Backpacker

January/February 2022

Published nine times a year, Backpacker is a magazine of wilderness travel, offering practical, "you can do it, here's how" advice to help you enjoy every trip. Filled with the best places, gear, and information for all kinds of hiking and camping trips, each issue delivers foldout maps and stunning color photography.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC
Frequency:
Back issues only
$4.99

in this issue

3 min
editors note

Scan this to get the keys to Outside+ It’s going to be a big year. I feel it in my gut, like that mix of excitement and nerves that swirls around as I lock my truck, hoist my pack, and leave the trailhead to begin a monster trip. Here’s my 2022 plan to focus that energy. You can use it, too, to get outside more than ever this year. Target close-to-home. There’s a basic truth no matter where you live: There is absolutely hiking near you. Flip to our sprawling feature on page 52 covering the best hike in each state for inspiration. It’s the most ambitious best-of list we’ve done in years, filled with passionate takes by hikers like you who have been moved by their experience. Go hike the one…

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2 min
the good fight

At just over 26,000 square miles, Tongass National Forest is the largest plot of forest service land in the country—and the largest temperate rainforest on the continent. It covers most of southeast Alaska and is home to three indigenous tribes, as well as brown bears, eagles, and salmon. In fact, 80 percent of southeast Alaska’s annual commercial salmon catch comes from the rivers and streams of the Tongass. At the center of this thriving ecosystem lies an old-growth forest, with centuries-old cedar, spruce, and hemlock. These trees are part of what make the Tongass the biggest carbon sink in the country (it absorbs a huge amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere). Unfortunately, those trees are also valuable commodities to logging companies. Until 2020, they were protected by the Roadless Rule, a…

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6 min
a new path

By any seasoned backpacker’s measure, the 38.5-mile-long Trans-Catalina Trail (TCT) on California’s Santa Catalina Island is a luxurious experience. Managed by the Catalina Conservancy, the trail is well-marked and immaculately kept. When most of the nation’s trails are under snow and ice, the TCT remains a year-round destination. Backpackers are required to camp at designated campgrounds along the trail, dictating each day’s itinerary and minimum mileage. Each campsite is equipped with potable water, toilets, trash cans, fire pits, picnic tables, and critter boxes. Cell service is strong throughout the island. Even a few restaurants dot the trail. But none of these little luxuries prepared us for the rigors of a Catalina thru-hike. My fiance and I were supposed to get married in October 2020, but like so many other couples, we…

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1 min
standing at the edge

Oregon’s Crater Lake is gorgeous during the short summers, but in winter, when most of the roads close and turn into snowshoe trails, it’s even better. Last year, I took a friend here to snowshoe the West Rim as his first backpacking trip. We knew it would be a full-on fourth-season outing from the start: The snow beside the road was so deep that the park rangers constructed a ramp from it out of the parking lot, and a storm was blowing in. Three miles from the trailhead, we found a perfect spot to camp at the foot of Watchman Peak, with a view of Wizard Island through a light snowfall. After a cold night, we woke up before sunrise. The snow had finally stopped; all was calm in the wake…

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3 min
best hikes for spotting wildlife

1 Savannah Trail Glacier Ridge Metro Park, OH Info bit.do/glacierridge Trailhead 40.1559, -83.1887 The 5-mile Savannah Trail through decidious forest is the perfect winter spot to catch Cooper's hawks, and great blue herons. Plus, it's doubly fun to birdwatch on cross-country skis when the snow comes in. 2 Mesa View Trail Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, NM Info fws.gov/refuge/sevilleta Trailhead 34.3513, -106.8823 After climbing to the mesa top for views of the Ladrone Mountains, this 3.8-mile trail wanders the edge of the escarpment before dropping back into the valley. Black-throated sparrows are the most frequent winter visitors, but there are plenty of other animals here, including coyotes and pronghorn; mountain and desert ecosystems meet at the refuge. 3 Barbour Hill Trail False Cape State Park, VA Info bit.do/falsecape Trailhead 36.6725, -759153 Take the East Dike Trail to the Barbour Hill Trail to look for swans,…

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2 min
light in the darkness

In winter, as the nights stretch and daylight disappears, there’s a certain beauty to be found in the darkness. I watch the puffs of my exhalations condense above my sleeping bag, the tiny ice crystals flashing in the light of my headlamp. It’s 11 p.m., and night fell hours ago on our campsite a mile down a closed-for-winter Forest Service road in Montana. Now, ensconced in cozy down and wool, I feel the untimely call of nature. Even without seeing my breath, I know it’s cold. My nose, the only exposed part of my body, is chill as ice, and outside the tent it will only be worse. But it’s no use; I have to pee. I reluctantly shimmy out of my sleeping bag, frantically pulling on more layers as I start…

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