Trail Chef: Regional Trail Delicacies

Just because you're on the trail doesn't mean abandoning local fare. Here are some favorite trail treats, by region.

Recently, BACKPACKER awarded Tanka Bars & Bites a coveted Editors' Choice Award. These buffalo and cranberry concoctions from Native American Natural Foods, LLC, are a tasty alternative to the traditional trail-food currency of energy bars and trail mix. The find inspired Trail Chef to canvas both our forums and staff for other trail snacks not readily available on the big-box shelves.

-Love fiddlehead ferns on the trail? Then you must be a New Englander. BACKPACKER forumite "GrinchNH" recommends removing the skins after picking them trailside then boiling for 10 minutes and sautéing with a little butter.

-In Washington state, BACKPACKER forumite "sarbar" sees hikers noshing on corn on the cob.

-Forum user "schmittdas" recommends caribou jerkey and salmon jerky. Guess where he lives?

-And if you live in the mid-Atlantic region perhaps you've heard of...


This chewy marshmallow snack is light on long-haul nutrition, but it’s a sweet trail treat come midafternoon. Our editor-in-chief learned to make—and enjoy—it when the magazine was still headquarted in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, a few miles down the road from candymaker Just Born. PEEPS come in six colors (we like blue for the exotic post-snack tongue color) and contain 28 calories per chick (so you can eat a bunch and not feel guilty). Back in eastern PA, folks devise all sorts of concoctions with PEEPS; check for chick fondue and other recipes.

At home:

- Purchase a pack of six PEEPS.

- Remove the plastic and separate the chicks for optimal drying.

- Let sit in a dry place until stiff but not hard (a couple weeks, usually). To speed the process, you can microwave or place in an oven at very low heat, but we’ve found that natural drying produces a more delectable texture.

- Flatten each chick (about 1/8” thick) with a rolling pin or wine bottle.

- Toss ‘em in a ziptop bag and enjoy on the trail.

What are people noshing on where you hike? Drop the snack and your region in the comments below. Or join the discussion in our forums.

—Trail Chef