Best Hikes in the Rocky Mountains

BACKPACKER magazine's shortlist of the biggest, toughest, most awesome adventures in America's baddest range.
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BACKPACKER magazine's shortlist of the biggest, toughest, most awesome adventures in America's baddest range.

Among all the mountains of North America, the Rockies are king, and the evidence is clear. This chain runs 3,000 miles from New Mexico thru British Columbia, usually as a swath of parallel ranges 150-300 miles wide. They sport the highest average elevation of any North American mountains, with half the 14ers on the continent (including Alaska and Mexico), and thousands of peaks topping 12,000 feet. In most of the range, you can hike for days without touching timberline. Below are the best 13 hikes in the Lower 48. --Steve Howe, howephoto.us

Continental Divide Trail, Weminuche Wilderness, CO

Dawson Pass Loop, Glacier National Park

Gallatin Skyline, Yellowstone National Park

Green River Lakes, Wind River Range, WY

Highline Trail, Uinta Mountains, UT

Imogene Pass Loop, Sawtooth Mountains, ID

Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park

Mount of the Holy Cross, Sawatch Range, CO

Moose Creek, Grand Teton National Park

Thompson Peak, Sawtooth Mountains, ID

Truchas Traverse, Sangre de Cristo Range, NM

Twilight Peaks, West Needle Mountains, CO

Wheeler Peak, Sangre de Cristo Range, NM

EXTRA: Looking for more overnight backpacking trips or dayhikes in the Rockies? Surf Backpacker.com's map-centric state pages for more high mountain trips in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Waypoints

Continental Divide Trail, Weminuche Wilderness, CO

Location: 37.482793, -106.799941

See more trip details and a map at backpacker.com/hikes/563539.

Dawson Pass Loop, Glacier National Park

Location: 48.48861, -113.367233

See more trip details and a map at Gallatin Skyline, Yellowstone National Park

Location: 45.048163, -111.140013

See more trip details and a map at Green River Lakes, Wind River Range, WY

Location: 43.310386, -109.859719

See more trip details and a map at Highline Trail, Uinta Mountains, UT

Location: 40.722153, -110.863509

See more trip details and a map at Imogene Pass Loop, Sawtooth Mountains, ID

Location: 44.029405, -114.838758

See more trip details and a map at Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park

Location: 40.272011, -105.557048

See more trip details and a map at Mount of the Holy Cross, Sawatch Range, CO

Location: 39.500456, -106.433069

See more trip details and a map at Moose Creek, Grand Teton National Park

Location: 44.001613, -110.689058

See more trip details and a map at Thompson Peak, Sawtooth Mountains, ID

Location: 44.149342, -114.91917

See more trip details and a map at Truchas Traverse, Sangre de Cristo Range, NM

Location: 36.000247, -105.692468

See more trip details and a map at Twilight Peaks, West Needle Mountains, CO

Location: 37.733407, -107.710841

See more trip details and a map at Wheeler Peak, Sangre de Cristo Range, NM

Location: 36.595589, -105.447743

See more trip details and a map at