By Michael Lanza

I often get asked the question, “What’s your favorite trip?” And I don’t have an answer. To pick just one from all the amazing adventures I’ve had the good fortune to take over the past three decades feels like an impossible task. Instead, I’ve just updated this list of my 10 all-time favorites (so far). It includes some of America’s best backpacking trips, from the Teton Crest Trail and John Muir Trail to Glacier National Park; hiking across the Grand Canyon; trekking in Iceland, Patagonia, Norway, and Italy’s Dolomite Mountains (photo above); and some places that might surprise you.

As you’re planning your next great adventures—as you should be doing at this time of year—consider that my picks are chosen from scores of backpacking, dayhiking, paddling, trekking, and other trips I’ve taken, domestically and internationally, over a period of time that includes the 10 years I spent as a writer for Backpacker magazine and other publications and even longer running this blog.

Some of the trips described below—each with a link to the full feature story about it at The Big Outside, which has my tips on planning it (and those require a paid subscription to read in full)—are classics you’ve heard or read about. But others are places you may not know of—because I feel a list like this should introduce you to someplace new. That’s what adventure is all about.


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.

See also my picks for “The 10 Best Family Outdoor Adventure Trips” for more ideas; some of these trips could have made either list. See also my expert e-guides to some of America’s best backpacking trips and my Custom Trip Planning page to learn how I can help you plan any trip you read about at The Big Outside.

I’d love to hear what you think of this list and any suggestions for trips you think belong on it. Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to respond to all comments.

Make it a very happy new year.

Sea kayakers in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park.
” data-image-caption=”Sea kayakers in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park.
” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?fit=300%2C199&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?fit=900%2C598&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”598″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?resize=900%2C598&ssl=1″ alt=”Sea kayakers in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park.” class=”wp-image-35785″ srcset=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?resize=300%2C199&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?resize=768%2C510&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?resize=1024%2C680&ssl=1 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-136.jpg?resize=1080%2C717&ssl=1 1080w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Sea kayakers in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park.

Sea Kayaking Alaska’s Glacier

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