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Backpacker June 2016

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.

United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC

in this issue

3 min
colorado trail fest

THERE ARE ABOUT 9 MILLION backpackers in the United States. That’s a lot of people who know what it means to sleep under a star-shot sky, far from street lights and car noise; to wake up beside an alpine lake; to sweat up a peak and cool off in a snowmelt creek. We’re a community of kindred spirits, but except for chance encounters in the backcountry, we rarely see each other. It’s like a secret club— that’s a little too secret. We’re changing that this year, with an unprecedented backpacking celebration. We’re partnering with the state of Colorado and Mountain Hardwear to throw a party like none other—the Colorado Trail Fest. In September, we’re spending four days on the Colorado Trail’s finest miles, then hosting a post-hike festival to match the…

2 min

Overheard Our spring gear guide (April 2016) had equipment and apparel for all shapes and sizes. Well, most, as it turns out. “There comes a time when a man has got to stand up for himself,” writes Orlanzo Ross. “As a slim-and-tall 6'4" guy, I struggle to find size 16 backpacking and hiking boots.” We feel your pain, Orlanzo. Most companies’ offerings don’t go up that high, but there are a few exceptions. Try LOWA, which produces a variety of hiking boots in sizes as large as 16; we like the Renegade GTX Mid, a good all-around hiker that’s one of the company’s most popular offerings. Reader Tested In response to our article on trail-testing Walmart gear (“Save on Gear at Big Box Stores,” March 2016), Jannetta Britt Carney shared a story of her…

1 min
1 show your true colors

This month’s top trips and picks Oh, there you are—welcome back, mountains. We’ve missed you. There’s a certain beauty to your edifices veiled in snow, but spring has been good to you. We love when your slopes, seemingly overnight, turn green. When your meadows overflow with flowers. It’s like you’re personally inviting us back. And we accept. Sure, higher elevations may still be wearing winter in June, but not here, just outside Crested Butte. The 9.1-mile, point-to-point Deer Creek Trail is evidence enough: It passes through aspen stands and fields of yellow mule ear as it meanders below 12,000-foot peaks, like Gothic Mountain (pictured). (Turn it into an overnight; dispersed camping OK.) Wait another month or so, says photographer Ryan Wright, and in lieu of yellow, you’ll get blue and red…

2 min
2 italian commute

THESE PATHS winding through northern Italy aren’t tourist hot spots. In fact, most of them aren’t even named. They may have been, colloquially, a thousand years ago when they served as the main thoroughfare connecting northern Italy to the rest of continental Europe. But today, when you can simply drive from Italy into Switzerland, or, if you’re a trekker, take any of the big-name routes like the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Haute Route, or the Alta Via, these dirt paths are forgotten. Which is why I come. At the end of the road in Alpe Devero, a secluded wilderness area on the northern edge of Ossola, Piemonte, a maze of ancient paths twists through the Italian Alps. I take the one to the mountain pass; it’s the trail Italian merchants…

1 min
4 take the spotlight.

What’s behind perfect light? Here, on Ptarmigan Ridge, it looks as if time and nature conspired to bring together just the right amount of mist and the exact angle of sunlight to make the magic happen. “As the sun started to set, a light breeze began blowing fog off the glacier over the ridge,” explains photographer Stephen Matera. Make your own magic here in midsummer, when the ridge should be snow-free. Leave Artist Point trailhead (recreation pass required to park; $30), trekking 7 miles on the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail to reach the alpine zone below the east face of Mt. Baker. Turn it into an overnight and post up at Camp Kiser (first-come, first-serve)—and you’ll have no excuse for missing the golden hour. Contactfs.usda.gov/mbs…

1 min
5 enjoy the show.

When the curtain of fog lift s off the Bay Area’s beloved Mt. Tam in June, the mountain is ready for its close-up. Get a front-row seat on the 8.5-mile Coast View Trail, and, as the sun deepens the valleys and sets the hills alight, you’ll know why they call California the Golden State. From the Pantoll Ranger Station, wend through forests of coastal redwoods to views that stretch up and down the rippled coast and out to the Golden Gate Bridge. Head out two hours before sunset for the best chance to see the light just so—you’ll feel like you’re on a “floating island in the heavens,” says photographer Emily Polar. Contactparks.ca.gov…