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Backpacker Magazine – September 2008

Adventure Weekends: Luxury Hiking and Camping

We've got a selection of cozy shelters and trail-side restaurants from Washington to Maine. Check out these hikes in the Rockies, the Northeast, and the Northwest.

by: Jenn Fields

Ecola State Park, OR (George Wuerthner)
Ecola State Park, OR (George Wuerthner)
Glen Canyon, UT (Geoffrey Sandine).
Glen Canyon, UT (Geoffrey Sandine).


2 days
Cibola National Forest, NM
Leave your stove–not your appetite–behind on this 25.5-mile overnighter on the Sandia Crest Trail, 30 minutes east of Albuquerque. From the South Crest trailhead, climb 4,000 feet over 13.5 miles to the High Finance Restaurant (reservations required, 505-243-9742) for prime rib and a microbrew. Camp off-trail nearby and–after a cold breakfast–cruise downhill 12 miles through aspen groves to the North Crest trailhead.

3 days
Glen Canyon NRA, UT
Don't haul water–basecamp at an oasis. From the trailhead on Fortymile Ridge Road, drop two miles to Coyote Gulch through Crack-in-the-Wall. The gulch's seeps feed cottonwoods, creating a shady camp a couple of miles upstream from the Escalante River. Over the next two days, do side trips to swooping Cliff Arch; pictographs near Coyote Natural Bridge; and 100-foot wide Jacob Hamblin Arch and its nearby reliable spring. Deer flies subside in the fall, making a tent optional too.

4 days
10th Mountain Division Huts, CO
Score alpine views and bag a peak on this classic hut trek linking two 10th Mountain Division huts on a Holy Cross Wilderness 20-miler. From Tennessee Pass, hike 5.7 miles to the 10th Mountain Division Hut at 11,370 feet. The next day, trek 11.3 miles to Uncle Bud's Hut for a two-night stay. On day three, gain the 12,580-foot summit of Galena Mountain. Day four: Hike out four miles to the Timberline Lake trailhead on the west end of Turquoise Lake.

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Reader Rating: -


Star Star
May 03, 2013

You completely missed the High Sierra Caps in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. The tent cabins have linens. There are hot showers, and some of the best chefs in the state of California come up there to cook for the campers.
You can hike great backcountry with nothing more than your clothes, a liner sheet, and a toothbrush

Charles ingalls
Apr 12, 2010

I saw 2 chupacabra's on the at near massie's gap.

Nor Cal Lover
Apr 09, 2010

Yosemite and other great national parks have "tent cabins" you can camp in and are surrounded by very beautiful areas. What about Big Sur? I'm not quite sure I would have called the title luxury camping. There are places in WA that have cabins you can hike to and will have your bed and food waiting for you when you arrive and will pack a lunch for you the next day; that would be luxury to me and I didn't notice it on the list.

Apr 09, 2010

The AT is constantly being mentioned in lists similar to this one. As for the south: what really attracts people to go there for outdoor activities? Unless you want to go out hiking in the woods and be hanged by some "hill billies" wearing white hoods, I'd stick to the greater areas west of the Mississippi (being Mexican I would never visit the south).

Tom Faranda
Apr 08, 2010

One strong vote for the Harriman and Bear Mtn walk above. I know the area - I live nearby - and it's quite nice.

Apr 08, 2010

I'm not sure who put this list together but the title is certainly misleading. Huts and off trail camp spots do not luxury make. If you want great digs and dining, try the Rogue River trail. A hike to the Oregon coast that will not be forgotten. You need nothing more than a daypack and a camera for 4 full days of adventure and backcountry lodges.

Apr 08, 2010

Thanks for leaving Vermont off - I appreciate it.

Apr 08, 2010

I find it interesting how often the mid-atlantic gets passed over by the outdoor press. 500 plus miles (more than any other state) of the AT are in VA, you'd think we would be mentioned a bit more in these types of features.

I know we're not as sexy as the northwest, the sierras, or the rockies...but come on man, how about some love for VA!

Apr 08, 2010

LeConte Lodge in GSMNP is great. 5 different approach trails provide plenty of variety. Don't forget to order the bottomless glass of wine with dinner.

Apr 08, 2010

How about the Cranberry Backcountry in West Virginia? Fairly wild, but there are also several Appalachian trail shelters available. This is bear country, though we saw no bears. I backpacked there 15 years ago, so check with the Gauley Ranger District about trail shelters and whether bear canisters are needed.

Apr 08, 2010

How about California? Couldn't find anything out here? 30 million of us feel left out.

Sharon Elsey, Adventuresports
Apr 08, 2010

Garrett County, Maryland is filled with several state parks and forest areas, as well as a large lake. We are a 4 season resort area & even have a recirculating whitewater course for those who like to compete and those who have never tried it. We even offer an Adventure Sports Program at the college.

Apr 08, 2010

If not "the south" a couple in the mid-Atlantic between Maryland and Georgia. We do have the AT afterall, and a lot of supporting terrain.

Apr 08, 2010

How about the south, please? More particularly, Virginia.

Feb 22, 2010

Nothing in the South because we're hillbillies...we go hikin in the woods and can git any food we need with our shotguns...

Jan 24, 2010

I agree, would like to see one or more of these listed for Virginia.

MarK Mitchell
Dec 31, 2009

Why not anywhere in virginia, I know Virginia Backcountry in Damascus can provide all those things.

Jun 15, 2009

why not anywhere in Tennessee

Oct 31, 2008

What about the South??


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