If asked to name a backpacking trail, most individuals would say either the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or Continental Divide Trail. These three trails have become what is now known as the "Triple Crown" of long distance backpacking. However, there are endless other options for people to hike. While they may be less well known, here are five amazing trails for you to consider as alternatives to the popular choices.
1. Arizona Trail: 800 miles - Placed in the state it is named after, the Arizona Trail is a one stop shop for all the natural beauty that fills in this state’s border. Starting up at the Utah border and continuing to the Mexican border, the trail navigates through three National Forests, countless mountainous areas, along with Sagurao National Park and the Grand Canyon. The trail can be done year round, but snow is to be expected in the numerous mountains that are climbed. If you are ready to take on the challenge, plan around a month and a half to complete this adventure.
2. Bigfoot Trail: 360 miles - No this trail was not found after Sasquatch. But, this trail is the most mysterious of the trails on this list. Tucked in the Klamath Mountains in California, the Bigfoot Trail was proposed in 2009 and is currently working on establishing the trail. Due to this, the trail is not well maintained and must have proficient backcountry skills to successfully navigate the trail. For those that do risk it, you are rewarded by the beautiful, diverse wilderness areas that surround you.
3. Wonderland Trail: 94 miles - Mount Rainer is one of the iconic landmarks on the West Coast. This mountain calls people from all over the nation to climb it. But, do you want to admire it without having to climb it all the way up? The Wonderland Trail has your solution. This trail encompasses Mount Rainer, while providing the wilderness of backpacking combined with an alpine feel. With a maximum of 14 days to complete, the Wonderland Trail will make you wonder why you haven’t gone there sooner!
4. Long Trail: 272 miles - For those looking for a nostalgic feel for a backpacking trip, the Long Trail will supply that and more. Since its creation in the early 20th century, the Long Trail in Vermont is considered the oldest long distance hiking trail. The Green Mountains serve as the backbone of the trail. With the efforts of the Green Mountain Club, they have help maintain and improve this historic trail, so everyone can enjoy this trail if only for a few hours or the 19 days it takes to complete the entire trail.
5. American Discovery Trail: 5000 miles - This is your opportunity to follow in the tracks of Forrest Gump and travel across the country by foot. The American Discovery Trail servers as the only route to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean by combining over 35 different National Trails. Combine this with 14 different National Parks, this year plus long trek will give you the unique view of the United States that only a handful of people that have been able to experience. This guy did the WHOLE thing and vlogged it! Episode #1 below!
Written by Alex Perronne: Alex hails from Cleveland Wisconsin and enjoys nothing more than going paddling or climbing! Alex's favorite place on earth is the Wolf River, and he can currently be found at the University of Lacrosse eating his fair share of burritos.