Backpacking and hiking are awesome hobbies, and for some, it is life. Either way, every person who has ever taken an interest in backpacking was new to it at one point or another. If you think you want to start getting into it yourself, then why not try these spots for easy hikes that will make you fall in love with the sport and keep coming back for more.
Zion National Park, Utah
While there is a lot to see and do in the beautiful Zion National Park, there are simple day hikes here for those who don’t want to do too much their first time. On a day hike, you can still see the gorgeous waterfalls, cliffs, canyons, and valleys without exerting yourself too much.
If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, pack your backpacking gear and spend the night under endless the stars. Once you get more experienced, come back to Zion for nail-biting hikes around narrow mountain sides and canyon walls, one of the best spots for ‘gorge hiking’ in the country (and scariest!).
Arches National Park, Utah
In case you haven’t already guessed, Utah is a great place to get familiar with backpacking. If you thought hiking and backcountry was all about forests, trees, dirt paths, and ‘hiking in the woods’, then come to Arches to see the other side of backpacking; in the desert. For a day hike, you can come here for an easy walk where you can admire the marvelous sandstone arches, red rocks, and amazing scenery without having to hike up to the top of a mountain to take it all in.
After getting some experience, you can come back and try what’s called the ‘Devil’s Garden Trail’, a 7 mile hike where you can see all the arches that give this place its name. Of course, maybe settling for one arch is good for a beginner, and if you get comfortable with the hikes, then head to the famous Delicate Arch to take in some stunning views.
Yosemite National Park, California
If you haven’t yet been here, drop everything you’re doing and go now! You don’t need to be an experienced backcountry person to appreciate the stunning scenery here at Yosemite. With nearly 1,000 trails at this place, you can plan your beginning backpacking trip along the easiest ones, and build your way up when you’re ready. The easier trails have paved out walking paths so that you can take your time and admire the place without having to concentrate too hard on where you’re going.
Once you get a feel for things, you can come back to Yosemite and hike the rugged terrains that are literally ‘off the beaten path.’ It’s almost like this park was meant for people who want to learn how to backpack, with her amazing waterfalls, meadows, and even beaches, anyone can come and experience all Yosemite has to offer at their own pace.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Within Shenandoah, there are various trails that backpackers can take up to the high cliffs, depending on their experience. Luckily, you don’t need to be a professional rock climber to make your way up the peaks and take in the awesome views. Shenandoah has hikes that are less than two miles to the top, where you can really see a lot-including the tops of the Appalachian Mountains.
If this short hike was a breeze for you, then you can choose to explore the other parts of this national park, where the hikes are longer, the cliffs are steeper, and the altitude you will reach by the end of your hike is much, much higher.
Crater Lake, Oregon
If there is one place that will make you fall in love with backpacking, then it’s Crater Lake. Actually, when you first see it, you won’t even believe that it’s in America. The water a remarkable, electric blue, located in the middle of a volcano summit that erupted over 7,500 years ago. You don’t even really need to ‘hike’ to come here and just take in the beauty.
After exploring around the lake a bit, if you want more to see then there are several hikes that are a bit difficult leading up to the look out points at the top. There, you can get panoramic views while standing on a 9,000-foot high peak, as well as see wildflowers or even the old fire lookout station, which is still being used today.
Lake Superior, Minnesota
There was never a spot more dedicated to new backpackers than the trails of Lake Superior. Although the trails here can stretch long miles, you can do simple day hikes here or take a rest after half a day of hiking, as there are nearly 100 campsites and lodges that are great for beginners looking to take a break every so often.
If you find the hike here to be quite easy and nice, then plan to do it for up to a month-which is how long the Lake Superior Hiking Trail usually takes. However, if you want to try something a bit more difficult after you get some experience, then skip the campsites and the hiker’s tips and take it on by yourself!