Outbound Collective logo

15 Incredible Backpacking Trips in 15 U.S. National Parks

Plan a cross-country tour of the backcountry.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

The national parks are a treasure for all of us to enjoy. While you can absolutely gain a strong appreciation for the parks by driving the main roads and stopping at the most popular attractions, we think the best way to connect with these specials lands is to spend a night or two in the backcountry. Not only will you find more solitude and peace, you'll also cover more ground and get a better sense for the park's untouched landscape. You could plan an epic road trip to all 15 of these parks or start knocking them off one-by-one, but whatever you do, make sure these backpacking trips are on your adventure bucket list.  

1. Backpack Bryce Canyon’s Under the Rim Trail

Photo: Emily Goodman

2. Backpack Rocky Mountain Trail in Shenandoah National Park

Photo: Christin Healey

3. Backpack Paintbrush and Cascade Canyons, Grand Teton National Park

Photo: Rob Witt

4. Hike the Little River Trail to Backcountry Campsite #30, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Photo: Adam Welch

5. Backpack Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park

Photo: Nathaniel Polta

6. Backpack to Cracker Lake in Glacier National Park

lake view with clouds reflecting on the water's surface.

Photo: Dustin Wong

7. Summit Igloo Mountain in Denali National Park

Photo: Mike Quine

8. Backpack the High Divide and Seven Lakes Basin in Olympic National Park

Photo: Nick Lake

9. Backpack to Lake Verna in Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo: Ian Glass

10. Backpack the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park

Photo: Nick Lake

11. Backpack Redwood National and State Parks

Photo: Austin Trigg

12. Backpack Isle Royale National Park’s Greenstone Ridge Trail

Photo: Joe Whitson

13. Backpack the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim

Photo: Rob Witt

14. Backpack the Great Sand Dunes

Photo: Michael O’Keeffe

15. Backpack the Joint Trail in Canyonlands National Park's Needles District

Photo: Jonathon Reed

Cover photo: Christin Healey

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


How to spend 72 hours in Leavenworth, Washington

Aurora Slaughter

Tips for Birding in Malibu (Humaliwo)

Bree Salazar