Best Backpacking Destinations

This list represents the most popular backpacking in North America (learn more about Top Trails). Use this list to plan your next backpacking trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

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#1. Half Dome


Half Dome is the symbol of Yosemite; its summit the goal of just about everybody who has ever donned a pair of hiking boots. It is a grueling workout, especially if you do it in one day, but if you sp…
From the guidebook "Hiking Yosemite National Park"
Yosemite, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 16 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in CA - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Havasu Canyon


Havasu is one of those places where a spectacular natural setting combines with the fascination of Native peoples to create a uniquely memorable backcountry excursion. Living for the past several cent…
From the guidebook "100 Classic Hikes Arizona"
Seligman, AZ - Backpacking, Hiking - 20 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in AZ - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#3. Mount Whitney


This expedition takes you to the top of the highest peak in the contiguous United States, and to unparalleled views.…
From the guidebook "Hiking Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks"
Lone Pine, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 22 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in CA - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Bright Angel Trail


In addition to offering the most convenient access to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the Bright Angel Trail is also one of the most popular hiking routes in the park. Wide enough to allow safe pass…
From the guidebook "100 Classic Hikes Arizona"
Grand Canyon, AZ - Backpacking, Hiking - 19.2 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in AZ - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#5. Eagle Creek Trail to Wahtum Lake


The second most famous and perhaps most enjoyable hike in the Gorge. Eagle Creek Trail is second only to Multnomah Falls in popularity, being the hike with more waterfalls than any other in the Columb…
From the guidebook "Hiking The Columbia River Gorge"
Dodson, OR - Backpacking, Hiking - 13.3 miles Best Trail in OR - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Chain Lakes


Don’t let the dog roam too far ahead on this trail—he could run all the way to Mexico without leaving the path. That’s right, Mexico. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs 2600 miles from Canada to Mexic…
From the guidebook "Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington"
Scenic, WA - Backpacking, Hiking - 22 miles Best Trail in WA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#7. Mount LeConte via Rainbow Falls and Bull Head


The only way to hike to Mount LeConte and return to your car without backtracking or long road walking is by utilizing Rainbow Falls Trail and Bull Head Trail. The first 2.7 miles to Rainbow Falls is…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Gatlinburg, TN - Backpacking, Hiking - 13.6 miles Best Trail in TN - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#8. Big Santa Anita Loop (Mt. Zion Loop) (Backpacking)


In the lush and shady recesses of the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains you can easily lose all sight and sense of the hundreds of square miles of dense metropolis, and the millions of Angeleno…
From the guidebook "Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State"
Arcadia, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 9.4 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Wilderness Press

#9. Canyon Creek Lakes and L Lake (Backpacking)


A hiking companion posed this question on a recent trip, “What if you could hike only in one mountain range for the rest of your life, which would it be?” After careful thought, I firmly responded, “T…
From the guidebook "Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State"
Weaverville, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 16.5 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Wilderness Press

#10. The Superior Hiking Trail


According to Backpacker magazine, Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) ranks as one of the 10 best hiking trails in the country and one of the top 10 in the world—placing it in league with the Appa…
From the guidebook "Hiking Minnesota"
Two Harbors, MN - Backpacking, Hiking - 175 miles Best Trail in MN - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Enchantment Lakes


The quintessential Alpine Lakes Wilderness hike to the fabled Enchantment Lakes. No hike in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness compares with a walk through the Enchantment Lakes. Not even close. It is the hi…
From the guidebook "Backpacking Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness"
Leavenworth, WA - Backpacking, Hiking - 25 miles Best Trail in WA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Toxaway - Pettit Loop


This is a classic backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Mountains. There are alpine lakes, waterfalls, and some of the most jagged of the Sawtooths.…
From the guidebook "Hiking Idaho"
Stanley, ID - Backpacking, Hiking - 18 miles Best Trail in ID - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Lizard Head (Backpacking)


A long circuit through the southern Wind River Range. This route takes you through the prime scenery of the southern Wind River Range. However, the trip may be frustrating because even though you hike…
From the guidebook "Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies"
Pinedale, WY - Backpacking, Hiking - 42.5 miles Best Trail in WY - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Mount Rainier - Wonderland Trail Loop (Backpacking)


The famous Wonderland Trail, which completely circles Mount Rainier, is not only the finest long hike in Washington; it is considered by many to be one of the best in the world. The route provides a g…
From the guidebook "Backpacking Washington"
Buckley, WA - Backpacking, Hiking - 93 miles Best Trail in WA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Wilderness Press

#15. Gregory Bald Overnight Loop


This hike combines the best that the high and low country have to offer. First, you'll travel up the Twentymile Trail past Twentymile Cascades to the Upper Flats streamside camp. Then an arduous cli…
From the guidebook "Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Fontana Dam, NC - Backpacking, Hiking - 15.7 miles Best Trail in NC - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#16. San Gorgonio Mountain


This memorable trip is perhaps the finest backpack route in southern California, touring the region’s most scenic high-mountain landscape. Glacial cirques, virgin forests, windswept alpine ridges, two…
From the guidebook "Hiking Southern California"
Big Bear Lake, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 21.3 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. The Grand Teton Loop (Backpacking)


A classic circuit around the high peaks of the Teton Range. This hike, along with the Teton Crest, offers up the real stuff. It’s difficult to really capture the true essence of the Teton Range in a d…
From the guidebook "Best Backpacking Vacations in the Northern Rockies"
Jackson, WY - Backpacking, Hiking - 32.6 miles Best Trail in WY - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Agnew Meadows to Ediza Lake (Backpacking)


With only moderate effort this trail places you among peaks of the spectacular Ritter Range—capped by Mt. Ritter, Banner Peak, and the Minarets—in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Some say that the alpine…
From the guidebook "Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State"
Mammoth Lakes, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 14 miles
Published by Wilderness Press

#19. Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake


Scenic Sawtooth Lake is the biggest lake inside the Sawtooth Mountains and makes for one of the most photographic backcountry scenes in Idaho.…
From the guidebook "Hiking Idaho"
Stanley, ID - Backpacking, Hiking - 10 miles Best Trail in ID - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Harney Peak Loop Trail


A series of trails through wilderness and exceptional wildlife habitat. Hikers eventually reach Harney Peak.…
From the guidebook "Hiking South Dakota's Black Hills Country"
Custer, SD - Backpacking, Hiking - 10.5 miles Best Trail in SD - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides