Deb thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is a Search & Rescue volunteer and writer living in Flagstaff, AZ.
Finding Outdoor Community Online
What got me using the internet in the first place (and I was reluctant back then, in 1998) was a search for information about the Appalachian Trail. Soon, I was chatting with other A.T. hikers online, and I ended up making some good friends in the long-distance backpacking community. When I returned from my hike, I also returned to the websites I'd been using and perusing and, over the years, discovered more hiking sites that I visit often.
Websites for Hikers, Backpackers, Campers, and Nature Lovers
Below are my picks for some of the best hiking and backpacking websites around—some new, some not new at all—for trails and destinations around the world.
And if you know of any others you'd like to recommend—sites that aren't just about a nitty-gritty specific destination or all about selling gear—please share them.
An outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often on trails (Wikipedia)
A long walk usually for exercise or pleasure (Wordnet)
Global Backpacking Journals from Long-Distance Hikers
I love this site! And it's one of those I've been using for more than 10 years, including posting my own Appalachian Trail and other long-distance backpacking journals. As of 2013, TrailJournals has in the neighborhood of 396,000 journal entries, with over 4,520,000 miles of hiking, 716,000 trail photos, and thousands of hikers in their directory. And that number is literally growing by the minute.
But as big as the site has gotten over the years, it's still really easy to navigate and find the journals you want to read. There are also hiker forums and a hiker directory, peak journals for those interested in writing and reading about reaching the summits of the world, a photo gallery, and a book store to browse through.
- Visit TrailJournals
Destinations, Gear, Skills, Blogs, Hiker Forums And More
This site by Backpacker Magazine has it all: articles, blogs, gear reviews, videos, photos, events, a backpacker food and recipe center, interactive features. You can find hikes all over the United States and even find hiking partners on the very active Backpacker Forums, where you can discuss anything and everything about hiking and backpacking…and a wide range of other topics with those who share your passion for the outdoors.
A Community Guide To The Outdoors
I first learned about AllTrails on Twitter, when I saw a post by AllTrails founder and CEO, Russell Cook.
On AllTrails, you can:
- Explore tens of thousands of trails and reviews
- Share trails, reviews, and photos with friends
- Get outside by joining local events
AllTrails has a great search feature, where you can filter trails by activity, length, difficulty, popularity, location, and much more. When you register (for free), they can help you discover new trails by providing you with personalized recommendations.
AllTrails also keeps you updated on all the hiking and trail-related events going on in your local area.
And on this site, you can keep a record of the trails you've done, your favorites, and the ones you'd like to do. You can also create an unlimited number of lists of trails to share with friends.
A Blog Encouraging People To Travel Abroad, Independently
On this site you will find:
- Tips for planning budget trips, with a special focus on "around the world" travel
- New content added regularly, including interviews with a variety of travelers, guest posts, book reviews, how-to instructional articles, and content reflecting hot topics like travel media and building a successful travel blog, as well as news and information from the online travel world.
- A complete archive of editor David Lee's posts from a 20-month, 22-country trip around the world.
This site is perfect for solo travelers planning their next trip.
Great Outdoor Recreation Pages
GORP isn't just "Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts" with some chocolate mixed in. It's also another comprehensive resource for adventure travel, outdoor sports and gear, camping, national parks, and more. On Gorp.com, you can read questions and answers by the Gear Guy, the Gear Girl, and the Survival Guru, and check out the World Traveler and trips of the month. This is a place for outdoor enthusiasts to plan vacations focused on the great outdoors in locations around the globe.
GORP.com is part of the Away Network, a collection of sites based on travel, including:
- GORPTravel.com, a travel directory of active vacations and adventure tour outfitters
- Away.com, a travel and vacation-planning resource with expert reviews and trip ideas
- Trip.com, a free travel search site where can find the cheapest flights, cheapest hotels, cheapest car rentals, and cheapest vacation packages across a wide range of travel websites
Backpacking Lightweight was created in 1996 and, since then, has grown to include a huge collection of resources for year-round backcountry safety and enjoyment. While Backpacking Lightweight (obviously) focuses on lightweight backpacking equipment and techniques, it is also a great resource for all backcountry travelers who want to research and purchase quality outdoor gear. You can also get involved with or just browse through their popular Backpacker Forum, or contribute your own hiking and backpacking experiences to the site.
- Visit Backpacking Lightweight
More Websites for Hikers
Peakbagger.com is a free web site that presents information and statistics about the mountain peaks and mountain ranges of the world. Registered peakbaggers can log their ascents, post trip reports and track their climbing activity.
Hiking and Backpacking for beginners and experts, including lots of gear reviews and trail reports
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Deb Kingsbury
What's Your Favorite Hiking Website? General outdoorsy comments and questions are welcome, too.
JOC from Syracuse, NY on June 19, 2019:
Yeah, it's good because once you log an ascent, it adds it to all the lists for you. So When I did Hunter and Slide Mountains in the Catskills, fifty different hiking lists/challenges were affected.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on June 19, 2019:
Thanks, JOC. Great suggestion. I need to update the page and add that.
JOC from Syracuse, NY on June 18, 2019:
I use Peakbagger to log and keep my hiking challenge lists sorted.
Andrew4M on August 08, 2013:
Thanks for the lens
drmattshepard on August 04, 2013:
great lens. Well done for sure.
mariacarbonara on May 27, 2013:
Thank you for this wonderful list of sites. Very useful
anonymous on February 26, 2013:
Well my hiking site on Glacier National Park is my favorite site.
www.glacierhikers.com I discovered another great hiking resource from emails I got from visitors to my site and that is tripadvisor.com hiking forums. Despite having hiked for over twenty years in GNP I got a lot of good tips from the hiking forums on tripadvisor
anonymous on August 05, 2012:
We are trying to build communities around a website for planning hikes and other activities with outdoor enthusiasts in your area. Post your hikes to invite other hikers to join you. Completely free of course, this site it Trail Calendar at http://www.trailcalendar.com.
Auntiekatkat on June 26, 2011:
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on June 14, 2011:
I wasn't aware of all of these hiking and backpacking sites. Great resources. Thanks for the review!
Brian Stephens from France on July 15, 2010:
Obviously I like my own website, its not totally dedicated to hiking as its about travel in general. But it does have sections on where you can find hostels and how to travel around in Europe generally. Its called Euro Traveler
Brian Stephens from France on July 15, 2010:
Nice lens and great resource for hikers, I don't do so much myself these days, getting a bit old, but I used to. Enjoyed this lens, thumbs up.
NC Shepherd on March 27, 2010:
It's not bad enough that it's Springer Fever season, you had to go and put this in front of me. Oh, those pictures! I really need to be independently wealthy so I can just hike for the rest of my life.
ohcaroline on March 27, 2010:
Very informative and a good read to boot!
Addy Bell on March 26, 2010:
Cool. I'll be checking some of these out before my next hike. Thanks!
Tom Fattes from Naperville, IL on March 26, 2010:
Great resource for hikers. I never realized there were so many hiking resources out there. I'm lensrolling to my Scout Hiking Program lens.