America’s 10 Best Backpacking Trips

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Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park

From Phillips Pass to String Lake in Grand Teton National Park, the Teton Crest Trail is 40 miles of mesmerizing vistas. There are several access points. For the longest hike, start on the Phillips Pass trailhead from Teton Pass and follow the trail north to String Lake. The trail crosses Death Canyon Shelf and goes through Mount Meek Pass and Hurricane Pass and across the high alpine meadows of Alaska Basin. There is plentiful wildlife viewing, wild flower meadows and the previously mentioned spectacular views. A permit is required and because this is bear country, bear spray is a necessity. This is a strenuous hike with most of the trail over 8,000 feet in elevation and the highest point over 10,600 feet.


Appalachian Trail in Maine

Maine’s 100-mile Wilderness is the longest part of the Appalachian Trail that never crosses a paved road. It begins at Monson, Maine, and ends at the northern terminus of the trail at Katahdin Mountain in Baxter State Park. Famous for its isolation, the 100-mile Wilderness can also be dangerous for non-expert hikers and a downright grind in spots. For those looking for a less arduous adventure, the first 30 miles offers a great hike through rugged but beautiful terrain with 70 percent fewer miles. Highlights include Lower Wilson Falls, the biggest waterfall on the Appalachian Trail, clear running streams and plenty of panoramic vistas from rocky mountaintops. Most people finish this hike in three days.

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