Backpackers Tokyo

Hiking trail

Great Hikes, U.S. and Beyond

Wendy Altschuler

Pull your mountaineering boots out of hibernation, find your trusty backpack, and get excited: springtime is just around the corner. From stunning locales in America, reachable by road trip or a short plane ride, to intercontinental environments pinpointed further afield, here are great treks—perfect for a wide range of abilities—to get you pumped for hiking season. Soil seekers, rock kickers, petrichor hunters, tree huggers, and outdoor explorers chasing shades of green would do well to bookmark the following destinations for spectacular spring rambling adventures.

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park

Backpacking Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, Rim to Rim Backpacking

Wendy Altschuler

The Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon millions of years ago and if you dip below the rim and hike to the bottom, you’ll be rewarded with views of colorful ravines and scored, weather-worn geological creations. It’s like a history lesson as you hike further down into the canyon, past all the multi-hued layers of sandstone, shale, and limestone. Hiking in Grand Canyon National Park is an experience you’ll treasure forever, whether you’re day hiking or backpacking in the backcountry.  

Helpful Resources for Your Hike—Training: Challenge Yourself With These Three Muddy Obstacle Courses.

California: The John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail, California

John Muir Trail, California

Wendy Altschuler

Experienced hikers who have trained and prepared for a challenging 211-mile thru-hike experience will love exploring the magical land of towering peaks, glacial lakes, massive granite faces, and verdant deer-filled valleys on the John Muir Trail. From Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney—the highest mountain in the contiguous United States at 14,505 feet, this is not an easy or speedy backpacking experience but as you make your way through the Sierra Nevada, you undoubtably will be grateful for all of the time spent in Yosemite National Park, John Muir Wilderness, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

Helpful Resources for Your Hike—Motivating: A Beginner’s Guide For Backpacking With Teens

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Saint Kitts Nevis: Mount Liamuiga

Volcano crater

Saint Kitts Nevis, Mount Liamuiga, Crater

Wendy Altschuler

If you’ve ever wanted to hike a dormant stratovolcano, now is your chance. Mount Liamuiga, formerly known as Mount Misery, offers intrepid explorers the opportunity to get a little mud under their boots as they make their way up the 3,792-foot volcano, located on the western part of St. Kitts Island. Peer into the crater once you reach the top, which will help you understand the meaning of the Island Carib’s word Liamuiga, which means “fertile land”. Be prepared for a root-strewn, often steep trail and plan on bringing plenty of water, snacks, and good sturdy boots. It will likely rain—it is the rainforest after all, but the forest canopy prevents too deep of a soaking.

Helpful Resources for Your Hike—Planning: 3 Sunny Spring Break Destinations Families Will Love

Colorado: Crested Butte to Aspen

hiking trail

Crested Butte to Aspen Hiking Trail, Colorado

Wendy Altschuler

Clocking in at under 11 miles long from trailhead to trailhead, the hike from Crested Butte to Aspen is one that is fun for the whole family. Start early; pack a lunch, snacks, and plenty of water; and be sure to bring an extra layer of clothing in case it rains, or the wind picks up. Sunscreen, a good hat, and a first-aid kit are also recommended. In the late spring and early summer, you’ll see fields of wildflowers, situated between the aspens, that will knock your socks off. Give yourself six to ten hours to complete the hike, depending on your fitness level and group size.

Helpful Resources for Your Hike—Navigating: This is the Paramount Outdoor Navigation App For Hikers and Backpackers

Mexico: Chichen Itza

Woman admiring Chichen Itza's Kukulkan pyramid at sunrise, Mexico

Exploring Chichen Itza and El Castillo

getty

Sunshine, history, and a good sweat session, all rolled up into one adventure, awaits you at the Yucatan Peninsula’s Chichen Itza archaeological site. Recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World (Petra, Christ the Redeemer, Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Great Wall of China, and the Colosseum also made the list), visitors can see six Mayan ruins at the Old Chichen and 20 Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. Photograph the pyramid, or El Castillo, and learn about The Temple of The Warriors and the Mayan Ball Game as you hike around the property.

Helpful Resources for Your Hike—Sleeping: For top-notch dining experiences, water sports, luxurious swimming pools, and accommodations complete with a full kitchen and a deck with hammock, book a stay at Garza Blanca Resort Spa Cancun, located three hours from Chichen Itza. The newest addition to Tafer Hotels Resorts, Garza Blanca Cancun is well located on Playa Mujeres.

Florida: Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

Wendy Altschuler

For a beach vacation with soft sugar-white sand, located in a destination with easy access to state park nature trails, look no further than South Walton, Florida. At Grayton Beach State Park, bring the whole family, even the littlest of kids, and hike through a beautiful coastal forest, full of vocal birds, magnolias, and scrub oaks on The Flatwoods Trail or the Western Lake Loop. And, if you want to stay overnight, rustic cabins are available for rent at the campground. Other great state parks, with hiking trails, include Topsail Hill Preserve, Deer Lake, and Eden Gardens.

Helpful Resources for Your Hike—Organizing: Top Bespoke Adventures Along Florida’s Emerald Coast