One of the things that makes a backpacking trip unique is that it is a low-cost independent type of travel. The duration of the trip is longer than regular vacations, giving the backpacker more time to explore the world and for product testing some of the great hiking gear we got for free from these guys just before we left on our latest trip. For a person with experience in backpacking, a great backpacking trip should be full of adventure, something like a hike through a forest trail, or a long walk in the wilderness.
Here is a list of the top 10 top-shelf sceneries that is mandatory for any backpacker who wants to have an adventure they will live to remember.
1. Grand Tour of Yosemite
Distance: 152 miles long
Difficulty level: 4
John Muir, in his love for exploration, came across a few world-class wildernesses, but he focused his time and energy on the Yosemite. For many people who have been there for hiking, it is the best national park for a backpacking adventure. I made several trips there and thought I had seen the most beautiful corners if the park, including the many parks well situated in the core of the trail. You do not want to miss the summits of Hal Dome, Clouds Rest, and John Muir Trail. The real soul of the wilderness, however, is the vast deep of granite-walled canyons that peak up to 12,000 feet. The mountain lake is the picture-perfect scenery of the landscape.
2. Northern Glacier National Park
Distance: 90 miles long
Difficulty level: 3
The Northern Glacier National Park is endowed with rivers of ice that pours off the cliffs and mountains. The thick green forests, numerous lakes (over 760), mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and black bears are a reflection of the abundant natural resources that lie within the park. It covers over a million acres, most of which is wilderness, and this explains why it is such a favorite hiking place for backpackers. The hike distance is divided into 65 and 25-mile legs, and in the two stretches you will get to see all those sceneries, including the bears, and you will enjoy a degree of relaxation when experiencing many of the park’s highlights.
3. Teton Crest Trail
Distance: a variation of 33-40 miles
My first backpacking trip, and which has the most significant hold on my memory was on the Teton Crest Trail. It is located in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, and I was so inspired that I made my way there 20 more times after the backpacking hike for rock climbing, paddling, backcountry skiing, and day hiking. The jagged skyline always sends chills down my spine.
It is such an adventure to run through the heart of the national park, and while at it, do not miss the adjacent National Forest lands. The trail is above the tree lines for much of the distance and gives you an excellent view of the peaks. It beautifully drops into the upper forks of the Granite Canyon, North Fork of Cascade Canyon, and South Fork Cascade.
4. Zion’s Narrows
Distance: 16 miles
The Zion’s Narrows in Utah carries the slender North Fork of the Virgin River that uniquely carves through the red rock Canyons. Its walls are rise to 1,000 feet tall and are 20 feet apart at some places. The beauty lies in the springs that gush out from the walls, purposefully nourishing the hanging gardens. Backpackers will enjoy making a descent of the Narrows, walking in ankle or waist deep water, over cobblestone riverbed that slows down their progress.
Although just 16 miles long the shortest of the other hikes in the list, you will definitely be in no hurry to complete one of the most enthralling hikes in a National Park environment.
5. John Muir Trail
Distance: 221 miles
From the Yosemite Valley, you will need to cover 211 miles to get to the John Muir Trail, which is the highest summit. It is described as America’s Most Beautiful Trail, and once you set your eyes on it, it will be hard for you to argue against the clam. The John Muir Trail Lies in the Lower 48, 14,505-foot Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park.
It will take you two to three weeks to travel through the Trail, and be prepared for a jaw-dropping adventure with every mile covered. The countless waterfalls, pristine lakes that nestle in granite basins, numerous climbing passes between 11,000 and 13,000 feet are views you do not want to miss in the hundreds of miles stretch. It is not the best place for solitude during peak season though, but the JMT should be a definite on the list for any serious backpacker.