5 Epic Backpacking Trips in the USA

backpacking bright angel trail

America has some of the most iconic hiking trails in the world – from the recognizable vistas in places such as Arches, Yellowstone, and El Capitan, to the more cult like adore that Katahdin and the Tetons inspire.  

We’ve rounded up our 5 epic backpacking trips across the States. How many have you trekked? 

#1 Ice Lake Trail 

Starting our list is a gorgeous weekend backpacking trip in Colorado! What’s not to love when a hike includes alpine lakes, wildflowers, and waterfalls. Lace up your boots for this perfect 2 day getaway. The trail switchbacks up mountain sides until you reach gorgeous meadows filled with flowers during summer months.  

Since this trail is relatively short, 7 miles, setup camp and explore the biodiversity of the San Juan National Forest. Camp among peaks and ponder the stars at night! 


#2 Iron Rungs Routes in Acadia National Park 

While not technically a backpacking trip, stringing together a series of Iron Rung Routes in Acadia, a series of trails, might be one of the most badass trips you’ll ever take. Scale mountain cliffs by traversing a series of iron rungs and ladders bolted into the cliff itself! Take a long weekend and setup your base camp at Blackwoods Campground to fully explore what Acadia has to offer! Any of the iron rung routes will make you seriously respect East Coast day hikes. While there, check out the other activities this National Park has to offer! 

Our trail suggestions 

The Beehive (up Beehive and return through Bowl Trail): plan anywhere from two hours to a half day to complete this popular 2-mile route. Not for the faint of heart! 

Jordan Cliff Trails: Spend anywhere from a mile to several miles linking together different trails!  


#3 The Lost Coast 

This gem is unique for two reasons! First, the Lost Coast is completely dog friendly. Second, the trail traverses approximately 25 miles of California coastal wilderness – a place that truly feels untouched by man in many ways! This remoteness offers its own set of logistic problems since this trail is an A to B trek, not a loop. Prepare to leave a car at both ends of the trail or leave your car at the end and arrange shuttle service to the beginning of the trail. 

Plan 3 to 4 days out on the trail. But heed this caution! Since so much of the trail is coastal, make sure to consult tidal charts as some sections are impassible and downright dangerous if you attempt them during high tide. Plan accordingly! And if you choose to bring Fido, prepare your canine’s paws appropriately for sand or, better yet, bring booties 😊  


#4 North Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel Trail 

Pro tip – bring lots of powdered electrolytes!  

Hiking from rim to rim in the Grand Canyon is a must do bucket list trek. The sheer scale of the canyon is impossible to describe as words fall short of its grandeur; seriously, words cannot do this park justice!  

Hiking down to the floor of the canyon is as exhilarating as it is exhausting! Especially if you hike this during warmer months (not recommended.) This is one of those trips where you definitely need to be extra hydrated and supplementing plain water with electrolytes.  

While this trip can be accomplished in two days, allow an extra day on the floor to really explore and see the flora and fauna that thrive in such harsh conditions. Starting from the North Rim is slightly easier as this side is ~1,000 ft taller than the South Rim, so you’ll descend more than you’ll need to ascend. Plan your permits and lodging well in advance as spots go fast! Since this is typically an A to B and not a there and back trek, you’ll want to arrange shuttle service as well.  


#5 John Muir Trail 

A quintessential thru hike! The John Muir Trail has grown in popularity as a beautiful alternative to the multi-month Pacific Crest Trail. This epic adventure typically takes 16 to 21 days to backpack the 220 miles. Spanning the High Sierras, the John Muir Trail has everything you could wish for – grand mountain vistas, alpine lakes, sweeping valley views – and starts in gorgeous Yosemite and finishes in awe inspiring Mt Whitney.  

Whether you want an escape from modern society, want to test out new survival skills, or simply crave the peace and quiet that the backcountry offers, this trail will not disappoint! Check out our day by day write up here if you need further convincing! 

Describing Yosemite is difficult, so I’ll leave you with a quote from John Muir himself: “It is easier to feel than to realize, or in any way explain, Yosemite grandeur. The magnitudes of the rocks and trees and streams are so delicately harmonized, they are mostly hidden.” 


Enjoy whatever hike you’re gearing up for and share your “must do” backpacking trips with us!  Whether this is your first backpacking trip or you are a seasoned wilderness adventurer, wherever your journey takes you, bring Bushka freeze-dried meals with you.



Bushka's Kitchen provides ready-to-eat, lightweight freeze dried food for every type of busy lifestyle, whether that's backpacking, traveling, parenting, or an active life. Browse our nutritious, gourmet food and stock up for your busy life!

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