Backpacking allows you access to destinations that most people do not get to. It tests you, pushes you, and wows you.
The backpacking pictures you get, miles into the backcountry, away from the crowds of tourists who visit the easy-to-reach destinations, are unique and pristine. Even more so, you get to show off untouched lands and highlight why these wonderful places need our protection from development.
Mt. Daniel, Washington
The summit of Mt. Daniel is one of the best places I’ve ever backpacked and slept. You can pitch a tent directly on the summit with the most insane views for hundreds of miles.
Of all my experiences and backpacking pictures, this one still takes the cake.
Distance: 17 miles round trip
Ice Lake Basin, Colorado
I’m fortunate to have experienced this place before it became popular. Getting to spend time here, away from the crowds, was magical. With a full basin and multiple 13’ers, there’s a ton to enjoy!
Distance: 9 miles round trip
Rae Lakes, California
The best backpacking destination in Kings Canyon National Park, Rae Lakes, is an otherworldly place. But, as you can see below, getting in takes a lot of effort. Most people do a four-day loop, but I did a three-day out and back via a secondary starting point. The backpacking pictures here were awesome!
Distance: 30 or 40 miles round trip, depending on the route
Titcomb Basin, Wyoming
Wyoming has ridiculously stunning backpacking opportunities away from most crowds. Titcomb Basin is one of those enchanting spots. But it takes a heckuva hike to get in, and it is above 9,000 feet.
Distance: 40 miles round trip if you do a loop
The Enchantments, Washington
It is one of the most popular Washington backpacking and hiking destinations – for good reason. The views are excellent for the entire trek and relatively doable for those in great shape. I still treasure the backpacking pictures I landed on these two trips.
Distance: 20 miles round trip
Cirque of the Towers, Wyoming
Cirque of the Towers is a beautiful trail and is relatively easy compared to other trails, and it packs a whopping view at the need. The first 2/3’s of this trail is gentle and brings you along some lovely lakes. The elevation gains are at the end, but they’re worth it.
If you can turn this into a three-day loop, I would.
Distance: 20-30 miles round trip, depending on the route
Blue Lakes, Colorado
It’s one of my absolutely favorite trails in southwest Colorado. The scenery is excellent, and if you catch it for prime wildflower season, it might be the most stunning spot on Earth.
Distance: 6-10 miles round trip, depending on where you stop
A gem of gems. Havasupai has few rivals in this world, and that’s not an understatement. The water color, waterfalls, and overall beauty make it a little slice of heaven on Earth. My backpacking pictures here are to die for!
Distance: 27+ miles round trip
Yellow Aster Butte, Washington
It’s one of my new favorite spots in Washington. I recently did this trail and was blown away by the fall colors! And, on a weekday, it was nearly empty until the day hikers arrived.
Talk about amazing!
Distance: 9 miles round trip
Alice Lake, Idaho
A phenomenal backpacking loop in the Idaho Sawtooths. This place is more popular, but in 2020, we only saw a few other tents. It’s not too hard, but it is enough of a challenge to make it worth it without crushing you.
Distance: 23 miles round trip
Cutthroat Pass, Washington
Distance: 12 miles round trip
Big Pine Lakes, California
Big Pine Lakes is one of my favorite backpacking spots in California – and also not a secret. They require permits for overnight camping, and they are hard to get. I just got lucky there was one available and jumped at it.
The backpacking pictures of turquoise lakes are magical and are also home to one of the few remaining glaciers in California.
Distance: 11-25 miles round trip