Learning Who I Am Not, the Hard Way
One hiker finds his limits in Mexico’s Tararecua Canyon.
Long Trail – Go Big
How I got my footing back as a 300-pound adventurer on the Long Trail.
Eye of the Storm
Foul-weather backcountry days have an allure all their own.
Falling Over a Cliff
Courtney Henderson, 19, and Gavin Caruso, 23, fell 50 feet during a storm in June of 2020. Only one survived.
Emily Ford – Thru-Hiker
Late last December, Emily Ford, 28, of Duluth, Minnesota, took her first steps on Wisconsin’s 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail with a borrowed sled dog named Diggins. “I was laid off from my job as head gardener at the Glensheen Mansion, and I took full advantage,” she says. Ten weeks later, she became the first woman and second person ever to thru-hike the IAT in winter.
America's Friendlist Summits
Some high points require expert skill, a bit of luck, and probably some suffering. Not these. Here are 15 peaks—high on views, low on effort—that don’t play hard to get.
Breathe, Repeat Hike
A pilgrim seeking peace and purpose on Spain’s famed Camino de Santiago finds much more.
The Last Best Place
Add your voice to the call to protect Montana’s Gallatin Range, a critical–but unprotected–habitat bordering Yellowstone National Park.
The Long Way Down
Active Pass member Robin Mino takes the rocky route on the descent from Huemul Pass to Lake Viedma in Patagonia.
Our writer reconciles her family and her future on the path to Harding Icefield.
Flowers aren’t just for meadows. Look up to see spring among the branches.
Liz “snorkel” Thomas – Hiking Icon
Thomas has thru-hiked more than 20 long trails, including the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide and Appalachian Trails (the Triple Crown). On top of that, she set a fastest known time on the AT for an unsupported woman and has completed dozens of urban thru-hikes as well. This issue, she joins Backpacker as a contributing editor. Here’s some of Thomas’s best advice and insight fed by more than 20,000 trail miles.
Tuna Melt Crunchwrap
Put a backcountry spin on a fast food cult favorite.
Out in the Open
In one of America’s least visited national parks, I find my authentic self.
Fire and Ice
Find alpine bliss halfway through this snowshoe beneath an active volcano on Artist Point Trail in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington.
A Moment in Time
The climb up Mauna Loa’s volcanically shifting landscape is never quite the same, no matter how many times you do it.
The old backpacker’s adage is that the lightest gear is what you carry between your ears: your brain. Ultralight gear often requires more know-how than traditional gear. Here’s how a Triple Crowner approaches her packing strategy.
The BEST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE
The national parks are our national treasure, and these 10 campsites are the best they have to offer. Hike in, pick up your jaw, and post up in paradise.
Slide for Life
Taylor Gibler, 26, barreled towards frozen peril after stumbling on Mt. Baker in June of 2020.
Two gutsy climbers tackle South America’s highest summit.
See the world through the viewfinder of one of the world’s foremost adventure photographers.
Warm Up to Winter
Backpacking is so many things. It’s a leisure pursuit, a way to connect with nature, an athletic feat, a means of forging bonds with your friends and family, a problem-solving game, an escape, a subculture . . . Realistically, it’s something unique to every hiker. Because, above all, it’s a pull from within to get out there, and that’s a very individual thing.
Who's Afraid of Winter?
Two fair-weather enthusiasts tear down their fear of the fourth season.
THIS SEASON’S TOP TRIPS & PICKS
Shattered on the pacific Crest Trail
When they wake up broke, broken, and far from home, how do thru-hikers find the will to go another mile?
Pam Bales’ solo hike in October 2010 turned into a daring rescue of a fellow hiker. But she was left with more questions than answers.
Reap the bounty of nature’s pantry by learning to identify and responsibly harvest wild edibles on the trail or in your neighborhood.
YOU'VE GOT ALL DAY
Even on a lowkey dayhike, good gear can be the difference between a forgettable outing and a fun one.
Banish worries about pack space and morning shivers on your next cool-weather trip with these packable puffies.
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
Minko Nikolov, 32, suffered a near-fatal lightning strike while scouting a bouldering objective in Rocky Mountain National Park in August 2019.