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The 9 Most Breathtaking Backpacking Adventures In The World

The world around us is both beautiful and more than ready to experience any level of adventure. This article is here to bring to light some of the most breathtakingly beautiful locations for any lover of the great outdoors, armed only with their trusty backpack behind them.

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#1 Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Trekking in Nepal seems extreme and almost impossible for people — particularly Americans — who haven’t looked into it. The truth, however, is that these bucket list items are very doable from both a physical and financial standpoint.

The physical part, while challenging, is within reach of hikers of all ages. It’s mainly a matter of training and proper acclimatization. From a backpacking standpoint, some people guide themselves and overnight in tents but most trekkers will benefit from having a local Sherpa guide and enjoying a roof over their heads in one of the many tea house lodges along these routes.

Contributor: Mark Johnson, Owner of Hobnail Trekking

#2 French Polynesia

With 118 islands and atolls spread over the size of Europe, this is an island lover's paradise. French Polynesia offers backpackers thrilling hikes, a brush up with the most exotic culture on the planet and picture-perfect lagoons. You can scale Tahiti's emerald peaks, feed stingrays in the lagoon of Moorea, swim with stingrays and find your own beach for the day in Maupiti and awe at the power of nature in the Marquesas Islands.

Contributor: Avichai from

#3 Conundrum Hot Springs, USA

The valley this trail wanders through is full of aspens turning colors this time of year. At the top, situated just above treeline is a natural hot spring that's big enough for 20-40 people to soak in. The views are stunning along the whole hike, but especially from the 102-degree pool. Over the years the springs have become pretty popular, and just this year the forest service decided to make this area a permitted hike, limiting the numbers, which make it less accessible but more enjoyable in the long run. Past years have seen crowds and trash that demanded better and more strict management.

Both the hike and the aspens changing make it a true destination for anyone that loves the mountains.

Contributor: Paul Ronto from

#4 Wisconsin, USA

Wisconsin takes pride in its glaciated landscapes, forests and lakes. Wisconsin is well known for its camping appeal and for good reason. But if you want to get away from the crowded sites that make camping too easy and sink your teeth into a bigger adventure, Wisconsin can offer that too. Here’s a list of hike-in camp sites across the state.

Contributor: Kate with

#5 Rota Vicentina, Portugal

My family and I are big backpackers. One of our favorites is the Fisherman's Way on the Rota Vicentina which follows the coast of southwestern Portugal along a rugged, Atlantic coast through fishing villages. It's doable as either a trekking or backpacking experience, as there are both campgrounds and B&Bs along the way.

The trail alternates between groves of cork trees, edge-of-cliff paths, beach walking, and detours through tiny towns. We did the trip in June and had perfect, sparkling days and cool, comfortable nights. While we backpacked and slept in a tent, we were able to enjoy local cooking and great wines in the evenings. Afterward, we often took sundown walks along the beach or caught a World Cup game at a local pub before retiring to our tent.

Contributor: Jeff Wilson, host of Real Rail Adventures on PBS at

#6 Ciudad Peridada, Colombia

Ciudad Perdida (Spanish for ‘Lost City’) is an ancient archaeological site nestled up in the Sierra Nevada mountain region of northern Colombia, built by the Tayrona people and dating to approximately 800 AD – older than Machu Picchu. Treks are four days, although I one I took with a more ethical company is five days, with many going back into the indigenous community.

Contributor: Becki Enright from

#7 Zion National Park, USA

While many people head to the beach for Spring Break, there are so many unbelievable camping destinations to go to instead. The American northwest has no shortage, and it’s hard to beat the Watchman Campground at Zion National Park in Utah. The hikes and camping are not only perfect year round, but are also great for beginners and experts alike. Although the site is popular throughout the year, it’s a must-see in the spring.

Contributor: Samantha Morrison from

#8 Death Road, Bolivia

This adventure certainly fits your criteria of thrilling and rewarding. The trip involves a harrowing downhill bike ride on Yungas Road, long considered the most dangerous road in the world. As you descend, you'll pass incredible scenic vistas over Bolivia's high jungle and be able to observe the area's plentiful fauna. The Death Road bicycle ride lets you not only connect with the natural world, you'll also come away with one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life. Most tours to Death Road leave from the city of La Paz, Bolivia's capital and largest city.

Contributor: Bolivia Hop at

#9 North Kaibab, USA

Fall and winter in the canyon are ideal because the weather cools off to much more manageable temps, and the crowds die down a bit from the summer rush. The other true gem about this hike is it's from the north rim of the canyon, most hikers start on the south rim at Grand Canyon Village and hike the Bright Angel Trail, so this option tends to see fewer people. This is a long hike, 27 miles, and hard, so not many people attempt it, but those that do are treated with a hike you'll never forget. Also, there's an option to camp at the bottom at Bright Angel Campground, which is at Phantom Ranch, the only lodging and NPS outpost at river level within the canyon.

You can get a meal there or snacks before the return trip up to the rim. Staying at the lodge is tough, with a permit and lottery system, but with planning, it can be done. Phantom Ranch is so spectacular, it's part of the reason the canyon was incorporated into the national park system after Teddy Roosevelt traveled down in the early 1900s.

Contributor: Paul Ronto from

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Written by James Metcalfe

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