5 Best Backpacking Trails in the USA with Amazing Sceneries

Backpacking is a type of hiking activity that has become a popular style of tourism in recent years. According to Statista, over 50 million people went hiking and backpacking in America in 2020. This makes it quite clear that backpacking is a favourite hobby of many. 

Given the popularity of backpacking, there are many backpacking and hiking trails across America. This article will highlight five of the best backpacking trails with amazing views. 

1. The Wonderland Trail

The first trail on our list is the Wonderland Trail, located in the Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. This trail spans a whopping 93 miles and can be completed in 10 days. As such, packing your most lightweight camping gear and backpacking tents will be best when making this trip.

The Wonderland Trail is one of the more difficult backpacking trails due to the elevation and terrain. Even as an experienced hiker, it is recommended to hike this trail with a trained guide. Furthermore, you will need a permit before you start. 

This trail loops around Mount Rainier, and there are over 7000 miles of elevation. So you can expect to see some spectacular views of the mountain. 

green pine trees near lake during daytime

2. John Muir Trail

This popular backpacking trail is located in Yosemite National Park in California. The John Muir Trail is around 210 miles long and elevates to over 40,000 feet. As such, it is a long-distance trail that can take up to 21 days to complete. 

The John Muir trail spans the Sierra Nevada mountain range until Sequoia National Park. This makes it one of the longest and most difficult backpacking trails. When doing the John Muir Trail hike, you can expect to see lakes, canyons, and many cliffs. This makes it one of the most scenic trails in America. 

The trail can be done between July – September each year before the first snow. Backpackers need to know how to protect their food as bears and other animals are common in the area. 

3. Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail or PCT, as widely known by backpackers, is in Washington. This trail stretches from Mexico to Canada and is one of the longest trails in America, being over 2000 miles in distance and can take up to 5 months to complete. This trail is the second longest in America and is divided into 30 sectors. 

The Pacific Crest Trail starts in a national park in America, and visitors can indulge in camping, hiking and horse riding. If you aim to make the Pacific Crest Trail, you can expect to come across several tourist sites, including Eagle Rock and the Desolation Wilderness. 

Backpacking this trail is known as Thru-hiking and requires some preparation. As you could be hiking for over 4 months, backpackers must prepare for the summer and winter. As such, this trail needs three permits. More information about this trail can be found on the Pacific Crest Trail Association website.

4. Rim-To-Rim

The fourth backpacking trail on our list is the popular Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim trail. For this trail, backpackers generally start at the North Kaibab Trail (north rim) and end at the Bright Angel Trail (south rim). Each of these trails is a challenge on its own. The north rim is a 6000 feet descent to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. From there, you will climb over 4000 feet to the south rim. 

The total hiking distance of this trail is 21 miles, and it can be done in less than 3 days. While making the Rim-to-Rim trail, you can expect to see some of the most beautiful sites, including the Colorado River. 

This trail is open from May to October, falling within the warmer summer months. As such, carrying plenty of water and staying hydrated during your trip will be necessary. 

person standing near edge of rocky mountain

5. The Narrows

The Narrows Trail is located in the Zion National Park in Utah. The Narrows is a popular backpacking trail that is around 16 miles long. Subsequently, it can be hiked in a single day.

When hiking this trail, you will be walking through the Virgin River. This can make your trip somewhat difficult as you are likely to encounter rocks. Therefore, proper hiking gear and trekking poles are needed for the more slippery areas of the trail. The Virgin River has 12 campsites for backpackers that need to be reserved in advance. 

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Sacramento’s Hiking Destinations

The Best Backpacking Trail

America is home to some of the most beautiful backpacking trails. Some are difficult and suited for experienced backpackers, while others are easier and suited for novices. Regardless of your experience, we have highlighted some of the best scenic backpacking trails for you. Some of these trails require permits. So, it would be best to research the area before your trip.