BackpackingOutdoor Trips

Best Backpacking Trips for Beginners – 5 Amazing Trails to Hike!

No matter if you opt to have an epic hiking trip on the national park or you want to be successful in hitting the trails close to your home, we always want to look for the best destination options. There’s no way for us to stare at the map and let it point to us where to go best especially if you are just a beginner here. So, the solution is to know the best backpacking trips for beginners. With that, you can choose a close trip to your home or engage yourself on a guided trip.

In this blog post, I listed here 5 of the most popular backpacking destinations that every beginner backpacker shouldn’t miss. I personally experienced hiking on some of those trails in my previous backpacking trips. See which one is highly breathtaking!

Choosing an Appropriate Trail for the Best Backpacking Trips for Beginners

Backpacking activity highly involves a new set of skills and levels of fitness. So, if you are just new to this kind of sport or outdoor activity, you must have to be keen on choosing the trail that you will be going to hike. So, before we jump into giving you the list of the best backpacking trails that every beginner must experience, check this few criteria:

  • Hike on a significantly low mileage over the entire length of the trip
  • Trails must not feature excellent elevation gain for the entire region
  • Travel only on trails that are well-maintained
  • Avoid crossing boulder fields and other tricky terrains
  • You’ll be rewarded in the form of alpine lakes, meadows, and peaks.

Yet, always keep in mind that backpacking is never been easy. So, before going out, make sure to pack an ultralight backpack plus considering safety and self-discipline that should sit on your mind.

List of the Best Backpacking Trips for Beginners

So, why do you really want to experience backpacking? Well, most beginners in this outdoor activity just want to get away from the crowds even for a while and take some stunning views of the outdoor. With that, you do not need to worry as the list of trails below are among the best backpacking trips for beginners that you will surely fall in love with.

1-Golden Cathedral, Grand-Staircase

best backpacking trips for beginners
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Location: Utah

Length of Trip: 4 days

Distance: 10 – 16 miles

The first on our list of the best backpacking trips for beginners is the Golden Cathedral. It is situated in Neon Canyon displaying astounding geologic processes. Well, one of the objectives for this backpacking trip for beginners is to build a basecamp within the Escalante River. That way you will have an enjoyable encounter with the oasis of the seductive desert and fantastic Slickrock formations.

However, you will not able to camp out on this site as they aim to protect the environment. But, for sure, you will enjoy the surroundings made of sandstone. Take the opportunity of discovering the hidden beauty of the canyon labyrinths all throughout the day. Additionally, engage yourself in gazing up within the canyon walls to find those shimmering stars shining through the dark night skies.


The reason behind making this spot the best for beginners is its low-mileage trip. It is actually achievable on a whole day hike. However, the most unforgettable encounter would be a night spent on the narrow canyon walls within the red rock country. Compared to other desert hikes, this one highly offers an enormous supply of water. While it is important to stay hydrated, you do not need to carry lots of water load in your pack.

At the Golden Cathedral, you may explore the beauty of the following:

  • The Great Golden Cathedral
  • Breathtaking Clear Night Skies
  • Lush Desert Oasis
  • Native American History
  • Pristine Majestic Camps
  • Sinuous Canyons

2-Glacier George

Location: Colorado

Length of Trip: 3 days

Distance: 10 miles           

One of the best backpacking trips for beginners at the Rocky Mountain National Park, Glacier George generally allows you to hike with other hikers. Once you already established your basecamp, you are giving yourself a chance to discover the amazing high mountain lake basins. However, since it is situated on a national park, backpacking here requires a camping permit. So, if you plan to spend your outdoor activities here, it is better to reserve a permit now.


With a 3-day hike on one of the best backpacking trips for beginners, backpackers may ultimately feel isolated from the crowd as they travel further from the trailhead. At Glacier George, you may actually find 3 primary hiking destinations as your option for a day hiking.

Alberta Falls & Mills Lake

This is basically the first resting point of the trail. The water on the falls may either be rushing or solidly freezing based on the season. Moreover, as you go along Mills Lake, you will see the panoramic views of Longs Peak and Keyboard of the Winds. In this spot, you can opt to take up your lunch and feed your stomach with your packed meals while feeding your eyes with the glaring scenery.

Loch Vale and Sky Pond

It is actually an astounding destination because of the absolutely beautiful granite cliffs over the alpine lake. And as you continue towards the Sky Pond, it will also become very rewarding due to the Timberland Falls. At this falls, there are rock climbers elevating over The Sharks Tooth and Petit Grepon.

Andrews Glacier

The last hiking destination at Glacier George is an extremely recognizable trail. The Andrews Glacier will generally give you a great feeling of adventure by crossing boulders along the creek.

3-Shining Rock Wilderness

Location: North Carolina

Length of Trip: 4 days

Distance: 22 miles

The Shining Rock Wilderness is such a spectacular spot in North Carolina. This geologic formation of quartzite rock guarding the summit contributes to its reputation being one of the best backpacking trips for beginners. Aside from the dazzling rocks that boast its beauty, hiking here will also provide you with rushing waterfalls and swimming holes that will refresh you with just a quick dip.

The trip at Shining Rock Wilderness will generally last for just a short day mileage which is fully packed with really exciting destinations. Aside from that, this backpacking trip is highly suitable for beginners as you will find real solitude here.


Staying at the Shining Rock Wilderness will allow you to experience the following:

  • Amazing Appalachian Waterfalls
  • Diverse Forests
  • Grandeur Appalachian Views
  • Highly Notable Quartzite Summit
  • Popular Chilling Mountains
  • Sunset Dinner over the Nice Elevation of Shining Rock
  • Wildlife Diversity

4-Hut-to-Hut White Mountain

best backpacking trips for beginners
Image courtesy of Pinterest

Location: New Hampshire

Trip Length: 4 days

Distance: 15 miles

Well, New Hampshire will actually give you the experience of crossing alpine ridgeline and relaxing over the high mountain huts. This is normally provided by hiking around Europe. But, here in the US, you will also expect to do this great outdoor adventure of the alpine. The White Mountains will generally accommodate you and allow you to enjoy the elegance of the backcountry.

However, this one of the best backpacking trips for beginners is also prominent for the erratic weather conditions. That’s why it is very important to keep updated about the forecast of the weather here before pushing to start your hike.


A hike here at the White Mountains is mostly above the treeline making the views at every mile exceptional. However, also expect to encounter rougher terrains on some of the trails.

Additionally, here are the unforgettable encounters at the White Mountains trails:

  • Creeks and Alpine Lakes
  • Luxurious Backcountry Huts
  • Mount Washington Summit
  • Stunning Views
  • Trail Hiking
  • Specialty Lunches and Hot Drinks

5-Heart Lake and Mount Sheridan

Location: Wyoming

Length of Trip: 3 days

Distance: 23 miles

A remote region, the Heart Lake and Mount Sheridan are abundant in wildlife population, meadows, lakes, and natural heat-producing spots. The Heart Lake is no doubt an already excellent trail and to add up the free-climb attempt at Mount Sheridan, this outdoor activity tends to be one of the best backpacking trips for beginners. Well, give credits to the classical subtleties of this beautiful spot at Yellowstone in which you can’t resist falling in love with.

Being here will generally allow you to feel the wind as you gear towards the ridgeline. Moreover, there is the rising steam coming from the hot springs of Witch Creek. The mileage is highly achievable by lots of beginner backpackers. Yet, you need to be more considerate when you opt to backpack here because of the presence of Grizzly bears.


Being here at these trails in Yellowstone is actually a rewarding experience. All of the outdoor activities here highly offer numerous downtimes so that beginners will enjoy the pleasures of backpacking. At the same time, you will also enjoy thriving to have a well-rounded encounter in Yellowstone.

Here are the unforgettable things that you may have to experience at Heart Lake and Mount Sheridan:

  • Chaste Mountain Lake
  • Crest Mount Sheridan
  • Eye-catching Yellowstone Views
  • Lakeshore Camping
  • Milieu of Wildlife
  • Spectacular Night Skies
  • Thermal Stream

Tips for Backpacking Trips for Beginners

Backpacking is such a really great adventure. With the overview of the great backpacking destinations stated on the above list, this outdoor activity tends to be truly irresistible. However, as a beginner here, before packing up, going out, and jumping in those trails, you must have to take note of the following tips:

*Go for an easy destination

Well, the point is to mess up on the easy trails. Keep in mind that going on a too difficult trail may give you a miserable encounter. Meanwhile, if the trail is too easy, then backpackers will have plenty of time and opportunity to explore the campsite and its surroundings. This is highly true for beginners. And, take note that all of the backpacking destinations listed above have low mileage which is highly achievable by novice backpackers.

However, if this is your first time to go backpacking, better to follow these tips:

  1. Choose a well-traveled trail and an already established camp destination. As much as possible, opt for the one close to your home.
  2. As a beginner, it is better to plan on hiking over shorter distances. A few miles roundtrip is actually a good idea here.
  3. Ensure that you have enough water or there are water sources near the camp.
  4. If you have pets or kids around, consider leaving them at home.
  5. Keep updated on the weather condition.

*Bring essential backpacking gears

Mostly, beginners of backpacking are also considering their budget on the side. With this in mind, backpacking gears must not need to be all brand new. What I mean is only buy or bring items that need to be personal and allow borrowing or renting some of the camping gear.

Most likely, rentable camping gears are the tent, backpack, and sleeping bag so consider renting them on your first trip. However, if you tend to be more hygienic or a little bit conservative, try to buy your own at a lesser price as much as possible. Then you may invest in those afterward if you really love to pursue this outdoor activity.

*Plan your food

The backpacking destination trips above highly require a couple of days of hiking. Knowing that it is a good idea to plan for your food over dinner, breakfast, and lunches. Freeze-dried packed meals are the easiest and lightest food option to carry. However, it also tends to be quite pricey.

Moreover, if you do not have a cooler, do not try to bring fresh eggs or other perishable food items. Also, avoid bringing canned food because it adds weight and bulk to the pack. Check these particular meal-planning tips during your first backpacking trip:


Go for all-in-one meals, for instance, packed noodles or rice entrees are better options. You can also consider boxed meals provided that they will be transferred into a plastic bag for easier packing.


Remember that the backpacking activity burns out significant amount of metabolic fuel. That’s why it is important to carry energy bars and trail mixes that are high in calorie and protein. These food items are highly advisable to munch on throughout the day.

Moreover, consider making your lunch as a trailside affair boosted with sufficient snacks and longer rest. Bagels, dried fruits and nuts, and jerky are other lunch options for backpacking trips for beginners.


Backpacking breakfast usually ranges from pancakes to oatmeal to breakfast bars of about two to three pieces. In case you cannot make your day right without drinking caffeinated beverages, then go for instant coffee or tea bag for the simplest alternative. However, it is important to weigh the benefits of fueling your day up versus taking the trail earlier.

*Prepare yourself for a backpacking trip

best backpacking trips for beginners

Well, the key to have successful backpacking trip for beginners is to be prepared physically, mentally, and logistically.


Although you are not going out on a marathon, you still need to be ready physically as short backpacking trips may also demand your physical abilities. To a lesser extent, perform some day hikes and handle trails having the same distance and elevation gain as that of your planned trip. You may also consider doing some pre-trip hikes having the same level of difficulty.


It is also crucial to get familiar with your camping gear prior to your backpacking trip. Try to fire up the stove or filter up some amount of water before you jump out. Also, don’t forget to have an idea about providing the first aid and navigating the compass and map.


Aside from your ride going to and back from the backpacking trip destination, check all of the necessary permits that you need to secure.


Well, before going out and leave your home, it is very important to tell any of your family members or your friends about your backpacking trip. Tell them all the details of your outdoor activity. From the location where you’re going to the date that they will expect you to come home, all of such information must be conveyed to your family and friends. This is highly crucial because it will be a big help for them to alert the authority if ever you need help.

Final Thoughts

Backpacking destinations for beginners usually need to be low mileage and just a few hundred feet of elevation gain. Always keep in mind that you must have to initially plan for shorter distance trips on your first time hiking. Moreover, you need to prepare yourself well in performing this kind of outdoor activity. Doing such things will let you enjoy all the beautiful scenery within each backpacking destination as well as gaining a one-of-a-kind experience.

So, are you ready to take the excitement on your first backpacking trip? Which destination above caught your interest? Please share your thoughts with us!