A look at 10 places in the United States that are far enough away from major roads and highways to allow for backpacking and hiking, while avoiding the usual hiking trails.
It seems that you always hear about the plans that people have to go backpacking in Europe… obviously the United States is too crowded and cramped for a worthwhile hiking adventure to be had (unless you’re flocking with everyone else to the Appalachian Trail.) Are there no good hiking and backpacking areas left in the States, or has the entire country become too overrun by roads?
There are places left in the United States where you can get away from it all and leave the major roads and highways behind… you just have to know where to look. If you’re looking for hiking locales that are different from the ones that everyone else is going to, you’ll be able to find wilderness areas, deserts, and more to feed your need.
These Boots Were Made for Walkin’
So where can you go if you want a good backpacking or hiking adventure far away from major roads and highways? Many of the best places are in the central or western US, though Alaska and Maine do rank on the list as well. All of the following places are at least 35 miles from state or national highways, and tend to be rather scenic locations to boot.
In southern Nevada, near the northern end of the Nevada Test Site, there is a place that is 37 miles away from the nearest roads (Nevada Highway 375 and US Highway 95). Some people might hesitate to plan a hiking vacation to a place known as the Nevada Test Site, but you shouldn’t have to worry about running into any residual effects due to the testing.
There is a place in Uintah County, Utah, which is at least 38 miles from the nearest major roads (Utah Highway 123, which ends at Sunnyside, Utah Highway 88, which ends at Ouray, and Interstate Highway 70.) This can make a great day-hiking area while on a vacation to the west or midwest.
Getting into northern Minnesota, you start to find that you’re closer to Trans-Canada Highway 11 than any major road in the United States. Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which is almost due north of Schroeder, Minnesota, is around 38 miles from Highway 11 and is at least that far away from Minnesota Highways 1 and 61. There are a few numbered county roads in the area, though.