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There are a ton of things to see among the best backpacking trails in the USA if you want something more than just hiking and camping. Let’s get down to it!

Northern California

Backpacking the Lost Coast Trails in Northern Calfornia

Backpacking the Lost Coast Trails in Northern Calfornia

There are millions of people who flock towards the pretty and breathtaking views of the Golden Coast every year when it gets chilly in other parts of the country. Most of these hotspots are South of the Bay Area.

Once you start heading up North, to the place where the Pacific Coast Highway breaks off from the coastline, you’ll start entering the Lost Coast Trails. This is right along with the state’s King Range National Conservation Area.

It can be considered some of the rockiest beach terrain around this area. This trip will be quite short, but it is quite a challenge for beginner backpackers.

You will need an overnight permit in order to go to this trail from the Bureau of Land Management. This will be available on Recreation.gov.

Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is definitely a place that you would not think about when it comes to backpacking. The city is known for its nightlife and amazing casinos.

But did you know how much there is to do out there? If you want to get a bit adventurous, you could get las vegas atv tours and go through the desert on your own.

Apart from this, you can find some of the greatest backpacking trails in the USA near Las Vegas, one of them being the amazing rock formations at Red Rock Canyon.

You could surely drive down this 13-mile stretch but can also choose to soak in the experience fully on foot. You can hop onto the Greenlee trail that is approximately 3 miles long.

It has a ton of open space and is a generally moderate trail. Winter hikes are best here due to the road being open and on top of the Mesa, giving you a lot of sunshine.

They are exactly parallel to the canyons, giving you a breathtaking view while you hike up the trail. You can also look at Gardens of God for the most part of it.

If you love cloud-watching, be sure to take a blanket with you to lie down, and do not forget sunscreen if you do not want to come back burned.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Backpacking in Olympic National Park in Washington

Backpacking in Olympic National Park in Washington

This is positioned beautifully along most of the coastal region of Washington’s Olympic National Park. it is a long 20-mile trail that is perfect for people looking for an adventure.

It is quite ideal for people who have not backpacked before and offers scenic views of the seaside along the entire way. The entire way is mostly flat and is much like a long walk instead of a hike.

You will also find the weather to be quite pleasant most of the time. This actually has one of the lowest elevations as compared to most trails and will help you test your distance-per-day if you are new to this.

You can also camp along the trail on certain pre-established campgrounds that are set up. You do not need a permit to do this.

Central California

Backpacking near Lake Tahoe in Central Calfornia

Backpacking near Lake Tahoe in Central Calfornia

Near the southern end of California’s Lake Tahoe lied the Lake Aloha Trail. It looks like it is custom-built for most entry-level backpackers and will definitely give you a postcard-worthy view all along the way.

This hike will take you alongside a number of alpine lakes. You should be sure to take a slower pace while hitting those inclines so that you do not lose your stamina.

Diving into the clean waters of Lake Tahoe after a sweaty hike would be the perfect way to end this.

This area is home to some of the best backpacking trails in the USA, which is why it might be hard to find campgrounds that are not already taken. You can beat the crowd and plan one during the off-season for reservations.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited parks in the country. The Mount Sterling Loop trail is situated here and gives you an intermediate-level trip in order to reach the peak of the mountain in the park.

You can start in NC and cross through forests to reach Tennessee on your way. Be sure to follow the Big Creek to the top of Mount Sterling.

You’ll even see a fire tower that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s.

This is the perfect place for getting full views of these mountains. This has an elevation gain of around 8,000+ and there are some sharp turns and climbs in this trail.

Death Valley National Park, California

Climbing above Desolation Canyon in Death Valley

Climbing above Desolation Canyon in Death Valley

The scenery looks like it has seriously just been pulled out of Mars. Hiking around this park is as intense as it is interesting.

The trail will take you through quite a stark terrain and you will definitely need a lot of planning on this trip. It is almost 30 miles long and is quite a challenge.

Remember to keep a lot of water with you since you won’t be finding any over here. You can also pack a water filter.

Backpacking can give you the sense of adventure that you have always been looking for. So choose a destination and start packing as soon as you can!

When traveling in Uganda, there is a myriad of options when deciding how to spend your weekend, vacation, honeymoon, or holiday. One activity that will allow you to stay fit while experiencing the beautiful landscape of the country is hiking in Uganda.

The geography of Uganda features numerous hills and mountains as well as low lands with good hiking areas.

Each of these locations offers different experiences, so depending on your preference, there are vast choices in terms of elevation, the ruggedness of the trail, and the surrounding wildlife and plant life.

Whether you want to explore challenging and beautiful landscapes of the mountains, want to catch sight of wildlife, or just want to meander through plains, hills, and forests, there are hikes in Uganda that will suit all levels and age groups.

Uganda is an amazing country where you can explore the great outdoors, so if you are thinking about exploring the country on foot, or want to learn about its history, beliefs, and cultures, dive into our list of the best places for hiking in Uganda.

Rwenzori Mountains

Discover the Rwenzori Mountains, one of the best hiking spots in Uganda

Discover the Rwenzori Mountains, one of the best spots for hiking in Uganda

The famed “mountains of the moon” are a worthy place to visit, this has the highest peak in Uganda and is usually covered in snow throughout the year. In fact, the snowmelt is the source of rivers and waterfalls in the Rwenzori area.

The Rwenzori Mountain range is one of the best places for hiking in Uganda, and there are several trails through which a ranger guide leads hikers through different vegetation at different heights in the mountain.

It takes about 8-10 days to reach the apex of the mountain, where there’s stunning snow almost year-round. If you don’t have as much time, there are other peaks in the mountain range that take fewer days to ascend.

Most of this mountain region is covered in forests and serves as a home to primates like baboons, monkeys, reptiles, and a variety of birds. As you climb the impressive peaks, you will be able to catch amazing views of rocky cliffs, vast valleys, and towns in the foothills below.

Bwindi Impenetrable Park

Bwindi is a famous destination because of Uganda’s prime tourist activity, Gorilla trekking. It’s possible to do hikes both within and outside the park.

The most famous hike in Bwindi Impenetrable Park is one that goes through the forest to Lake Mutanda, where you can encounter residents of the forest like chimps, gorillas, and a wide variety of birds.

Another famous trail here is the Batwa Trail. The Batwa are the original inhabitants of the Bwindi forest, and they lived there until they were evicted when the forest was transformed into a national park.

While inhabiting the forest, they lived sustainably as hunter-gatherers and never destroyed their surroundings for farming purposes. The cultural values and ways of these people have been kept alive by conducting cultural hikes through the forests to the places where they once lived.

Mabira Forest

Discover untouched nature in the Mabira Forest Reserve

Discover untouched nature in the Mabira Forest Reserve

Mabira is located along the Kampala Jinja highway and is home to a variety of birds and primates among other wildlife.

There are a couple of trails that take you to the innermost parts of the forest, some of these are covered with a canopy where nearly all sunlight is blocked by the thick vegetation. Along with forest hikes, you can also partake in other activities like zip-lining and tree climbing.

This rain forest is well known for being the only place in the country that harbors the rare Gray Cheeked Mangabey; an old-world monkey that dwells in trees and is closely related to the baboon family.

There are three habituated groups in the forest that can be easily tracked with the help of guides. The forest is also home to other species of monkey, like the red-tailed monkey among others.

Kibale forest, the Primate Capital of the world

The Kibale Forest is famed for its great number of primates, including chimps, baboons, and a couple of different species of monkeys. The trails here go through Bigodi Swamp, the top of the world hike where you can view a vast area of the region as well as the nocturnal forest walk.

Not far from the forest is Fort Portal town, famed as the “Tourism city of Uganda” where you can enjoy a smooth hike to Amabeere Caves and Nyakasura Caves that have a long-standing history in the area.

Once you hike to the top of the hills, you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the crater lakes that make the region so beautiful.

Mount Morungole

Mount Morungole is one of the most thrilling places for hiking in Uganda and even the world.

The trail here leads you to places where the Ik people live, the only way to meet these indigenous people in their village just outside one of the most beautiful wildernesses in Africa, Kidepo Valley National Park in northeastern Uganda.

If you desire to hike in isolated places where you are immersed in wilderness trails, then this is the best hike to go for in Uganda.

Mount Elgon

Sipi Falls near Mount Elgon

Sipi Falls near Mount Elgon

Mountain Elgon is the largest solitary extinct volcanic mountain in East Africa. Atop the mountain, you’ll find a collapsed crater caldera which covers more than 40 kilometers at the summit is the largest known natural crater.

It is not very steep and can be climbed even by people who do not have much hiking expertise. Trails here lead past caves, viewpoints, and waterfalls.

Also in the area, you can visit Sipi Falls that can be reached after hiking through some plantations. Hike to the top of the falls for the thrilling experience of seeing the water cascade over the rocks.

Murchison Falls National Park

Top of the Falls hike in the Murchison Falls National Park

Top of the Falls hike in the Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls is a waterfall along the mighty River Nile where the Victoria Nile breaks and forces its way through a seven-meter gorge, toppling 43 meters below.

There are various trails to choose from while in the park, the most famous hike leads right to the top of the falls. Other trails are located in forests surrounding the Park, like Budongo and Rabongo. Wildlife sightings here include chimps, birds, monkeys, and baboons among others.

West Nile

The West Nile is the region that is located west of the river Nile in Northern Uganda. The Nile acts as a major border of this region from the rest of the country. The region has its own gems and attractions that make it unique from the rest of Northern Uganda.

Mount Wati is the highest mountain in West Nile, standing at approximately 1250 meters above sea level. Surrounding the mountains, you’ll find the Offude Hills.

This is not just an ordinary mountain but rather a place where mysteries unfold as it is also said to be central to the ancestry of the local Lugbara people.

Fascinating stories are told of this mountain and spending time in this region, you will get to experience a mix of cultural, traditional, and spiritual adventurism in the ancestral world.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Take to the trails in Kyambura Gorge in Western Uganda

Take to the trails in Kyambura Gorge in Western Uganda

This is a region in Uganda with a couple of trails to choose from. The most popular option is The Kyambura George exploration, where you hike and have the opportunity to view chimps in their natural habitat.

Another interesting hike is to explore the Maramagambo Forest, which covers part of the park from Kichwamba escarpment to Lake Edward. The other trails are in the Mweya Peninsula where you can do a Banded Mongoose research hike and the Ishasha river hiking trail that takes you along the river in the Ishasha sector.

Cycad Village Trail

The Cycad Village Trail is a new trail located along Mpanga River Gorge in Kitagwenda district in western Uganda. The village is named after the local cycad, a pre-historic plant species that is believed to date back to the dinosaur age.

Closely related (yet completely different from) palm trees, the large plant is unique for its beautiful appearance and the pleasant aroma of its fruits, which penetrate the entire region. The trail is still under development, but it is still possible to hike in this region to view this beautiful village.


These are what we consider as the best areas for hiking in Uganda, though there are a couple of other good trails not included in this list. Trips to any of these can be organized by Ssamba Safaris. If you want to learn more about Uganda, check out our guide to backpacking in Uganda.

Being physically active with your partner is a great way to strengthen your relationship and share each other’s interests. Whether you’re already an avid backpacker or you’ve never tried it before, going backpacking as a couple can help you to feel closer than ever.

Let’s face it, everyone is busy. Combine that with these uncertain times we’re living in, and stress is running rampant. According to the American Institute of Stress, 33% of people claim to have extreme stress.

Being in a strong relationship can help with that, and spending time staying active outdoors is a great way to boost your mental health, get more energy, and fall even more in love with your partner.

But, to get closer in your relationship, it’s going to take more than packing a few granola bars and hitting the trail. Let’s cover a few ways you can actively use backpacking as a couple to get closer and enjoy the personal benefits along the way.

A Romantic Getaway for Two

In a world of social media, smartphones, and constantly being bombarded by news, it can be beneficial to “get away” for a while. Backpacking is a great way to unplug and go off the grid, even for a day.

You can also choose to make a trip out of it by using it as an excuse to celebrate a special event, like an anniversary. Camping or backpacking as a couple are wonderful ways to reconnect with your partner away from the rest of the world.

While expensive dinners have their place, there is no better way to strengthen your bond than to go hiking during the day and share a tent at night. If you’re backpacking on a budget, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Borrow your camping gear
  • Bring your own firewood
  • Cook in bulk
  • Bring bedding from home

What sounds more romantic than talking and drinking a glass of wine around a campfire or huddling together for warmth while sharing a sleeping bag? You’ll definitely get closer to your partner – literally and figuratively!

A Staycation to Remember

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s travel plans for nearly two years. While things are starting to open up and return to normal, not everyone feels comfortable flying or going to new locations just yet.

The good news?

You can save money, stay safe, and might even have a better time by planning a staycation with your partner. By staying around your own community, you can enjoy things like:

  • A spa day
  • A movie night
  • City tours
  • Checking out local farmers markets
  • Going to museums

Spending time outdoors is another great way to appreciate your town or city. By going on a camping trip at a local park or in the woods, you can enjoy a long hike together during the day, cook a meal together in the evening, and do some romantic stargazing away from the lights of the city before you go to bed.

A staycation can be just as magical and memorable as hopping on a plane and heading somewhere new. So, get creative with the things you can do, and if you love being active and spending time outdoors, make sure to include plenty of backpacking activities in your plans.

Lean on Each Other

Even if you’re an active couple, you might be new to the world of backpacking or hiking. That makes it the perfect opportunity to get closer.

When you go backpacking as a couple, you’ll have to rely on things like strong communication, divvying up responsibilities, and leaning on each other for support.

In some ways, it can be a challenge. You might reach your physical limits. You might even argue over which way to go on the trail. But, there is no better time to openly communicate and work through things.

By the end of it, you might even surprise yourself with how much better you feel and how much stronger your relationship is after backpacking as a couple.

When it’s just the two of you, and you’re not distracted by work, a social life, or even digital devices, you’ll have the opportunity to build on your connection and really get to learn more about each other, no matter how long you’ve been together.

Maybe you’ll have conversations you’ve been holding back for a long time. Maybe you’ll find out something that you didn’t know about your partner before. Being out in nature can help to clear your head while reducing stress, so both of you might be willing to be more vulnerable.

If you’ve never gone camping or backpacking as a couple, don’t wait. Take your passion for staying active and being outdoors, and use it to strengthen your relationship. Keep these tips in mind to get closer, have fun, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Though we’re willing to bet once you experience the benefits of backpacking as a couple, you’ll want to do it again and again!

If you’ve got a fun hike coming up, it’s easy to feel like a kid on Christmas morning. The excitement and anticipation are unmatched for those who love hitting the trails, and that’s never a bad thing. The more passionate you are about hiking, the better! But, that passion and excitement can also cause you to overlook certain things as you prepare for your trek, leading to common hiking injuries.

You might forget to pack the right essentials, or you might hit the trail with gusto and go at a pace that could be damaging to your body, especially if you’re new to the world of hiking.

The health benefits of backpacking – both mental and physical – are incredible. The last thing you want is to turn them upside down and injure yourself or feel stressed out on the trail because you’re not taking your time or practicing preparedness.

So, what can you do to prevent common hiking injuries? Furthermore, how can you deal with aches and pains that still might occur, despite your best efforts?

Practice Proper Preparation

Avoiding discomfort and injury starts before your hike actually begins. You might be excited to get on your favorite trail, but taking the time to prepare and center yourself is important.

That starts with making sure you’re properly packed. Your backpack should include:

  • Navigation tools
  • Adequate water
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Rain protection
  • Safety items (fire starter, flashlight, whistle)
  • First aid kit
  • Sun protection

That might sound like a lot, but they are very basic items that won’t weigh you down too much and will help to keep you safe and comfortable.

It’s also important to have the right gear on your body. Don’t bust out your brand new hiking boots the day you plan on hitting a long trail. You don’t know how they’ll fit, and if they’re new, they could cause blistering and discomfort.

Instead, wear something you know you can walk in for miles. Wear clothing that breathes and doesn’t irritate you. And, make sure you’re carrying extra socks if your feet get wet or sweaty.

How to Avoid Common Hiking Injuries

If you’re a seasoned hiker, you might know about some common hiking injuries and how to avoid them. But, it’s always good to remind yourself of the potential risks out there. If you’re a novice, learning more about these injuries will help you be more aware when you’re on your trek.

First, it’s important to take stock of how you feel before you head out on your hike. Medical conditions don’t have to stop you from heading out. In fact, regular exercise is a great way to manage the symptoms of many conditions, like GERD.

But, listen to your body. If you’re in pain or not feeling well before you start, it might be better to reschedule your hike. No one wants to experience GERD symptoms during a hike.

If you’re feeling good and already out on the trail, keep your eyes open. Some of the most common injuries are easy to avoid as long as you’re paying attention, including:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Insect bites/stings
  • Poisonous plants
  • Dehydration

It’s not only important to pay attention to your surroundings, but yourself, too. Periodically “check-in” with yourself. Think about how you’re feeling. Are you tired? Take a break. Thirstier than you realized? Drink some water. When was the last time you applied sunscreen? Put on another layer.

By paying attention to yourself and the things around you, you’re less likely to get injured or experience discomfort right away or when you get home.

Recover the Right Way

Speaking of getting home, preventing discomfort doesn’t stop when you’re off the trail.

Hiking is an intense workout, especially if you do it all day in the blistering sun. Taking the time to properly recover is hugely important.

To make sure you’re doing that, start by staying as hydrated as possible. Keep drinking water frequently throughout the next day to restore your energy levels and make sure your muscles are hydrated.

Additionally, eat the right things. Working out impacts your muscles, and stretching afterward might help them feel less tight, but they are depleted after a hike. Proper nutrition is the best way to restore them.

There are no hard and fast rules about exactly which foods to consume. But, you’ll want to include plenty of healthy protein, fats, and carbs. That can be found in everything from tuna to avocados. Eat what you enjoy, but make sure it’s benefiting your body, rather than depleting it further.

If you’re dealing with a common hiking injury and trying to recover, rest is best. If you get back on the trails too quickly, you could risk injuring yourself further.

When you’re ready, though, hiking can be a great way to ease back into a workout regiment after an injury or condition. For example, it’s a wonderful way to manage the effects of varicose veins without putting extra strain on your body.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to keep yourself safe and comfortable and avoid common hiking injuries. Staying prepared, knowledgeable, and smart about your recovery will allow you to keep that “kid on Christmas morning” mentality, so you can continue to hit the trails as often as possible.

Winter Shminter! For hiking and backpacking enthusiasts, colder temperatures can’t stand in the way of our desire to get out on the trails. But if you’re looking to do a long-distance hike or backcountry camping trip during the winter, it’s probably best to stick to an area that isn’t going to be snowed in.

In fact, some National Parks even close down partially in over winter since the snow and ice can make exploring near impossible. Luckily, there are still plenty of warm places in the US to do some backcountry hiking and overnight backpacking during the colder months of November through February. From California to Florida and other options in between, read on to see the best places to go backpacking in winter around the US.

Backpacking Treks in Winter

Carrying everything you need on your back, pitching a tent, and living 100% in the great outdoors is the call of the wild for many backpackers. But in winter, it’s important to have a high level of respect for the natural elements.

Below-freezing temperatures, snowed-in trails, and icy conditions can mean that some places are just not possible to hike in winter, even if you have the most advanced winter gear.

To make your life easier (and your pack lighter), stick to these places in the US where you can through-hike and camp overnight, even during the winter months of November, December, January, or February.

Santa Catalina, California

Catalina Island is a great place to go backpacking in winter

Most of California enjoys moderate weather year-round. Other than in the mountains, it rarely drops below freezing, so if you’re looking for the perfect place to go backpacking in winter, California is a perfect option. 

Santa Catalina is an island off the coast of southern California, which allows hikers year-round. The winter months are prime whale-watching season along the California Coast, so keep an eye out as you take in the sweeping views over the Pacific Ocean.

The Trans-Catalina hiking trail spans 38.5 miles and typically takes 4 days. You’ll hike across Catalina Island, explore its interior, and camp at stops along pristine beaches. Ferry tickets to Catalina Island are around $75 and camping fees vary by season.

Because Catalina is a fairly small island, you’ll get your bearings quickly, and it’s a great place to experience an overnight camping and winter backpacking trip in California once the colder weather sets in.

Henry Coe State Park, California

Backpacking in Henry Coe State Park

Henry Coe State Park is a vast wilderness in Northern California where you can easily do a multi-day winter backpacking trip. As the largest state park in Northern California, Henry Coe has 80,000 acres of wilderness areas.

Spring is the busy season, when many visitors come to hike the Henry Coe trails among an abundance of wildflowers. So if you’re looking for more solitude, try this California backpacking spot in the winter months. The hills surrounding Henry Coe experience mild weather year-round, and like many places in California, it rarely dips below freezing even in winter.

The Lost Coast Trail, California

Hiking the Lost Coast Trail in California

This region is called The Lost Coast because the rugged terrain made it impossible to build Highway 1 through here. The highway just… stops. Good news for backcountry hikers, there is a well-maintained network of trails along The Lost Coast.

Backpacking this California area in winter is completely doable, but keep in mind that you may face wet conditions. Be sure to bring waterproof gear and a resilient spirit.

Other places for backpacking in winter in California:

  • Skyline to the Sea Trail – located in the Big Basin National Park, which sadly was almost completely burned in the August 2020 lightning fire. Currently, the park is open again, but most of the pine tree foliage has been completely burned, with new growth starting to emerge. Check out the Big Basin page for more information current conditions.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore – A trail that hugs the coastline and provides stunning views. 

Kalalau Trail on the Na’Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

Free Things to Do in Kauai

If you’re trying to beat the winter blues that set in around January, why not make the leap and head to the Hawaiian Islands? Hawaii is popular year-round, but you’ll be dealing with fewer tourists if you visit in winter. We recommend heading to Kauai (The Garden Isle) and doing one of the many hikes along the coast.

The Na’Pali Coast in particular is one of the most famous hikes in Hawaii. The Kalalau Trail takes you on a 3-day hike along rocky ridges with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. 

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Backpacking in Winter in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park covers a large area in Southern Texas including the Chisos Mountains and Chihuahuan Desert. Winter is the ideal time to go backpacking in Big Bend since you’re likely to experience clear skies with daytime temperatures in the mid-70s or higher.

There are plenty of overnight hiking trails around Boot Canyon, Emory Peak, and the South Rim, but keep in mind that a backcountry use permit is required. There are also plenty of half-day and day hikes if you’re thinking of visiting Big Bend for a weekend. 

Pinhoti Trail, Alabama

Flagg Mountain on the Pinhoti Trail

Flagg Mountain on the Pinhoti Trail

The Pinhoti Trail spans 335-miles, which means you can go hiking for a few days or go backpacking for as long as you want. This Alabama region is a great option for backpacking in the winter for both beginners and experienced hikers.

The Pinhoti Trail can get snowy in winter, but considerably less so compared to the popular long-distance hiking trails like the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail. It’s also very easy to break the Pinhoti Trail into sections so that you can go for as short or as long as you want.

The best time to hike the Pinhoti Trail is anytime between March and April, when some other popular backpacking spots are still thawing from the winter freeze.

Other places for backpacking in winter in Alabama:

  • Sipsey Wilderness Area, Alabama

The Florida Trail, Florida

Backpacking The Florida Trail in Winter

Florida’s prime hiking and backpacking season is from December through March. So when the rest of the country is facing snowstorms and below-freezing temperatures, you can head south when Florida experiences ideal weather.

There are a growing number of through-hikers who spend their winters on The Florida Trail as an alternative to the Appalachian Trail. The entire Florida Trail is 1,500 miles, so take a look here at the different parts of the trail that are recommended for a multi-day hike.

Keep in mind that the conditions in Florida might be different from other places you’ve hiked. Think soggy feet, mosquitos, and tropical surroundings. Luckily these issues are less severe when the weather cools, so if you want to experience backcountry camping Florida’s unique ecosystem, the winter months are the best time to go backpacking.