof of the Andes, mix in some trail riding–on bike and horseback–and climb a 19,000-foot volcano.

International Multisport Meccas: Sardinia, Italy

Test your scrambling skills–plus sea kayak, rock climb, and scuba dive the Gulf of Orosei Coast.

International Multisport Meccas: Julian Alps, Slovenia

Traverse the unknown end of the Alps–by trail, canyon, and cliff face–on this demanding journey in and around Triglav National Park.

Wilderness Wonders: Most Active Volcano

You better stand back if this Sicilian island volcano starts to spurt.

Wilderness Wonders: Tallest Tree

Head to Northern California's Redwood National Park for a glimpse at these giants.

Wilderness Wonders: Hottest Geysers

Superheated water sprays from Yellowstone ground.

Wilderness Wonders: Driest Desert

If your going to Chile's Atacama Desert, don't forget the sunscreen.

Wilderness Wonders: Scariest Predator

There is nothing like the African lion.

Natural Wilderness Wonders

Fiery volcanoes, 40-ton mammals, otherworldly caves–in this explorer's guide, we'll show you where to find the most mind-blowing backcountry features on the planet. By Marcus Woolf

The Perfect Circle: Hiking the Annapurna Circuit

Nepal's Annapurna Circuit can't compete with the world's best treks for lavish huts, extreme solitude, and sumptuous cuisine. So why is it still number one? Let us count the reasons.

International Multisport Meccas: Queenstown, New Zealand

Hike, paddle, and swim narrow canyons before running class IV rapids on an inflatable boogie board.

International Multisport Meccas: Darjeeling, India

Trek between Buddhist villages, raft Himalayan whitewater, and ride an elephant in the shadow of 8,000-meter peaks.

International Mulitsport Meccas: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Float, backpack, and mountain bike Canada's wild west coast.

February/March 2009 Table of Contents



Poll: What's Your Favorite National Park?



Find Hikes and Trips in National Parks and Regional Parks

Find hikes in National Parks and regional parks with our comprehensive guides.

Readers' Choice Awards 2009

Discover the best hike in every state, as voted by BACKPACKER readers. Plus: your essential gear, most desirable tentmate, worst-ever adventure movie, and our picks for the best reader-submitted photos.

Hiking The Annapurna Circuit: Q&A With Shannon Davis

Associate editor Shannon Davis tells us more about the highs and lows of his honeymoon trek (featured in March 2009's "The Perfect Circle") on the sky-scraping Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.

Mount Rainier: Thunder on the Mountain

Two years after hurricane-force winds and rain ravaged hundreds of miles of trail in Mt. Rainier National Park, the true damage is finally becoming clear. And what it's telling scientists is alarming: Bigger, more frequent–and more destructive–storms may be coming.

Reindeer Games: Tracking Caribou in the Slate Islands

Happy coincidence for wildlife-loving paddlers: Canoes and woodland caribou converge like nowhere else on Earth in Ontario's Slate Islands. PLUS: See video of caribou on the move.

How to Avoid Avalanches

Hike safely in avalanche terrain

Survive This: Frostbitten Feet

Frostbite is bad news. Learn how to safely treat frozen feet.

See More: Winter Birds

Forget flying south. Learn the secrets of cold-weather survival from three well-adapted birds.

Danger Signs - Winter Sun

UV rays are still harmful even when the temperature drops. We'll show you how to protect yourself against the sun, even when it's cold.

WILDLIFE: 3 Super Squirrels

The flying, red, and golden-mantled ground aren't your everyday squirrels

What's the Most Packable Firearm?

The Trip Doctor reveals what works better against grizzleis than buckshot.

Trek Copper Canyon Rim to Rim

Hike North America's deepest canyon

Where Can I Find the Best View of the Northern Lights?

You guessed, it, you need to head North. Here's where you'll get the best view of the Northern Lights.

Quick Fix: Dayhike Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Plunge from rainforest to caldera in Hawaii's famously explosive national park

The Alaska Wolf Debate: Q&A with Tracy Ross

Author Tracy Ross discusses her feature story "Dogs of War" devoted to the debate raging in Alaska over the famed Toklat wolf pack.

I'm Hiking with Stupid - A Buddy Story

The last time our author took his buddy camping, they stopped speaking for a year. A decade later, they still haven't hit the trail together. Which means there's only one thing to do: Try again.

Pack Man: The Appalachian Trail Guru

Thirty miles up the trail from Springer Mountain, Winton Porter shelters and feeds thru-hikers–and works tirelessly to slash their pack weight.

Thoreau Slept Here: The Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail

Maine's newly minted Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail tracks the famous naturalist's 1800s expeditions. Good news: It's still wild.

Little Big Houses: Three-Season, Double-Occupancy Shelters

At right around two pounds per person, these three-season, double-occupancy shelters do everything but weigh you down.

The Works: Snowshoe the Sierra

Pick your own path to an empty 14er.

Life List: Raft And Hike The Grand Canyon

Explore hidden gorges and spy rarely seen wonders on this three-week raft trip designed specifically for hikers.

Where is the Spookiest Place to Hike?



Top 3 Night Hikes

These dark-sky treks serve up perfect viewing spots for autumn's intergalactic bling in North Carolina, New Mexico, and California

Quick Fix: Big Bend National Park

Scout for gold–and desert views–amid this Texas park's spray of late-fall foliage.

How to Do Everything - Camping

Find water anywhere, make a fire in five minutes, learn secrets for battling mosquitoes, and more.

How to Do Everything - Packing & Planning

We'll show you how to be ready to the the trail in 20 minutes, guaranteed. Now gear up!

ESSENTIAL OUTDOOR SKILLS SPECIAL: How to Do Everything

Want to be a better hiker? Look no further. Our comprehensive guide is packed with the backcountry secrets that separate average campers from true wilderness experts.

Freeplay FreeCharge 12V



Eton Microlink FR150 Weather Radio

Solar panels and hand crank keep Eton Microlink FR150 weather radio going and going.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes

Like your life and limbs intact? Then you'd better get skilled before visiting these trails.

Diagnosis of Disaster

Experts dissect the missteps in five recent hiking tragedies

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Abrams Falls, Great Smoky Mtns., TN

Drowning in beauty

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Muir Snowfield, Mt. Rainier, WA

Where winter strikes year-round

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Mt. Washington, NH

It'll blow you away

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Barr Trail, Pikes Peak, CO

A hair-raising hike

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon - America's Most Dangerous Hikes

Baked or broiled?

The Danger Scale

How we rate risk, using a highly scientific formula

I Will Survive

Flesh-eating bears. Dive-bombing eagles. Can a regular guy escape certain death armed with only the clothes on his back and the skills he learned on TV from Les Stroud, Bear Grylls, and John Rambo?

Survival Gear: Ultimate Survival Kit

Want to make it out alive? Consider packing these 17 items carried by a veteran Yosemite search-and-rescue ranger.

Who's the Ultimate Survivor?

We settle the debate with winner-takes-all smackdown: Meet history's true hard man.

Lost in the Olympics

A gym teacher's speed hike becomes a five-day bushwhack in Olympic National Park.

Caught in a Colorado Snowstorm

An autumn climb turns life-threatening when a hiker endures a night in a whiteout at 12,000 feet in the Rockies.

Life-or-Death Decisions - Caught in a Storm

When a storm comes out of nowhere, learn how to handle the unexpected.

Life-or-Death Decisions - Injury

Learn how to plan and react when and unexpected injury creeps up on you.

Life-or-Death Decisions - Lost

How did you get here? How can you get out? Staying found starts at home.

Life-or-Death Decisions

Survival depends on more than dumb luck–to live to see another day, you must correctly navigate a tricky series of choices. Here's how to do it when the consequences couldn't be higher.

Rescue Me!

On a snowy night in New Hampshire, Congressional candidate Gary Dodds crashed his car, wandered into the woods, and collapsed. Twenty-seven hours later, rescuers carried him out. And then the real drama began.

Natural Born Killers: Top Backcountry Dangers

Which is the bigger backcountry threat, grizzlies or flash floods? Find out what should scare you–and how to survive it–with BACKPACKER's Terror Index.

Walking Bataan: The Hardest Miles

Survivors of the Bataan death march overcame one of history's most grueling walks. What kept them on their feet? and could you do the same? every year, more than 4,000 people hike through the New Mexico desert to find out.



Bear Patrol in Glacier

Traverse the wildest part of the lower 48's last great grizzly hideaway.

Rocky Mountain (Extra) High: Lightning On The Colorado Trail

Dodge high wattage on the newest stretch of the Colorado Trail.

Above & Beyond

The world's tallest tree towers above a secret location deep within the lush, tangled backcountry of Redwood National Park. Determined to find this giant, our correspondent discovers something more incredible than he ever imagined.

The Long Trail to Jail

Is he a pilgrim, a victim, or a thief? The Appalachian Trail provides a path and refuge to all sorts of seekers. Few are as baffling as the man they called Saved.

Never Fear: The Phobias

Use this step-by-step guide to beat 7 common backcountry fears. Plus, ideal hikes for overcoming–or avoiding–the source of your scare.

Never Fear: The Fix

Conquer any fear with this DIY guide to applying a proven treatment plan called cognitive- behavioral therapy. Think of it as training for the mind.

Never Fear: Q&A with Barbara Rothbaum



Never Fear: How to Beat Backcountry Phobias

Don't let groundless phobias ruin–or even prevent–your backcountry adventures. Here's a foolproof plan for overcoming your terrors.

Health News: Breathe Easy

What to know about hiking with asthma

Survive This: You're Wet & Cold

Here's how to avoid hypothermia.

Destination Nowhere

The most remote spot in the Lower 48 is inside Yellowstone National Park. It's also the goal of our correspondent. What he encounters–and what it says about the solitude backpackers treasure–will surprise you. PLUS: See more of his photos and read a Q&A.

River Keeper

Grand Canyon raft guide and Havasupai tribal member Shana Watahomigie becomes a paddling–and Hollywood–pioneer.

Bus Hiking: Don't Pay at the Pump

Gas prices are soaring. Glaciers are melting. What's a conscientious hiker to do? Take the bus, says Dan Koeppel, who did just that to escape downtown L.A.

Predator-Prey Relationships

Learn how carnivores and their quarry interact—and what happens when humans upset the natural balance.

See More Beavers

America's largest rodent may be clumsy on land, but in water, it's a marvel of design.

Danger Signs: Flash Flood

July to mid-September is prime time for heavy rains in the Southwest, where fast-rising water in narrow canyons can turn trickling streams into deadly torrents. Don't get swept away.



Wind Power: Turbulence Ahead

Wind power offers clean energy–but how much will hikers compromise to get it?

Adventure Weekends: Luxury Hiking and Camping

We've got a selection of cozy shelters and trail-side restaurants from Washington to Maine. Check out these hikes in the Rockies, the Northeast, and the Northwest.

Where Can I Find: Fall's Best Birdwatching?

Looking to catch some migrating birds? Find out where to look.

The Fix: Shenandoah National Park

Catch this national park's brightest fall foliage on a short stroll or an all-day epic.

September 2008 Table of Contents



American Classic: Hiking the Appalachian Trail

In this ultimate guide to the country's favorite footpath, you'll find our picks for the best hiking and camping, and a complete plan for thru-hikers. Plus, meet a man who has made it his job to help AT hikers.

Camp Coffee Gear: Make the Perfect Cup

4 backcountry brew gadgets even the snobbiest baristas will love.

How to Score Denali's Choicest Permits

The system was rigged, says a former ranger. Here's how to beat it.

Denali National Park

Hike with grizzlies in this remote northern corner of Alaska's greatest park.

Yellowstone National Park

America's first national park is a playground for grizzlies, wolves, moose, and hikers (not in that order).

Olympic National Park

Explore two ecosystems in this hinterland of moss-draped forests, ancient trees, and snowcapped peaks.

How to Light a Campfire in the Smokies

Trees, trees are everywhere, but sometimes there isn't a dry twig in sight.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Graze blueberry patches, explore swimming holes, and tag the South's high points on this sultry hike.

How Your Kid Can Save a Park

Send him out on a work trip. Let wilderness do the rest.

Grand Canyon National Park

Drop into America's belly on a little-known hike that dips in and out of four different canyons, each blessed with gurgling spring water.

24 Hours of L.L. Bean

It's the gear world's ultimate endurance event: a full day and night roaming the aisles at Bean's flagship store in Freeport, Maine. Will our man survive?

Walking the Talk

First John Francis stopped riding in cars. Then he stopped talking. More than three decades, two continent-spanning hikes, and countless trail miles later, he's still following his remarkable path of protest–only now he's not alone.

Yosemite National Park

Climb classic Sierra passes, ogle granite monoliths, and camp above treeline in John Muir's second home.

Glacier National Park

Scramble up class III peaks and cross late summer snowfields on this strenuous but straightforward trip through Montana's big-mountain country.

National Parks Lifelist: Intro



National Parks Lifelist

The ultimate vacation in one of America's iconic parks requires the ultimate hiking plan: classic scenery, no crowds, and secret campsites. Here's how to spend a perfect week in Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Denali, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Next Level: Navigate Cross Country

3 key skills for getting off the trail without getting off course

Survive This: Bitten by a (Rabid?) Animal

Chomped by a critter? Here's what to do.

Trip Doctor: Helping National Parks

Will my vacation to a national park help them?

Track Caribou in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness

Glimpse these rare mammals in Idaho's Salmo-Priest Wilderness.

Quick Fix: Apostle Islands

You don't need a boat to see this spectacular national lakeshore. Here's how to explore the best of its bluffs and beaches by foot (and paddle).

3 Poached Treasures

Backcountry crooks ransack public lands, stealing the natural prizes most coveted by collectors–and vulnerable species and hikers alike suffer when these icons vanish from the trails to resurface on the black market.

Is Inadequate Funding the Main Problem Facing the National Park System?

This question fuels the debate regarding how to help the aging national park system improve.

See More Vultures

Learn the secrets of nature's greatest recyclers

Phenomenon: Glacial Relics

The Ice Age left its mark from Acadia to Yosemite. Here's scenic evidence.

Road Warriors: Hikers Versus ATVs

Hikers and ATV riders hit the ground in a new battle over trail access.

The Ultimate "Survive This!" Archive

If you can imagine it, we've seen it-and offered expert analysis. From avalanches to volcanoes, this archive contains step-by-step plans for escaping a slew of mishaps that can befall weary travelers.

Beyond Destination Nowhere: Q&A with Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins, the author of "Destination Nowhere," discusses his Yellowstone assignment to find the most remote spot in the United States.

I Climbed Los Angeles

One small step for our stair-obsessed man, one giant leap for fitness freaks everywhere.

Phenomenon: Wildlife Crossings

How did the bear cross the road? See a few ways engineers are helping wildlife go over, under, and around traffic.

See More: Great Blue Herons

This dignified giant stands four feet tall, making it North America's largest heron.

Big Trips Made Easy: Hayduke Trail, UT

Finding total Southwest solitude

Big Trips Made Easy: Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA

Exploring a high, wild corner of the North Cascades

Big Trips Made Easy: Allagash Wilderness Waterway, ME

Floating a liquid maze in the Northeast's lake-riddled forests

Big Trips Made Easy: High Sierra, CA

Rambling a granite redoubt

Hike It: 4 Big Trips Made Easy

Ready to dial up the adventure meter? Try out your digital skills–and go places most people can't–on these life-list journeys.

Share and Share Alike?: Top Five Photo Sharing Sites

Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room–or around the world. Web-based photo sites aren't all created equal. Here are our top 5.

Photos 101: Save and Share Your Photos, Produce a Slideshow, and Print Your Images

Learn how to save your photos, print them, get published, and produce an audio visual slideshow.

Post Your Video Online

Learn how to upload your video to YouTube and tap a social network like Facebook or MySpace to post links to your movie. Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room–or around the world.

Share Your Trip; Make and Show Off Your Map

Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room–or around the world.

Share It: All the World's a (Cyber) Stage

Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room--or around the world.

The Grand Tetons: 5 Hikes, 7 Days (or so)

How to retrace each segment of the author's perfect week from "A Perfect Week in the Tetons."

A Perfect Week in the Grand Tetons

You won't waste a minute with our only-the-highlights hiking and climbing guide to the West's archetypal range. From the loftiest summits to the loneliest cross-country routes, this seven-day sampler visits every type of Tetons treasure-and then some.

The Big Question: Should loaded guns be allowed in national parks?



Where Can I Find the Quietest Campsite in America?

Shhh! Find silent shores in this isolated Boundary Waters hideaway

The Onion vs. Mr. Magoo

On your mark, get set ... hike. Inside a 5,600-mile footrace on the country's hardest trail.

The Cure: Head Injuries

To tell the difference between a bad bump and a life-threatening blow, follow these crucial steps.

Survive This: Separated From Group

If you get lost from your hiking party, here's how to get found–fast.

Danger Signs: Painful Plants

Sure, you know the mantra "leaves of three, let it be." But that warning alone doesn't help you detect those irritating plants that change colors, grow as vines, or mimic harmless species. Heed these tips to keep your summer itch-free.

The Cutting Room: Editing Programs and Storage

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

The Cutting Room: Video

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

The Cutting Room: Photos

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

The Cutting Room: GPS

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

Organize It: The Cutting Room

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

Field School: Trail-Tested Tech

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures. The best new digital tools for every budget and skill level.

Field School: Essential Tips

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

Field School: Make a Movie

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

Field School: Capture Classic Images and Record Your Hike

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

Document It: Field School

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

4 Trip-Planning Sites and Top Tech Tools

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it.

New Tools, New Rules: Get Maps and Go

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it.

New Tools, New Rules: Plan the Perfect Trip

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it. Here's how to get started the high-tech way.

Plan It: New Tools, New Rules

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it.

iHike: Hiking in the Digital Age

A Complete Guide to the Digital Revolution–and How to Join It

National Park Vacation Planners: 3D Videos and Downloadable Beta

3-D hike videos, complete trip planner pdfs, our interactive ParkFinder tool, and more.

The CDT Project

We sent 209 readers out to GPS the Continental Divide Trail, the biggest, baddest long-distance path of them all. They brought back the makings of the first authoritative map of this American classic. These are their stories–and their favorite sections.

Climb Higher

With the right preparation–and a little help from a half-dozen friends, two exotic techno-gadgets, and one very sweaty hypoxic chamber–can a sea-level-dwelling rookie climb the highest peak in Colorado?

Eat Better

Want to hike farther, explore tougher terrain, and carry big loads without bonking? To achieve your biggest backcountry goals, you have to change how you eat.

Train Smarter

Get trail-fit in six weeks with this simple exercise plan.

Summer Fitness Special: Hike Stronger, Live Longer

Achieve peak performance on the trail with our complete guide to training and eating like a backpacker.

Hiking The Sierra High Route

On this burly, 210-mile traverse, which crosses 33 passes and barely touches established trails, you can find Alaska-sized scenery, complete solitude, and just enough risk to keep things interesting.

Secret Agent Man

Animals can't talk. But Ed Newcomer can. As an elite U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service detective, he goes undercover to protect threatened raptors, bears, even butterflies–and bring poachers and smugglers to court. Inside the agency's latest covert operation.

3 Bright Birds

Of all the North American bird species, few stand out more than this trio of flyers. Their vivid plumage makes them some of the easiest springtime wildlife to spot.

Should Mount St. Helens become a national park?

New legislation could make the volcanic monument a national park. But is that a good thing?

See More: Deer

Learn the difference between elk, white-tails, and mule deer.

Phenomenon: Microbursts

These vertical hurricanes are rare–but deadly.

Danger Signs: Burn Zones

Here are the top three wildfire dangers and how to avoid them.

Nuclear-Free Hiking

How Cold War weapons sites are becoming America's most unusual new preserves.

Trace Canada's Spine

Hike the best section of the Great Divide Trail.

Trip Finder: Wildflowers

Trek the best spring blooms from the Ozarks to the Olympics with these two, three, and four day treks.

Where Can I Catch America's Largest Grillable Trout?

Looking to catch and eat the big one? Try paddling Arkansas' Little Red River.

Quick Fix: Great Smoky Mountains NP

Check out the steepest trail, the best swimming hole, and the wildest vista in America's most popular national park.

The Porters' Progress

Two Everest-scaling Sherpas face their biggest challenge yet–surviving suburban America.

Survive This: Swarming Wasps

Forget all the rules about freezing or making yourself big. When faced with these angry beasts run for cover.

February 2008 Table of Contents



April 2008 Table of Contents



Rock Star: Brett Dennen

Once a guide and counselor near Yosemite, up-and-coming musician Brett Dennen is now taking his backcountry jams to the masses.

Backpacker Editors' Choice 2008

The year's best packs, boots, tents, jackets, and sleeping bags. Period. Plus, a never-die headlamp, a life-saving beacon, a back-saving ultralight chair, and more innovative, trail-tested gear.

Carbon-Neutral Costa Rica: How I Lost 5,400 lbs While Packing for the Trip of a Lifetime

In search of a guilt-free adventure in the tropics, Jason Daley discovers the line between saving the world–and seeing it.

Iceland: Live Earth

The planet's most dynamic landscape is full of bubbling hot springs, steaming geysers, and kaleidoscopic lava flows. Hike Iceland's epic Laugevegur Trail, and join the action.

Web Exclusive: The Rebirth of Santa Cruz Island

Dive into the Channels Islands with exclusive on-the-scene video, photos, and trip reports.

Hot Springs: Soak Here Now

6 more must-dip pools from Alaska to Hawaii

Hot Springs: The Perfect Pool

Here are the top wilderness soaks on the continent. Can you keep a secret?

Does Geocaching Violate Leave No Trace?

Are these hidden containers harmless, or do they flout low-impact ethics?

See More: Bobcats And Coyotes

Unlike their cougar and wolf cousins, these cats and dogs are (often) easier to spot.

Phenomenon: Northern Lights

The science behind the sky's natural fireworks display–and how to see it.

Danger Signs: Trail Confusion

Don't want to get lost? Heed this advice on four trail situations that routinely cause problems.

Where Have the Animals Gone?

Scientists hike deep into California's wild high country to probe for answers.

Where Am I Lowest On The Food Chain?

Want to hike where the most predators exist? Pack your courage and follow these directions.

Time 2 Go: See Newborn Animals

Looking to catch baby animals taking their first step? You can't go wrong with these picks.

PERFECT DAY: Redwood National and State Parks, CA

Here's longtime ranger Jim Wheeler's plan for an eye-popping adventure among the ancients.

Make Your Own Hikes

Invent your own hike, and go where no one (well, almost no one) has gone before.

Quick Fix: Death Valley National Park

Badlands, peaks, wildflowers: Catch the best of the California desert with this trio of hikes.

Quick Fix: Death Valley National Park



North America's Highest Sandbox: Great Sand Dunes National Park

The most exotic hike in the United States is smack in the middle of the country: Welcome to Great Sand Dunes National Park.

National Parks Inc.

Like it or not, national parks are officially in the business of business. Will this focus destroy the soul of a national institution - or save it in these lean times?

Backpacker Magazine Launches Fully Redesigned Website with New Multimedia and GPS-Supported Content

New features and web-based tools enable Backpacker's passionate online community to share trips, post pictures, and get the latest in gear reviews and adventure news and content.

Green Guide

In honor of Earth Day, we bring you the first industry-wide survey on which gear manufacturers are positively impacting the environment, plus much more.

Your Weeklong Dream Trip



Your Next Big Peak



Your Longest Dayhike Ever



March 2008 Perfect System: Southwest



The Future of the National Parks

Everyone loves national parks - but are they being loved to death? Join a star-studded roundtable to explore the fate of this embattled American institution.

March 2008 Essentials Review: Hydration



Perfect Day: Saguaro National Park

Many people think exploring this 91,440-acre desert park is all about dodging the tall, spiny cacti that earned the place its name. But Southern Arizona Hiking Club guide Steve Singkofer knows better. His favorite 20.3-mile route - including a 4,500-foot climb - reaches overlooks of Tucson and far beyond.

March 2008 Essentials Review: Navigation



Phenomenon: Glaciers

Glaciers sculpt mountains, dredge valleys, and remain an unending source of fascination for hikers.

Hiking Honeymoon: How to ruin a perfectly good marriage

What happens when a couple's vows are tested by hard miles and hunger pains on the John Muir Trail? A sore-footed bride tells all.

Secrets of the Guides

Camp like a pro with 83 field-tested tips and techniques from experts who earn their paychecks in the backcountry.

Trip Doctor: Shopping For Guided Alaskan Treks

How can I comparison-shop for a guided trek in Alaska?

The Works: Trek Tasmania

Half a world away, you'll find exotic highs while hiking in Tasmania.

Hike Glacier National Park

Visitors to Montana's Glacier National Park can visit on the cheap or pay an arm and a leg -- but each way has its unique charms.

Time 2 Go: Hike With Birds

Whether you've got hours or weeks, here's where to go for the birds.

What Would Davy Crockett Do?

He'd toss the titanium stove and build a big fire. Our man enrolls in a traditional guide school and learns how to survive - and think - like an American original.

May Close-to-Home Hikes

Our map team has been hard at work plotting the coolest hikes. Check out May's selections here.

Backpacker Skills Videos

Not quite sure how to fit a pack, measure your torso, calculate your V02 max, patch a sleeping pad, or clean a funkified hydration unit? Watch and learn.

Zero Impact Challenge

Is it possible to build a backpack that doesn't contribute to global warming? Not yet, but five pioneering companies gave it one helluva try. (Cue standing ovation.)

Survive This: Lost in the Desert

When you're stuck in the desert unexpectedly conserve, conserve, conserve.

Survive This: Stuck on a Scree Slope

When you're slipping and sliding, don't let your partners help you. Learn how to climb yourself to safety.

Survive This: Volcanic Eruption

Don't worry about lava. Worry about rocks and mud and ash.

A Dozen Ways to Die

How do hikers meet their maker in the backcountry? The answers may surprise you.

Survival Story: Surviving a Grizzly Attack in Glacier National Park

On August 25, 2005, Johan Otter and his 18-year-old daughter, Jenna, hiked right into the worst nightmare of any Glacier National Park backpacker: a 300-pound mother grizzly protecting two cubs. Here, in his own words, the 45-year-old physical therapist from Escondido, CA, shares the incredible story of their life-and-death struggle.

Missing in Action: How a Backcountry Ranger With 28 Years Experience Disappeared

Did High Sierra ranger Randy Morgenson succumb to depression or disaster?

Lost: True Tales of Wilderness Treks Gone Desperately Wrong

From snowblindness to wrong turns, everyday wilderness adventures can turn ugly if you're not prepared for everything.

Learning About Survival Where Aron Ralston Outwitted Death

Follow correspondent Kevin Fedarko into the remote Utah slot canyon where Ralston famously separated himself from his right forearm.

Lost & Found

John Donovan disappeared in a high-elevation blizzard, leaving rescuers and friends stumped. His backpack contained a miracle clue. Bill Donahue investigates.

How to Stay Safe in the Wilderness

Retracing the route to people's accidents can help us prevent our own. These 10 trips lead you to the exact locations of disasters from Denali to the Grand Canyon.

Cascades Meltdown

The Lower 48's most glaciated region is losing its ice at an astonishing rate.

Digging for Clues: How to Prevent Exctinction

A big-picture biologist unearths threats to songbirds, salamanders, and a peak-loving furball.

Species We Can Kiss Goodbye

These dozen creatures are threatened by global warming.

Rising Tides Threaten Classic Trails

Headed for the coasts? Keep those Tevas handy. Swelling oceans are threatening to submerge classic trails.

Super Poison Ivy is Coming

More potent poison ivy is on the way, plus fast-growing weeds that will change the face of Eastern forests.

The Brown Death: Pine Beetles vs. Forests

Pine beetles are felling more trees than wildfires and the timber industry combined.

The Future of Forests

As the earth warms, here's how higher temps will affect our forests.

How to Lighten Your (Planetary) Load

We found 17 pioneering products that will cut your carbon cost without sacrificing performance.

Phenomenon: Valles Caldera

Hike into the epicenter of a cataclysmic explosion in New Mexico's Valles Caldera

What Will Alaska's Future Look Like?

Alaska is the last frontier, but energy development and climate change promise to change the face of our wildest state in your lifetime. Here's how.

Backpacker's Carbon-Neutral Project

Last fall, we showed you the many ways that climate change is altering the wild places we love. Now, a look at what BACKPACKER is doing to reduce the magazine's impact.

Welcome to the New Backpacker.com!

With more features, a new look, and the most informative content this side of the trail, the new Backpacker.com is amped up with the best in adventure, gear, travel, skills, and survival on the web.

Phenomenon: The Life Cycle of Wildfires

Global warming creates conditions that invite larger and more frequent forest fires. Here's how.

Phenomenon: Snowmelt

Rising alpine temperatures and polluted snow are threatening snowpack–and the water it generates.

Minnesota's Boundary Waters Face Extermination By Climate Change

As temperatures rise, Minnesota's North Woods will likely go up in smoke.

I, Citizen Scientist

Learn how you can help combat climate change by researching everything from Alaska's Bering Glacier to tracking pumas in Argentina through citizen scientist programs

Why Glacier National Park is Melting

Global warming is drying up Glacier National Park's rivers of ice. Learn how scientists are trying to prevent the Glacier demise from happening at other outdoor attractions.

Can a Lime-Green Vegetable-Oil-Powered Beetle Save the Earth?

One writer ditches his S.U.V. for a vegetable oil-powered Volkswagon Beetle and drives into the Sierras to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and test his environmentalist platitudes

Stay Warm On the Trail and In Camp

On the trail and in camp, beat the cold with these tips.

How to Waterproof Everything

From your tent, to your bivy sack, to yourself, learn how to stay dry and comfortable.

How to Survive A Night Without Gear

When a day hike turns into an overnight, learn how to take care of yourself.

How to Treat Poison Ivy

Beat the itchy stuff with creams or homeopathic measures.

Escape From Unfriendly Natives

On the trail black bears, skunks, grizzlies, rattlesnakes, and ticks are not your friend. Learn how to side-step them.

7 Strategies for Keeping the Backcountry Pristine

Here are the seven guidelines to Leave No Trace

How to Build a Never-Fail Campfire

Where campfires are allowed, it's important to know how to build–and put out–flames properly.

Packing List: Survival Gear List

Always be prepared for adversity with these pieces of gear.

Calculate Trouble

Time is of the essence in the backcountry. Learn how long it will take an impending thunderstorm or avalanche to find you.

Reading Topo Maps: Understanding Map Symbols and Colors

Dotted, dashed, and curvy. Red, blue, and brown. All these colors and styles criss-cross a topo map. Learn what they mean.

Learn How to Stay On Course

By understanding your terrain, knowing your pace, and reading the map regularly you can stay on course wherever you are.

18 Sudden Threats: The Right and Wrong Responses

Things happen fast in the wilderness. It's important to learn the right and wrong actions beforehand so you can react accordingly.

Navigation 101: Understanding Your Compass

If you don't know what triangulation is, read this article.

Reading Topo Maps: Understanding Contour Lines

Topo maps just look like a children's drawing if you don't know what contour lines are.

How to Protect Your Map From the Elements

While you're cozy in your waterproof jacket, your map has to face the rain, or snow, or mud, alone. Learn how to protect this precious piece of paper.

How to Align Your Compass

Learn how to orient your map with a few basic compass skills

Pretrip Planning

A successful hike often starts with a bit of research.

Time To Go: Winter Tracking

Hit the wilderness in search of beasts big and small.

3 Ways to See Mexico's Pacific Coast

Secluded coastline and bikable rain forests are just two things waiting for you in Mexico

Smash Your Fitness Barriers With Heart-Rate Training

Become a better hiker. Build speed, endurance, and strength all through heart-rate training.

How Climate Change is Affecting Our Alpine Environments

Thanks to melting ice and snow, climate change is effecting the future of our mountains

Green Guide Exclusive Online Materials

Information on 19 more "green" companies and an interview with Big Agnes's Bill Gamber

The World's Smartest Bears

Welcome to Yosemite, iconic American landscape, hikers' paradise, and all-you-can-eat home of the wiliest bruins on earth.

Best Damn Weekend Ever: Oregon's Crater Lake

Circumnavigate Oregon's Crater Lake on snowshoes

Preserving Ancient Artifacts

Looking to get more than scenic views out of your hikes? The U.S. Forest Service's Passport in Time program turns trekkers into weekend archaeologists.

GPS 201: Using Advanced Navigational Tools

Don't be daunted by a thick owner's manual. Unlocking your unit's advanced navigational tools is easier than you think.

Backpack Rocky Mountain National Park

Try this 30-mile lollipop loop that is almost entirely above 9,000 feet.

The Wolf Watchers: Researching Wolves In Idaho

Inside Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, humans and wolves learn to co-exist.

Backpacker's Readers' Choice Awards 2008

America's 100 Best Hikes–chosen by you.

Pack Fast, Pack Right

Organization and preparation will make your next overnight or day-hike packing session easy. Below, the Backpacker editors showcase their mistakes for your benefit.

Phenomenon: What are Sky Islands?

To see how animals stay cool in a hot climate, just look up.

How to Avoid Sudden Thaws

Warming temps can wreak havoc on snow-packed adventures. Learn the conditions and warning signs that can cause a dangerous, sudden thaw.

Where to See More Desert Wildlife

Spot lizards, wrens, and javelinas in the desert Southwest with these tips.

Over the Rainbow: Finding Red Rock In the Navajo Nation

A rarely-attempted traverse reveals the Navajo Nation's vast red-rock wilderness.

How to Survive Winter Storms

New Hampshire's Mt. Washington is know for its evil weather. Learn how to survive a winter storm from one of the peak's experts.

Backpacker Interview: The Trail Bandit

Rangers despise him. The law is after him. Yet in chopping down trees in an overgrown national park, Bob Garrison has become a hero to some hikers.

Through the Kaleidoscope: A Family Fall Trek Through New Hampshire's White Mountains

Cozy huts, five-course meals, and world-class foliage highlight one family's fall trek.

Phenomenon: Battle Quicksand With Quick Thinking

Quicksand isn't just in old Westerns, it's also a real backcountry hazard. Learn how to save your life when faced with the slippery stuff.

Danger Signs: How to Detect a Winter Storm

Learning to determine winter weather signs depends on where you are.

Plan the Perfect Trip

Smart ways to foolproof your next hike.

Trip Doctor: How Can I Get My Spouse to Go Hiking With Me?

Pretty pictures and promises of a trade might get unenthusiastic spouses out the door.

Find the Tallest Waterfall in the U.S.

Head to Hawaii for three of the tallest

The Backpacker Interview: From Jail to Trail

Inspired by a mountain view, Don Moseman walked out of prison and hiked his way to a better life.

Survive a Mangled Ankle

Help yourself hike out after an ankle injury

60 Minute Fixes: Boise

Idaho's capital offers hiking, kayaking, and climbing close to downtown

How to Protect Your Heart While Hiking

Cardiac arrest is the number three killer in the outdoors&ndashlearn how to prevent, recognize, and treat trail-side heart issues.

Magnifique: Discover France's Maritime Alps

Where classic Euro trekking meets the Mediterranean coast.

December '07 Gear Test: 3D Connexion Space Navigator, Purosol Sport/Marine, Solio, The Pod

The Backpacker testers try out some ingenious products for photo taking, map making, screen cleaning, and portable recharging.

How to Choose a Campsite

A NOLS veteran offers tips on balancing comfort, safety, and Leave No Trace principles.

Perfect Day: Gila Wilderness, New Mexico

Take a winter hike to the steaming pools of Melanie Hot Springs in Gila Wilderness, New Mexico.

365 Days of Adventure

Traverse the Yukon Territory's Tombstone Range, sea kayak Baja, trek Torres del Paine, Patagnoia–all in 2008. Plus, monthly adventures closer to home.

How to Survive Getting Lost In a Whiteout

Don't forge ahead when faced with whiteout conditions.

Survive This: Meeting a Menacing Stranger On the Trail

Learn how to avoid shady characters on the trail.

Where Can I Find the Site of Ansel's Legendary Yosemite Photo

Museum curator Glenn Crosby tracks down Ansel Adams' famous shot

Best Damn Weekend Ever: Kayak a Superior Archipelago

Try this black diamond, three-day kayak trip that navigates Lake Superior's piney islands.

Quiz: Would You Survive?

The wilderness can be deadly if you don't know what you're doing. Take our test to rate your survival IQ—and learn a few skills that might save your hide.

How to See In the Dark

Expert tips for improving your night vision

Backcountry Survival: How to Survive in the Backcountry

There's a backcountry killer on the loose, and it's not hypothermia, grizzly bears, or rockfall. The thing mostly likely to maim you on your next hiking trip is living inside your head.

The Source of All Things

Recently released as a full-length memoir, The Source of All Things was first published as a feature article in BACKPACKER in December 2007. This is the full-text of that article.

Freefall: Tragedy in the Grand Canyon

Arizona's Havasu Canyon is a hiker's paradise famed for its jaw-dropping waterfalls. But now there's trouble in paradise—serious trouble.

Cut Your Carbon in Half

A hiker's guide to fighting climate change

Gods Of Rock: The Adirondack Mountain Club trail crew

Sharpen your double-bit axe, get your pecs ready for action, and shoulder the biggest pack you've ever seen. Then dive into the trenches with a screwball trailbuilding crew, fixing the neediest hiking paths in the Adirondacks. Assuming you're not afraid of some very heavy lifting, this just might be the ultimate summer job.

Hell On Wheels

Bob Coomber is determined to become the first man in a wheelchair to ascend a 14,000-foot mountain.

Adventure Guide: Glacier Peak Wilderness

Like crowded campsites and easy trails? Then by all means avoid this deafeningly quiet expanse of rugged, wildlife-rich mountains and forest in Washington's North Cascades.

GPS Review: Brunton Atlas MNS

If cost is no object, this unit is like having an interactive topo map at your fingertips.

Adventure Guide: Glacier National Park

Explore six new routes through the most rugged, scenic, and wildife-rich mountains in the Lower 48.

GPS Review: Garmin Foretrex 101

A favorite unit for beginners

GPS Review: Garmin Rino 520

You'll never lose your partner if you're each carrying a Rino.

GPS Review: TomTom GO 300

Just throw this unit in the car and go

GPS Review: Motorola i560 GPS Cell Phone

This rugged unit will let you call home from the trail

GPS Review: Garmin eTrex Legend C

A reliable and moderately priced unit with high-end capabilities

Water Purifier Review: AquaStar Plus

A water bottle that doubles as an emergency lantern.

GPS Review: TomTom GO 300

Don't fight over where the trailhead starts. Get this handy gadget and you'll find it every time.

Dogsledding in Minnesota: Born to Run

Head out with six hard-charging huskies, and winter will never feel more alive.

Best Damn Weekend Ever: Paddle Around St. John, Virgin Islands NP

Kayak amid the reefs and sand of Virgin Islands National Park

Weekend Adventures: Big Tree Hikes

Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.

The Future Of National Parks

Everyone loves national parks--but are they being loved to death? Join representatives from the Park Service, Department of the Interior, Sierra Club, American Hiking Society, and more to explore the fate of this embattled American institution.

Save or Splurge: Kayak Southeast Alaska

Tour the wildlife menagerie that is southeast Alaska on two kayak trips

The Works: Trans-Yosemite Ski Tour

Start packing now for a once-in-a-lifetime ski tour through silent, snow-draped Yosemite.

Essential National Park Skills: The Ultimate Park Pass

Write your own ticket to new adventures with these 10 territory-expanding skills.

Yosemite @ $7.38 An Hour: Seasonal Work in the National Parks

Our scribe-turned-pizzaman labors in the land of granite and pulls back the curtain on the seasonal-employment fantasy.

Utah Hikes: The Case For Glen Canyon

Drought is giving Glen Canyon--and those who love it--a second chance. Here are four spectacular reasons why we should protect this Southwest wilderness by making it America's next national park.

National Parks Inc.

Like it or not, national parks are officially in the business of business. Will this focus destroy the soul of a national institution--or save it in these lean times?

Mountaineering Fitness: Climb Like Ed

Got summit fever? The sky's the limit with a fitness plan and climbing tips from world-class mountaineer Ed Viesturs.

Last Chance Adventure: Oregon's Umpqua National Forest

Can you see the forest through the trees? Join a bittersweet trek through an old-growth wilderness in its final days.

Wide Awake And Dreaming

The author sets out to camp in New York's Central Park--and winds up roused by matters of life and death.

Paddling's Greatest Getaways

16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.

Hot and Bothered: Wildlife and Global Warming

Climate change isn't just melting glaciers--it's messing with wildlife everywhere

8 Weeks to Fitness for Any Hike

No gyms, no weights–and, with our easy-to-follow plan–no bonking on the trail.

Alive Again: New Findings in the 1972 Andes Plane Crash

Colorado climber Ricardo Peña's surprising discovery raises new questions in the infamous tale of survival

Water Bottle Review: Guyot Designs Gription

Prevent embarassing, water-wasting splashes by replacing your water bottle's lid with the Gription.

Ultimate Summer Escapes: The Best Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips Near You

Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.

America's Hardest Dayhikes

Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Scott Williamson

To hike from Mexico to Canada and back, a man needs strength and speed and luck. He needs something else, too. If only he knew what it was.

New Zealand Backpacking

It's better than you've heard, and closer than you think. Here's how to see it all in 10 perfect days.

Next Level: Off-Trail Navigation

Use a map, compass, and GPS unit to plot an ambitious route with this beginner's guide to bushwhacking

Oy, Wilderness: First-Time New York Campers

Three days. Two nights. Five New Yorkers who had never slept outdoors. And a leader who has some issues with map and compass. What could go wrong?

More New Zealand Adventures: Climb, Paddle, Jump!

Canyoning, mountaineering, kayaking, and camping, Kiwi-style

GPS Review: Garmin Foretrex 101

Get started--or get simple--with the best GPS deal

The Grizzly Detective: Tracking Bears in the Bitterroots

America's preeminent bear tracker backpacks Idaho's most remote wilderness looking for signs of the lost grizzlies of the Bitterroots--and winds up staring at the great bruin's future.

High Points: Boundary Peak, Nevada

Expect unexpected challenges to reach the summit

High Points: Granite Peak, Montana

The toughest high point in the lower 48

High Points: Mt. Rainier, Washington

Get to the top and you'll hear a joyous echo

High Points: Wheeler Peak, New Mexico

Bighorn sheep and golden eagles await you at this high point.

High Points: Gannett Peak, Wyoming

The longest and wildest approach in the bunch

High Points: Mt. Hood, Oregon

Head through the Pearly Gates for a heavenly sunrise

High Points: Humphreys Peak, Arizona

An easy high point with an unpredictable personality

High Points: Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Your car does all the climbing here.

High Points: Mt. Whitney, California

You could do it in a day, but don't rush this one.

High Points: Mt. Elbert, Colorado

Come enjoy this high peak's playground

High Points: Borah Peak, Idaho

Don't forget your sound judgment when summitting this high point.

High Points: Kings Peak, Utah

The mosquitoes make it challenging, but the towering sedimentary rock makes it worth it.

Happy Go Wet: Backpacker's Rain Quiz

Can you handle a rainy outing? Take our fun quiz to see how you'd fare under a sky of liquid sunshine.

High Points: Woodall Mountain, Mississippi

America's bloodiest high point

High Points: Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina

A high point that provides an alluring combination of scenery, storms, and access.

High Points: Black Mesa, Oklahoma

Welcome to this delightfully weird world of extremes.

High Points: Guadalupe Peak, Texas

This peak lives up to its reputation.

High Points: Mt. Magazine, Arkansas

Hit the high point and move on to the other attractions this park offers.

High Points: Black Mountain, Kentucky

Look closely for the path to this high point.

High Points: Driskill Mountain, Louisiana

The mile-long walk invites contemplation like few other high point approaches.

High Points: Britton Hill, Florida

A humble high point in a low-lying state

High Points: Clingmans Dome, Tennessee

A downright goofy dome marks this highpoint.

High Points: Cheaha Mountain, Alabama

Go from the path of racecars to the path of a high point.

High Points: Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina

It's all about the journey.

High Points: Brasstown Bald, Georgia

Come visit this Cherokee named place of fresh green.

High Points: Mt. Sunflower, Kansas

Something's happening in this spot where nothing happened.

High Points: Panorama Point, Nebraska

There's not a bad napping spot anywhere.

High Points: White Butte, North Dakota

If you loathe traffic, the commute to White Butte is pure ecstasy.

High Points: Harney Peak, South Dakota

Traveling to this point will leave you at a loss for words.

High Points: Campbell Hill, Ohio

Time it just right to get to the top of this one.

High Points: Taum Sauk Mountain, Missouri

Lay low like Jesse James at this high point.

High Points: Mt. Arvon, Michigan

The view is nothing to write home about, but this newly crowned high point deserves a visit.

High Points: Hoosier Hill, Indiana

A fitting place to ponder the true meaning of the term Hoosier.

High Points: Charles Mound, Illinois

Access is limited, but well worth the view.

High Points: Timms Hill, Wisconsin

This old logging camp and woolly mammoth marching ground provides incredible views.

High Points: Eagle Mountain, Minnesota

Find this high point in the largest national forest outside of Alaska.

Family Camping Tips

Ideas to help make the backcountry family friendly

Up High Down Below: 3 Top Peaks in the Lower 48

Can't make it to Canada? Try Glacier Peak, Baker Peak, or Catamount Mountain

Offshore GPS: How to Navigate in the Water

New tools for water navigation: Strap one to your thwart, and you'll never paddle in circles again.

An Overnight Success?

Need a crash course in backpacking? Join our newbie and his brooding teenager as they fend off mountain lions, overzealous retail clerks, and other beginner hazards.

Fall Hiking at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mellow temperatures, low water and autumn colors make for a perfect time in the Smokies

Hike Baker Creek in Great Basin National Park

A peerless art gallery of bristlecone pines, wildflowers and a ridge walk

High Points: Spruce Knob, West Virginia

Watch out for rough weather and serpentine-like roads as you drive up to this highpoint.

High Points: Ebright Azimuth, Delaware

True highpointers will find this peak.

High Points: Mt. Rogers, Virginia

Allow the plants to color the landscape as you make your way along the trail.

High Points: High Point, New Jersey

You'll find numerous surprises as you explore the lakes, rivers and forests of this highpoint.

High Points: Mt. Marcy, New York

A long hike to the highpoint where weather and black flies could pose a challenge.

GPS Basics

What's GPS, how does it work, and will it help you?

GPS Fast Fixes

Don't let your GPS unit stump you. Try one of these suggestions to get your unit trail ready.

A Cure For Latitude And Longitude: Using UTM Coordinates

Learn this mapping technique for better off-trail travel.

Being Caribou Returns Home

We follow a giant, endangered caribou herd from the Yukon to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Part 6.

Devil's Thumb: It Can't Be Climbed

Will anyone ever climb the dangerous northwest face of Alaska's Devil's Thumb? Maybe they shouldn't.

Secrets of Yosemite National Park

Sneak in the side door for a private viewing of the finest in California's High Sierra real estate.

Night Vision

Bats have nothing on this nocturnal hiker.

Burn, Baby, Burn

3 surefire ways to light a reluctant fire

Being Caribou: Arctic Summer

We follow a giant, endangered caribou herd from the Yukon to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Part 5.

Stone Cold Campers

They kill swiftly and silently. They flit like ghosts through enemy forests. And they will brew you a fine cup of cowboy coffee. Meet America's deadliest hikers as we hump ruck with the Special Forces.

How Pete Stays Dry

3 waterproof secrets from veteran mountaineer Pete Takeda

Washington: Grand Valley, Olympic National Park

On this trip you'll find everything from alpine meadows to ancient rainforests

Missouri, Current River and Ozark Trail

Hike and canoe through the pristine springs of Missouri's Ozarks.

Blueberry Magic

Berries Prove Balance Can Be Sweet

Highlander Genes

Why are Sherpas so studly?

High-Altitude Blues

Why do we bonk at 14,000 feet?

Cold Sleepers vs. Hot Sleepers

One camper sweats and another shivers. What's the deal?

Survival Starts With A Kiss

Learn the latest survival smarts with this military acronym

Body Of A Backpacker

It's lean, it's mean, and it can last forever.

Go Fish

If you can't hook a monster in one of these fishing holes, you better hang up your rod.

Good Gear Gone Bad

It's all fun and games 'til someone gets a tent pole in the eye.

Luxury Gone Wild At Ahwahnee

A night in Yosemite's most famous hotel

Balancing Act

Secrets for staying on your feet from dancers, tightrope walkers, running backs, and more.

Boundary Waters

Get lost in the land o' lakes with 3 quiet, crowd-free trails

Hawaii: Waimanu Valley

Come to this tropical oasis for great weather, an array of fruit and some great swimming.

Being Caribou: A Mountain Of A Shortcut

We follow a giant, endangered caribou herd from the Yukon to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Part 4.

Alaska, Colville River

Visit this remote section of the Arctic before climate change alters it forever

Being Caribou: Calving Grounds

We follow a giant, endangered caribou herd from the Yukon to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Part 3.

Being Caribou: 350 Miles On Skis

We follow a giant, endangered caribou herd from the Yukon to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Part 2.

Expedition Planner: Glacier National Park, MT

Get more Glacier hiking ideas in our online exclusive

Ouachita Trail, Talimena State Park

Here's a lush and hilly Arkansas oasis snuggled in an area known for being flat and dry.

California; Death Valley National Park

Camping in Death Valley might give you the hottest day of your life.

Spray Park, Mt. Rainier National Park

You'll never get a bad view of Rainier's glacier-clad slopes.

Cascade Pass, North Cascades National Park

The Cascade scenery on this hike can only be compared to those of the Alps.

The Needles, Canyonlands National Park

Don't miss these 200 foot candles carved from sandstone towers.

Grandview Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

Here's a challenging hike with constant Grand Canyon views.

Colorado: West Elk Range

Spring comes earlier to this mountain paradise.

Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park

Some of the most classic glacier scenery is offered to all visitors of this national park.

The Global Warming Tour 2003

The ultimate guide to greenhouse adventure, featuring 8 surprising new trips, acres of virgin terrain, and a peek at the future of North American wilderness.

Montana, Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park

The most-studied glacier in the park lets you see global warming in action.

Arizona, McDowell Sonoran Preserve

If you are in search of southwestern wildlife, this is the place to be.

Table Mountain, Teton Range

This summit offers the finest view anywhere of the Grand and surrouding peaks.

Beach Trail

This Indiana Dunes trail offers visitors views of the lake, the Chicago skyline, wildflowers and some of the tallest trees in the region.

Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Paddle blue inlets too new for any topo.

Massachusetts, High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary

Beantowners love the sights the High Ledges area has to offer.

New York, Indian Head Mountain, Catskills

Abandon the Big Apple for a visit to this great wilderness.

That Zesty Taste

Liven up your purified water.

Oregon, Silver Falls State Park

The beauty of this hike comes alive with the rain.

Mt. Jefferson, Presidential Range

Scenic ridges and some high White Mountain peaks abound on this great hike.

Good News About Bad Food

Got burgers on the brain? Learn why some experts say it's okay to indulge.

A Better Mouse Trap

Rodents can be real pests in campsites. Use this trick to stay rodent-free the whole trip long.

Ricketts Glen State Park

This favorite Pennsylvania destination of our editors is filled with old trees, shale cliffs, wildlife and stunning wildflowers.

Glacier National Park

3 hidden hikes in our readers' favorite backpacking park

Dinosaur Valley State Park

This Texas park holds true to its name with some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world.

Proud Lake Recreation Area

Michigan's Proud Lake has many flavors of wilderness to offer.

Channel Islands National Park

This wild paradise is the Galapagos of California.

Utah, Glen Canyon

Receding water levels mean more miles of choice desert hiking and kayaking.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

A thousand-foot-deep gorge is the centerpiece of this tri-state park.

South Is Thata Way

Determine direction without your compass.

British Columbia, Mt. Robson

Explore a glacier-covered forest near the Canadian Rockies' highest peak

Guana River State Park

Who wouldn't want to be marooned on this Florida barrier island?

Balloon Dome, Ansel Adams Wilderness

Don't let well-known Sierra neighbors like Yosemite overshadow this stunning wilderness.

Handies Peak, San Juan Mountains

This summit will put you high above what many consider to be Colorado's finest mountain range.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Come to Acadia and you'll earn your lobster.

Virginia, White Oak Canyon, Shenandoah National Park

Waterfalls abound on this great 8.2 mile loop.

Being Caribou: Spring Migration

We follow a giant, endangered caribou herd from the Yukon to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Part 1.

Touched By A Grizzly

Can anyone really know what lurks in the heart of a grizzly? In the wilds of Russia's Kamchatka peninsula, Charlie Russell believes he is beginning to find out.

Alaska Made Easy

Just minutes from Anchorage lie dozens of world-class hiking and paddling trips. This guide gives you the best, plus gear and travel tips to smooth the way.

Hike Idaho's Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

River rats wait years to ride the wild Selway River. Hikers can taste its raw beauty right now.

Being Caribou: The Route

How do you plan a route following 123,000 migrating caribou across Canada and Alaska? Try to keep up.

Think Outside The Bottle

10 surprising uses for your water bottle.

Being Caribou: Caribou Facts

18 facts you didn't know about Alaska and Canada's Porcupine Caribou herd.

Being Caribou: Protecting the Porcupine Caribou Herd

Protection one of Alaska and Canada's largest caribou herds is so close, yet so far away.

Mountain Miles

Calculate real mileage by accounting for slope in the mountains, and you'll avoid getting into camp after dark.

Three Quiet Grand Canyon Hikes

You'd never guess it: Three quiet trails in such a busy, beautiful place.

Passport Protection

Always carry extra identification when traveling internationally.

Being Caribou: Caribou I Am

How do you plan an expedition to follow 123,000 migrating caribou across Canada and Alaska? Very carefully.

Being Caribou: ANWR Or Bust

Will he keep up? Karsten Heuer embarks on an audacious 1,200-mile expedition-cum-caribou chase.

North Carolina's Hungry Forests

Visit Croatan National Forest, a place so wild it has more flesh-eating plants than people.

Foot Mechanic Quiz: Fixing Foot Problems Before The Hike

Do your foot troubles warrant an expert's opinion? Take this quiz to find out.

The Wild List: A Guide To The Best Outdoor Spots

A definitive guide to the hottest, sweetest, looniest, and most colorful spots in the great outdoors.

Stop Your Sniffling: Allergy Advice

Don't let itchy eyes and a sneeze-machine nose ruin your hike. Here's our guide to keeping allergies at bay.

Secrets Hikes Of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Can a place that sees 9 million visitors a year really have any surprises? You bet. We found three hikes full of unexpected history, scenery, and solitude.

10 Best Bird Watching Hikes In America

Spring is for the birds. Here's where to find a flock near you.

Expedition Planner: Kamchatka

It's as big as California, boasts more volcanoes than Alaska, and counts nearly as many geysers as Yellowstone.

Dead Flashlight Battery Blues

Keep your flashlights and headlamps alive longer with these trail tips.

Hike The Hidden Trails of Rocky Mountain National Park

Here's a detailed hiking planner that will take you to the hidden corners of Colorado's most scenic park.

Stay Warm In Winter

Winter warmth is easy with these tips from arctic explorers, cold-weather experts, and army docs.

This Winter, Book A Yurt

Stay cozy this winter by bedding down in a heated cabin or yurt.

Powder Hungry? Hike These Snowshoe Trails

Bust out of winter doldrums on one of these stellar snowshoe routes.

Wild Weddings

Want a ceremony that reflects your passion for the outdoors? Here's everything you need to know to pull off a wilderness wedding.

Dreams Of Tibet: Exploring Lost Himalayan Mountains And Cultures

Deep in the heart of the forbidden Tibetan kingdom, a long-awaited adventure inherited from the author's father takes an unexpected twist.

Best Dayhikes In America

With strong legs and an ambitious plan, you can see more wild country in 12 hours than some backpackers see in a week, and still make it home in time for dinner.

Best Waterfall Hikes

Learn the weird science behind our addiction to waterfalls, and the location of the best trails in North America.

Trapped! The Mike Turner Story

Deep in Wyoming's Wind River Range, an accident with a sliding boulder makes a hiker confront his life, his fate, and his faith in God.

Climbing Alaska's 'Great One': Denali National Park

Do you have what it takes to climb Alaska's Denali? Find out with our mountaineer's guide.

Climbing The Scenic Route On El Pico de Orizaba

Try this ultra-scenic route if you attempt North America's third highest peak.

Climbing Denali: The West Buttress Route

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Climbing Aconcagua's West/Southwest Face

Aconcagua's West/Southwest Face offers climbers more challenge on the Western Hemisphere's highest peak.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania

Hiking Italy's Via delle Bocchette

Dolomites, Italy

Climbing Mexico's Iztaccíhuatl

Planning to climb Mexico's famous volcano Iztaccíhuatl? Start with our online guide.

Climbing Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya offers classic climbing to all backpackers

Climbing Kings Canyon: The Obelisk

The Obelisk offers a remote climbing challenge far removed from other Sierra hotspots.

Hiking Montana's Lonely Mountains

Hidden deep in Montana's high country lies the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, a seldom-visited range of cool forests and skyscraping peaks.

Hiking The Mahoosuc Range

The short but stunning Mahoosuc Range has major-league attractions, like the toughest mile on the Appalachian Trail and conditions that discourage the faint of heart.

Hike Nevada's Sagebrush Oasis

Hiding in the arid plains of Nevada you'll find a cool refuge from the desert heat and room to let your imagination soar.

Hike Through Washington's Blue Mountains

City life got you down? Head for the quiet hills of southeastern Washington, where the air is clean, the water clear, and bighorn sheep outnumber hikers.

Wolves And Water: Arizona's Blue Range

With an abundance of wolves and water--two rarities in the desert--Arizona's remote Blue Range may be the Southwest's best kept secret.

Healthy Hiking For Men: Preventing Jock Itch And Other Problems 'Down There'

A wilderness guide to proper care and maintenance of the family jewels.

Know Your Backcountry Bugs

Guide to common bugs in the backcountry.

How To See More Animals

To get closer to the critters, you need to look like a tree and smell like a raccoon.

Your Backwoods Pharmacy

When illness or injury strikes, the medicine you need is in the plants alongside the trail and at your feet.

Holing Up In A Matterhorn Hut

The Bossi Bivouac Hut offers culture and comfort at the base of the Matterhorn.

Hiking Tahiti's Rugged East Coast

Jungles, coral-reef wading and rocky scrambling await Tahitian adventure hikers.

Tips For Safe Travel

Planning an overseas backpacking trip? Here's a few tips to prepare you before you go.

Fire And Rain On Costa Rica's Volcanoes

Deep in the cloud forests of Costa Rica, you'll learn to dodge fireballs and poisonous frogs while tracing a circuit around a living volcano.

Kayaking Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

Endless varieties of coral and birds await when you kayak the blue waters of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Australia's Aboriginal Walk In The Park

Face your fear of snakes and spiders in Australia's Royal National Park, and the bush will reward you with the journey of a lifetime.

Hiking And Kayaking Russia's Lake Baikal

Visitors to Siberia's Lake Baikal encounter endless coastline, brown bears, and exotic hiking to last a lifetime.

Hiking China's Wonder Wall

Rather than simply stare at the Great Wall, a determined hiker decided to get a different perspective.

Backpacking France's Grand Canyon: Gorges du Verdon

Southeast France's Gorge Du Verdon provides backpackers with miles of narrow canyon walls, river wading, and strenuous hiking.

Snow Leopards: Gray Ghosts Of The Himalaya

When you hike the world's highest peaks in search of the legendary snow leopard, be prepared for the unexpected.

Challenge The Backpacker Editor: The Ultralight Report

Torrential rain and wind expose chinks in our author's ultralight armor, but don't dampen his enthusiasm for the pleasures of unencumbered trekking.

Death Valley Warmed Over

Time spent in California's Death Valley can be a life-enhancing experience.

Ply A Backwoods Water Trail In The Boundary Waters

In Minnesota's Boundary Waters, thousands of blue routes await those willing to dip a paddle.

Avalanches: The Big Slide

Watching snow fall is a backcountry joy--unless it's barreling 80 mph down a mountain and you're in its path.

Wild As A Feral Hog On Mississippi's Black Creek Trail

You'll have a hard time keeping track of all the critters along Mississippi's Black Creek Trail.

McKinley: Backpack Around "The Big One"

Let rivers and ridgelines be your compass as you hike in the shadow of Alaska's Mt. McKinley.

Trek Across Nepal On The Annapurna Circuit

The Annapurna Circuit is your path to the rooftop of the world.

On Thin Ice: Safe Hiking On Frozen Lakes

How to hike safely across frozen lakes and ponds

GPS For Average Joes

The latest GPS receivers take the mystery out of high-tech route finding. We powered up four models to find the best for backpackers.

Best Backpacking In Kentucky

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Kentucky.

Top 5 Fossil Trails

With fossils present in all states (although New England tends to be fossil poor), you can get a glimpse of the past almost anywhere you backpack.

Best Backpacking In Idaho

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Idaho.

Best Backpacking In New York

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in New York.

Best Backpacking In Oregon

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Oregon.

Best Backpacking In Colorado

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Colorado.

Best Backpacking In Wyoming

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Wyoming.

Best Backpacking In Montana

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Montana.

Best Backpacking In Missouri

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Missouri.

Hiking The Eastern Continental Trail

Say hello to North America's newest long trail.

Best Backpacking In California

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in California.

Best Backpacking In Georgia

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Georgia.

Best Backpacking In Florida

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Florida.

Best Backpacking In South Dakota

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in South Dakota.

Best Backpacking In Oklahoma



Best Backpacking In Washington

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Washington.

Best Backpacking In Ohio

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Ohio.

Best Backpacking In Maine

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Maine.

Best Backpacking In Michigan

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Michigan.

Best Backpacking In Massachussetts

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Massachusetts.

Best Backpacking In Alaska

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Alaska.

Best Backpacking In Connecticut

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Connecticut.

Best Backpacking In New Jersey

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in New Jersey.

Best Backpacking In Indiana

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Indiana.

Rash Decisions: Fighting Backcountry Itches

Here's what I keep in my first-aid kit to battle the itchiest rash known to medical science.

Best Backpacking In Virginia

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Virginia.

Best Backpacking In Pennsylvania

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Pennsylvania.

Best Backpacking In Delaware

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Delaware.

Best Backpacking In North Carolina

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in North Carolina.

The Urge To Fly

Do you ever have the urge to step off the edge and fly like a bird?

Best Backpacking In Illinois

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Illinois.

Best Backpacking In Alabama

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Alabama.

Best Backpacking In Arizona

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Arizona.

Best Backpacking In Rhode Island

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Rhode Island.

Best Backpacking In Iowa

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Iowa.

Best Backpacking In Hawaii

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Hawaii.

Best Backpacking In South Carolina

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in South Carolina.

Understanding GPS

Using your GPS is easier than you think.

Best Backpacking In Louisiana

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Louisiana.

Best Backpacking In Nevada

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Nevada.

The Best Backpacking In America

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in America.

Best Backpacking In Maryland

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Maryland.

Best Backpacking In Mississippi

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Mississippi.

Best Backpacking In North Dakota

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in North Dakota.

Best Backpacking In Vermont

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Vermont.

Best Backpacking In New Mexico

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in New Mexico.

Best Backpacking In Wisconsin

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Wisconsin.

Best Backpacking In Texas

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Texas.

Best Backpacking In Nebraska

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Nebraska.

Best Backpacking In New Hampshire

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in New Hampshire.

Best Backpacking In Utah

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Utah.

Best Backpacking In Tennessee

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Tennessee.

How To Speak GPS

Common GPS terms you should know.

Best Backpacking In Arkansas

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Arkansas.

Best Backpacking In Minnesota

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Minnesota.

Best Backpacking In West Virginia

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in West Virginia.

Best Backpacking In Kansas

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Kansas.

The View No More

How America's tragedy affected one New Jersey hiker.

Blazing Trails: Avoid Wildfires

Here's a handy tip to avoid wildfires in the backcountry.

Healing The Badlands

How can we conserve South Dakota's Badlands?

Hiking Idaho's White Cloud Mountains

Head to the White Cloud Mountains for a crowd-free taste of Idaho high country.

Take Your Family Outdoors

Camping with kids can plant a wild seed in them that will grow as they do-but only if you get them Out There.

Different Strokes: Paddling Techniques For Hikers

For a different wilderness experience, try floating down the river in a kayak or canoe.

Wild Island Hiking

Hear wild horses thunder through camp. Look for wolf tracks in the mud or eagles' nests in the cliffs high above. Cast off the workaday world and go hike an island paradise.

Loomis State Forest: Hike Washington's Cascade Secret

Hike to the edge of the Cascade Range in this forgotten corner of the Washington wilderness.

HIking British Columbia's Savage Coast

Hike a rugged, historically rich trail for 21 miles along a nearly deserted island off British Columbia's coast.

Lost Soul Or Yukon Slasher?

When you're deep in the wilds, a bedraggled stranger wandering into camp triggers a moral dilemma: Offer him dinner or run for the hills?

Coping with Leeches

How to deal with and treat those bloodsucking leeches.

Hiking With Wisconsin's Wolves

Feeling people-shy? Follow Wisconsin's wolves to this lonely section of the Ice Age Trail.

Utah's Best Wildflower Blooms

Follow the hummingbirds in the Mt. Naomi Wilderness to the best high-country wildflower show in all of Utah.

World Of Wild Flowers

They may look sweet and innocent, but blooming plants are the floral world's version of a hot 'n' steamy orgy.

Baca Ranch: The Southwest's Yellowstone

For years, hikers have dreamed of trekking in Baca Ranch's untouched, wildlife-thick backcountry. You'll soon get your chance.

Winter Camping Tips: The Perfect Tent Pitch

How and where you should set up your winter tent for maximum comfort and shelter longevity.

Hike To Protect Wilderness From Drilling

How many miles of trail or acres of wilderness will we sacrifice for a tank of gas? Here's a look at eight threatened wildernesses and what you can do to stop the drilling.

Bug Bite Evasion Therapy

What's the best way to treat bug bites? Don't get bit in the first place.

Keeping Utah's Outdoor Secret

Should secret wildernesses be revealed? Utah's Anasazi artifact hotbed Cedar Mesa begs the question.

Spotting The Elusive Wolf

Our guide to spotting wolves on Michigan's Isle Royale.

Navigating From Lost To Found

How one perpetually disoriented hiker found her bearings, thanks to some backwoods navigation pros.

Hiking Through Lessons Of Fire

Years and even decades after a forest fire, the healed land tells amazing tales about the benefits of flame.

Bushwacking: Pole Position

Stow your trekking poles to get an advantage when bushwacking a trail.

Bushwhacking: Go Up The Creek

Trouble crossing the trail? Try the creek.

Mountains: The World At Your Feet

High above the trees you'll find the hike of your dreams: a ridgeline trail where your only companion is an occasional mountain goat.

Safe Trekking After Wildfires

Follow these tips when hiking in burned country.

The Mountain Knows

When our firstborn son left us, the word "burial" was never uttered.

Belly Ache Or Poison?

What to do if the berries you munched weren't safe after all.

Splendor Hiking The High Sierra

Take the finest mountains in the world, add high-country meadows, glacial valleys, alpine lakes, pine-and-hemlock forests, and what do you have? A recipe for backcountry bliss.

Lightning Survival Update

If you're caught in a lightning storm on the trail, head for the hills.

Bushwacking: It's A Jungle Out There

From North Carolina to Alaska, bushwhacking is easier with the proper preparation and attitude.

Hike Higher In Colorado's Collegiate Peaks

Hike into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and you'll enjoy Colorado's best summer school.

Compass Tips: Bearing It All

Just to be safe, keep that compass handy.

Firewalking: A Forest Fire's Aftermath

In an ancient cycle older than man, the fires that torched the West in summer 2000 are causing a dramatic and stunning rebirth of the once-charred landscape.

Route-Finding Tips: Stay On Course

Follow these six route-finding tips, and stay found.

Planning Your Route

Use these navigational tricks, gleaned from champion orienteers and U.S. Army's Special Forces, to stay on track.

Hiking Washington's Elwha Trail Rainforest

Washington's Elwha Trail is a rain-forest classic: green, primeval, spongy soft, and wonderfully wet.

Hot Hikes After A Wildfire

Seven places where you can walk through a whole new landscape, plus opportunities to help rebuild charred trails.

Bushwacking: Get High, Stay High

When bushwacking a trail, go high altitude and stay there.

Going Tribal

We know the strength that courses through flesh and bone when standing at a trailhead, ready to set out and practice our primitive art.

Breathing Easy

A double lung transplant slows, but doesn't stop, Pacific Crest Trail hiker Dennis Coffey.

Hiking Utah's Hayduke Trail

You won't find Utah's 725-mile rogue route on any map. But thanks to two passionate Utah hikers, you'll soon be able to search it out with your boots.

Discover California's Point Reyes National Seashore

In Point Reyes National Seashore, you'll find peace and quiet in the heart of California's earthquake zone.

Backpacking Tennessee's Cumberland Trail

If you're a backpacking purist, Tennessee's new Cumberland Trail was made for you.

Guarding Your Grub

Above treeline, there's no easy way to hoist your vittles.

Bacteria In Paradise

On your next tropical dip, beware of water-borne bacteria.

Grand Canyon Magic

"With some eagerness, and some anxiety, and some misgiving, we enter the canyon below?." -John Wesley Powell, August 13, 1869

Identifying Wildlife Holes

There's a fascinating world of fur and claws underfoot. Here's how to tell who's down there.

Tundra Trekking Tips

Just because it's flat and treeless doesn't mean it's easy hiking.

Death On Montana's Granite Peak

High on a Montana mountain, the mystery of a long-lost climber continues to unravel for those willing to make the arduous trek and search for clues that literally lie at your feet.

David Brower's Last Interview

Activist and former backpacker David Brower reflects on his life in the political trenches and on the trails.

Backpacking Colorado's Elk Mountains

When it pours, good rain gear and a great sense of humor help you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Buying A Better Filter

It's simple: Unless you like getting sick, treat all of your water. Follow these 10 essentials to find and maintain the right filter.

Hiking Dreams Really Do Come True

Easily said and done, when you have a constant reminder at bedtime.

Just Go

Sometimes, despite all the commitments and obligations, you know what you have to do.

Another Tick-Borne Disease

You can add another disease to those you might get from ticks: ehrlichiosis.

Avoiding Snakes: Nature's Evil Twins

Some species look alike, but guess wrong and you could have a harmful mistake on your hands.

Hiking Arizona's Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness

Arizona's Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness is so incredible, you'll want to tell the whole world.

Poison Ivy, Bees and Wasps

Do you know your backcountry poisonous threats?

Organize Your Backpacking Trip

Meet Jamie and Joe, who need help with everything from planning to packing to eating well. Enter our team of experts, with a few simple tricks designed to turn them-and you!-into well-oiled backpacking machines.

Oldest Insole Discovered

A 5,200-year-old artifact provides insight into early man's walking habits.

Finding Blazed Trail Markers

Here's a quick tip for finding blazed trails.

North Carolina/Georgia's Bartram Trail

Take along your plant guidebooks for this flora-filled treasure.

Natural Toothbrushes

Forgot your toothbrush? You can still practice good hygiene.

Washington's Olympic Coast

It's the longest stretch of virgin coastline left in the Lower 48. But that's just one of many reasons to hike it.

Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail: Land Of Cool Cliffs

Carved limestone cliffs add even more to love on Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail.

Ironwoman Senator Of The Yukon

Compared with the rough-and-tumble Chilkoot Trail, the Senate is a walk in the park for Ione Christensen.

Reading Backcountry Animal Scat

A good pile of scat speaks volumes about your backwoods animal neighbors, if you know how to read the calling card.

Hypothermia: Just The Facts

Quick Tips to Prevent, Recognize, and Treat Hypothermia.

Zipped-Tight Water Safety

Use ziplock baggies with your water purifiers for extra safety.

Giant Sequoia National Monument

How do you protect the largest trees on Earth? Don't harm them in the first place.

Too Cold For Comfort

How to improve your tolerance for cold and enhance your outdoor performance.

Alaska Lands Act: 20 Years Later

In the 20 years since the passage of the Alaska Lands Act, nothing has changed in many of the state's wild places. And that's reason to celebrate.

National Parks: Best Overall Park

Glacier National Park possesses scenery that'll suck the breath out of your lungs, quiet so intense you'll wonder if your ears still work, and enough wildlife to make a zookeeper drool with envy.

Bears And The "Blend In" Theory

New research suggests that bear bells don't work, and colorful tents and clothing may attract bruins.

Horsepacking: A New Breed?

Some well-meaning, leave-no-trace horsepackers are trying to rein in their environmentally uncouth brethren. The question is: can they change practices and attitudes that date back to the wild west days?

National Parks: Best Wildlife

Where the words "wild" and "life" take on new meaning

Wildlife Myths And Manners

When you have park visitors asking such questions as, "The animals aren't really wild, are they?" you have a recipe for disaster.

Quest For The Jackalope

Is the legendary jackalope the most endangered species in the Lower 48 or just an old cowboy tale that refuses to die?

Wind Chill Bites

Wind chill can nip noses or lead to frostbite. Here's what you should know.

Bear Spray: Packin' Heat

It's basically pepper in an aerosol can, and it's supposed to stop a charging grizzly. But will it? Here's everything you need to know.

H2O-No: Water Bottle Tips

How to fill a water bottle without getting all wet.

A Hiker In Mt. Rainier's Wonderland

Sure, you can summit Mt. Rainier, but the real treasure isn't on top. It's the Wonderland Trail down below.

Wilderness: Access For All

Should we pave the wilderness and install escalators for the disabled? No, says a former backpacker.

Beware The Hobo Spider

Its bite is more than painful -- it could be deadly.

Fitting Filter Head Adapters

What to do if your filter head does not have an adapter for your water bottle.

Wilderness Of Hope

Five troubled teens and three well-meaning volunteers head into the Colorado mountains, hoping the wilds will help heal the youngsters. But in the end, it's hard to tell whose lives were forever shaped by the experience, the youths or the adults.

Only You Can Avoid Forest Fires

Here's what to do if you're caught near a wilderness wildfire.

Lightning Tips

Where not to be during lightning.

Let Your Fingers Tell Time

Telling time without a watch is just a few digits away.

The Joy of Wilderness Music

In a strange way, music and wilderness go hand in hand.

A Hair-Raising Experience

Why two commonly held lightning-safety beliefs could get you fried, plus expert advice.

Know Your Antlers

A quick guide to antler spotting in the wild.

Absaroka's Wildlife Needs Your Help

Montana and Wyoming's incredibly wild and beautiful Absaroka needs your help.

Jackalopes: Hare-Raising "Facts"

Here's what little we've learned about the mysterious Jackalope.

Antlers: A Crowning Glory

On the hoof, antlers and horns are a regal sight. Once discarded, they speak volumes about the former owner.

On The Horns Of A Dilemma

Horns or antlers?

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Roads end in Arizona with tall tales, natural gardens, cacti forests, and shoe scorpions.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

Myths and cactus in California: A life-filled land of sand and mountains.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)

Alaska's premier area for fish and wildlife.

Arizona's Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

Cool your feet and warm your brow in this Arizona desert wilderness.

Santa Catalina Island, California

Porpoises escort you to a rugged island where buffalo really do roam.

Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

A primordial oasis of rivers, bighorn sheep, and canyons.

Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve

In Big Cypress' land of exotic plants and lurking alligators, swamps aren't such bad places after all.

Florida's Oklawaha River

Take a lazy cruise through exotic scenery, where monkeys swing and eagles soar.

Tennessee: Savage Gulf State Natural Area

Waterfalls and swimming holes aplenty.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

A watery paradise, a hiker's secret.

Cache River State Natural Area

Not your laid-back summer holiday -- canoeing and hiking galore.

Cloudland Canyon State Park



Polar Bears: Big, White... And Harmless?

If you run into the big white bears, should you be scared?

Birth Of The Northern Lights

Where does the aurora borealis come from?

Northern Lights Viewer's Guide

Follow these tips to make the most out of the northern night skies.

Mosquitoes: Avoiding Alaska's Winged Plague



Alpine Hiking, Euro-Style: A First-Timer's Guide

If you plan on hiking the European Alps, get ready for some differences across the pond.

Forest Facts: Champion Trees

Forthwith, interesting tidbits about Great Smoky's largest forest dwellers.

The Bear Facts in Great Smoky

There are scads of bears in Great Smoky Mountains National Park -- so don't forget these tips.

The Prophet Of The PNT

With the fervor of a pulpit-pounding evangelist, Ron Strickland has wandered the land, preaching the gospel of the Pacific Northwest Trail he hoped to create.

Love Thy Rattlesnake

Encountering a rattlesnake is a splendid moment in time, a cherished wilderness event--at least that's the view of Arizona researchers trying to change public perception of all things fanged.

Splendor In Vermont's Green Mountains

Enjoy Vermont's autumn colors while you can -- they disappear all too quickly, and the Green Mountains recover their namesake hue in the spring.

New York's Shower Of Color

Have your camera ready near dusk, when sunlight warms the landscape with intense color.

Elksong

At a campsite along the Snake River, the bugling goes on night and day.

California's Trinity Alps: Dr. Seuss Hiked Here

Observe the uncanny resemblance between the good doctor's famous Truffula Trees and a field of fuzz-topped flowers 5 miles up Long Canyon.

Big Bend Birding In Texas

The best bird window coincides with the best hiking season in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Theodore Roosevelt's Bison Trails

North Dakota: America's own Serengeti.

Aspen's Avalanche Of Gold

No color in nature comes close to matching the heart-stirring golden aspen found in the Rockies in autumn.

Bonus Backcountry Bug-Off Tips

Other tips to beat the most annoying backcountry biters.

Maine's Seals In The Surf

Maine's seal pups are usually born in May, making early summer an ideal time to witness the youngsters learning to swim and fish.

When Pennsylvania Elks Bugle, Love Is In The Air

The ungodly wailing that sometimes drifts through the dark woods is only an animal.

Hiking At A Berry Slow Pace

Figure on 9 days to do the entire 100-mile hike—unless you're slowed drastically by all the blueberries.

Virginia's Crest Zone: Basking In Moonshine

Pine Mountain and Wilson Ridge command high-country vistas stretching across rock-strewn meadows.

Big Cypress: Woodpeckers And Old Growth

Consider trying to spot a red-cockaded wood-pecker in Florida's Big Cypress Preserve a form of treasure hunting.

New Hampshire's Chorus Of Loons

A chaotic chorus of loon calls penetrate the darkness, the warbling sounds echoing off the wooded hills around the New Hampshire lake.

Birds In Utah's Canyonlands

Life in the high desert in autumn is sweeter and more irresistible than any place on Earth.

Alternative To Bug Spray: Permethrin

Another bug-beating option.

Maryland's Savage River State Forest

hen it comes to sheer ability to alter a landscape and shock the human senses, you can't beat the May blooms of a mountain laurel thicket.

Tennessee: Ice As Art

In winter, the glasslike menagerie of icicles in the Cumberland Plateau will send a chill down your spine.

New Hampshire: Pop Goes The Forest

You can spend days exploring the Dry River Valley forest without seeing another soul, even if it sounds like you're being chased by a well-armed militia.

Eye To Eye With Raptors

Eyeball to beak with impressively taloned hawks in West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest.

Maine's Frisky Season For Moose

Even if you don't see a moose, you'll hear the bulls' low grunts echoing off the hillside.

Stargazing In New Mexico's White Sands

The lunarlike landscape and dark skies of this preserve make White Sands one of the best places for star watching.

Washington's World Of The Larch

As autumn closes in on the larches, the green bleeds out of their needles, leaving a towering spire of gold.

Colorado's San Juans Wildflower Explosion

The majestic San Juan Mountain range is often called America's Switzerland. -- and the wildflowers match.

Arizona's Sky Islands: Harmonic Convergence

Arizona: Every year millions of ladybugs head to Arizona and coat trees, rocks, and brush like a layer of living paint.

Snowbirds Of Okefenokee Swamp

The Purple Trail through Chase Prairie or the Green or Red Trails through Floyd's Prairie are good routes for viewing Sandhill cranes.

Boating With Bald Eagles

The typical Delaware River float trip offers the opportunity to spy more bald eagles than people.

Avoiding Mosquitoes

Ah, spring, the season of the blessed bloom-and maddening mosquitoes. If you don't like slathering yourself in DEET, then you'd better learn how to avoid the pests.

Pretty As A Picture

The blaze of fall color in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is unequaled.

Kenucky's Land Of Painted Leaves

"October is the month for painted leaves," Thoreau mused. He could have been talking about Kentucky's Red River Gorge.

The Otters Of Michigan's Sylvania Wilderness

You'll emerge from a forested hallway into a wilderness playroom, and there before you will be skidmarks in the snow.

Joshua Tree's Bloomin' Good Hike

California: Journey through a desert to bear witness to some of the loveliest wildflowers you'll ever see.

Oregon's Volcanoes In Full Bloom

Vast meadows of wildflowers sprawl across the ridgetops and valley bottoms of the Three Sisters.

The Smokies: Backwoods-Style

Here's your insider's guide to The Great Smokies, probably the epitome of a true backpacker's national park.

Wilderness Wind: Blown Away

The wind can save you from bugs or drive you mad. Here's how to enjoy the benefits and avoid the downside of a good stiff breeze.

Gear Rx: Stoves And Water Filters

See if your stove or water filter is safe to repair.

Hike All Year

Okay, so the weather stinks and so does the hiking. Change both by heading down the road to where the sun shines and the trail beckons.

Alabama's Cheaha Wilderness: A Southern Secret

The little-known Cheaha Wilderness Area is the gateway to Alabama's largest trail system.

Improve Your Sense Of Direction

Scientists now believe that the navigationally challenged can retrain their brains.

Oregon's Steens Mountain: An Airborne Oasis

Steens looks like your average mountain, but hike up high and you'll find a hidden paradise.

Bruce Babbitt: Not Your Average Bureaucrat

Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit knows he can't please everyone. So rather than try, he spends his time righting environmental wrongs and preserving wildlands.

Once Upon The Alps

In the European high-country Alps you can wander through the most stunning mountains in the world. Vive la difference!

Decoding Snow Flakes

Learn what the white stuff means.

Julia 'Butterfly' Hill Leaves Redwood Home

Protester celebrates victory in a two-year battle to save a giant redwood by coming back to earth.

Baja Mexico: South To The Sun

Combine white sand beaches and gin-clear water with snow-free highland hiking, and you've got Baja, the perfect midwinter escape.

Northern Lights: The Sky Will Dance

Like shimmering rainbows in the night, the northern lights electrify the sky with color.

Breaking Trail: Snow Going

When the white stuff piles up, work together to break a trail.

Hunting For Meteors

Know what to look for and you can simply pick one up off the ground.

NOLS Founder Paul Petzoldt Dies

NOLS founder Paul Petzoldt fought for wilderness his whole life.

American Climber Alex Lowe Presumed Dead

After hours of searching through ice chunks and piles of snow on Shishapangma Mountain, searchers have called off an avalanche rescue mission to find American climbers Alex Lowe and Dave Bridges.

The Faces Of Fall

If you think autumn is simply a time to rake leaves, then you need to read our guide to the best of the fall season.

Great Smokies Showcase: Maddron Bald

In a park full of natural wonder, the route to Maddron Bald hits the high points.

The Wisdom of Abo Dude

To all the techno-weenies with your space-age outdoor gear, Cody Lundin has some advice: For that day when your butt's on the line, you better know how to get primitive.

Climbing: A Higher Calling

In every backpacker's life, there comes a time when you stare awestruck at a mountain and wonder, "What's it like to climb that sucker?"

Tales Of A Wilderness Rescuer

After you've spent a cold, drizzly, miserable night searching for a lost or injured hiker, sometimes a few simple words of thanks make it all worthwhile.

Preserving Hiking Trails: Acting Selflessly

What have you done lately for the trails and backcountry you use? Join a Volunteer Vacation and save the trails you love.

Find Wildlife At Night

Leave the book in the tent and make a date to chat with some owls and sing with the frogs.

North Carolina's Gregory Bald

Great Smoky's Gregory Bald features an amazing crown of wild azaleas.

Editor's Choice: Bowman Lake, Glacier National Park

Bears electrify an already incredible experience at Glacier National Park's Bowman Lake.

North Carolina's Mountains To Sea Trail

It's not complete, but North Carolina's Mountains To Sea trail rivals Inman's journey in "Cold Mountain."

California's Redwood National Park

Walk among giants in Redwood National Park.

Wolves' Long Journey Home

While the wolf reintroduction debate rages across the country, in Wisconsin the animals are simply reclaiming their rightful place.

The Mother of All Beginner Trips

Imagine that your well-coiffed, country club mother calls and says, "I want to go backpacking." Would it be your worst nightmare or a family dream come true?

The Devil Wore Sneakers

Last time you went looking for a new place to hike, you probably consulted a guidebook. We all do. So why is author Michael Kelsey getting lambasted for giving us what we want?

Hiking Where The Tide Pools

To understand what goes on beneath the sea, find a rocky shoreline and explore away

Alaska's Glaciers: Going With The Floes

When gently paddling amidst the mini-icebergs that grace Prince William Sound, you ponder one question: why walk?

Solo Hiking Alaska: Fear Walked With Me

A once-in-a-lifetime solo hike through Lake Clark National Park, where the midnight sun shines like candlelight on the mountains.

The Colors Of Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias

Wrangell-St. Elias National park is known for its jaw-dropping scenery, but there's just as much beauty at your feet.

ANWR: Postcards From The Edge

Journey to Alaska's far northern edge, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the midnight sun shines like candlelight on the mountains.

Water Filter First-Aid

Make sure your water purifier doesn't leave you high and dry.

Canada: The Land Of Plenty

Looking for a really wild time? Grab your passport and head to Canada, where the mountains are big, the views stretch beyond your imagination, and you can't fling a moose pellet without hitting some kind of wildlife.

California's Land Of "Thoughtful" Giants

Redwood Meadow's massive trees and wild countryside have changed little since Muir passed through 100 years ago.

Animal Rut: Doing The Wild Thing

They paw, prance, bang heads, and curl lips. The rut is on, and there's no better time to observe the wild kingdom.

Make Way For Animals

We love watching wildlife, but follow these tips to stay safe.

Wildlife Body Language

When faced with a large, testy animal, it pays to know whether it's saying, "Hi there" or "I'm about to shred your lungs."

Not Exactly Roughing It On Idaho's Salmon River Trail

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trail is a 100-mile-long backpacker's dream that comes complete with muscle-soothing waters and the occasional glass of wine with your four-course dinner.

Yosemite: Treasure Of The Sierra

Forget what CNN and Your Daily News say about Yosemite's crowds and crime and traffic. the "treasure of the Sierra" is still a golden place for backpackers to escape.

Make Your Own Shade

When it's hot outside, keep cool with this sunscreen for your head.

Be A Night Hiker

Tune up your senses and turn off the lights for a wild walk on the dark side.

Poison Ivy: Plant World Darth Vaders

Believe it or not, poison ivy isn't all bad -- but it's still best avoided. Here's how.

Of Mice And Lyme Disease

Stay away from mice out on the trail, and you'll stay away from disease-carrying ticks.

Hiker's Paradise: New Zealand

If you like stunning mountains, challenging trails, breathtaking scenery and warm temperatures in winter, New Zealand is your ticket to paradise. Just watch out for the thieving parrots.

Life's Great (Continental) Divide

The Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park is a place of reckoning and, given its trackless nature, a place of choices. To a young man who came of age here, it offers perspective on paths not taken.

Mt. Rainier National Park

A small taste of Washington's mighty mountain.

A Blank Spot On The Map

We travel to New Mexico's Aldo Leopold Wilderness to understand the roots of the preservation movement and see just how far we've come.

Why Do Fireflies Glow?

Plus 24 other round-the-campfire brain stumpers every nature buff should know.

Go Now! The Wilderness Life List

The 10 once-in-a-lifetime adventures any backwoods fanatic should have under his hipbelt before hanging up the ol' pack.

Wildlife Watching: Spring Peeping

Look on the south sides of mountains to catch animals coming out in spring.

Water Filter Maintenance

Tips to keep water filters filtering.

International Hikes: The World Awaits

Grab your passport and follow these 25 hikes where wild winds Blow, strange animals roam, and even the alpenglow adds to the adventure.

Ultralight: The Ray Jardine Way

He rocked the world of climbing, challenged the accepted wisdom in sea kayaking, and now Ray Jardine turned his renegade way of thinking to backpacking.

You Can Leave Home Without It

Putting the Ray Jardine ultralight way to the test.

Hypothermia 101

As the temperature dips, hypothermia can threaten survival for backwoods adventurers unaware of its warning signs.

Paul Schurke: Chillin' With The Iceman

Your odds of surviving, much less enjoying, a -30°F night in the woods rate right up there with a snowball's chance in you-know-where. That is, unless you make friends with a guy they call The Iceman.

Homemade Bear Bag

A homemade bear bag will make sure your provisions stay safe from hungry critters.

Grand Staircase-Escalante: The Last Best Place

Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante is huge, remote, controversial, and one of the finest destinations for backpackers in the Lower 48.

Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park

The bison are relics from the past, and the wolves know no fear. Welcome to Wood Buffalo National Park, where time stands still and the land shrugs off man's attempts to alter its primitive spirit.

Don't Feed The Animals

A well-intentioned handout today could mean disaster for panhandling wildlife tomorrow.

Insect Stings: What's Bugging You?

If the thought of a spider bite or bee sting makes your skin crawl, then preventing a painful encounter is the key.

Resurrection Pass Trail, Alaska

In a land with few trails, Alaska's Resurrection Pass stands above them all.

'Seams' Dry: Weatherproof Your Tent

Learn how to weatherproof your tent -- before it rains.

Hiking Forests Primeval

Fifteen trails that'll take you from flaming maples to towering redwoods, with plenty of shimmering aspen in between.

Mt. St. Helens: The Cataclysm and Beyond

A trek through the blast zone of a restless volcano raises questions about a father's legacy and a child's future.

What's It Like 'Anyplace Wild?'

The host of BACKPACKER's television show gives us a peek inside.

Game Trails: Nature's Trail Crews

Follow four-legged trail blazers down paths you'll never find on a map.

Night In A Whole New Light

Go out at night for a whole new look into wilderness.

Gall Wasps In Trees

What makes those golf-ball-size lumps on trees? A tiny wasp with a lot of nerve.

Praise For Porcupines

Even though they eat boots and pack straps, there's newfound appreciation for porcupines.

Mountain Lions: Return Of The Ghost Cat

The mountain lion is the only North American predator that occasionally stalks humans. Do you have anything to fear?

Canada's Lewis and Clark: Alexander Mackenzie

When it came to continent crossing, the noted U.S. explorers were a step behind Canada's Alexander Mackenzie. And until you hike his namesake trail, you can't truly appreciate the toughness of his journey or the magnitude of his accomplishment.

Big Bad Wolves?

On their own and with help from the government, wolves are reclaiming their former range. Should you worry?

Facing Grizzly Bear Fears

Hiking in grizzly territory requires preparation, respect, and a clear head. A little luck doesn't hurt, either.

Bear Bagging Your Food

Keep your food away from hungry bears.

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