Finding good places for extended backpacking

9:28 p.m. on March 28, 2013 (EDT)
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I am looking for suggestions on good places to go for an extended backpacking trip. I do not really have a preference on climate. I would like places in the back country with plenty of wildlife and scenic views. I plan on staying out there for about two weeks maybe more so a lot of ground to cover would be good. All tips and suggestions on good places to go what to take would be great seeing as I've only done this once before and fell inlove with the beauty and adventure.It was also nice being away from society for a while .

4:43 a.m. on March 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Where do you live?


8:49 a.m. on March 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Get a Nat G map of the area you are interested in an start planning/dreaming. (Maps can be dangerous things). 

Where I live in TN/NC it's possible to link trails with short roadwalks and stay out for weeks from the Smokies south down into the Cohuttas in Georgia, and this doesn't even include more eastern trails like the AT/Chunky Gal/Standing Indian.

As Ed asks, where do you live?

11:12 a.m. on March 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Sounds like he wants to get away from where he lives - where ever that be.

But would be easier if we were able to narrow a million possible places down to a dozen maybes.  Anything more than 2 weeks in true wilderness areas and you will have to start considering resupply.  Hard to carry enough calories for a 600Kcal/hour day after day trek.

I like mountains.  Rockies especially Colorado (Continental Divide Trail) and Canadian Rockies; west coast's Sierra especially from the east side and maybe John Muir Trail; long haul Pacific Crest Trail and almost any 2-3 week segment; Pacific Cascades (Wonderland Trail and Timberline Trail come to mind) as well as the Olympic Peninsula.  There are grand rain forests all over the NW with tree trunks 10' across.

Any 2-3 week segment of the Appalachia Trail gives you easier access to civilization and restock of food.

There are 100's (if not 1000's) of 2 week get-a-ways in all of the mountain states.  Many are as spectacular as any of the popular named walks.

If you want adventure look toward South America and some of the remote regions (think guided treks) along and in the Andes.

Europe has some great walks - but not so much back packing.  They have pretty much civilized anything over 10 miles long in the mountain areas. Russia has some WOW! backpacking and getting away places. Most are rugged approaches to a semblance of a trail, however. Hardy breed those Russians!

Political hot beds reduce your safe opportunities in Asia including China.  But Nepal continues to be mostly safe.  Think big and be first!  Consider walking the entire length of the old China Wall (!!) - or any 2+ week segment.

Get a copy of Backpacker Magazine and visit their site:

Or more specific interest groups such as the Sierra:

or even a particular hot spot like Mt Whitney:

Similar special interest groups on the Internet gets you to hundreds of possible hikes in just one local area of the world. There are hundreds and hundreds of personal and public hiking/camping/climbing links that have trip reports or discussions about getting into their local areas or places they have been.

Join a local Sierra Club and get in contact with  special interest groups in areas you would like to visit - such as perhaps the Denver area.

Washington State has the Mountaineers.  Every area of the world has a birds of a feather hiking group.

Stumble though the Trip Planning and Trip Reports archives of this site. There is enough there to keep you wondering for months.

ppine has cautioned me at least once about detailing all 'the good places' along a 75 mile stretch of highway. (Ok, I cheated - those were the 'gimmies'. Places to go that everybody goes to).

I'll not do that again with out payment in advance.

11:28 a.m. on March 29, 2013 (EDT)
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I live in florida but have been to/ camped out in alot of the places here. Thanks for all the information speacock ill definitely check it all out, adventering out of the country would be spectacular. I especially like the idea of walking the whole wall that would be an accomplish ment. Not to concerned about if there are trails would actually rather just going into the woods n making my own. Tipi, that seems like a good idea as well seeing as its not to far of a travel to get there. Ill definitely start looking at all these great places and get a nat g map and start planning.

11:59 a.m. on March 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Look for the big blank spaces on the map and go there.

3:58 p.m. on March 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Yellowstone, the Teton Wilderness WY, Glacier NP, Denali NP AK, Gates of the Arctic AK, basically anywhere in Alaska. 

8:19 p.m. on March 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Don't forget Canada, especially BC, Alberta, the Yukon and the NWT.

I like the Weminuche Wilderness in Co, Teton in WY and the North Cascades of WA, Scapegoat in MT.

7:33 p.m. on March 30, 2013 (EDT)
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10:14 a.m. on March 31, 2013 (EDT)
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Come to the northeast. Lots of trails and plenty of areas to bushwack, the quantity of backcountry in this area was one of the major factors in my moving here from nc. Not that nc diesnt have some great areas too. The at is close by plus all the 4000 ftrs here in nh, plenty of open land all around me as well.

12:37 p.m. on March 31, 2013 (EDT)
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Moving fast and seeing wildlife are not a great mix.. usually you must pick 1.

Occasionally you may move fast, and still see wildlife running away.....

One place you may mix and match could be Yellowstone. To see the elk there hang out in towns and park tourist traps, but do not go there 'In Season' go before or after or all you will see is wild tour buses.

I was there post season and still saw a fair amount of tour buses.

I was terrified too, as i tried to maneuver my mc with a trailer behind it,  thru gobs of tourists in the road trying to pet buffalo.

I wanted out of that situation bad.

11:08 a.m. on April 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Go in the spring May -early June to see the babies.  Go in September to witness the elk and moose rut.  Do not go in July or August.  Yellowstone is tall so be prepared for some snow.  A half mile from the trails the people thin out fast.

11:45 a.m. on April 1, 2013 (EDT)
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On a MC I saw snow there riding in..... That didn't exactly make me happy, in September of the year.

11:46 a.m. on April 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Glacier Park has many trails. The Bailey Range Traverse in the Olympic National Park would fit your bill well. However, if you want true wilderness, lower 48 National Parks are managed, so you aren't getting true wilderness. I have hiked in the Spatsizi Plateau in NW BC. That is true wilderness(which is a European term). David Suzuki has called it North America's Serengheti. It is an intact, not managed eco system. Mt. Rainier is nice, but is managed. North Cascades National Park is the least visited NP in the US. Mostly because it is remote. Many parts of the area are not a NP and you can loose yourself for weeks in there. As one poster mentioned for longer than two weeks you will need a resupply. Aircraft cannot land in NP without permission, so an area outside a NP would be appropriate.

Other areas like the Pasayten Wilderness in North Central Cascades, Tweedsmuir Park in BC has the highest concentration of grizzlies anywhere in NA. Once you are in the alpine there, you can go anywhere.

7:52 p.m. on April 2, 2013 (EDT)
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I thought we agreed not to talk about a certain wilderness area.  Rats.

12:24 p.m. on April 3, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine, Oops, it just slipped out. Sorry. I was thinking about it the other day and hoping I could go back. Really, the North Cascades NP ,and adjacent area, is still the least visited NP and will likely remain so for some time.

12:53 p.m. on April 3, 2013 (EDT)
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Also the Grand Canyon is nice for extended backpacking. Just don't go between late April and late September (unless you like over 120 degree weather!) October to early April is best. I prefer December/January as it is the least visited time in the canyon, easier to get permits (though you have to make reservations 4 months in advance). Mid winter temps on the rim (south) is about 10 degrees with snow, but the inner canyon temps rides 10 degrees for every thousand feet into the canyon as you descend.So on a day when it 10 on the rim it could be 60 at the bottom at Phantom Ranch. The north side of the inner canyon gets more sunlight than te south side does so it is more comfortable for hiking.


View from South Rim


The North Rim (N.R.)  is cooler in summer and there are many great hikes at 9000 feet to do. The South rim s open year round as the N.R. closes in November when the heavy snow blocks the road. There are about 9 major trails into the canyon off the South Rim. And even driving the rim is nice from Hermits Rest to Desert View.


View from North Rim


Havasupai is nicer still but not a long extended hiking area. I think you could stay down there for maybe a week to hike all the trails?But the huge falls are nice to see!


The Permits for the GC are $10 per permit plus $5 a night in the canyon.


Marble Canyon

For more info about the canyon, Go to:


11:38 a.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
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The 'Yellowstone-to-Yukon' conservation initiative has some interesting potential. By linking wilderness areas, there is the possibility of creating an area of wilderness running for a very long distance and covering a lot of territory.

A trail built there could turn into one of the premier ones in North America. 

10:48 a.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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There is plenty of wild country now between Ystone and the Yukon.  You don't have to wait if you want to hike a few thousand miles.

12:01 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine, there aren't a lot of established trails or documented trails up north. Some do exist, but many head in from east or west and do not run north/south for long distance.

Two wilderness routes that the OP might try for true wilderness as opposed the managed wilderness, is taking the old Telegraph Trail north from Telegraph Creek to Atlin. The land of Sheslay Mike and the manhunt for him. I don't know what kind of shape it is in, but I do know that there are active trappers in that area. John Muir called the area "a Yosemite 100 miles long."

The other, which would be quite a trip, would be up the Yukon Wind River from Ft. McPherson over the Wernekes and down to Mayo. North has done it in winter. 

Lots of different trails in the Spatsizi Wilderness and I have hiked some of them. Fairly easy hiking as much of it is above tree line. David Suzuki has called it North America's Serengheti for the depth and diversity of the wildlife there.

1:55 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for the plug, Erich. Yes, I travelled that route a few years ago during the winter. We had to break trail all the way and the route finding was challenging. It was also bloody cold and we ran into high winds, a blizzard and zero visibility along the Wind River. It was roughly 600km long with no roads, trails or easy exits. Up here, you are entirely on your own.

Backpacking in the summer would be fun along the upper Beaver and Wind Rivers, though. Coming from Fort McPherson you would have to find a way across the Peel River.

I would suggest the Canol Trail out of Norman Wells for a true "wilderness" experience. There are still rivers that need to be negotiated but they are smaller and shallower than the Peel. Many people have hiked sections of it and a few have gone right through to Ross River, Yukon, but chances are you won't meet anyone at all for the entire trip.

11:40 a.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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I don't understand the fascination people have with trails.  Maybe it is their lifeline so they won't get lost.  The idea of applying for a permit to go somewhere in the backcountry with thousands of other people has no appeal for me.

Having spent a career working in the outdoors, it is normal to not be on a trail.  That is where the wilderness experiences still are, not on some famous trail with a lot of out of state plates at the trailhead.

In heavily forested country there are usually plenty of game trails, sometimes cattle trails.  In more open forest, range, prairie, tundra, desert locations it doesn't matter.

One of the best backpacking experiences I have ever had was Big Bend in winter.  We traveled from water source to water source with 7 1/2 min USGS maps and never saw a trail or any other people.

I have been on horse packing trips where we made our own trails.  Once in Wyoming we ended up 50 miles from the nearest dirt road in the Absoroka Range.  That is where all the wildlife lives.  There are no signs of trails or campfire rings, or signs or fences.

3:53 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine trails in the east keep people who shouldn't be off them on them pretty much.

Last weekend my wife and i tried to take a hike and couldn't because I don't have decent ice creepers. Boiler plate ice but not thick enough for crampons. So in a short distance we gave up the idea of a hoke and bushwacked to discover a postage stamp size pond. That was frozen over and so in the sun there we sat, err well i did to make tea,  and she wandered about taking photos.

Getting out of there I just headed south knowing there would be a trail, and if that was no good and it wasn't we could bushwack to the Swift River and follow that in the woods to get back the the truck.

The point is my wife wearing a NF bright yellow and black shell was invisible to me at less than 16 feet :-)

Today is a rare day. I was thinking about a hike for today and blew it off to snooze. I don't nap, but today i did. LOL I got 3:52 pm

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