At a time when it is still possible to go outside and explore a great trail, so long as you adhere to socially distancing rules, Backpacker magazine has put together a list of the ten best solo hikes in the U.S. and Canada. That list includes some very iconic trails, interspersed with some that are lesser known, all of which feature one trait in common—they have breathtakingly gorgeous scenery. So if you’re looking for a day hike or a long backcountry adventure, you’ll find some good suggestions here on where you can go to escape the confines of your home for awhile, while still staying far away from others. Just be sure to check that these trails are still open, as the status of some routes is still in flux at the moment.
A few examples of the trails that made the cut from Backpacker include the famous John Muir Trail, which is widely regarded as the most stunning 211-mile stretch of mountain hiking found just about anywhere. This fantastic hiking route happens to be a part of the Pacific Crest Trail however, which is not officially closed hikers are strongly advised to stay off the route for now. Other suggestions include the Lost Lake Trail in Alaska, which at 14 miles in length can make for a great single day trek, or the Fall Canyon Trail in Death Valley, which is usually quite a nice walk in the spring. Keep in mind, that Death Valley is currently closed as well, so monitor the current stats of the park—and all other national parks—before setting out.
In addition to sharing some great solo hikes, Backpacker also offers tips for safe solo hiking as well. Some of those tips include being adept at first aid, knowing the location you’ll be hiking (and potentially camping) in, and trusting your instincts when it comes to interacting with other hikers while alone in the backcountry. The article even offers tips for becoming more comfortable with being by yourself in the wilderness for a few days, recommending brining books or an iPod (yes, and iPod—remember those?) to help pass the time.
Now is a good time for a solo (or small group) hike and camping outing. Getting back to nature can help reduce stress and can be healthy for us physically and mentally. But, as already noted, be sure to check the current regulations for trails wherever you’re going. A lot of states and regions have close off the backcountry or trails altogether in order to better maintain safety. Alternatively, you can use Backpacker‘s list to start planning your next big adventure, post coronavirus, as well.
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