Dreamed of exploring America’s life-list wilderness areas but waiting for a group to go with? BACKPACKER and Wildland Trekking are offering a special selection of 2019 backpacking trips specifically for BACKPACKER readers who would rather hike with other, like-minded adventurers. Don’t miss this opportunity to hike some of America's premier wilderness areas and national parks.
These trips are for experienced backpackers who have their own gear but would like to hike in a group and have an experienced trip leader along to help organize and lead the expedition. The participant to trip leader ratios are 8 to 1, and the trips include local transportation, permits, entrance fees, and dinners in the field. Come join BACKPACKER and Wildland Trekking for an unforgettable backpacking adventure.
Capitol Reef National Park
This spectacular park in the heart of southern Utah’s canyon country sees far fewer visitors than nearby parks like Zion, Bryce, and Arches. It’s a little more remote and a lot more wild. Less than a century ago, Capitol Reef’s tangle of crevices, canyons and, chasms became the last-mapped landscape in the Lower 48. This is country that hid Mormon moonshiners, polygamist safe houses, and Butch Cassidy. It also conceals one of the only double arches in the world and a slot canyon similar to the famous Zion Narrows. Other highlights include campsites beneath 1,000-foot cliffs, some of the darkest night skies in the country, and the convoluted sandstone of the Waterpocket Fold.
Yellowstone National Park
If it’s wildlife you’re after, this is your trip. Elk, grizzly bears, black bears, deer, moose, wolves, coyotes, fox, swans, pelicans and more live on the shores and water of Yellowstone’s lakes. And it gets better: Soaking in the Snake River hot springs is one of the most unique backcountry experiences in the country (yes, there’s a chance of seeing wolves from the water!). Other highlights include traversing Witch Creek, a steaming, thermal-fed stream that empties into Heart Lake, and climbing to the summit of Mount Sheridan, with some of the biggest and best views in Yellowstone. Bonus: Backcountry camping on the shore of a pristine lake and napping in classic Yellowstone meadows.
North Cascades National Park
This is one of the Lower 48’s wildest alpine parks, and the 34-mile Copper Ridge Loop is the best way to see it. With more than 8,600 feet of total elevation gain and loss, it’s a true mountain challenge, but the views are worth every steep step. Snow-covered peaks and alpine passes dominate the scenery early on— Mt. Shuksan and the Picket Range are just two of the iconic alpine sights—and summer wildflowers color the whole route. But it’s not all staring into the distance. The journey includes a historic fire lookout, a swim in crystal clear Copper Lake, and a suspension bridge and cable car crossing over the Chiliwack River. Plus, there’s a bear mystery here: Have grizzlies returned to the North Cascades? One confirmed sighting means you better keep an eye out.
The longest slot canyon on the planet. Do you need to know more? Buckskin Gulch, at nearly 15 miles long and just a few feet wide in places, should be considered the eighth wonder of the natural world. The best way to see it? On a 5-day trek through Paria Canyon to the Colorado River. Inside this Southwestern gem, you’ll find water-polished, sandstone walls towering thousands of feet overhead, secluded campsites on cushy sand banks, and mindboggling arches and amphitheaters. Midway through the journey, take a layover day to explore Buckskin Gulch. Its sinuous curves and neck-craning walls will keep you occupied for hours.
To get more details or register for these trips, go to Wildland Trekking's site.