|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – August 2009
Lose yourself in a private paradise the crowds have overlooked.
Guide's Secret The Whites
"Mt. Adams is way less crowded than Mt. Washington," says Jim Shimberg, of Rhino Guides. "King Ravine on Adams is as wild as Tuckerman, but nobody's ever there." Hike 5.5 miles from the Appalachia trailhead. fs.fed.us/r9/white
Nootka Trail, British Columbia
Walk the wild west side of the Canadian coast.
This 21-mile coastal trek is no longer a total secret–indeed, there's even a guidebook–but it still gets remarkably few visitors, thanks to difficult access and frequent harsh weather. The challenges: You'll have to plan each day to avoid getting stranded by tides; you'll clamber over slippery boulders and through punishing devil's club; rogue waves threaten; and river crossings can be dangerous after storms. (Camp on the far side of creeks in case they rise overnight.)
The rewards: Nootka Island's wild scenery, a moody shipwreck at Tongue Point, isolated coves where waterfalls plunge into tide pools, ancient village sites, and thrilling glimpses of black bears and gray whales. For an end-to-end hike from north to south, charter a floatplane in Gold River and fly to Louie Bay Lagoon ($164 CDN per person for a party of four; airnootka.com), then trek southeast to the native village of Yuquot and catch the Uchuck III ferry back to your starting point ($40 CDN; mvuchuck.com).
Guidebook Hiking the West Coast of Vancouver Island, by Tim Leadem ($17, Greystone Books)
Permits The Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation charges a $40 CDN user fee at Yuquot.