How to Plan A Hiking Trip and Destination Ideas

It’s almost that time in the school year when students get to take a week off and take a break from studying and classes. With so much free time, up to nine days, this is a great time to plan an extended backpacking trip. The following ideas can help with having a Spring Break adventure.

Planning for a Spring Break Backpacking Trip

Planning is important so that on the last day of classes one can jump right into the trip, instead of having to scramble at the last minute to get things done. Among the numerous trip planning items, it is also necessary to take care of any school assignments ahead of time. The last thing one wants to do when returning from an extended trip is writing a paper that is due next week. Some other things to consider when planning a Spring Break trip include:

  • Collecting maps and information about the location.
  • Ensuring one has the right equipment and clothing layers for the trip.
  • Arranging for backcountry permits, if necessary.
  • Making travel plans: vehicles, air travel, etc.
  • Buying food, stove fuel, and other needed items.
  • Brushing up on first-aid skills, if necessary.
  • Coordinating with other group members.

Split Up Jobs With Group Members

Divide up the different necessary jobs with the group members of the trip. One person can arrange for food while another can check on permits and fees, while another can arrange for transportation. Agree beforehand how expenses will be paid for, and how major decisions will be made. Is there one person who will be the group leader? Will decisions be made by consensus? It is best to figure these things out at home before going out into the field.

Where to Backpack During Spring Break

Determining where to go backpacking during Spring Break depends on what kind of terrain, weather, and other challenges one wants. For instance, New England offers opportunities for winter camping and mountaineering.

The Southwest is drier and has more opportunities for cross-country travel. If it is not feasible to travel long distances, look into local trail systems, state parks, and forests. Those who live in the mid-Atlantic states have the Appalachian Trail within reasonable distance, and depending on weather conditions there may not be snow on the ground either. Some other good backpacking locations include:

  • Big Bend National Park, TX
  • Zion National Park, UT
  • Canyonlands National Park, UT
  • Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
  • Great Smokey Mountains National Park, TN
  • Gila National Forest, NM

Backpacking With an Organized Group

Perhaps it is not possible, or practical, to plan a trip. Maybe one doesn’t want to have to go through the hassle of all the logistical details or being responsible for less experienced group members. Going on a backpacking trip with an organized group is a good solution for getting to go on a trip, but with the support of trip leaders and an outdoor organization.

Many colleges and universities have outdoor recreation programs that plan a variety of outdoor activities throughout the year, including Spring Break. These groups have student trip leaders, as well as access to group equipment such as first aid kits and backpacking stoves, and have taken the time to plan out all the logistical details. For someone who is just learning to backpack, this can be a great chance to learn new skills.