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Backpacker Magazine – October 2007

America's Best Campsites

Whether you are after fishing holes or skinny-dipping, Backpacker tracked down the best campsites in the country

by: Kelly Bastone

Best Beach, John Cornforth
Best Beach, John Cornforth
Best Swimming Hole, Michael Gadomski
Best Swimming Hole, Michael Gadomski
Best Sunset, Paige Falk
Best Sunset, Paige Falk

Top 5 Designated National Park Campsites
West Rim Trail, Zion, UT

Sites 4 through 8 all overlook the wrinkled, elephant-hide chasms of Great West Canyon, but try for #8: It boasts imperial views of Utah's buffest gulfs, plus water at Potato Hollow Spring. (435) 772-0170;

Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton, WY
Think of it as a big limestone climbers' hammock. A grass-topped ledge hugs towering cliffs with luxury-box views of the Tetons from a less-traveled western approach. (307) 739-3309;

McKittrick Ridge, Guadalupe Mountains, TX
From atop the sheer wall lining McKittrick Canyon, you can peer down at an array of hardwoods unusual for Texas. In autumn, they pulsate reds and golds. (915) 828-3251;

Duck Harbor, Isle Au Haut, Acadia, ME
Isle au Haut's pristine topography, which features miles of trail winding through pine forest misted by the sea, is the closest thing to coastal backcountry in New England. (207) 288-3338;

Lake Ellen Wilson, Glacier, MT
Nestled between Sperry and Harrison Glaciers below Gunsight Pass, this site sits squarely in mountain-goat terrain, with views of gorgeous, glaciated (for now) valleys. (406) 888-7800;

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Reader Rating: -


Feb 16, 2012

With the Zone Camping Pass, you should never have trouble finding the best camping site no matter the time of the year or circumstance. It offers flexibility, and can save serious campers thousands of dollars every year.

Sep 12, 2010

Agree with UT_Dutchman. Black Balsam is a great spot.

Sep 11, 2008

Well maybe the best ridgline in the west is in CO, but the best in the east is not in GA it is in NC of off the Blue Ridge Parkway; Black Balsam at or above 5000 ft. is made up of all balds and saddles for over five miles that end with spectacular white school bus size granite protruding out of the top of the ridge. One of the trails to enjoy this hike is the Art Loeb Trail.


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