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10 Amazing Backcountry Picnic Spots

Big mileage days are great and all, but sometimes you just want to stop, smell the roses (er, wildflowers), and picnic with a spectacular view.


Backcountry picnic spots - holland lake

Pack a lunch and hike the 3 mile out-and-back trail to Holland Lake and Falls. The trail, located in the Flathead National Forest in Western Montana, also provides a moderate incline, which is great for families. Splash in the falls for a reward on a hot summer day! [photo: USFS]

backcountry picnic spots - cascade mountain

This 4.8-mile-out-and-back summit trail provides great picnic opportunities overlooking the Champlain Valley. From the trail, gaze at the several lakes dabbled at the base of the Cascade Peaks. [photo: Dave Hosford]

Backcountry picnic spots - grand canyon

Ditch the crowded overlooks and head out to Cedar Ridge with your lunch (3 mile out-and-back) from the South Kaibab Trailhead for sweeping views of the canyon. There is no shade and no water, so be prepared. [photo: NPS]

backcountry picnic spots - craggy pinnacle

Enjoy incredible summer flora in Craggy Gardens along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Highlands. Then, take your picnic to the summit of the 5,892-foot peak of Craggy Pinnacle and overlook the lush rolling hills below. [photo: Patrick Mueller]

backcountry picnic spots - great sand dunes

First, play in the great sand dunes of Southern Colorado for one of the quietest National Park experiences in the country. Then, hike up the Dunes Overlook Trail and cool off the Medano Creek “beach.” [photo: Abbey Dufoe]

backcountry picnic spots - devils tower

Hike 1.3 miles around Devils Tower, or branch off into the surrounding ponderosa pine forest to make your hike last even longer. Afterwards, eat lunch and marvel in the beauty of America’s first National Monument, which stands 1,267 feet tall. [photo: Greg Hanson]

backcountry picnic spots - hawk mountain

Pick from numerous of loop trails beginning at the sprawling Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, then find a rock to sit on for lunch and enjoy endless views of central Pennsylvania. [photo: Abbey Dufoe]

backcountry picnic spots - church

Take a stroll in Chugach State Park outside of Anchorage, Alaska, which overlooks Flattop Mountain. These year-round hike trails are perfect for a leisurely afternoon hike and picnic.

backcountry picnic spots - brainard lake

You’ll have to get to Brained Lake early to beat the crowds in summer, but the reward—an idyllic waterside spot with 360-Rocky Mountain panoramas—is well worth it. [photo: Abbey Dufoe]

backcountry picnic spots - charmlee

An outdoor getaway in southern California? Yes! Look out on the Pacific as you spend the afternoon walking around the trail system. [photo: claumoho]