BACKPACKER's 10 Best Stories of 2014

From goats to ghosts, our editors pick their favorite reads of the year.
X Marks the Spot - Best Stories of 2014


X Marks the Spot

A hidden box of treasure. A cryptic poem from a wealthy Santa Fe art dealer. Four states’ worth of Rocky Mountain wilderness. Our reporter joins the hunt.

Best Stories of 2014 - You'll face a long glacier on day two of a weeklong trek in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (Photo by Hage Photo)

ICED: You'll face a long glacier on day two of a weeklong trek in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (Photo by Hage Photo)


Proving Grounds: 10 Astonishingly Hard Hikes in North America

These 10 hard hikes will challenge even the toughest backpackers.

image of Arrigetch Creek Alaska

Photo by Patrick Endres


American Wild

 The Wilderness Act turned 50 this year, and we threw it a party. We look at one man's quest to hike all 439 wilderness areas, some great hikes, and the future of American wilderness.

Best Stories of 2014 - Airline Trail

Score panoramic views of the White Mountains from paths that won’t leave you panting. Photo by Harry Lichtman


Masterpiece Trails

The stories behind 10 of North America’s most impressive trail-building feats—and how to see them yourself.

Best Stories of 2014 - Goatpacking


My Partner Ate My Socks: A Tale of Goatpacking

The heartwarming (?) tale of one hiker and his goats in the High Uinta Wilderness.

Best Stories of 2014 - The Alta Via 2, Italy (Patitucciphoto)

The Alta Via 2, Italy (Patitucciphoto)


Love on the Rocks

A trek through the Dolomites just might be the most romantic hike in the world. If you're lucky.

Best Stories of 2014


The Complete Guide to Fire

From the dawn of history to dusk last night, fire is mankind’s oldest and most useful tool. Learn how to harness its strength to cook, survive, and connect to a primal force as old and powerful as time itself.

Best Stories of 2014

Mackenzie Lake (Photo by Dylan Toh)


New Zealand’s Routeburn Track

Who says you have to work hard for the best scenery? New Zealand’s great walks deliver life-list terrain with perks for beginners and experts alike.

Best Stories of 2014 - Anish

photo: Nick Hall


A Ghost Among Us

One woman's journey to the brink of what's possible on the Pacific Crest Trail.

black and white Nepal by Andrew Bydlon

Nepal (Photo by Andrew Bydlon)


Gone Girl: Aubrey Sacco’s Disappearance in Nepal

Like many hikers, Aubrey Sacco walked into the Himalayas with joyful excitement. But she encountered a dark side of Nepal all trekkers should know about.