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GUIDED BACKPACKING TRIPS

Guided Backpacking Trips

Our guided backpacking tours take you into the heart of world-renowned wilderness destinations like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite. Enjoy solitude and adventure as you embark on a self-sufficient journey deep into America's most stunning wild areas. You'll be carrying everything you need for the trip in a top-of-the-line, fitted backpack we provide. Pack weights vary between 25 and 45 pounds, depending on the area, the duration of the trip, the time of year, and your height and weight.

We provide everything except clothing, footwear, rain gear, personal items, and a couple small gear items. All the gear we provide (backpacks, tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, trekking poles, cooking gear) is top-of-the-line. Also, you can request to share a tent with others in your party or have one to yourself. All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch the last day, and your guide will prepare all meals.

Note: if you'd like to do a standard backpacking trip but prefer not to carry the gear, we offer porter services for $265 per porter per day. The porters can carry up to 30 lbs of guest gear and do not hike with the groups.

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Quick Links
Arizona
Grand Canyon Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

Escape the crowds and explore the depths of the Grand Canyon on one of our expert-led, all-inclusive Grand Canyon backpacking trips! As seen in USA Today Travel and on the Discovery Channel!

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Havasupai Backpacking Tours

The Havasupai Waterfalls, or Havasu Falls, are one of the Grand Canyon's most magnificent and surprising highlights. Known as "The Heart of the Grand Canyon" they don't disappoint!

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Sedona Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

Backpack into the amazing Red Rock canyons surrounding the world-famous town of Sedona, Arizona! Experience stunning scenery, remote canyon country, spring-fed creeks, and star-lit night skies!

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California
Yosemite Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

Hike among Yosemite's massive granite domes, giant trees, glacial-carved valleys, and thundering waterfalls on one of our Yosemite National Park backpacking trips!

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Death Valley Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

With sand dunes, canyons, desert oases, wildlife, and amazing Native American and mining history, we celebrate the best of Death Valley.

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Eastern Sierra Backpacking

The east slope of the Sierras near Mammoth Lakes is a stunning range of high peaks, granite monoliths, pristine lakes, and unforgettable hiking!

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Joshua Tree Backpacking

Explore Joshua Tree National Park's backcountry landscapes on a point to point backpacking trip. Experience a true Joshua Tree adventure!

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Lost Coast Backpacking

The Lost Coast is a stretch of California coastline so rugged State Highway 101 was forced to go around...leaving a coastal wilderness perfect for backpacking!

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Sequoia Kings Canyon Backpacking

South of Yosemite lie two of California's most impressive national parks: Sequoia and Kings Canyon. High, wild, and breathtakingly beautiful, they are not to be missed!

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Canada
Canadian Rockies Hiking Tours

Experience the best of the Canadian Rockies: stunning mountain views, alpine lakes, glaciers, wildlife and world-class trekking!

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Colorado
Colorado Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

Hike on the Continental Divide along the spine of the Rocky Mountains on one of our exciting, expert-led Rocky Mountain wilderness backpacking trips!

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Colorado Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

A wonderland of alpine lakes, meadows, rivers and peaks, the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado is one of the largest and most stunning wilderness areas in the Rockies!

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Iceland
Iceland Hiking Tours

Experience Iceland's unbelievable combination of volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and rainbow colored landscapes!

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Montana & Wyoming
Yellowstone Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

Discover Yellowstone's pristine backcountry geysers, thermals, waterfalls, and wildlife on a Yellowstone backpacking adventure! As seen in Backpacker Magazine!

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Wind River Hiking Guides

Experience North America's stunning Wind River Range with its spires, lakes, wildlife, meadows and alpine wonderland!

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Jackson Hole Hiking Guides

The mountains around Jackson Hole, Wyoming are wild, remote, lightly visited and spectacularly beautiful - explore them with us!

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Tetons Hiking Guides

Discover the phenomenal alpine backcountry of the western Tetons Range in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area! Choose from 4 backpacking trips!

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Absaroka-Beartooth Backpacking Trips

This remote mountain range east of Yellowstone National Park offers profound beauty, deep wilderness, wildlife and more to willing adventurers!

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North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

Spend days hiking through lush mountains with profound history, incredible biodiversity, stunning beauty, peaceful camping and panoramic views!

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Asheville Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

Experience the heart of the Appalachians on a backpacking trip in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests outside Asheville, North Carolina. This is "Last of the Mohicans" country!

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Patagonia
Parque Patagonia Discovery Trek

Parque Patagonia is a vast, wild conservation project in the Aysen Region of Patagonian Chile. Join us and backpack more than 60 miles across some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth.

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Utah
Zion, Bryce and Escalante Hiking Tours and Backpacking Trips

The Grand Staircase-Escalante comprises a massive amount of Southern Utah's pristine canyon country with spring-fed creeks, waterfalls, arches, slickrock, and more!

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Canyonlands Backpacking Trips

Near Moab, Utah, Canyonlands is a slice of Canyon Country rich with arches, desert oases, remote canyons and phenomenal hiking and backpacking!

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Paria Canyon Backpacking Trips

Hike the longest and deepest slot canyon in the world! Northeast of Grand Canyon National Park is Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch - a world class backpacking adventure!

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Capitol Reef Backpacking Trip

Capitol Reef is an off-the-beaten-path national park that showcases the best of Utah's canyon country with stunning beauty and amazing solitude!

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Washington State
Olympic National Park Backpacking

Olympic National Park is teeming with diversity - join us and explore its rainforests, alpine hiking, secluded coastal landscapes, deep valleys, and glacial rivers!

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North Cascades National Park Backpacking

Explore the crown jewel of Pacific Northwest backpacking - North Cascades National Park! Discover glaciers, temperate rain forests, wildlife and more!

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More trip styles

stock supported hikes
Stock/Porter Trips

Experience the adventurous backcountry of America's national parks and wilderness areas with the added joy of hiking with only a light day pack! Let porters, llamas or pack mules carry the gear so you can maximize your enjoyment while hiking and enjoy more elaborate backcountry meals! Trips include all camping gear, meals, a professional hiking guide, and porters, llamas or mules to carry the supplies.

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basecamp hiking and camping tours
Basecamp Trips

Our basecamp tours are adventurous hiking trips that take you deep into the wilderness on challenging day hikes and return you to a comfortable, vehicle-accessible camp each afternoon for showers and exceptional meals around a campfire! These trips are excellent options for people who want a memorable outdoor experience with fantastic hiking and also access to showers, cold drinks, perishable foods...etc. Trips include local transportation, camping gear, meals, park entrance fees, and a professional hiking guide.

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inn-based hiking tours
Inn-based Tours

Hike your national park(s) of choice in style! Join us for an unforgettable hiking vacation featuring a variety of adventurous forays into the wilderness each day with cozy lodging and charming restaurant meals each night. Learn about the amazing natural and cultural history of the area and challenge yourself on exceptional hikes. Trips include local transportation, lodging, meals, park entrance fees and a professional hiking guide.

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day hike tours
Day Hike Tours

Make the most of your day at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park on a guided day hike! Learn about the amazing natural and cultural history of the area, enjoy the peace of mind that results from hiking with a local expert, let us take care of the gear and food, and hear amazing stories that have taken place in the Park. All hikes include use of a backpack, trekking poles and crampons (Grand Canyon in winter); snacks and lunch; and a professional hiking guide.

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More About Guided Backpacking Trips


What is a Backpacking Trip?

A backpacking trip differs significantly from a normal camping or hiking excursion in that it involves hiking away from roads, trail heads, parking lots...etc. with everything we need on our backs. We carry all of our food, kitchen gear, clothing, camping equipment, water filters and more on our backs in technical, multi-day backpacks. And we set off into the wilderness as a self-sufficient group. Each outing varies in terms of moving camp or staying in the same camp for multiple nights. Some trips are loops, others are thru-hikes (meaning point-to-point hikes that require shuttles), and still others are out-and-backs. Every backpacking tour is unique and all are hand-picked for their adventure, natural beauty, campsites, and amazing hiking.


The Joy of Backpacking

As every backcountry guide knows well, there's a shift that happens to people after 2-3 days in the wilderness. Surrounded by the peace, silence, natural beauty and an environment largely uninfluenced by humanity, the tranquility of nature begins to permeate our consciousness. Our minds slow down and become quieter, our senses heighten, our appreciation of our surroundings expands, our bodies relax even while working hard, and the rythms of the natural world begin to feel familiar. Our daily activity aligns with the sun. We wake at first light and watch the sun ease its way over cliffs, mountains or canyons; and at the end of the day we watch it set in an often brilliant light show before sitting around a campfire or crawling into our sleeping bags. The days are full with simple yet stunningly fulfilling activities: crossing rivers, hiking over passes, ascending canyons, eating, resting, appreciating where we are, connecting with our fellow travelers. The joys of backpacking are not easily conveyed in words - ultimately, the only way to truly understand it is to experience it for yourself.


What's Included on a Wildland Trekking Backpacking Tour?

Our backpacking trips are all-inclusive! What that means is we worry about nearly all the logistics so you don't have to. We take care of necessary national park and camping permits, which can be difficult to secure. All top-of-the-line gear is provided, which includes technical, multi-day backpacks; sleeping bags and pads; tents; trekking poles and more. (It's a lovely thing to not have to travel with backpacking gear and our average guest is outfitted with approximately $1000 of retail outdoor gear!) We provide all meals from breakfast the first day through lunch the last day, and our guests rave about our meals. Local transportation is included, which often involves shuttling to/from different trailheads, a logistic that can be very difficult to arrange if not on a guided tour. Last but certainly not least, a certified, professional backpacking guide is included, and our award-winning team of guides is the best out there.


Why Join a Guided Backpacking Trip?

There are many reasons our guests join our trips. Here are some common ones:

  • Some guests want to hike with a local, professional guide to increase the safety and enjoyment of backpacking in an unfamiliar area.
  • Some people are new to backpacking and prefer to hike with experts for peace of mind and to learn best practices.
  • For some of our guests, a specific backpacking trip (like Half Dome, Rim to Rim, or Iceland's Laugavegur Trek) is on their bucket list and they don't want to purchase all the gear and equipment to do a single trip.
  • Some folks are most interested in the educational aspect of learning about the area they're hiking through.
  • Some guests join our guided tours for the ease and convenience of letting us handle the logistics so they can focus 100% on enjoying the hiking experience.
  • For most of our guests it's a combination of some or all of these points that they join our trips


Join a Mountain or Canyon trek?

Generally, our backpacking tours can be categorized by mountain trips and canyon trips. Mountain trips are in places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, the North Cascades, Great Smoky Mountains...etc. Canyon trips are in places like Grand Canyon, Sedona, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Death Valley, Canyonlands...etc. Mountain trips feature forests, meadows, rivers, lakes, snow-capped peaks, glaciers, wildlife, and often higher elevation hiking. Canyon trips feature desert oases, arches, desert viewpoints, geological phenomena, cultural history, and wonderful winter and shoulder season temperatures. Many of our return guests alternate between mountain backpacking trips and canyon backpacking trips, experience the best of both worlds! Read more below for more information about where to go at which time of year!


When to Go on a Trip

This is a very common question, and not one easily answered. The better question is probably, "I'd like to go on a backpacking trip in {month or season}; where should I go?" If you'd like to go in the spring, then it's best to look toward canyon and high desert destinations like the Grand Staircase-Escalante or Canyonlands in Utah, the Grand Canyon, Southern California, and the Great Smoky Mountains (Smokies are a mountain destination but at lower elevation). Summer is best in the mountains - destinations like Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite and the Pacific Northwest. Fall can still be great in the mountains (usually through September), and then in October and November the canyon and high desert destinations are going to be better. Finally, winter is best in desert areas like Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree and Death Valley. Still have questions? Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more!


Things to Be Aware Of

There are several basic things to be aware of, whether you're joining a guided trip or doing it on your own:

  • First, bring the right clothing and equipment. This is absolutely critical. In the mountains or in the desert in spring, fall and winter you'll want to have plenty of non-cotton clothing. In the desert in the summer months, you'll want to have cotton clothing. Waterproof/breathable rain gear is essential, as are solid footwear, good and light backpacking tent, warm sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water filter or treatment, first-aid kit and more. If in doubt, join a guided trip to make sure you're prepared.
  • Second, know where you're going and have a good map plus the ability to read it and orient yourself on it.
  • Third, be aware of possible medical situations like heat stroke, hypothermia and hyponatremia. Know the symptoms, how to avoid them, and what to do if you or a companion begin to show symptoms.
  • Fourth, have an emergency communication device. Inreach Explorers are light, affordable and offer GPS texting as well as one touch emergency notification capabilities and GPS location tracking.
  • Finally, tell someone where you're going and when you're going to return.