A heart-stopping bolt hits one hiker and levels a group of his friends who then fight to resuscitate him.
A kayaker struggles to stay afloat when a tangle of trees pins her boat.
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.
Use nature's signs to orient yourself, pick your path through varied terrain, and predict the weather.
A violent storm ravages a stressed forest, threatening to crush two dayhikers.
Mnemonics make it easy to remember weather sayings and make weather predictions, but is there any truth behind the prediction rhymes?
Five hikers fight a raging river before attempting a dangerous bushwhack to safety.
Knowing fact from fiction can help you avoid—and survive—a 54,000℉ strike.
How to safely traverse a small, seasonal snowfield.
Hidden layers are the key to stable—or slide-ready—slopes.
Hard-won-lessons and tips about unsafe snow from the front lines of survival.
Conditions mean everything when planning your weekend adventure. Check out our Rocky Mountain Editor's favorite weather sites.
Chart your campsite's night sky with customizable maps.
A new theory might solve the mystery of how these mountains formed.
In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you exactly how to put rubber tips on your trekking poles.
Misleading sunscreen claims today could be causing tomorrow's skin cancer.
The ski industry has gone green, from goggles to boots.
This trowel is made from pounds of abandoned polycarbonate water bottles and accessories.
Staying warm is easier than getting warm: Plan ahead.
Think like a desert dweller to stay cool and comfortable.
In the wettest conditions, learn to create and maintain a personal bubble of dry space.
Read the terrain and use anchors to stay grounded.
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.
Invisible but dangerous, airborne pollutants are a danger to the West's most iconic national parks
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.
How do you replace a legend? Cut its footprint without cutting warmth.
No bag in this challenge incorporated more recycled components.
Recycled materials and fewer trucking miles trim carbon weight.
A winning combo: Make it light and local.
Less bag where many hikers don't need it makes a big difference.
5 manufacturers answer our call for eco-friendly sacks.
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.
Think the Empire State Building is tall? Try this waterfall on for size.
Zebras, wildebeest and rhinos all call this Tanzanian volcanic caldera just another place to eat.
Millions of years ago, these crazy rock formations were formed in Turkey due to volcanic activity.
You better stand back if this Sicilian island volcano starts to spurt.
There is a reason the native's call it Sagarmatha, meaning "head of the sky."
If your going to Chile's Atacama Desert, don't forget the sunscreen.
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
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.
Hike safely in avalanche terrain
These gaping glacier cracks are dramatic–and deadly. Here's how they form, plus three safe places to see a crevasse up close.
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.
In Colorado, wilderness hut managers recruit hikers to track an elusive wildcat.
When senior editor Tracy Ross investigated Denali's wolf controversy, she expected to see a dead wolf--but not a skinned one. Go behind the scenes with video filmed in the field and an interview with Ross on the experience.
Author Tracy Ross discusses her feature story "Dogs of War" devoted to the debate raging in Alaska over the famed Toklat wolf pack.
Maine's newly minted Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail tracks the famous naturalist's 1800s expeditions. Good news: It's still wild.
How do manufacturers make your trusty tent poles better for the environment? We discovered the magic formula right here.
A hair-raising hike
How we rate risk, using a highly scientific formula
Learn how you can shop for ethical, eco-friendly wool to lighten your planetary load.
Use this step-by-step guide to beat 7 common backcountry fears. Plus, ideal hikes for overcoming–or avoiding–the source of your scare.
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.
Don't let groundless phobias ruin–or even prevent–your backcountry adventures. Here's a foolproof plan for overcoming your terrors.
What to know about hiking with asthma
Grand Canyon raft guide and Havasupai tribal member Shana Watahomigie becomes a paddling–and Hollywood–pioneer.
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.
Learn how carnivores and their quarry interact—and what happens when humans upset the natural balance.
Wind power offers clean energy–but how much will hikers compromise to get it?
As conservationists and energy developers fight over Wyoming's Red Desert, one thing is certain: There's no time like the present to hike through its unreal geography.
Lightening your planetary load - sneaker style
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.
Hikers and ATV riders hit the ground in a new battle over trail access.
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.
Mark Jenkins, the author of "Destination Nowhere," discusses his Yellowstone assignment to find the most remote spot in the United States.
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.
Head to one of the last truly wild places in the Lower 48: Wyoming's Red Desert. Read the story, follow our author on the trail in our video report, see more photos of the journey in a gallery of outtakes, and download the GPS Track.
Lighten your planetary load, water bottle style, with these BPA-free water bottle alternatives.
Hikers learn to leave (absolutely) no trace on high-traffic peaks and trails.
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.
How Cold War weapons sites are becoming America's most unusual new preserves.
In search of a guilt-free adventure in the tropics, Jason Daley discovers the line between saving the world–and seeing it.
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.
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.)
Rising treeline threatens the Northeast's best views.
The Lower 48's most glaciated region is losing its ice at an astonishing rate.
A big-picture biologist unearths threats to songbirds, salamanders, and a peak-loving furball.
These dozen creatures are threatened by global warming.
Headed for the coasts? Keep those Tevas handy. Swelling oceans are threatening to submerge classic trails.
More potent poison ivy is on the way, plus fast-growing weeds that will change the face of Eastern forests.
Scientists say Nebraska's wild prairies could become the Western Hemisphere's largest sandbox in as few as 30 years.
Pine beetles are felling more trees than wildfires and the timber industry combined.
As the earth warms, here's how higher temps will affect our forests.
We found 17 pioneering products that will cut your carbon cost without sacrificing performance.
Hike into the epicenter of a cataclysmic explosion in New Mexico's Valles Caldera
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.
Find these hard-to-spot beauties on your next journey
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.
Pacific Outdoor ECO Thermo 6 Sleeping Pad, REI Global Warming Initiative, and the Timberland Green Index are tops to the green eyes of Backpacker
Patagonia implements the Common Threads Recycling Program to reuse your old Capilene long underwear tops and bottoms
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is waterproof and durable, but the manufacturing process creates carcinogens
Global warming creates conditions that invite larger and more frequent forest fires. Here's how.
Rising alpine temperatures and polluted snow are threatening snowpack–and the water it generates.
As temperatures rise, Minnesota's North Woods will likely go up in smoke.
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
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.
What do Florida's Everglades and Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias have in common? Both face uncertain futures as temperatures rise.
On the trail and in camp, beat the cold with these tips.
When a day hike turns into an overnight, learn how to take care of yourself.
Beat the itchy stuff with creams or homeopathic measures.
Here are the seven guidelines to Leave No Trace
The first industry-wide survey about which gear manufacturers are positively impacting the environment
Thanks to melting ice and snow, climate change is effecting the future of our mountains
Information on 19 more "green" companies and an interview with Big Agnes's Bill Gamber
Different cities have different rules for recycling your used fuel canisters
A rarely-attempted traverse reveals the Navajo Nation's vast red-rock wilderness.
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.
Spot lizards, wrens, and javelinas in the desert Southwest with these tips.
Inside Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, humans and wolves learn to co-exist.
The wooly bear caterpillar, wild leek, and yew have "magical" qualities, but live in your backyard.
Try a stunning new hike–or two thrilling classics–in the Colorado Rockies' top spot for big backpacking adventures.
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.
Warming temps can wreak havoc on snow-packed adventures. Learn the conditions and warning signs that can cause a dangerous, sudden thaw.
Learning to determine winter weather signs depends on where you are.
To see how animals stay cool in a hot climate, just look up.
Don't forge ahead when faced with whiteout conditions.
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.
A hiker's guide to fighting climate change
Cutting-edge fabrics make outdoor gear eco-friendly.
Can you see the forest through the trees? Join a bittersweet trek through an old-growth wilderness in its final days.
Climate change isn't just melting glaciers--it's messing with wildlife everywhere
Drought has brought the canyon back. Would national park status keep it that way?
Visit this remote section of the Arctic before climate change alters it forever
Paddle blue inlets too new for any topo.
The most-studied glacier in the park lets you see global warming in action.
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.
Receding water levels mean more miles of choice desert hiking and kayaking.
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.
How can we conserve South Dakota's Badlands?
Boy Scouts are at the forefront of teaching Leave No Trace ethics.
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.
How can you tell if your representative supports national parks?
Here's how to Leave No Trace when you dump water in camp.
Follow these tips when hiking in burned country.
Seven places where you can walk through a whole new landscape, plus opportunities to help rebuild charred trails.
Take a look at what your sole is doing to the ground.
Your answers could mean the difference between a nice, quiet hike and one you share with ORVers.
Help keep trails clean by picking up your own and other people's trash.
Activist and former backpacker David Brower reflects on his life in the political trenches and on the trails.
To understand the full impact of logging, you need to rise above it all.
How to track where your environmental charity money goes.
When venturing into country "untrammeled by man," we can thank Marshall's unlimited efforts to preserve it.
David Brower led environmentalists in shaping the America we see and hike.
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?
Here's our guide to environmental etiquette while horsepacking.
Should we pave the wilderness and install escalators for the disabled? No, says a former backpacker.
This vegetarian burger recipe will suit your palate and clean-up the environment.
Montana and Wyoming's incredibly wild and beautiful Absaroka needs your help.
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.
Protester celebrates victory in a two-year battle to save a giant redwood by coming back to earth.
There's a reason why your field guide doesn't list some flowers: they're not supposed to be there.
Sometimes you have to turn off the lights in order to see.
If you look beyond the occasional cow, you'll find the BLM has lots of ruggedly beautiful land to offer. No mining, no oil rigs, just lots of solitude.
What have you done lately for the trails and backcountry you use? Join a Volunteer Vacation and save the trails you love.
While the wolf reintroduction debate rages across the country, in Wisconsin the animals are simply reclaiming their rightful place.
The need to know leads this editor on a wild goose chase.
In Alaska's Tongass, the ancient trees have something to say...if you're willing to listen.
Journey to Alaska's far northern edge, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the midnight sun shines like candlelight on the mountains.
When gently paddling amidst the mini-icebergs that grace Prince William Sound, you ponder one question: why walk?
Theodore Roosevelt ventured into the North Dakota Badlands an East Coast city Boy. After the land got through with him, he had the fortitude to run a nation and the insight to preserve more wildlands than anyone in history.
Sometimes you have to go where the guidebooks haven't been, but watch your step.
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.
Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante is huge, remote, controversial, and one of the finest destinations for backpackers in the Lower 48.
A trek through the blast zone of a restless volcano raises questions about a father's legacy and a child's future.