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Best Back Country or Front Country Backpacking Destinations
Many Backpackers and Hikers define themselves by the trails and destinations they enjoy and conquer. Personal trophies, if you will. Chatting with fellow hikers about the best hiking trails, best spots to set up camp, and future hiking destinations is fuel to that passion. One of the great things about North America is that we have no shortage of destinations to satisfy your skill level, your personal goals, or even just scratch that itch for a change of scenery!
Front country Hiking:
We have to say, the Pacific Northwest, specifically Mount Rainier, has some of the best destinations for hikers. The diversity of terrain, and the accessibility of trail heads give this region an edge with countless options for hiking. You’ll also have plenty of wildlife to look out for while you make your way through nature. Marmots, mountain goats, black bear, deer. There is something for everyone here. Our top pick has to be Paradise, located on the southern side of the mountain. Not only will you have great views, but you’ll be also treated to its famous array of wildflowers, and there are great hikes to be had for ALL levels of fitness. They must call it paradise for a reason!
If the Rockies are a little too rocky for you, head east! The Appalachian Range offers an array of trails, wildlife, and heritage sites, without the elevation. Plus, the views of the Smokey Mountain region? No wonder there are so many songs written about this area! The trail itself stretches 2,190+ miles. For some of you real go-getters, you can complete the whole thing in a mere 5-7 months, but there’s plenty of exploring to do for you weekend warriors as well. Some people head to the coasts for the beach to sunbathe, but we’ll take the mountains any day!
That’s not to say you can’t find amazing destinations in the middle of America. The Midwest has a lot to offer as well! Five Great Lakes, stunning views, and so many National Parks to choose from… it can make you dizzy! Tettegouche State Park offers miles of well groomed hiking trails, camping, trout lakes, and even rock climbing. Take in the beautiful water views of the rivers and lakes, and if you go in the fall, the red, orange and gold leaves will amaze you. So many fall leaves for miles and miles. The trails overlooking Lake Superior provide a truly a magnificent sight, and you will experience the kind of beauty only found in Nature.
We’ve only touched on 3 pretty big regions, and that’s barely the tip of the iceberg! There is opportunity everywhere. We say to you, “Go out, and explore it!”
Other Front Country Recommendations: Gila Wilderness (Southwest New Mexico), Isle Royale National Park (Lake Superior), Porcupine Mountains (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), Mount Robson (British Columbia)
Back country hiking:
Are you looking for a few days of solitude, peacefulness, views of unspoiled landscapes? If you’re willing to take some risks with wildlife encounters, weather, and navigational challenges, backcountry hiking can fulfill that desire to go completely off grid for a few days. Additionally, you have the opportunity for a completely unique outdoor adventure, think Heli-hiking or glacier hiking.
Now these back country excursions are not for the faint of heart, but the payoff is huge. We would consider this type of experience to be the magnum opus of any backpacker’s travels. You will need to be well equipped, and let's be honest, if you’re booking one of these trips… you already are. These locations are so remote, that you will often need to be dropped off, and arrange to be picked up. For example, South Nahanni, located roughly 500 km (310 mi) west of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada. A majority of visitors end up traveling to the park by chartered float plane, which can be found in many of the regional communities. Why a floatplane? There are no public roads in Nahanni National Park Reserve! Completely unspoiled! As a result, you’ll be in absolute awe no matter what direction you decide to take. Virginia Falls and Glacier Lake are the only day-use landing sites in the park. People looking for an extended trek typically begin their river trips at one of four locations; and the average length of time most people take to complete their trip from these locations are:
Virginia Falls 7-10 days
Rabbitkettle Lake 10-14 days
Island Lakes 14-18 days
The Mooseponds 21 days
After one of these trips, you might consider calling yourself an explorer rather than a backpacker. A well-deserved title if you ask us!
Other Back Country Recommendations:
Northwest Territories (South Nahanni) - For a Heli-hiking experience of a lifetime.
ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska)
Wrangell St. Elias (Alaska)
Regardless of your level of experience, or what destination you may seek to embark, Littlbug backpacking camp stoves are a must. They are clean burning, ultra lightweight, easy to assemble & boil water fast. Just gather sticks and twigs for your stove or use alcohol for quick & convenient heat. Leave no trace with the Littlbug Fire Bowl. The benefits are easy to see why we love our Littlbug and include it on all our Front and Back Country hiking trips!
- Choose Your Fuel – Littlbug Stoves Burn Wood or Alcohol
- Rugged Simplicity – Stainless Steel Construction
- Stable – Unique Pot Supports Provide a Versatile Cooking Platform
- Nests for Easy Storage and Transport – Wraps Around a Sleeping Pad
- Easy to Assemble
- Boils Water Fast
- Cools Quickly
- Requires No Maintenance Kits, Spare Parts, Windscreens, or Heat Exchangers
- Plus, lots of fun accessories to choose from too!
Where will your next journey lead you? Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
"When it comes to outdoor skills, the more you bring along the less you have to carry. Skills don't break and they're never left behind. They don’t leak, they don't tear, and they don’t get wet!"