How to Choose a Starter Backpacking Trail

Backpacking for beginners? How do you select the right trail?

The greatest result we've found is when a backpacker makes a second trip. They return to backpacking. They want more. This means that we've not just exposed someone to principles of backpacking, but have CREATED A BACKPACKER. 

Here are some simple guidelines when selecting a trail for beginners: 

  1. Choose a 1-night overnighter.  Not 2-nights. Not one week. Not a 50-miler. One night. One night creates the experience, but is short enough to leave them wanting more
  2. 2-4 hours one way. 
  3. 5-8 miles round trip
  4. No more than 2,000 ft vertical elevation gain round trip.
  5. Flat and straight is boring. Choose a trail with some incline, some variation, but not too strenuous. A path interesting enough to keep the hiking fun.

Destination: Beginner backpackers will feel a sense of accomplishment if the destination for overnight is a feature like a waterfall, lake, mountaintop. But remember, if during the hike, it becomes too much, don't over-push yourself and your friends. It is OK to call it a night, and camp where you feel you've gone far enough.

These photos are of a recent trek with a group, led by EarthTrek Gear. . . New lifetime backpackers created.



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