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Backpacker Magazine – March 2009

Natural Wilderness Wonders

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

by: Marcus Woolf

Hundreds of elephants roam Tanzania's Ngorongoro Crater (Chuck Graham)
Hundreds of elephants roam Tanzania's Ngorongoro Crater (Chuck Graham)

Want to be inspired, humbled, scared, awed? Care to experience all four reactions simultaneously? The surest way to these thrills and more is to seek out the globe's most extravagant natural wonders (lion encounter, anyone?). Venture into the backcountry on foot, into places where animals, plants, and terrain are measured by superlatives like wildest, biggest, highest, deepest, and fiercest, and your hike will be elevated to a life-list experience that you'll remember, well, for life. Need a reason to try a new trail this year? Here are 15 of them.

Biggest Cave

Scariest Predator

Driest Desert

Hottest Geysers

Largest Glacier

Higest Peak

Tallest Tree


Highest Biodiversity

Largest Primate

Most Active Volcano

Strangest Rock Formation

Biggest Bear

Largest Crater

Farthest Migrator

Tallest Waterfall



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BrazosSticks
Mar 31, 2011

My biggest fear was the Grizzly Bear in my backpacking trips through Glacier National Park. They even tore down the back country cabins, that had stashes in them, that were reinforced with iron bands!

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