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Top 3: National Park Hikes

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

The High Life: High Sierra Camps, CA

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Hike Yosemite's granite-rimmed loop.

The Other Way In

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

Burn After Reading

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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.

Readers' Choice 2012: Top 3 - West Hikes

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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.

National Parks: Yosemite

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

National Park Slideshows

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

Right Place, Perfect Time

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See Yosemite's river of ice, witness there-and-gone meteor showers in Hawaii, and mark your calendar for eight more fleeting natural wonders.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Frazil Ice

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Witness a river of slush flow through Yosemite Valley.

Trip Finder: West

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

Rip & Go: Lyell Canyon, Yosemite

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

Readers' Choice: West

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

Top 25 Winter Trips: United States

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

America's Scariest Trails: What are You Afraid of?

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Haunted mountains? Vanished campers? Bloodthirsty creatures? An evil wind that lures hikers over a waterfall? We dare you to hike America's scariest trails.

Best. Hikes. Ever.

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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.

Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the National Park Rangers

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

National Parks Center

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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!

National Parks Hall of Fame: Photo Galleries

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Catch the best views in the nation's marquee parks from the comfort of your computer. Prepare to drool...now.

Rip & Go: Dewey Point - Yosemite National Park, CA

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Discover the rewards of winter camping on this easy snowshoe trek.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Kalalau Trail, HI

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Hike Hawaii's all-world coast to a secluded beach.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes

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The world's prettiest shoreline, giant pines, and Yosemite's premier view.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: The Ruby Crest Trail, Humboldt NF, NV

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Explore lonely alpine scenery in this off-the-radar wilderness.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Thru-hike the John Muir Trail, CA

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Trek 211 miles through hiker heaven.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: California's Giant Sequoias, Sugarbowl Loop, Kings Canyon NP

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Take a lightly trafficked trail into the word's biggest grove.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Sentinel Dome, Yosemite NP

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Bag a granite peak with big views and small crowds.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Lakes Trail to Pear Lake, Sequoia NP

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Get a highlights tour of the High Sierra backcountry.

Reader Essays: Hold Your Fire

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Robert DeNike demonstrates how NOT to greet a bear.

Top 3 Ansel Adams Hikes and Reader Photos

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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.

National Parks Hall of Fame

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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.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Dayhike

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Beat the crowds by tackling this classic dayhike by moonlight.

Watch It, Hike It: An Episode-by-Episode Guide to The National Parks: America's Best Idea by Ken Burns

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Catch these highlights from The National Parks: America's Best Idea, then download maps to hike to them yourself.

America's Scariest Trails: Yosemite's Supernatural Wind

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Go ahead and hike to this park's famous lakes and waterfalls. Just watch your step–and your back.

National Parks Confidential: Q & A with Filmmaker Ken Burns

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On the eve of his much-anticipated documentary, Ken Burns discusses the heroes and history of America's most precious wildlands–and the new challenges they face now.

Alone in a Crowd: Hiking Yosemite's North Rim

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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.

Perfect Substitutes: Crowd-Free Destinations

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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.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Ranger Rated

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No one knows the national parks better than the rangers who patrol them. We polled a bunch of insiders on their favorite national park sights, sounds, and tastes.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Park Finder

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Zero in on your perfect hike, from thrilling slots to soak-awhile hot springs.

Yosemite's North Rim: Exclusive Google Flyover Video & Photo Slideshow

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Kelly Bastone hiked a long-forgotten trail through Yosemite's North Rim and documented the trek on video, in photographs, and using GPS.

Insider's Guide: Yosemite National Park

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With these top day, weekend, and week-long hikes, you'll see more than your fair share of Yosemite's wonders.

Readers' Choice Awards 2009

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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.

Phenomenon: Glacial Relics

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The Ice Age left its mark from Acadia to Yosemite. Here's scenic evidence.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Mist Trail, Half Dome, CA

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Swallowed by Sierra scenery

National Parks Lifelist

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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.

Denali National Park

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Hike with grizzlies in this remote northern corner of Alaska's greatest park.

Yellowstone National Park

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America's first national park is a playground for grizzlies, wolves, moose, and hikers (not in that order).

Olympic National Park

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Explore two ecosystems in this hinterland of moss-draped forests, ancient trees, and snowcapped peaks.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Graze blueberry patches, explore swimming holes, and tag the South's high points on this sultry hike.

Grand Canyon National Park

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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.

Yosemite National Park

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Climb classic Sierra passes, ogle granite monoliths, and camp above treeline in John Muir's second home.

Glacier National Park

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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

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How Your Kid Can Save a Park

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Send him out on a work trip. Let wilderness do the rest.

How to Light a Campfire in the Smokies

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Trees, trees are everywhere, but sometimes there isn't a dry twig in sight.

Is Inadequate Funding the Main Problem Facing the National Park System?

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This question fuels the debate regarding how to help the aging national park system improve.

National Park Vacation Planners: 3D Videos and Downloadable Beta

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3-D hike videos, complete trip planner pdfs, our interactive ParkFinder tool, and more.

Rock Star: Brett Dennen

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Once a guide and counselor near Yosemite, up-and-coming musician Brett Dennen is now taking his backcountry jams to the masses.

How to Score Denali's Choicest Permits

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The system was rigged, says a former ranger. Here's how to beat it.

May Close-to-Home Hikes

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Our map team has been hard at work plotting the coolest hikes. Check out May's selections here.

Trip Doctor: Best National Park Bus System

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Tired of commuting in a car around our national parks? Catch the best backcountry bus.

The World's Smartest Bears

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Welcome to Yosemite, iconic American landscape, hikers' paradise, and all-you-can-eat home of the wiliest bruins on earth.

Find the Tallest Waterfall in the U.S.

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Head to Hawaii for three of the tallest

National Parks Report Card

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We surveyed more than 40 scientists, conservationists, and professional adventurers, then ranked the 15 parks that are most in peril from climate change.

The Pacific Crest Trail's High Sierra

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Some things are so inevitable there's no sense disputing them: death, taxes, and the unrivaled beauty of the Sierra.

Essential National Park Skills: The Ultimate Park Pass

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Write your own ticket to new adventures with these 10 territory-expanding skills.

Trip Doctor: National Park Weddings

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Can I get married in a national park?

Yosemite @ $7.38 An Hour: Seasonal Work in the National Parks

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Our scribe-turned-pizzaman labors in the land of granite and pulls back the curtain on the seasonal-employment fantasy.

The Works: Trans-Yosemite Ski Tour

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Start packing now for a once-in-a-lifetime ski tour through silent, snow-draped Yosemite.

Summer Hiking on the John Muir Trail

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A backpacker's go light heaven: thru-hiking California's High Sierra

Luxury Gone Wild At Ahwahnee

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A night in Yosemite's most famous hotel

Secrets of Yosemite National Park

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Sneak in the side door for a private viewing of the finest in California's High Sierra real estate.

Balloon Dome, Ansel Adams Wilderness

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Don't let well-known Sierra neighbors like Yosemite overshadow this stunning wilderness.

Wild Weddings

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Want a ceremony that reflects your passion for the outdoors? Here's everything you need to know to pull off a wilderness wedding.

Best Waterfall Hikes

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Learn the weird science behind our addiction to waterfalls, and the location of the best trails in North America.

Climbing Yosemite: Mount Conness

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Tuolomne Meadows monarch Mount Conness has been a classic Yosemite climb for years -- and for good reason.

Climbing Yosemite: Matthes Crest

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Matthes Crest features superb climbing deep in Yosemite's backcountry.

Best Backpacking In California

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Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in California.

Splendor Hiking The High Sierra

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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.

National Parks: Best Scenery

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The greatest backpacking parks in the United States, chosen for their scenery.

Yosemite: Treasure Of The Sierra

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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.

Yosemite On A Bad Day Is Still Good

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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.

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