Backpacking is a great way to enjoy nature up close and is a very affordable way to see unique places that can’t be reached in a car. There are thousands of different trails and locations for backpacking trips of various difficulty all across the world and several of the best backpacking trips are in the United States.
Mount Whitney Trail, in Lone Pine, CA, is on of the best backpacking trips in America for seasoned cold weather backpacking enthusiasts. The 11 mile hike to the 14,505 feet high summit of Mount Whitney is quite difficult in areas and can be extremely treacherous through the last 4 miles in colder months. Throughout most of the year, Mount Whitney’s peak is covered in ice and snow, requiring ice picks and crampons for passage. The ice begins to melt in July and the summit is usually clear in August, only to become icy again by late September.
Backpacking Mount Whitney Trail is only allowed by permit and can be difficult to obtain, especially during the summer. Camping is permitted in most locations along the trail and there are two designated backcountry camping areas with water access, latrines, and campsites. Weather can be unpredictable and harsh on the Mount Whitney trail, so prepare accordingly and don’t forget the Coleman toe warmers.
Backpacking in Montana is extremely popular, especially along the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone trail in the northern Rocky Mountains. This moderate 18.5 mile hike along the Yellowstone River is one of the best backpacking trips in America because of its amazing scenery and abundance of wildlife along the way. The weather in this area of Montana warms up by May, making this a pleasant Montana backpacking trip for summer months.
One of the best backpacking trips in Alaska is the 36.2 mile long Kesugi Ridge Trail in Talkeetna, Alaska. This difficult hike is a two to four day trip across the majestic alpine ridges of Denali State Park. There are four different access points to the popular Alaskan backpacking trail from the Alaska Hwy. and the views and scenery along the trail are magnificent. The best seasons for backpacking the Kesugi Ridge Trail are summer and fall.
Hawaii hiking trails offer wonderfully pleasant climates and breathtaking scenery. One of the best backpacking trips and most popular hikes in Hawaii is the Kalalau Trail. The 11 mile trail begins in Ha’ena State Park at Ke’ee Beach and passes through several beautiful Hawaiian valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach. Camping is allowed in several shady, easily accessible areas along the beautiful Na Pali Coast, but permits and camping fees are required.
One of the best backpacking trips in New England combines the best hiking in New Hampshire with hiking the Appalachian Trail, giving backpackers the majestic Presidential Traverse, a favorite 25.5 mile hike through the Presidential Range in the middle of the beautiful White Mountain National Forest. The Appalachian Mountain Club offers lodging at several huts conveniently located along the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains. One of the most popular routes for backpackers hiking the Presidential Traverse begins at the Madison hut, traveling on to Lakes of the Clouds hut and finishing at Mizpah Springs. AMC huts require reservations and provide hikers with a warm bed, a hot, filling dinner, and a nourishing breakfast before setting out for the next day’s hike. A hut to hut Presidential Traverse is one of the best backpacking trips in America because hikers can enjoy a challenging and scenic hike through the White Mountains with minimal gear, ending each day with a comfortable place to sleep, a warm meal indoors, and plenty of company.