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Backpacker Magazine – March 2009

Hike the Classics

It takes a certain kind of trail to earn such a lofty title. But our top 10 deliver unrivaled scenery, challenge, local culture, and most of all–fun.

by: Shannon Davis & Kelly Bastone

Machu Picchu in Peru (Tom Till)
Machu Picchu in Peru (Tom Till)

The Perfect Circle: Hiking the Annapurna Circuit

Chile's Torres del Paine Circuit

Corsica's GR 20

Peru's Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Italy's Alta Via 1

New Zealand's Milford Track

England's Pennine Way

Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro

Everest Base Camp, Tibet

Tour du Mont Blanc




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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Mar 08, 2014

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

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Star Star Star Star Star
Babak
Dec 07, 2012

Having done the Inca Trail I can tell you that I'm nothing less than energized to go on any of the other trails. Of course there are great places to see in the States but if you are able to do any of these once in a lifetime trips, you should jump at the chance. The cultural aspect alone is worth the trip.

Steve C.
May 31, 2011

Beautiful places like these do make me want to go. I love reading a trail story that tells about the person's venture into the special places on earth. Each trip is as unique as the person experiencing it. That's what makes classics like Stanley's search for Livingston so memorable, so riviting. Through the story we can 'see' what he saw, experience what he experienced, trudge through what he trudged through and rejoice where he rejoiced. Sometimes a thousand words are worth a picture. Keep writing BP.

the buckaroo
May 30, 2011


...no fun being the skunk at the garden party, but...I've been bringing these issues up for years now. How do you not become a jaded, extreme oriented, ounce counting, gourmet sucking, survival humping, continent jumping gear whore? Magazines are a service to the public which the government can't provide properly. So you take it or leave it & fire off a letter to the editor when warranted.

I faced these same concerns when I conceived & prepared to launch 'ekos" magazine in the early '70's. One eventually hits the wall & starts regurgitating the same old stuff. Your best hope is to supplement the verbal assault with a photo. Nothing speaks as well as a shot of McGee Creek up in Evolution.

Advertising the Sierra High route is not the problem...I rather enjoyed, vicariously, the return to peak scrambling days of my youth...nor is the Tuolumne Meadows freeway, which was a nuisance back in the '60's in high season. To enjoy the wildness, one needs to avoid the crush & plan accordingly. I tend to stay in the corridor of Desolation to south of Sonora Pass...drawing the line of venture just north of Yosemite. Most of us had our way with Yosemite in the 60's-70's, before the deluge of hype.

I get a kick when I stumble across an 84 year old woman trekking with the family in the back country of Carson Iceberg Wilderness. You either take the chance or hide at home...& remember, chance favors the prepared mind.

Fads come & go...speed trekking is an example why bother, it misses the point of being in the 'here & now' of life around us. Sizzle sells...the question is how many times will you go back for seconds. The Sierra beckons & my 9 year old is heeding the call...the dna is conditioned to respond. It's in our jeans, so to speak. As my father's father taught him so shall my son to his own...it's fly fishing time!

Chicotd
May 26, 2011

Anyone who follows Backpacker on-line or in print with any degree of regularity would know that the more local , North American hikes have been covered many times. I really don't need or want to read about the John Muir Trail for a while unless you can do it with a different slant. I love reading about Everest but doubt that I will ever go there. Besides, I would rather my favorite " local " treks not be advertised . Have you ever hiked the Muir Trail/ freeway in late July ? Please don't advertise the High Sierra route any more. The Inca Trail sounds intriguing but I'm not booking a ticket because of the article.

Chicotd
May 26, 2011

Anyone who follows Backpacker on-line or in print with any degree of regularity would know that the more local , North American hikes have been covered many times. I really don't need or want to read about the John Muir Trail for a while unless you can do it with a different slant. I love reading about Everest but doubt that I will ever go there. Besides, I would rather my favorite " local " treks not be advertised . Have you ever hiked the Muir Trail/ freeway in late July ? Please don't advertise the High Sierra route any more. The Inca Trail sounds intriguing but I'm not booking a ticket because of the article.

Eric Nelson
May 26, 2011

I totally agree with John. I know Backpacker believes these are not the only "Best" treks, but using that superlative makes me think such. How about just saying these are "Ten of the Best Treks" and leave the question hanging about more best treks. Then another article can be written about 10 of the best in the U.S. and we will want to keep reading more. Of course, I'm just being nit - picky. I know, though, that the Grand Teton Circle has got to be one of the best in the entire world as does the High Sierra.

David
May 15, 2009

Wow John,

Global Warming is such a crisis that we shouldn't even read about the world around us?

Cool. I'm off to weep in my more ecologically sound "single cabin".

John "Double Cabin" Betts
Apr 03, 2009

You've posted none of the EQUALLY dramatic places in North America because? Nothing like promoting massive carbon footprints I guess.

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