Where to Go Backpacking? Check out This List of Trip- and Route-Finding Websites
We have gotten some questions recently regarding where to go for backpacking trip ideas. The links below are some great resources for ideas and free pre-made trips. Click on the titles to go directly to the sites.
Recreation.gov features trip planning, information sharing, and reservations brought to you by 12 federal Participating Partners including the Army Corps of Engineers, Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Archives. The site offers advance reservations at 2,500 federal areas for over 60,000 facilities and activities.
Backpacker.com is the website of the Backpacker Magazine. Their site features tons of great trips, some of which include downloadable GPS waypoints, maps, directions, and a lot of other great information. Trips are organized by location, length, and distance.
Nationalparktrips.com features some interesting tools to help you decide where to go on your next USNP adventure. You can sign up to receive trip planning guides and other information for the parks.
Nps.gov is home to the official National Parks sites and a surplus of other information. When planning any trip to a National Park, this website is a necessary stop for safety information, contact numbers, reservations and permits, and more.
National Geographic Adventures
Adventure.nationalgeographic.com is another excellent resource for trip ideas for multiple skill levels. This is a good place to start if you are brainstorming your next trip.
Alltrails.com is a great planning resource for backpackers with many different levels of experience. Mark and Katie use this site (with the National Geographic Ultimate Outdoor Map Kit - $39.99) to create and print custom maps, GPS waypoints and routes, and to search for other backpackers’ trips. The site has trip sharing features and allows you to read and submit reviews on existing routes.
Everytrail.com features a searchable database of guides, routes, photos, maps, and more. Also check out their mobile app (accessible from the website).
Trails.com features trips, maps, guides, information, and more. They also rank trips (and trails) using votes from their users. It’s a good place to go for more ideas and routes.
Mapmyhike.com is another of the Under Armour “Map My Fitness” resources (i.e. mapmyrun, mapmywalk, mapmyride, etc.) and has a database of searchable hikes organized by region. While we haven’t used the app personally, and therefore cannot recommend it one way or the other, it is a good place to search.
Americantrails.org boasts the “World’s Largest Online Trails Resource”. While we haven’t fact-checked this advertisement, the site does feature a ton of trails by state. It’s a great resource for your trip planning research and to discover what hiking trails are near you that you might not have been aware of previously. It also offers ways to get involved with volunteering, designing, building, maintaining, and advocating local trails.
The list of resources above is not exhaustive, but should give you a decent start at researching and planning your next trip. It is best to do your own research, talk with others, and use multiple resources for planning every trip. We recommend selecting a few possible trips/locations to form your “short list”, then doing more specific research on each destination to decide which trip is right for you.
Don’t forget to check out our Learn Page for detailed instructions on how to plan and prepare for a trip, and also the Plan Page for checklists and other resources.
If you have any questions or if you’d like us to help you plan your next trip, feel free to Contact Us!