By Michael Lanza

So you’re a novice backpacker, or you’re planning your first backpacking trip in a big, Western national park, or you have kids you want to take on a relatively easy backpacking trip—and you want to sample the best scenery, trails, and backcountry campsites that experienced backpackers get to enjoy in our national parks. No worries. These eight trips in Grand Teton, Zion, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, and two in Yosemite (photo above) are ideal for beginners and families, with easy to moderately difficult days and simple logistics, while delivering the spectacular vistas that each of these parks is famous for.

In fact, two of them (Yosemite and Grand Teton) were among the very first multi-day hikes I took as a novice backpacker some three decades ago, and six (Zion, Grand Teton, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Olympic, and Rocky Mountain) were among my kids’ earliest trips, which we took when they ranged in age from six to 10. They are also among the nicest multi-day hikes I’ve taken over more than three decades (and counting) of carrying a backpack, including the 10 years I spent as a field editor for Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog.

Besides delivering on all you expect from a backpacking trip in a flagship national park, any of these outings will help prepare you for bigger, more ambitious adventures.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

I can help you plan any of them—or any trip you read about at this blog, including beginner-friendly backpacking trips not in national parks, avoiding the need to reserve a permit months in advance. See my Custom Trip Planning page.

You may also like my stories “The 10 Best National Park Backpacking Trips” and “12 Expert Tips for Planning a Wilderness Backpacking Trip.”

Please tell me what you think of these trip ideas or offer your own in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to respond to all comments.

A young boy hiking in the North Fork Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park.
” data-image-caption=”My son, Nate, on a family backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park. Click photo for my e-guide “The Best Short Backpacking Trip in Grand Teton National Park.”
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MLanzaTet15-89-N.-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Tetons-2.jpg?fit=300%2C199&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MLanzaTet15-89-N.-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Tetons-2.jpg?fit=900%2C598&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”598″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MLanzaTet15-89-N.-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Tetons-2.jpg?resize=900%2C598&ssl=1″ alt=”A young boy hiking in the North Fork Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park.” class=”wp-image-35238″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MLanzaTet15-89-N.-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Tetons-2.jpg?resize=1024%2C680&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MLanzaTet15-89-N.-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Tetons-2.jpg?resize=300%2C199&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MLanzaTet15-89-N.-Fork-Cascade-Canyon-Tetons-2.jpg
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