Backcountry Hiking Trips Help Ensure A ‘Slow Travel’ Philosophy

Surveys indicate that 60% of Americans are planning to travel for a vacation or getaway during the 2023 fall season, with 71% of fall travelers planning on traveling more frequently this season than they did last season, according to Vacasa, a vacation rental management and real estate company. And, for a majority of those opting into fall getaways, budget-friendly travel is still a top priority. For example, road trips are the preferred method of transportation as airfares continue to soar and flight changes/cancellations have people weary and causing many travelers to lose days of their coveted vacation time and funds.

How can travelers make the most of their time off? Utilizing a “slow travel” philosophy is an excellent option.

This means staying longer and exploring deep into a destination versus traveling fast, far and wide. Aligned to this, Intrepid Travel has launched 17 new backcountry hiking trips across the US offering iconic slow travel alternatives, including off-grid, off-the-beaten-track routes through some of America’s wilderness.

With the onset of fall, temperatures are cooling and it’s the best time for travelers to explore nature’s most coveted landscapes. The following new tours offer some of the best hiking trails in the country with education in geological and cultural history.

New Backcountry Hiking Trips To Explore This Fall:

* Hiking and Backpacking Utah’s Boulder Mail Trail | Intrepid Travel US

* Hike & Kayak Maine’s Acadia National Park | Intrepid Travel US

* Hike Vermont: Fall Foliage | Intrepid Travel US

* Hiking the Best of Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Intrepid Travel US

* Hiking the Best of the Grand Canyon | Intrepid Travel US

Matt Berna, Intrepid Travel President, The Americas, recently shared his expertise on the popularity of hiking.

What are the main reasons for the surge in popularity of hiking?

When the pandemic forced us indoors, it drove a huge boom in outdoor adventures as people looked to stay active in safe, socially distanced ways. In fact, in 2020 almost 7 million Americans participated in some kind of outdoor activity, from skiing and snowshoeing to hiking and fishing. While for some that interest has left, many are keeping up with the hobbies they picked up in the pandemic and those who have experienced some of our hiking tours know just how transformative they can be and now they’re hooked. Many of our tours go deep into the backcountry to explore rugged and remote areas which would otherwise be difficult to reach without the help of an expert guide. Once you’re a few days into the trip, you really start to connect with nature. So while it’s a very physical activity, hiking can be a way to disconnect from the modern world and lead to spiritual experience for many. We know more people are looking for these transformative experiences and to reconnect with nature with everything going on in the world.

What level of physical fitness is needed for hiking tours?

It really depends on the hike. Some are more beginner friendly, but they all require a good fitness level and the ability to carry your own pack. You can see exactly how much gear you’d be expected to carry in the trip information on our site. We do have trips that combine walking with other “soft” adventure activities as great entry points for outdoor adventurers, not to mention a glamping holiday in Utah where you’ll be staying in comfort and style. But you can also do some epic adventures if you’re up for the challenge, like trekking to Everest Base Camp or traversing Alaska on a 12-day hiking adventure. Traveling in a small group with expert guides also means you don’t need to worry about the finer planning details. They also prioritize safety at all times with first aid training so you can rest assured you’ll be looked after.

What are the differences between walking, hiking and trekking?

The differences are in the difficulty and duration. Walks are shorter and could be enjoyed by any fitness level, even going on your local neighborhood route would count and be a great start towards working your way up to hiking and trekking. Hiking involves longer and harder walks usually on trails through natural landscapes, so requires more planning in terms of making sure you know your route, and you bring all necessary food and water for the amount of time the trail takes. Trekking is typically the next level up in terms of difficulty from hiking but the biggest difference is that treks have a specific destination. Trekking is also much longer, it could last days, weeks or even months. Trekking to Machu Picchu is of course one of the most famous examples of trekking in the world but there are so many amazing trekking adventures to discover around the globe and especially here in our backyard. People come from all over the world to experience the national parks here in the United States, from Zion in Utah to exploring the beatify of Yellowstone and so much more.

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