The United States has many awesome places that backpackers would love to visit. With the basic items you would need to survive in your backpack, you can walk through rugged trails and see waterfalls, vistas, huge redwoods, granite mountains, beautiful lakes and clean rivers. Many national parks have hiking trails that offer you the opportunity to experience the beauty of many natural landforms. Here are some of the best places to backpack and hike in the United States.
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon National Park is an extremely popular destination for backpackers in the U.S. Every year over 5 million people come here to catch a glimpse of the canyon, cliffs, and vistas. Although seeing the canyon from the rim above is great, it is even more exciting (though quite challenging) to see it from below. Due to the huge number of people who desire to stay overnight at the Grand Canyon and the limited number of back-country permits available, you need to plan your tour of this park several months in advance. About 30,000 requests are received annually, but the park only issues 13,000 permits. Out of the 15 official trails that lead into the canyon, the most popular are the South Rim, North Rim, South Kaibab Trail, and Bright Angel Trail.
Yosemite National Park in California is one of America’s most spectacular parks. The park has a surface area of about 3,000 square kilometers has over 1,200 kilometers of hiking trails. That is why more than 3 million people visit the park annually with about 15,000 back-country permits issued to backpackers who want to stay overnight. Before you visit the park, you can visit the website of the U.S. National Park Service to find the areas that would be most interesting to you. You would love to see the mountains formed by glaciers, rivers, lakes, dense forests and wildlife. Also, you should not miss the magnificent giant sequoia trees and the peaks of the El Capitan.
Glacier National Park
The Glacier National Park in Montana can easily be described as a backpacker’s paradise. It has a total of over 1,100 kilometers of officially marked trails for you to walk on. The trails lead you to isolated alpine lakes, majestic mountain peaks formed by glaciers, and various wildlife species. The name of the park was derived from the massive glaciers that created the rock formations thousands of years ago. Historians tell us that in 1850, there were 150 glaciers in this park but now only 26 are still existing. Within a few years, the remaining glaciers are expected to be gone due to global warming.
Zion National Park
A visit to the Zion National Park, in Utah will enable you to see some of the most splendid cliffs and canyons in the desert. During a day’s hike, you can view various waterfalls, the valley of River Virgin, or the steep sandstone canyon walls. The walls of Zion Narrows provide one of the best places for gorge hiking. You will be walking at the base of one of the narrowest and highest canyon walls on earth. In fact, parts of the trail are not wide enough to accommodate you and your backpack. You may have to take it off and pass it through sideways.
Those are our top choices for backpackers in the United States. Remember that you need to plan ahead and apply for back-country permits if you decide to hike for several days on the trails in these great parks.