Backcountry swimming in Oregon, alpine lakes in John Muir Wilderness, and more.
Escape to a high-alpine hideaway.
Sample the best of our crown-jewel lands on these superlative trips.
Breathe in the views and grandness of the Sierras without the crowds of the John Muir Trail.
Soak in a New Mexico hot spring, spot wintering bighorn sheep in the Winds, hike to a lost California oasis, and more.
Your region's go-now guide: See newts on the move in California and bears heading for lower elevation in Beartooths, MT
Hike Yosemite's granite-rimmed loop.
Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.
Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.
Your region's go-now guide
Our trail scouts' top local hikes
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.
Your region's go-now guide.
Hike to life-list hot spots without waiting in life-list lines. These under-the-radar trails deliver everything but the crowds.
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.
Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.
Cast for beautiful fish that live in beautiful lakes.
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.
More than 150 of you entered our contest to become a BACKPACKER field scout. Meet the winners.
Hike through a towering redwood forest on this easy-access overnighter.
Hike cross-country to a pocket of dreamy lakeside camps on the John Muir Trail.
Upgrade your winter fun at these 8 beginner-friendly, expert-ready spots.
Five more must-do hikes from our top field correspondent, who's notched more than 1,800 trail miles throughout the West and mapped 116 trips.
Climb an 11,000-foot peak, hike to a secret summit, see the glacier-capped Cascades, soak in hot pools, and explore the ruins of a 100-year-old resort.
The region's best picks from our top field correspondent, who's notched more than 1,800 trail miles throughout the West and mapped 116 trips.
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.
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.
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.
Discover hidden wonders in a cave-riddled wilderness.
Walk a scary-narrow rock fin to an airy summit.
Climb without crowds to the state's top mountain view.
Venture off SoCal's coast for long beaches, hidden canyons, and sea life.
Enjoy this legendary park (without the legendary crowds) on a four-day trip through the Clark Range.
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.
Watch your step on Utah' Highline Trail. The nonstop views and rampant wildlife are distractingly spectacular. Plus: Gaze away on 9 more elevated hikes.
Hike these long trails in Washington, Oregon, and California, and climb to a 10,064-foot peak in Angeles National Forest.
See scores of stunning images from the Grand Canyon, Denali, Yosemite, and more.
See Yosemite's river of ice, witness there-and-gone meteor showers in Hawaii, and mark your calendar for eight more fleeting natural wonders.
Peakbag in the White Mountains—without lugging in water.
Witness a river of slush flow through Yosemite Valley.
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.
See California dunes, Nevada red-rock canyons, Alaska's deep forest, quiet Oregon Coast, and Washington's Cascade lakes.
Escape front-country crowds on a trek to the park's idyllic interior.
Climb, hike, and camp in Joshua Tree National Park.
Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the west.
Your favorite Northwest hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.
Follow trail-savvy locals to nine sweet spot in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
More than three decades ago, a tiny band of California hikers discovered a magical valley in the Sierra Nevada. They possessed a rough map, but told no one. Now, the truth comes out.
The undisputed local experts—you—choose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways in the Northwest.
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!
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.
Find the best skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter camping trips in the U.S.
Feeling small among the world's tallest trees.
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.
Backpack a knee-trembling route through an active geothermal zone.
Hike America's most punishing paradise.
Step for scenery-packed step, nothing else compares to the John Muir Trail.
Rains summon salmon and slugs.
Make the best of fall storms on trails that improve with soggy weather.
Go straight to the top in the Range of Light.
Ten point-to-point treks with the payoffs of a thru-hike, but hikeable in a week.
Hike in the spray of waterfalls deep in the heart of black bear country.
The best local hikes near Santa Barbara/Ventura.
The best hikes near San Francisco.
The best hikes near San Diego.
The best local hikes near Sacramento.
The best local hikes near Redding, CA.
The best local hikes in LA.
The best hikes within two hours of California's major cities.
Discover the inner sanctum of California's second largest wilderness.
Climb high and then plunge deep on this hike in Southern California.
Slip and slide into refreshing pools at these backcountry swimming holes.
My hike, like a million other trips each day in Los Angeles, starts with a ride on a rumbling bus.In the heart of Los Angeles, a band of hikers starts a local-trails revolution--one step at a time.
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.
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.
Explore a granite wonderland, cross two little-used passes, and score High Sierra solitude on this point-to-point hike.
The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.
Hike to the world's best tropical campsite, see elephant seals, and trek through poppies. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
Our army of reader-reader scouts mapped 59 local hikes from South Carolina to Northern California. See their favorites, then learn how to download tracklogs and waypoints.
Whether you're looking for Coastal, Canyon, Peak, Forest, or Urban hikes, we have those. Plus some paddling (Water) trips for good measure.
Hike amongst the trees in these Washington, California, and Vermont hikes.
Hike high points on Mt. Rainier, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Whitney.
Hug the coastline in these Michigan, California, and British Columbia hikes.
This 26-mile trek along California's coast should have been a highway...except it was too riddled with cliffs to build on.
Check out the Mountaineer's Route of Mt. Whitney if you're looking for a challenge.
See giant sequoias, including General Sherman, on this great family hike.
Discover the rewards of winter camping on this easy snowshoe trek.
At Mt. Tam you'll find wilderness solitude with Pacific views only 20 miles from San Francisco. Plus, there's a beer garden.
Trek through lush fields that thrive on just two inches of annual rainfall.
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.
The world's prettiest shoreline, giant pines, and Yosemite's premier view.
Hike Hawaii's all-world coast to a secluded beach.
Explore lonely alpine scenery in this off-the-radar wilderness.
Trek 211 miles through hiker heaven.
Take a lightly trafficked trail into the word's biggest grove.
Bag a granite peak with big views and small crowds.
Get a highlights tour of the High Sierra backcountry.
Don't waste winter: Tackle this cross-country canyon trek in the Lower 48's largest national park.
Hawaii's Nakalele blowhole rivals Old Faithful. Plus: Trek to Oregon's salmon run and California's wine country.
No crowds. No frills. No cakewalk. This hang-on-for-your-life climb is not for the meager-hearted.
Wine making and hiking come together perfectly in the Sonoma Valley, where California meets the Mediterranean.
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.
Haunted mountains? Vanished campers? Bloodthirsty creatures? An evil wind that lures hikers over a waterfall? We dare you to hike America's scariest trails.
Go ahead and hike to this park's famous lakes and waterfalls. Just watch your step–and your back.
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 perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.
Hike these paths before the masses find them.
For our 2010 Readers' Choice issue we want to know your favorite trail in America.
Sharing is for kindergarten. Take one of these 30 hikes and you can have the wilderness all to yourself.
Alternative routes, where to find solitude in the Lower 48, and avoiding the crowds in America's most crowded park
You won't find bottlenecks on these untrammeled peaks.
Find real solitude amid the crowds at these secret stashes.
Lose yourself in a private paradise the crowds have overlooked.
Get national park-caliber scenery without crowds (or entry fees!) in these dead ringers for Great Smoky Mountains, Zion, and Yosemite.
Ten perfect summits for your next group hike
Get big views and rack up long miles with these close-to-home adventures.
A quick guide to the best acres, trails, and views.
Check out the world's hottest hydrothermal fumarole, Glacier's grizzlies, and a venus flytryp in North Carolina.
Trek through a trio of wilderness playgrounds on shape-shifting mountains of sand.
With these top day, weekend, and week-long hikes, you'll see more than your fair share of Yosemite's wonders.
Yosemite Valley may be popular–rightfully so–but it still holds secrets. Hike this long-forgotten trail on the North Rim, and you'll have the granite icons to yourself.
Does your kid want to be an ice climber? How about a thru-hiker, or paddler? These cities have just what you need.
Which towns offer the ideal mix of accessible trails, inspiring teachers, and great recreational resources? We worked with The Outdoor Foundation to identify America's top 25 places to beat nature deficit disorder.
From Boulder to Juneau to Bozeman, see which cities made the cut for the best place to raise an outdoor kid, and why.
Time to cool down. Hike to these refreshing swimming holes and settle right into summer.
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.
Hike across forested hills to gape at ocean vistas just one hour north of San Francisco.
Discover the world's oldest tree, America's biggest cavern, and Florida's largest herd of wild horses on these three treks.
First, check out our tips for healthy hiking on steep terrain in the May 2009 issue then, put them to the test on one of our favorite high-angle trails from California to North Carolina.
Take your pick of mountains, rainforests, deserts, or the ocean–or experience all four zones in a single day–one advantage of living the outdoor dream along the west coast of America.
In this interview the founder of adventure travel dishes on his favorite wild places, oddest encounters, and the world's next great trekking destinations.
Use our comprehensive state-specific pages to find hikes in your home state our a state you're planning on visiting.
Use our comprehensive city-specific pages to find hikes near your hometown or in a city you're planning to visit.
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.
Climb the Lower 48's highest peak on a route with all of the thrills but none of the crowds.
We'll show you how to see these majestic birds in the wild.
Witness glittering underground gems, skate across frozen ponds, and wander amid towering walls of ice. Just don't try to lick anything.
Pick your own path to an empty 14er.
Fall camping season seems to go on forever with these fair-weather weekend trips.
These dark-sky treks serve up perfect viewing spots for autumn's intergalactic bling in North Carolina, New Mexico, and California
Swallowed by Sierra scenery
Ghost stories always seem scarier beside a flickering campfire. So, dim your headlamp and scoot up closer: our writer-at-large explores the ghoulish beginnings of these age-old tales and shares a few of his all-time favorite blood-curdlers. We dare you to read on.
Thru-hike the most remote miles in California's range of light
The world's tallest tree towers above a secret location deep within the
lush, tangled backcountry of Redwood National Park. Determined to find this
our correspondent discovers something more incredible than he ever imagined.
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.
The Ice Age left its mark from Acadia to Yosemite. Here's scenic evidence.
After reading Dan Koeppel's latest urban hiking adventure "Don't Pay at the Pump" (September 2008), we guarantee you'll want to crank "Magic Bus" and ditch the car on your next trip to the trailhead. We can help. Our map team has assembled more than 25 hikes you can access via public transportation. Plus, check out more of Michael Darter's photos and read Koeppel's 2004 feature, "I Climbed Los Angeles," to learn about his slightly insane 19-mile L.A. staircase route.
One small step for our stair-obsessed man, one giant leap for fitness freaks everywhere.
From the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains to New England, we've got nine epic ridgewalks just for you.
Finding total Southwest solitude
Exploring a high, wild corner of the North Cascades
Floating a liquid maze in the Northeast's lake-riddled forests
Rambling a granite redoubt
Ready to dial up the adventure meter? Try out your digital skills–and go places most people can't–on these life-list journeys.
How to retrace each segment of the author's perfect week from "A Perfect Week in the Tetons."
Spectacular lake views, granite-edged trails, and surprising solitude will make you want to go in circles on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
After nearly two centuries of ecological havoc wreaked by invasive species, the gem of Channel Islands National Park is becoming a paradise again. ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Watch a video and see two photo galleries from the island.
Hikers learn to leave (absolutely) no trace on high-traffic peaks and trails.
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.
Once a guide and counselor near Yosemite, up-and-coming musician Brett Dennen is now taking his backcountry jams to the masses.
6 more must-dip pools from Alaska to Hawaii
Here are the top wilderness soaks on the continent. Can you keep a secret?
Stay dry on spring treks in Minnesota, New Mexico, and more.
Scientists hike deep into California's wild high country to probe for answers.
Looking to catch baby animals taking their first step? You can't go wrong with these picks.
Here's longtime ranger Jim Wheeler's plan for an eye-popping adventure among the ancients.
Badlands, peaks, wildflowers: Catch the best of the California desert with this trio of hikes.
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.
You can only get so far off the grid in a single day - that is, unless you take a shortcut into the mountains. Many ski resorts, including the three premier sites mentioned below, open a lift or two in summer and fall, offering an express route to places high and wild. There's no other way to get this deep into the woods this fast.
Whether you fear, respect, or applaud these complex creatures of the night, the tips below will help you find and observe them.
John Donovan disappeared in a high-elevation blizzard, leaving rescuers and friends stumped. His backpack contained a miracle clue. Bill Donahue investigates.
If you've always dreamed of descending into the center of the earth, try one of these creekbed hikes.
Thru-hike L.A. County? It can be done with Southern California's Backbone Trail.
Track the sun on these 2-4 day trips in the Southeast, Southwest, and Hawaii
Join Gregory Mountain Products master pack designer for a day in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree, Zion, and the Guadalupe Mountains are three hike-worthy desert destinations.
Find out what happens when four people hike the 221-mile John Muir Trail in just a week. Then learn how to bag the classic in more sensible lightweight fashion.
Thoreau, Hemingway, and Kerouac all went into the backcountry to find the right words.
In 10 days, carrying just 25 pounds, you can pound through the John Muir Trail...happily. Get the plan.
Shave pounds from your whole packing list.
Got a few days off, a pair of healthy feet, and a pain threshold higher than Dean Karnazes? You can (possibly) blaze the length of America's Most Beautiful Trail
Whether you are after fishing holes or skinny-dipping, Backpacker tracked down the best campsites in the country
You won't want to miss this breathtaking 8-mile dayhike.
Some things are so inevitable there's no sense disputing them: death, taxes, and the unrivaled beauty of the Sierra.
Bob Coomber is determined to become the first man in a wheelchair to ascend a 14,000-foot mountain.
Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.
Our scribe-turned-pizzaman labors in the land of granite and pulls back the curtain on the seasonal-employment fantasy.
Start packing now for a once-in-a-lifetime ski tour through silent, snow-draped Yosemite.
Forget Sunset Boulevard. The City of Angels' abundant coastline and steep canyons will have you creating your own walk of fame.
Scratch the picturesque postcard surface of Big Sur...and there's far more than you imagined, including hot springs and high-rise trails.
16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.
See all (or any) of northern California's three faces.
Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.
Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes
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.
Hike and climb-and then kick back-in a High Sierra sweet spot.
You could do it in a day, but don't rush this one.
Lose the sun-baked stereotype and bring thoughts of shady canyons and breezy passes.
Flowing water means a lighter load and an easier time exploring
A backpacker's go light heaven: thru-hiking California's High Sierra
Sneak in the side door for a private viewing of the finest in California's High Sierra real estate.
Use your backpacking skills at the best surfing, climbing, trail running, and even paragliding spots
A night in Yosemite's most famous hotel
Don't let well-known Sierra neighbors like Yosemite overshadow this stunning wilderness.
This wild paradise is the Galapagos of California.
Camping in Death Valley might give you the hottest day of your life.
Try climbing the standout Banner Peak, just around the corner from Mammoth Lakes.
Tuolomne Meadows monarch Mount Conness has been a classic Yosemite climb for years -- and for good reason.
Matthes Crest features superb climbing deep in Yosemite's backcountry.
Time spent in California's Death Valley can be a life-enhancing experience.
Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in California.
Twenty years of hard work near Tahoe yields a 150-mile path so high, you'll breathe "angel air."
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.
In Point Reyes National Seashore, you'll find peace and quiet in the heart of California's earthquake zone.
This magnificent trail travels through three California parks while showcasing the natural wonders Muir worked to preserve.
Everything you'd want in a long trail.
The condors know all about Chumash Wilderness, but luckily, the masses in Los Angeles don't.
Need someplace to go shoe with your snowshoes? Whet your whistle with one of these great places.
How do you protect the largest trees on Earth? Don't harm them in the first place.
In the shadow of magnificent Mt. Shasta lies a relic of ancient times.
Lay claim to your own California mountain valley and bask in utter solitude.
Porpoises escort you to a rugged island where buffalo really do roam.
Myths and cactus in California: A life-filled land of sand and mountains.
California's second largest park has an impressive trail system.
Catch rainbows -- trout, that is -- in Rockhouse Basin's rivers, where you're more likely to see a wildcat than another human.
Hiking and backpacking at its finest, through pastoral grasslands and forests of pine and fur.
Ishi Wilderness trails run through stream-carved canyons, past stunning vistas, back to gold rush days.
Behind the forbidding name lies California's glacier-polished playground.
You're as likely to bump into Sasquatch as another human.
Galen Rowell talks about his and others' efforts to make the Bay Area Ridge Trail a reality.
With the click of a shutter, Ansel Adams captured the beauty and soul of wild places and showed us that in nature, there is magic.
Observe the uncanny resemblance between the good doctor's famous Truffula Trees and a field of fuzz-topped flowers 5 miles up Long Canyon.
California: Journey through a desert to bear witness to some of the loveliest wildflowers you'll ever see.
More than 200 preserves, parks, and other protected wildlands lie within 40 miles of San Francisco, exceeding Yosemite National Park in size, biodiversity, and visitation.
Combine white sand beaches and gin-clear water with snow-free highland hiking, and you've got Baja, the perfect midwinter escape.
When hiking California's Fish Valley, don't forget to pack your Richter scale.
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.
As ice-cream makers in Los Angeles once knew, the Cucamonga Wilderness is the essence of cool.
For almost half a century, California's rugged Ishi Wilderness hid "the last wild Indian." Even today, it is a place that can keep a secret.
Where 100 unknown Sierra miles wait.
Walk among giants in Redwood National Park.
Can you find solitude in Sequoia National Park? You can if you go off trail.
Find a new kind of California beach on the undeveloped shores of Santa Catalina Island.
Secret scrambles and lakes abound in this northern California wilderness.
Dark, volcanic mountains soaring along the Pacific Crest make for a forbidding wilderness perfect for U.S. Marines in training -- or solitude-seeking hikers.
Three Bay Area hikes that'll quickly make winter a distant memory
Redwood Meadow's massive trees and wild countryside have changed little since Muir passed through 100 years ago.
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.
Sometimes a place is so magnificent that it burns itself into your soul and overrides all sensation-even the urge to heave up your guts.
The best wildlife stronghold in California.
Wondrous lava formations in the Sierra's granite kingdom.
The trails are lonely and the trout are always biting in this Inyo National Forest hideaway.
A roadless wonder in California's Los Padres Wilderness.
If the redwoods don't wow you, there's always the world-class California coastline.
Some say Goat Rocks Wilderness has the best scenery along the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail. Decide for yourself.
Sierra scenery at L.A.'s backdoor.