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Viewfinder: Our Best Photos Ever

If the average picture is worth 1,000 words, the best wilderness images from BACKPACKER's top photographers are worth millions. Get inspired--and find the beta you need to hike to our favorite scenes--in this collection of classics.

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Expedition porters cross Concordia Glacier on the way to K2 in Pakistan’s Karakoram. (Galen Rowell, Feb. 1998)

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Gabe Rogel framed this shot of Iraq veteran Ed Salau on the slopes of Mt. Rainier. Salau lost his leg during the Iraq war (April 2008).

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For our 1977 cover contest, Wendell Mohling used a tripod to capture himself and his wife, Carol, at Denali’s Wonder Lake (Dec. 1977).

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David Muench located the perfect vantage point for this sunrise at Grand Canyon’s Toroweap Point. Get there: http://backpacker.com/hikes/49508. (Dec. 2004)

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James Barker caught an AMC hut worker about to finish the grueling, satisfying tas of resupplying the White Mountains’ Greanleaf Hut (Spring 1975).

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The trick to candind wildlife shots? Patience, says Matthias Breiter, who waited for days to capture these cubs along the Brooks River in Alaska (May 2004).

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David Tipling waited for two days at the edge of a snowfield near Oulu, Finland to catch this great gray owl swooping down on its prey (Feb. 2004).

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Tom Till says stormy weather–like this rainbow scene in the Grand Canyon–creates an untamed, mysterious mood (June 1989).

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Shooting the Northern Lights–as when Michio Hoshino did here in Alaska–requires a tripod for long exposures (Dec. 1999).

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Richard Durnan shot this exotic wilderness in Great Sand Dunes National Park (Sept. 2002)

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Here, a resident in standard Kalalau layering system helps an injured hiker (Linda McCrerey, summer 1975).

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For these hard-to-shoot redwoods, Mark Katzman scouted a riverside site, where natural light came through the canopy (May 2007).