Long Trails

It’s the classic backpacking adventure: load up the pack, quit your job, and strike out for a thru-hike on one of America’s classic long trails. Whether you’re an Triple Crown aspirant or a weekend warrior, we’ve got the info, tips and tricks you need to have more fun on the U.S.’s longest paths.

Popular Long Trails

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oregon coast

Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail

The misty, tree-lined coast of the Pacific Northwest is a natural spot for an atypical thru-hike—and thanks to Oregon’s public beaches, it’s open all year.

Green Mountains along the Long Trail

Hike Vermont's Long Trail

Discover the majesty of Vermont's Green Mountains as you hike the Long Trail.

Continental Divide Trail

Hike the Continental Divide Trail

Plan your Continental Divide Trail adventure with BACKPACKER's definitive articles and trail recommendations.

Pacific Crest Trail

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | PCT Thru-Hike Tips

The Pacific Crest Trail is one of America's most storied trails. Plan your thru-hike adventure with BACKPACKER's definitive guide.

Appalachian Trail Katahdin Trail Sign

Everything You Need to Know About Hiking the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail didn’t become the world’s most famous path for nothing. Our detailed guide will prepare you for starting and successfully completing this 2,184-mile adventure.

John Muir Trail

Hike the John Muir Trail

Discovoer the beauty of High Sierras on the John Muir Trail, one of America's most historic long-trails.


The Long Haul

What it takes to plan a record-setting thru-hike attempt.

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Explore the Appalachian Trail in 3D

See the peaks, parks, and hotspots of America's most storied long trail in this interactive 3D map from BACKPACKER.

Garmin inReach Mini

The Ultimate Continental Divide Trail Packing List

Gear up for the United States' toughest long path with these expert picks.


The Ultimate PCT Packing List

Headed out on the Pacific Crest Trail? Expert thru-hiker Liz “Snorkel” Thomas breaks down the gear you’ll need, with help from BACKPACKER Gear Editor Eli Bernstein.

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The Ultimate Appalachian Trail Packing List

Get ready for your AT thru-hike with this gear checklist from expert thru-hiker Liz "Snorkel" Thomas and BACKPACKER Gear Editor Eli Bernstein.

continental divide trail

Opinion: Blaze the Continental Divide Trail

Some hikers grouse that blazing the CDT will ruin it—but that’s exactly the problem with doing nothing.

Hogpen Gap

Hike of the Week: Hogpen Gap to Low Gap, Appalachian Trail, GA

Visit Georgia's best section of the Appalachian Trail in winter for a crowd-free experience and Blue Ridge vistas frosted in white.

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Hike of the Week: Oregon Coast Trail to China Beach

See arches and sea stacks—and no people—when you visit the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor in winter.

Long Path

Hike New York's Homegrown Long Path

Step off the subway and into a wilderness sparkling with lacy waterfalls and craggy summits—all thanks to the Long Path, a 358-mile work in progress.

Tahoe Hiking

Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Lake Tahoe is 122,200 acres of cobalt blue water, and reflections of the Sierra. The best way to get to know it: The Tahoe Rim Trail. Get ready to hike with our guide to preparing, buying gear, and travelling the 165-mile loop.

Bears Ears save trails

10 Threatened Hiking Trails That Need Your Help

Hit these endangered trails to vote with your feet and send a message that protection pays off.

cdt mt. zirkel wilderness

Hike the CDT With These Expert Tips

Get the gear, the skills, and the trail beta to tackle Colorado's Mount Zirkel Wilderness on the CDT.

great smoky trees

Ask a Thru-Hiker: Long Trails in National Parks

Can you see America's best idea on a thru-hike? You sure can—if you can figure out how to pick up your permit.


Ask a Thru-Hiker: What Are The Craziest Food Challenges?

You could eat a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting, or hike 100 miles eating only Pop-Tarts: On a long trail, anything goes.


10 Beers You Need to Drink on the Pacific Crest Trail

The PCT doesn't just have some of the country's best scenery—it has some of its best brews, too.

Pacific Crest Trail

Ask a Thru-Hiker: I Want to Hike a Long Trail, But I Have a Family

Going on a long hike is complicated under the best of circumstances—but kids and a partner open up a whole new world of challenges.

Karl Meltzer and Scott Jurek

Ultrarunner Karl Meltzer on Breaking the Appalachian Trail Speed Record

When one of the winningest ultrarunners in the sport set out to break the AT's supported record, the path's elder statesmen gave him one piece of advice: respect the trail. Eight years later, he knows why.

hiking the pacific crest trail

Pacific Crest Trail Map: Hike the PCT

Get ready for the PCT—or just daydream—with our Pacific Crest Trail map, packed with highlights of one of America's iconic long trails.

Snowy PCT

This Year's Epic Snowpack Could Pose a Threat to PCT Hikers

California's monster blizzards were good news for skiers—but thru-hikers will need to be on their toes.

Wonderland Trail

What Are the Best Long Trails I Can Do Over a Vacation?

Reality check: Not everyone can quit their jobs to hike the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail. But if you have a week or two of vacation, you can complete one of these long trails.


Map: America's Best Long Trails

Plan your next big hike with this map of America's most-loved long trails.

Lake Owyhee at Leslie Gulch, near the eastern end of the Oregon DesertTrail. Photo by  Greg Vaughn

Three Incredible Long Trails That Are Far Off the Beaten Path

Find solitude on thru-hikes with A-list scenery and B-list crowds.

Stehekin, WA. Photo by Pam McCarthy

The Best Trail Towns for Thru-Hikers

Long-trail hikers agree: These are the best places to spend a zero day.

Birdman (left) and Scout (along with Chasky) took a rare break on October 11, 2016. Photo by Mark Fleming

Trail Angels Terry “Scout” Adams and Dan “Birdman” Rovnak Are Feeding the AT

In a cabin in the Maine woods, two men cook up "the best trail magic" of the entire Appalachian Trail.