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By John Farrell
From Phoenix, AZ
Jul 16, 2014
Having fun at the Enchanted Tower.
Two years ago I suffered a pretty bad ankle injury that kept me out of climbing. Since then I have been enjoying backpacking more than climbing.

Next month I am doing a five day trip in the Weminuche Wilderness. Next year we are planning a though hike of the John Muir Trail.

Can anyone post some of their favorite backpack trips they have done?

My favorite place has been the Grand Canyon. Having explored many of the back country trails and canyons I am starting to look else where around Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and California.

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By BackAtItAgain
Jul 16, 2014
No brainer - Wind Rivers - enough there to keep you busy for a lifetime..

No permits, spectacular scenery ( very similar to the high sierras) easy access, phenomenal fishing and climbing.

A sportsmans paradise.

PM me if you'd like details on some of the trips I've done.

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By Mike
From Phoenix
Jul 16, 2014
Doing the jump-across off The Mace.  I never get t...
Hey John. Long time man! Here are a couple trips I enjoyed that aren't too far away.

Try backpacking down the Escalante River in Utah. Start from the bridge just East of the town of Escalante and spend a few days there, coming out wherever you want. If you are up for it, come out through Coyote Gulch, though that would be a big trip. I have maps & beta, hit me up if you want it.

Also in southern Utah, both Dark Canyon and Grand Gulch are great. Dark Canyon has bigger scenery; Grand Gulch has more indian ruins.

Isn't backpacking harder on your ankle than climbing though? Walking all day with a heavy pack sounds worse for it than climbing, as long as you avoid steep thin-hands to fist cracks.

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By aed
From Jackson, WY
Jul 16, 2014
aed
Hiking on the coast in Olympic National Park. Just did an overnight, but one could do longer trips.
Excellent scenery.

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By John Farrell
From Phoenix, AZ
Jul 16, 2014
Having fun at the Enchanted Tower.
Mike wrote:
Hey John. Long time man! Here are a couple trips I enjoyed that aren't too far away. Try backpacking down the Escalante River in Utah. Start from the bridge just East of the town of Escalante and spend a few days there, coming out wherever you want. If you are up for it, come out through Coyote Gulch, though that would be a big trip. I have maps & beta, hit me up if you want it. Also in southern Utah, both Dark Canyon and Grand Gulch are great. Dark Canyon has bigger scenery; Grand Gulch has more indian ruins. Isn't backpacking harder on your ankle than climbing though? Walking all day with a heavy pack sounds worse for it than climbing, as long as you avoid steep thin-hands to fist cracks.


Over the course of last year I kept losing mobility in the ankle, which caused a lot of issues climbing, mainly with dorsiflexion. After a day of climbing the thing would swell up to the size of a watermelon. It was more or less fine backpacking. I had another surgery on it in December where they removed the hardware and cleaned out a ton of scar tissue that developed in the joint capsule. Now it's good to go, trail running, backpacking, canyoneering, and climbing. I just haven't gotten the climbing bug again, which is sad. I am just a gym rat now, but climbing better than ever. That's probably caused by being 35 pounds lighter though. Hopefully I'll blow off the dust from ye olde trusty trad rack and start up again when it cools off, we shall see.

Oh yeah, and I have turned into one of them Ultralight Snobs, everything gets weighted and criticized. I have my base back weight down to almost 10 pounds now.

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By Jason Kim
From Encinitas, CA
Jul 16, 2014
Descending Cox Col (Bear Creek Spire). Photo by Ry...
The Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier was really fun, and a good length (100 or so miles).

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By Adam Paashaus
From Greensboro, North Carolina
Jul 16, 2014
After you get done climbing be sure to head up to ...
Crazy good 1st recommendations. I've Done JMT, Escalante, and the Winds and they are all easily in the top 5 places I've backpacked! PM me if you want more info on Escalante. I'd not personally recommend the 2 trips Mike recommend (Sorry Mike). I personally feel that the scenery gets better down river farther than the bridge (unless you've got weeks and you could hike all the way down) and Coyote is the only canyon that sees the traffic. One of our other trips was 6 days and we saw 1 other party on the 1st day, across the river. I need to get back down there! Make sure you do your research, some canyons can only be accessed 1 hard to find way.

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By Brassmonkey
Jul 16, 2014
Brass monkey
+1 on the Winds, sounds like others can give you more details.

You'll love the JMT! Soak it all in when you are out there and go as light as possible, its much more enjoyable in my opinion then going heavy and having a bunch of comforts.

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By George Bell
From Boulder, CO
Jul 16, 2014
Hip trouble ...
If you are a fly fisherman, you need carry little food in the Wind Rivers. Can be bad mosquitoes, of course, I think that goes together with good fishing.

I backpacked in Escalante before it was a National Monument. It may be more regulated now (quotas?).

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By Adam Paashaus
From Greensboro, North Carolina
Jul 16, 2014
After you get done climbing be sure to head up to ...
They require a permit but you can fill them out at certain trailheads. Coyote Gulch is the only one that doesn't allow dogs.
Moody Canyon in Escalante
Moody Canyon in Escalante
Oh, and Escalante is all flat.

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By BackAtItAgain
Jul 16, 2014
Mike wrote:
both Dark Canyon and Grand Gulch are great. Dark Canyon has bigger scenery; Grand Gulch has more indian ruins.


+1 for Dark Canyon - spectacular with clear running water in the lower part year round - a mini grand canyon with no people

Grand Gulch - if you are into ruins - its awesome - else skip it.

Escalante - do that on a big year with inflatable kayaks. Thing is a tamarisk bush whack to hike.


march/april sept/oct = Dark Canyon

aug/early sept = Winds DO NOT GO EARLIER THAN AUG (unless you like being eaten alive)

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By EricF
From San Francisco
Jul 16, 2014
Wind Rivers, vast, wild and remote as it gets in the US,
Bitteroots in Montana
Grand Teton Park, Up death Canyon through Alaska Basin, around lake solitude and back out is an amazing hike 4 days max, could do it in 2

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By Caden S
Jul 25, 2014
Appalachian Trail has some incredible chunks that are doable in as long (or as short) amount of time as you want to spend.

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By Trevor.
Jul 25, 2014
Me on Pabst Smear. Chris took this pic from East C...
The Sawtooths in Idaho are a lot like the Winds, but with way less people. Including the mosquitos.

If you've got the time(about a week), do the grand sawtooth loop, you won't regret it.

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By Toni Stey
Jul 25, 2014
If you are considering the JMT, consider the SHR instead (Steve Roper's Sierra High Route). It runs more or less parallel to the JMT, but stays at high elevation the whole time and gives you a sense of how vast the high sierra is (as opposed to the JMT which is more of a confined and crowded valley to valley hike).

It's about 50% off trail (requires good navigation skills) and involves some 2nd and 3rd class scrambling, so might not work with your ankle. The logistics are also harder than the JMT, but it's definitely worth it. Coolest long distance hike/scramble I've done by far.

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By George Bell
From Boulder, CO
Jul 25, 2014
Hip trouble ...
Trevor. wrote:
The Sawtooths in Idaho are a lot like the Winds, but with way less people. Including the mosquitos.


Mosquitoes are people?? ;-)

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By Kirtis
From Rapid City, SD
Jul 25, 2014
Way up on pointy little devil
Its worth saying it again the winds ive made 2 separate week long trips there and still cant get enough

week in the grand canyon
week in yellow stone back country
week in glacier NP coming up in 2 weeks

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By Jim Corbett
Jul 25, 2014
Alpine Lakes Wilderness in WA is quite possibly the most spectacular section of the entire PCT, if you want to make it longer keep going north to Canada, altogether the best the Cascades has to offer.

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By EricF
From San Francisco
Jul 28, 2014
George Bell wrote:
Mosquitoes are people?? ;-)


People are mosquitoes, at times.

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By Nick Votto
Jul 28, 2014
Bolton, VT
I second the Alpine Lakes wilderness, but my favorite place has been the Trinity Alps Wilderness in northern CA.....incredible scenery and empty as hell. Also love Three Sisters in Oregon and Bob Marshall in Montana (1.5 million acres with surrounding areas).

My buddies and I usually stick to "wilderness" designated areas to avoid people, roads, bridges etc. The crown jewel of the wilderness preservation system would be the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, together with the adjacent areas it's over 3 million acres of roadless terrain, good place to get lost and explore!!!

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