September TOC

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DESTINATIONS

WEST

Drop into the crater of an extinct Oregon volcano—heat suit not required.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Get elk-filled meadows all to yourself in Montana’s Wyoming Range.

MIDWEST

Flat? Hardly. This Illinois overnight serves up forests, prairie vistas, and rivers.

NORTHEAST

See fall foliage in all its Technicolor glory on this lake-hopping overnight in Maine.

SOUTHEAST

Disappear into the lush, stream-filled gorges in the divide between the Carolinas.

SKILLS

The Manual: Fly-fishing

Get pro tips on how to tempt, stalk, cast for, land, and cook backcountry trout.

Mind Over Mountain

Don’t let your brain play tricks on you. Use this guide to conquer bigger peaks.

Dirtbag/Gourmet: Hot Cereal
Start your day the delicious way.

Gear School: Synthetic Sleeping Bags

Learn how to choose, use, and repair these budget-friendly, moisture-resistant bags.

SURVIVAL

Rip & Live: Spiders

Assess your risk, avoid an encounter, and administer first aid. This cheat sheet is your safety guide to venomous spiders.

Case Study: Peak Rescue

Take lessons from hikers who gambled on the Lower 48’s worst-weather summit.

GEAR

Field Test: Gore-Tex vs. the Rest

Four new jackets revolutionize storm protection with the most breathable membranes we’ve ever tested.

Gear Test: Bargain Bags

These synthetic sleepers are warm, packable, and priced to move.

Deepest Daks

One in six Americans lives within a few hours of New York’s 6.1-million-acre Adirondack Park, but startlingly few explore beyond the vaunted High Peaks region. Our scout grabbed his gaiters and went where others don’t: the wet-and-woolly West Canada Lake Wilderness. Join him on a solitude-assured 48.8-mile loop that yields an optional summit bushwhack, Olympic-level stream jumps, a few scars, and some fresh perspective. By Casey Lyons

Save a Hiker's Life

Most backcountry injuries are minor: blisters, sprains, cuts. But what do you do if your buddy takes a life-threatening fall? Quickly and accurately assessing a backcountry accident victim’s condition could mean the difference between life and death. The gold standard for learning such skills: Wilderness First Responder certification. We went to class to bring you 57 essential tips, so you’ll know how to help when Band-Aids won’t do. By Steve Howe

Madman Walking?

How hard is hiking the entire 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail in one season? On average, the success rate for Everest climbers is better than would-be thru-hikers. Which makes Warren Doyle’s track record truly amazing. Last year, the 60-year-old trail guru led a group hike—his eighth since 1975—and 100 percent of his followers made it from Georgia to Maine. But did they make it because of him, or in spite of him? By Bill Gifford

Classic Peaks Made Easy

Ten out of ten hikers agree: When it comes to sweet backcountry rewards, nothing beats setting foot on your own private summit and soaking in a view you just earned. With these 15 uncrowded mountains, all located within hours of a city near you, it’s never been easier. Bonus: Climbing, our sister mag, provides beta for technical routes on the same peaks. By Brendan Leonard