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What is your favorite part of the country/globe to backpack?

I'm curious to see what the members of this community think about some of their most favorite geographical locations they have backpacked in?  As for me, it's really hard to beat the Pacific Northwest for the variety of terrain you can encounter within close proximity of each day you have to look at tidal charts in order to cross ocean side peninsulas, and the next day you have to be aware of possible snow up in the mountain side.  I also am keen on the backcountry wilderness areas scattered through the Midwest and East Coast during the Fall; hard to beat the iconic foliage knowing you are completely off the grid!

For some of our global members here, what other parts of the world has everyone done true backcountry camping in and why do you vouch for it?  Who knows...maybe we can all start to plan our next trip from this thread!

21 Replies

Basic desert rat here.  I really began outdoor life in Arizona, and basically I enjoy any area that is mountainous.  One of my favorites is the Gil Wilderness, followed closely by the Chiriahuas and White mountains of Arizona.  Canyon de Chelly is noteeworthy, although overnight trips for most folks are tricky to arrange.

The California Sierra is rather nice as well.  For something different and uncrowded, consider California's Santa Rosa Island, a proposed Wilderness Area.

A retired NPS career employee, most of my fav locations happen to be Forest Service jurisdictions.  Now why is that??

@tadoerner Great topic, thanks for starting it!

I've lived and traveled in a lot of places in the US and I have to agree that the varied terrain of the pacific northwest is really hard to beat! You can find rugged peaks, rain forests, coasts, deserts, lakes, rivers, alpine, and everything in between. There are some really iconic places to backpack here in Washington (the PCT, Wonderland Trail, and the Enchantments come to mind) but there are also a lot of lesser known areas that are really fun and great shorter backpacking trips. Hole-in-the-Wall on the Olympic coast, Kendall Katwalk, Annette Lake, and (not in Washington but still great) Ice Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness are all great backpack trips.

Can't wait to see what else the community comes up with!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JohnJ When you get right down to it, almost anyplace that is reasonably wild and remote, and new to me, is likely to prove interesting and worthwhile...

The most beautiful places I've backpacked, so far, are Sierra,... Colorado, especially the Maroon Bells 4 Pass Loop, ....Bridger Wilderness, Wind River Range....Iceland's Laugavegur was sweet.

For me, mountain views with sweeping landscapes can't be beat.

Switzerland, Germany, and Austria are wonderful, but have only done 'stealth backpacking', hut hiking is more the thing there.

But when I start to daydream, it's definitely Sierra and Bridger Wilderness.

I do have to give a shout-out to the Grayson Highlands balds in the Blue Ridge of VA for absolutely fantastic views, especially for the East Coast, plus it's someplace I can actually drive to in less than a day.

Big oops, almost forgot the Grand Canyon, to say it's jaw dropping just doesn't do it justice!  That's another place I keep going back to (how did I almost forget?)

REI Member Since 1979

@Philreedshikes I feel you there, it's almost overwhelming to think about how many amazing places there are out there to backpack. The Grand Canyon has been on my list for so long it almost feels like an old friend...even though I have never been there.

I've been meaning to ask you since I saw Heinrich Harrer's 'The White Spider' on your book shelf: when you were living in Europe did you ever travel and see the Eiger? I have exactly zero desire to ever climb it, but it was a pretty integral piece of my 'education' of mountains and climbing history. There have been so many movies made and books written that, in my mind at least, it has achieved a legendary status. I've always wanted to travel and look up at it. I was curious if you had and if it lived up to the hype that I am building up in my mind.


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JohnJI was pretty fortunate to make it down to Grindelwald more than a few times.

I did some very low scrambling on the decent path from the Eiger, but that's about it.

ps - I do have a nice piece of rock from the north face as a souvenir.

REI Member Since 1979


That's awesome! Sounds like it is worth the trip, I'll make sure it stays on my list (that seems to get longer, not shorter, with every year)!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

When, not if, you get to the Grand Canyon, I urge you to do some of the "unmaintained" trails in addition to the Bright Angel-Kaibab superhighway which most people experience.  You get a different experience on trails like the Hance , Horseshoe Mesa, and Thunder River.  The BA-K is, however, a good introduction to hiking for a long distance downhill at the outset, usually a rather novel experience.  Just avoidstepping in the abundant pools of mule urine (I am pretty sure the pools were produced only by mules....).


REI Member Since 1979