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Seeking suggestions of places to go backpacking - anywhere is fine!

I am getting back (in a limited way) into hiking and backpacking - it's been a while and I am not inexperienced - I've explored the Mineral Spring area in the Sierra Nevada range, quite a bit of the AT in North Carolina, Virginia, Vermont and New Hampshire (and a fair bit of the Long Trail in Vermont, north of where the AT cuts off and heads east).  

But that was a long time ago.  I am surely older now, in my 70s, in reasonably good shape and would like some suggestions where you folks  recommend.  One week-10 days in is about right as well as a few short trips.  Anywhere is fine - I am basically retired now (stuck overseas because of this damned COVID19 problem)  Looking for good suggestions, anywhere.  Not terribly tough.  


13 Replies

Hi @DwightET,

I'm excited to hear that you're getting back into hiking and backpacking! @REI-JenK mentioned an awesome location in the USA - the PNW is great for hiking and backpacking.

To stir things up a bit, I'll recommend my favorite backpacking/hiking place that I have explored so far - Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. This National Park is located in Chile's portion of Patagonia, and is great for backpacking/hiking from about October-March. If you are hoping to avoid the crowds, I suggest making this trip in October or March. You can, of course, travel there in the off-season, but the weather isn't as pleasant and it can get downright cold. If you are looking for a 4-5 day trek, you could complete the W trail. This trail is nice because between each half-full day of hiking with your large backpack, there are short half-full day hikes (the tips of the W - Torres del Paine NP names its trails based on their physical shape) that give you breathtaking sights. Or, if you are looking for something slightly longer and more backcountry in style, you cold complete the O loop (this can be completed in anywhere from 6-11 days, depending on your speed). The O loop actually incorporates the W trail, so you won't be missing anything by completing the O instead of the W. If you are unsure about completing the O loop solo, many people will hire a guide for their trip (This is also a great way to support the local economy!). While you are in the area, I also highly recommend checking out two small towns, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas, in Chile. Plus, if you want to make this an even longer trip, it's just a short hop over to Argentina's portion of Patagonia, where there are other amazing backpacking and hiking trails!

Here are some photos from my trip to Torres del Paine NP in 2017:

Torres del Paine, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Torres del Paine, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)


Lake Pehoé, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Lake Pehoé, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)



Portion of the W Trail, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Portion of the W Trail, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)


Valle Frances (French Valley), Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Valle Frances (French Valley), Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)


Condor, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Condor, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)


Vicuña, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Vicuña, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)


Waterfall, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Waterfall, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)


Cuernos del Paine, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)Cuernos del Paine, Torres del Paine NP, Chile (2017)


Also, here is a YouTube link to a video I made when I did the W trail in 2017.

COVID times may not be the best time to travel to Patagonia, but I highly suggest you find a way down there! If you'd like more details, feel free to comment or message me directly.

Have fun on the trails, and stay safe!

Fantastic! So jealous!

REI Member Since 1979

@DwightET My teens and I hiked the 42 mile section of the North Country Trail in Pictured Rocks, upper peninsula of Michigan. Fantastic hike: considered “beginner” , yet it was picturesque, scenic, with a flavor of the Caribbean. Mid-July it was 70 degrees, perfect for hiking. Many opportunities for fresh water, metal bear boxes available at every campsite. Highly recommend.

@Joy That’s a great suggestion! On the note of Michigan, I would also highly recommend Tahquamenon Falls State Park (call the park for backcountry camping info) and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. I spend the last two weeks in these two parks and would highly recommend them. @DwightET