No matter the season, backpacking is one of the best ways to make the most of a long weekend. Climbing mountain passes, strolling along the coast, or exploring lush forests – the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re revisiting a treasured spot or ticking a new one off your list, backpacking is sure to make for an unforgettable experience.

The United States is home to many of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, with numerous awe-inspiring views and hiking trails. Last year saw a record number of visitors to the country’s national parks, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. From Roan Mountain in the Southeast to the Presidentials in New England, or the challenging trails of the Tetons, America has a wealth of memorable backpacking trips to explore. For those willing, an overnight backpacking trip is a perfect way to explore the stunning and varied landscapes of the U.S. Here are some of the USA’s greatest weekend-long hiking adventures.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Nestled in the upper Midwest, the majestic Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers an awe-inspiring view of towering sandstone cliffs, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior, cascading waterfalls, sandy beaches, and lush woodlands. It is home to a 42-mile stretch of the 4,600-mile North Country National Scenic Trail, which runs along the south shore of Lake Superior from Munising, MI, to Grand Marais, MN.

Campers can explore 71,400 acres of backcountry bliss at 14 campgrounds along the trail. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers a variety of outdoor activities for all seasons, and its unique landscape, formed by the power of Lake Superior, features sandstone cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, sand dunes, inland lakes, deep forests, and wild shorelines.

Roan Mountain Highlands, Tennessee-North Carolina

Straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the 20-mile massif of Roan Mountain comprises five sub-peaks, separated by Carvers Gap. To the west of Carvers Gap lies Roan High Bluff and Roan High Knob, with Tollhouse Gap and Rhododendron Gardens nestled between them.

Take a hike and explore the stunning beauty of Appalachia. You’ll be amazed by the stunning vistas, lush forests, and plentiful wildflowers that make Roan a superb hiking destination. As one of the most beloved hiking spots in western North Carolina, it is a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts and is worth visiting. Whether looking for a day hike or a backpacking expedition, you’ll discover some of the most remarkable highland scenery the Appalachians have to offer.

Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota

The Lake Superior Hiking Trail is an incredible journey and a must-do for any avid hiker. This trail spans a few hundred miles of rugged midwestern terrain, bringing hikers from just south of Duluth, Minnesota, all the way to the Canadian border. The trail meanders through the breathtaking Sawtooth Mountains, where there are plenty of scenic overlooks to admire the gorgeous Lake Superior. It’s well worth the trek, and you’ll be amazed by the endless expanse of fresh water that awaits you. The view is as far as the eye can see, making it a great destination for hikers. 

Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia

Grayson Highlands State Park, located in southwestern Virginia, is the gateway to Mount Rogers, the state’s highest peak at 5,729 feet. To summit Mount Rogers, there is a 6.7-mile Mount Rogers National Recreation Trail accessible from the Grindstone Campground, six miles east of Troutdale.

The park is open year-round and is quite the destination for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting over 25 miles of hiking trails, with access to the Appalachian Trail and backpacking loops within Jefferson National Forest. Hikers, mountain bikers, backpackers, horseback riders, and campers all flock to this massive park for the views of incredible waterfalls and scenic overlooks.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park is truly remarkable, covering an impressive 1,442 square miles of diverse landscapes, ecosystems, and human history. From its towering glacier-capped mountains to its ancient temperate rain forests and 70 miles of wild coastline, there is a wide range of wilderness and elevations to explore.

Hiking at Olympic National Park is an incredible experience, and summiting Mt. Olympus, the highest peak in the park, is a must. The Hoh Rainforest campground is open all year round and is an ideal starting point for hikes to Royal Basin and Upper Royal Basin. With more than 600 miles of trails, plenty of backpacking options are available.