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Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.
Kevin Murray | 04.29.2021

This article has been updated. It was originally published in March 2018.

Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, many were turning their attention to international destinations when considering a grand outdoor adventure. Jet-setting to far-flung destinations had almost become too easy. But the challenges and closed borders of the  last year had all of us looking at our home turf for that next adventure. Fortunately, as Americans, we don't have to look far. Enter the Great American Backpacker’s Bucket List, with enough homegrown adventures to keep even the most ambitious backpacker busy for years to come.

Ranging from a simple overnight to a week in the mountains to life changing thru-hikes, this list has something for everyone. See what trips might be closer to you than you think, or take this as inspiration to book that trip out West that you’ve always been wanting to do.

Northeast and Midwest

  • Lakeshore-North Country Trail: Miners Beach To Beaver Creek: Explore the rugged shores of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
  • Mount Marcy, Mount Skylight + Gray Peak Loop: Take the lesser traveled and more strenuous path to New York's highest summit.
  • The Pemigewasset Loop: Hike an amazing loop in New Hampshire's southern White Mountains.
  • Presidential Traverse: Widely considered New England's toughest hike.
  • White Rock-Shores Lake Loop: Tackle this 12-mile loop in the Ozarks over ridgelines, through old-growth hallows, with views over the Arkansas Valley.
  • Snickers Gap to Keys Gap: Travel on foot beyond the 1,000 mile mark on the AT (northbound hikers) on this 13.4-mile trip to Raven Rocks and enjoy the scenic views over the Shenandoah Valley.


Rocky Mountains

Southwest and California

Pacific Northwest

Looking for your next bucket list backpacking adventure? Easily discover trails, download offline maps and navigate your adventures using the onX Backcountry GPS Trail app.


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