Backpacking the Continental Divide Trail Through Glacier National Park

Continental Divide Trail thru-hikers widely agree: The CDT through Glacier National Park is one of the trail’s very best sections. This guide to backpacking a 94-mile traverse through Glacier lays out a customized route that combines parts of the CDT’s official main route and the alternate CDT route in Glacier—and adds the high alpine traverse from Pitamakan Pass to Dawson Pass above Two Medicine, one of the most glorious mountain paths in America. Besides avoiding the logistics of a border crossing, this combination of the main and alternate CDT simply hits much of Glacier’s finest scenery, including the Belly River and Saint Mary valleys, Many Glacier, gorgeous waterfalls and mountain lakes like Elizabeth, Helen, and Morning Star, the magnificent Garden Wall, and five of the park’s most stunning passes: Redgap, Piegan, Triple Divide, Pitamakan, and Dawson. Sightings of mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, and black and grizzly bears are likely. The route even delivers stretches of solitude. This e-guide also suggests six, mostly shorter alternative itineraries (and a dayhike)—making it a complete guide to several variations on backpacking the CDT in Glacier.

See my blog story “Photo Gallery: Backpacking the CDT Through Glacier National Park,” in which I share photos from the multi-day hike described in detail in this e-guide, and watch for my feature story about this trip, which I plan to publish soon. See a menu of all of my stories about Glacier National Park, or scroll down to Glacier on my All National Park Trips page. 

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning your backpacking trip on the Continental Divide Trail through Glacier National Park!

A hiker trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc toward Courmayeur, Italy.

The Perfect Plan for Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc

Any list of the world’s greatest hiking trails invariably includes the Tour du Mont Blanc. The reason for that is simply the sheer majesty of this roughly 106-mile (170k) path around the “Monarch of the Alps.” Passing through three nations—France, Italy, and Switzerland—it delivers steady views of glaciers, jagged peaks, and the snowy dome of 15,771-foot (4807m) Mont Blanc. Each night, you stay in lodges in charming towns and villages or mountain huts in stunning settings.

This e-guide uniquely describes how to customize a flexible TMB hiking itinerary, using local transportation options along the route to skip or shorten harder days, avoid bad weather, or hike either most of the TMB or just a section of it. It provides expert advice on planning and preparing for a TMB trek—right down to gear tips and what you need to know to be safe—and day-to-day itinerary options on the first nine of the TMB’s 11 stages. This is not a guide to trekking the entire Tour du Mont Blanc, but a road map for anyone, including a group with mixed abilities and stamina, to craft the perfect customized plan for one of the world’s great treks.

Read my blog story about my family’s TMB trek, “Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc at an 80-Year-Old Snail’s Pace” which has dozen of photos.

Purchase this e-guide NOW and begin planning your hike on one of the world’s greatest trails, the Tour du Mont Blanc!

Hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

The Best First Backpacking Trip in the Grand Canyon

If there’s an archetypal Grand Canyon trek, backpacking rim to rim is it. Traversing the canyon brings backpackers on a uniquely scenic and challenging tour of one of the planet’s greatest natural wonders. This premium e-guide is the most comprehensive guide you’ll find to backpacking the park’s three “corridor trails:” the South and North Kaibab and Bright Angel trails. These are the Grand Canyon’s most backpacker-friendly trails because, while strenuous, they have the best construction quality, water availability, access, and ease of navigation. This e-guide will tell you what other trail guides do not: how to fully plan and execute a rim-to-rim backpacking trip in either direction, plus describe four alternative hiking itineraries—making it a complete guide to the various possible multi-day hikes on the corridor trails. You will get expert advice on the ideal times of year, how to obtain a very popular backcountry permit, travel logistics, gear, safety, and other details you need to know before taking one of the most prized and rewarding multi-day hikes in the country.

See many photos in my blog stories “Fit to be Tired: Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in a Day” and “April Fools: Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim” (which are premium content, requiring a subscription to read), or “Photo Gallery: Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim” (which is free for anyone to read), and all of my stories about the Grand Canyon, or scroll down to Grand Canyon on The Big Outside’s All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning your rim-to-rim backpacking trip across the Grand Canyon!

 

A hiker near Skeleton Point, South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon.

Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

Arguably the most scenic—and coveted—long dayhike or trail run in America, crossing the Grand Canyon from rim to rim takes you on a top-to-bottom-to-top tour of one of Earth’s most awe-inspiring and unfathomable landscapes. Besides being stunningly pretty just about every step of the way, an r2r is also a huge outing that involves—by its shortest route—21 trail miles and over 10,500 feet of cumulative elevation gain and loss. This e-guide offers expert tips specific to the unique challenges of successfully and safely hiking or trail running rim to rim in a day, including preparing for it, the ideal seasonal windows, tips on strategy and direction to hike, travel logistics, gear, and all possible hiking itineraries combining the North Kaibab, South Kaibab, and Bright Angel trails. It also offers insider tips on doubling it—hiking rim to rim to rim, across and back in a day (I’ve dayhiked r2r and r2r2r)—as well as relatively shorter options.

 

Read my blog stories “Fit to be Tired: Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in a Day,” and “April Fools: Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim” (which are premium content, requiring a subscription to read), for more photos and a much shorter description of how to take this hike than you’ll find in this e-guide, and see my “Photo Gallery: Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim” (which is free for anyone to read). See all of my stories about Grand Canyon National Park, or scroll down to Grand Canyon on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning your unforgettable rim-to-rim dayhike or trail run across the Grand Canyon!

A backpacker in The Narrows of Zion National Park.

Backpacking The Narrows in Zion National Park

One of the most uniquely magnificent and coveted hikes in the National Park System, The Narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River in Zion squeezes down to just 20 to 30 feet across in places, with sandstone walls that rise as much as a thousand feet tall. On this 16-mile, top-to-bottom hike—typically done in two days—you’ll walk in the shallow river most of the time, and marvel at the constantly changing canyon, and natural oddities like a waterfall pouring from cracks in the canyon’s sandstone wall, creating an oasis of greenery clinging to a redrock cliff. It is unquestionably one of the top two or three backpacking trips in the Southwest—if not number one—and one of the most scenic and unique multi-day hikes in America. While there are many great canyon hikes in the Southwest, The Narrows is the archetypal “great canyon hike.”

Read my blog story “Luck of the Draw, Part 2: Backpacking Zion’s Narrows” for more photos and a shorter description of how to pull off this hike than you’ll find in this e-guide. (Reading that story requires a paid subscription to The Big Outside.) See all of my stories about Zion National Park, or scroll down to Zion on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning your backpacking trip through the amazing Narrows in Zion National Park!

 

A backpacker's campsite on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Free Sample Partial E-Guide to the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park

This free sample e-guide partially duplicates The Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park (available for sale elsewhere on this page), providing you with a free look at an example of the e-guides offered for sale at The Big Outside.

While this free sample e-guide includes information found in the complete e-guide, it omits much of what is found in the complete e-guide. It offers an overall example with some details of what you can expect to find in any e-guide for sale here.

Read my blog story “American Classic: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail,” in which I share the story and many photos from the multi-day hike described in much more detail this e-guide; see a video of backpacking the TCT with my family in this story; or see my story “5 Reasons You Must Backpack the Teton Crest Trail.” See all of my stories about Grand Teton National Park, or scroll down to Grand Teton on my All National Park Trips page.

Download this free sample e-guide NOW by clicking on the button below.

A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

The Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park

Few wilderness backpacking trips in the country measure up, step for step, to a multi-day trek along the Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Variously 35 to 39 miles, depending on the route you hike, the TCT delivers a consummate backpacking experience. You enjoy frequent views of the incomparable Teton Range skyline and cliff-flanked canyons, and campsites that will rank among the most gorgeous spots you have ever slept outside. The wildflowers, mountain lakes and creeks are delightful. You have a good chance of seeing moose, elk, marmots, pikas, mule deer, and possibly black bears. There are many reasons why it graces many lists of the best backpacking trips in America (including my list).

This exclusive, premium e-guide describes several variations of the TCT, making it effectively a guide to backpacking most of the Teton Range.

Read my blog story “American Classic: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail”, in which I share the story and many photos from the multi-day hike described in much more detail this e-guide; see a video of backpacking the TCT with my family in this story (which is premium content, requiring a subscription to read); or see my story “5 Reasons You Must Backpack the Teton Crest Trail” (which is free for anyone to read). See all of my stories about Grand Teton National Park, or scroll down to Grand Teton on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning your backpacking trip on the classic Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park!

A backpacker above the Belly River Valley in Glacier National Park.

The Best Backpacking Trip in Glacier National Park

With vertiginous cliffs and peaks, numerous waterfalls and cascades, crack-riddled glaciers plastering mountainsides, and raw wilderness where a range of wildlife long gone from most of the continent thrives, Glacier National Park embodies the highest aspirations of backpackers. And if you’re looking for the ultimate, long backpacking trip in Glacier, the classic, 65-mile, five- to six-day Northern Loop is arguably the single best trip. It hits much of Glacier’s best scenery, including the entire Highline Trail, the Many Glacier area, Piegan Pass and Stoney Indian Pass, the Ptarmigan Tunnel, and some of the park’s finest lakes and most-remote wilderness. It’s not uncommon to see mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and moose along this route, and possibly even black and grizzly bears, and long stretches of this hike also deliver amazing solitude.

Read my blog story about this trip, “Descending the Food Chain: Backpacking Glacier National Park’s Northern Loop” (which is premium content, requiring a subscription), in which I share the story and many photos from the multi-day hike described in much greater detail in this e-guide; or see my story “The Best Backpacking Trip in Glacier National Park” (which is free for anyone to read). See a menu of all of my stories about Glacier National Park, or scroll down to Glacier on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning your backpacking trip on the amazing Northern Loop in Glacier National Park!

Young boy hiking the North Fork of Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

The Best Short Backpacking Trip in Grand Teton National Park

If you’re looking for a short, supremely scenic, beginner- and family-friendly backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park, the 19.7-mile, two- to three-day Paintbrush Canyon-Cascade Canyon loop is the one for you. Featuring scenery just as outstanding as anywhere else in the park, it’s a great trip for even the most experienced backpackers. It crosses one of the highest points reached via trail in the park, 10,720-foot Paintbrush Divide, where the view takes in a jagged skyline of peaks and spires in every direction. You will hike below the striped cliffs of Paintbrush Canyon and the waterfalls and soaring peaks of Cascade Canyon, and pass by beloved Lake Solitude, ringed by cliffs at over 9,000 feet. And the wildflower displays in mid-summer are superb.

Read my blog stories “5 Perfect National Park Backpacking Trips for Beginners” or “The Best Beginner Backpacking Trip in Grand Teton National Park” (both of which are free for anyone to read) for a short description, with photos, of the route described in much more detail this e-guide. See all of my stories about Grand Teton National Park, or scroll down to Grand Teton on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning this perfect, beginner-friendly backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park!

A hiker on the summit of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

The Best First Backpacking Trip in Yosemite

Looking for a first backpacking trip in Yosemite with amazing scenery, that hits all the famous highlights and is beginner-friendly? This 37.2-mile loop from Yosemite Valley in the core of the park is the one for you. You’ll hike the Mist Trail past 317-foot Vernal Fall and 594-foot Nevada Fall, ascend the cable route up Half Dome and tag the equally spectacular (but much less busy) summit of Clouds Rest, walk a section of the world-famous John Muir Trail, and get an iconic view of the Cathedral Range from your campsite on the edge of the alpine meadows at Sunrise. Besides the main route, this e-guide describes alternate itineraries beginning and ending at various trailheads ringing this core area of the park, including routes that begin and end at Tuolumne Meadows and stunning Tenaya Lake.

See my blog post “The 10 Best Dayhikes in Yosemite” for photos from along this route, and all of my stories about Yosemite National Park, or scroll down to Yosemite on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning this perfect first Yosemite backpacking adventure!

Backpacker in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

Backpacking Wild, Uncrowded Northern Yosemite

When you’re ready to explore as deeply into the Yosemite backcountry as one can go, this nearly 87-mile hike is the adventure for you. It meanders through the biggest, loneliest, and most remote chunk of wilderness on the Yosemite map: the vast realm of deep canyons and high peaks north of Tuolumne Meadows. Numerous places along it deserve shout-outs, like Matterhorn Canyon’s rock gardens beneath 12,264-foot Matterhorn Peak; the three 10,000-foot passes you cross in Yosemite’s northern alpine country; Benson Lake, with its sprawling, sandy beach; the incomparable Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River (you just have to see it); lovely May Lake, ringed by cliffs and forest; and the 10,850-foot summit of Mount Hoffmann, often described as having “the best 360 in Yosemite.”

Read my full story about this trip, “Best of Yosemite, Part 2: Backpacking Remote Northern Yosemite” (which is premium content, requiring a subscription), for a description, with photos and a video of the trip, which is described in much more detail in this e-guide; or see the photos in my story “Backpacking 150 Miles Through Wildest Yosemite” (which is free for anyone to read). See all of my stories about Yosemite National Park, or scroll down to Yosemite on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning this one-of-a-kind backpacking adventure through wild, uncrowded northern Yosemite!

Backpackers on Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park.

The Best Backpacking Trip in Yosemite

Looking for the complete Yosemite backpacking experience? This 65-mile hike south of Tuolumne Meadows hits iconic, must-see features in Yosemite’s backcountry as well as some of its most remote and lonely wilderness. Highlights include two of the best summits in the park, Clouds Rest and beloved Half Dome high above Yosemite Valley, as well as thunderous, 594-foot-tall Nevada Fall and the mind-boggling granite domes and peaks of Tuolumne, Vogelsang, and Tenaya Lake. This route explores remote Red Peak Pass in the Clark Range—which is the highest pass reached by a trail in Yosemite—and the rocky terrain and tarns, lakes, and creeks at the headwaters of the Merced River. And the entire route follows good trails and gets no more than moderately strenuous.

Read my full story about this trip, “Best of Yosemite, Part 1: Backpacking South of Tuolumne Meadows,” (which is premium content, requiring a subscription), for a description, with photos and a video, of the trip described in much more detail in this e-guide; or see the photos in my story “Backpacking 150 Miles Through Wildest Yosemite” (which is free for anyone to read). See all of my stories about Yosemite National Park, or scroll down to Yosemite on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning the Best Backpacking Trip in Yosemite!