Best of the National Parks - Backpacker

Best of the National Parks


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- See all National Park Pages

  • Capitol Reef
  • Denali
  • Glacier
  • Grand Canyon
  • Grand Teton
  • Great Smoky Mountains
  • Kings Canyon/Sequoia
  • North Cascades
  • Olympic
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Shenandoah
  • Yellowstone
  • Yosemite
  • Zion

Adventure Guides: Life-list Routes, Maps, and Stories

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Secret Hikes of Classic National Parks

The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.

National Parks Hall of Fame

The all-time best. That's what every hiker wants on a national park trek, and that's what you'll get if you tackle one of these 25 trips.

National Parks Confidential: Q & A with Filmmaker Ken Burns

Ken Burns discusses the heroes and history of America's most precious wildlands-and the new challenges they face now.


Disappear into Yellowstone's northern fringe, where you'll find a rejuvenated landscape and total solitude.

Footprints Needed: Colorado's Undiscovered Black Canyon

Descend into Colorado's Black Canyon and explore a park that has everything–life-list scenery, challenging terrain, a revitalized river–except hikers.

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Great Smoky Mountains

Follow this circuit linking the park's many historic homesteads.

Rocky Mountain

Set off on a long-forgotten loop across the Continental Divide, through moose-infested meadows, and up Longs Peak.


Hike to surprising solitude on a lost trail to Yosemite's North Rim.

Grand Canyon

The canyon's best view isn't from the rim. Trek to Royal Arch to see for yourself.

Channel Islands

Paddle gentle swells through seacaves, then hike across this reborn island paradise.


The Wrong Way: Top 52 Hiker Mistakes

Your guide to 52 common mistakes hikers make–and how to avoid them.

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Ranger Confidential

True tales from the front lines–and behind the scenes–of America's national parks.


Wild Things: Where to Spot Wildlife

If seeing bears or bighorn sheep, moose or mountain lions is on your life list check out our tips for where, when, & how to catch an eye full.


Hike Forever: The Total Fitness Plan

Get trail-fit fast with this 4-week program was designed specifically for hikers.


Professor Hike: Hiking 101

Our resident expert answers all the little questions. And a few big ones as well.


Video: Packing for a Week

Wherever you're headed, our Editor-in-Chief helps you pack for a week-long trip.

Top Trips

Epic wildfower display

Mt. Cammerer, Great Smoky Mountains, TN

Best peak climb

North Palisade, Kings Canyon, CA

Favorite dayhike

Half Dome, Yosemite, CA

Best canyon hike

Tanner Trail to Inner Gorge, Grand Canyon, AZ

Cross-country adventure

Mummy Range, Rocky Mountain, CO

Gear Checklists

Trip Planners

  • Yosemite
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Zion
  • Grand Canyon
  • Yellowstone