SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – February 1998

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.

by: John Harlin


North America

by Jeremy Schmidt

Maroon Bells Circuit, Colorado

Aspen leaves fall to the ground like gold coins. A breeze riffles the surface of Maroon Lake, shattering the reflection of high peaks covered with fresh snow. The end of September is perhaps a bit late to be starting a four-day hike through some of the highest country in the Rockies, but the risky weather keeps the crowds away. After all, this trail begins at one of the Rockies' most clichßd vistas-Maroon Lake, echoing those postcard-classic twins, the Maroon Bells.

I have studied the Maroon Bells a thousand times in pictures and films, and twice in person, but now I want to see the country behind them. Could it be as fine as the front side? The answer, I'm finding out, is yes. The Maroon Bells circuit is consummate Rocky Mountain scenery from beginning to end. About 25 miles long, it encircles the Maroon Bells and a craggy stretch of the Elk Mountains. It crosses four passes, all of them at about 12,400 feet, and, except for the trailhead, never drops below 10,000 feet. Much of the route is rarefied big-vista terrain above timberline.

I follow a bull moose over West Maroon Pass. Fravert Basin, with its long meadow of golden grass and its meandering trout stream, cries out for a fly rod. Near Frigid Air Pass, I lie sleepily in sun-warmed wildflowers until dark clouds and a blast of cold air warn of an approaching storm. Indeed, it snows 5 inches that night. In the morning the sky begins to clear, and I cross Buckskin Pass under fast-moving clouds and sudden bursts of sunshine.

Superb views of Snowmass Mountain and its splendid cirque make me reluctant to head down from the pass, but the equally impressive wall of 14,018-foot Pyramid Peak lures me. Now I know why this trail is so good: It begins at a famous beauty spot and never lets down.

Duration: Three to four days.

Kaibab Trail, Arizona

Through a vertical mile and 1.7 billion years of geologic history, the Kaibab cuts a magnificent rim-to-rim cross section of the Grand Canyon. From the pi?on-juniper forest of the South Rim (the better side to start on), the trail passes through a variety of life zones, bottoming out at the Colorado River among hot-desert shrubs and cacti. Going down the 7-mile trail often skirts the brink of immense heart-thumping space. The ascent is more gradual, following sparkling Bright Angel Creek through its relatively narrow canyon for 14 miles of cottonwoods and cacti, ending in the cool montane forest of the North Rim. The trail is exceedingly famous, and you'll overlap with sometimes comical dayhikers, but it's a small price to pay for one of the finest walks you'll ever take.

Duration: Three to four days.

White Mountains Traverse, New Hampshire

The New England climate is just harsh enough that any mountain with the nerve to poke 5,000 feet above sea level will get pummeled by some of the world's most ferocious wind and cold. Only Mt. Washington dares to break the 6,000-foot barrier, and for its trouble it has been sideswiped by the highest recorded wind velocity in the world: 238 miles per hour. But summers are generally warm (beware the rogue storm), and extensive trails link tundra-bald ridgelines into a complex network of ruggedly gentle wilderness with lush green vistas. These mountains are old and worn, their forested slopes and rounded shoulders showing little in common with young, upthrusting peaks. But your knees won't be fooled: Trails go up and down at a rocky pace every bit as challenging as anything out West. Paths spiderweb throughout the Whites, but if you've got the time, you might as well aim for the best, a 56-mile traverse of the entire range that hikers typically begin at the Appalachia parking area on US 2, following the Valley Way Trail up Mt. Madison and finishing at Crawford Notch. A system of European-inspired huts lets you walk the entire distance without a tent, if you choose. Or camp under the stars.

Duration: Six to eight days.

Olympic Coastline, Washington

Neither sea nor land, the surf-pounded beaches of the Olympic Peninsula are an in-between world where the tide fingers its way toward shore and basalt towers called seastacks march into the ocean. Orcas breach. Sea otters dive for shellfish. Lush rain forest presses against the driftwood-littered sands, and storms bring floating treasures from the Far East. There are two stretches of beach to choose from, one is 16 miles long, the other is 22 miles long. But distance seems meaningless. Dim forest paths lead to the exploding brightness of the seashore. From there, 5 miles can easily take as many days, but not because the walking is difficult. You can get stuck, spellbound, reluctant to move fast, perched on the edge of the continent, at the rim of Earth's greatest ocean.

Duration: Two to four days.

Tombstone Towers, Yukon Territory

The cold, slab-sided spires of the Tombstone Range rise craggy and improbable above the sensuous contours of the Yukon tundra. If these are tombstones, they mark the resting place of mighty spirits given to dramatic gestures. The native name for this compact cluster of stone fangs is more cheerful: "sharp, ragged, rocky mountains." Getting into the Tombstones requires a hard day of bushwhacking up Grizzly Creek from Kilometer 72 on the Dempster Highway, but once there the rewards are lavish no matter which way you wander. The scenery might draw you across Glissade Pass to Divide Lake; high and exposed, it feels like Patagonia without the guanacos. Instead, dall sheep and caribou mingle with moose, grizzlies, and black bears. A hop and skip through knee-high buckbrush takes you over Tombstone Pass to Talus Lake, hard under the fortress wall of Mt. Monolith, and dominated by decidedly life-inspiring views of Tombstone Mountain.

Duration: Allow at least four days or spend the summer.

Jeremy Schmidt has published 10 books on everything from the natural history of the Grand Canyon to his seven-month bicycle journey around the Himalaya. Among his works is Adventuring in the Rockies: The Sierra Club Travel Guide to the Rocky Mountain Regions of Canada and the U.S.




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Feb 28, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt Ltd an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable adventure that you have been dream of. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We, Acute Trek Pvt Ltd are here to offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements. Acute trek is an attempt to encourage Nepal to the exterior world while striving to defend an aged tradition as well as conserve the surroundings for generation to come.
http://www.trekshimalaya.com
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/trekking_in_nepal.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/teahouse_trek.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/kathmandu_pokhara_tour.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/high_pass_treks.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/luxury_tour.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/helicopter_tour.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/annapurna_region.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/annapurna_base_camp.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/annapurna_panorama.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/ghorepani_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/jomsom_muktinath_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/annapurna_circuit_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/tilicho_lake_mesokunto_pass.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/upper_mustang_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/everest_region.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/everest_base_camp.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/everest_panoramic_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/gokyo_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/gokyo_trek_everest_base_camp.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/renjolatrek.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/everest_kongmala_trek.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/three_pass_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/everest_trekking_fr_jiri.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/langtang_region.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/langtang_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/gosaikunda_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/helambhu_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/tamang_heritage.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/chisapani_nagarkot_dhulikhel_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/cultural_treks.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/langtang_gosaikunda_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/ganjala_trekking.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/peak_climbing_in_nepal.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/peak_climbing.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/high_pass_treks.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/nepal_for_all_season.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/package_tour.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/island_peak.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/mera_peak.php
http://www.trekshimalaya.com/pisang_peak.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/mustang-trekking.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/upper-mustang-trekking.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/lower-mustang-trekking.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/package-tour.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/annapurna-trekking.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/annapurna-base-camp-trekking.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/everest-trekking.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/gokyo-trek.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/langtang-trekking.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/tea-house-trek.php
http://www.adventurestrekking.com/three-pass-trek.php

Alfonso L. Roa
Sep 26, 2008

Check The Picos de Europa, in Asturias region, www.asturias.es, to see the great mountains , green valleys and wonderfull lanscapes in the coast

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Women
Menopause Sux
Posted On: Apr 20, 2014
Submitted By: Echo
Trailhead Register
Man Kayaks Across Atlantic
Posted On: Apr 20, 2014
Submitted By: Ecocentric
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions