Friends, I have a serious problem to discuss with you. The first step is asking for help, right? The thing is I think I’m suffering from a fairly serious addiction. I am addicted to hiking, and I haven’t gotten a fix in a while! By now I think it’s fairly obvious that backpacking is my passion. I started this blog as a creative outlet and as a way to share that passion with people who may be unfamiliar with it. One of the best things about backpacking is the community that surrounds it. When you meet people out on the trail, there is an instant bond that is created, and no one is a stranger. I hope I’ve managed to convince a few of you to come join this great world of ours!
I’m seriously craving some time out on the trail. Longing for the trail is alive and well inside of me, but with nothing but jam-packed weekends ahead of us for the forseeable future, I’m going to have to settle for writing about it! I was perusing one of my favorite websites (and publications!) Backpacker, earlier, and I noticed a section titled “Best Hikes Ever.” Of course, I had to check that out! They had about fifteen different hikes listed, and I thought it would be fun to pick a few and highlight them here on the blog. There is only one on the list that I’ve had the pleasure of doing before, but, after some research, the others have definitely made their way onto my hiking bucket list!
The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah
I’ve talked about my experience on this trail briefly before. Located in Zion National Park, this is one of the most popular trails in the area. The trail is located in the Virgin River. For most of the way, you are hiking through water that’s knee-deep with beautiful sheer canyon walls on either side of you. Most visitors to the park choose to start at the bottom of the trail and hike to the section known as Wall Street. Wall Street is a short section of the trail where the canyon walls narrow considerably. It’s a gorgeous sight, and most definitely worth the effort to get there. During our visit to Zion, we made it to the Wall Street stretch and turned around. This day hike took around 6 hours and was extremely strenuous. However, this trip was before my evolution into a backpacker so I often wonder if I would handle the trek better today.
The entire Narrows trail is 16 miles in length. Experienced hikers who choose this route usually do it from the top down, and turn it into an overnight hike. Permits are required if you choose to do the whole trail. One thing to be aware of on The Narrows trail is the possibility of flash floods. The trail is located in a narrow canyon so flash flooding is a serious danger. Be sure to check weather reports before heading out for the day!
Teton Crest Trail, Wyoming
This trail will take you through Grand Teton National Park, and, by all accounts, is the best way to see the back country there. The 40 mile trip gives you expansive views and incredible natural vegetation to gaze at. The Teton Crest Trail is best done in the late summer months, as high altitude backcountry winters can be brutal and unpredictable. On a personal note, I’ve wanted to see the Tetons since I discovered Ansel Adams in high school, and this seems like an excellent way to do it. Besides, doesn’t hiking across something called Death Shelf Canyon intrigue you?
Northville-Placid Trail, New York
Here’s one for all my East Coast friends! This trail is a 120 mile end to end trek from Northville to Lake Placid, NY. It winds through the Adirondacks, and, like all great trails, offers spectacular views. The thing that struck me most about this trail, however, was how many times I read the word “solitude” while I was researching this trail. While I love meeting fellow backpackers, there’s something about the feeling of being alone (with John!) in nature. It’s a powerful experience, and one of the many reasons why backpacking is so therapeutic.
Four-Pass Loop, Colorado
It’s no secret that I’m in love with the state of Colorado. I’ve been ready to move there for years! But even I had never heard of this particular trail until I saw it listed on Backpacker’s site. This is a 26 mile loop (the best kind!) that begins at Maroon Lake just outside of Aspen. The trail boasts panoramic views of the Maroon Bells which are the most photographed peaks in North American according to various sources. It also includes fields of wildflowers and pristine mountain lakes. I am no stranger to the beauty of Colorado, and, if this is the best of the best, I’ll be checking it out very soon!
Instead of satisfying it, I think this post may have kicked my trail desire into overdrive. I think it’s time to talk to John and get a trip planned!
Have you hiked any of these trails? Any of them near you? If so, can I crash on your couch?