Intrepid Travel – the B Corp certified world-leader in responsible travel – has added 15 new itineraries across the United States focused on backcountry and hiking adventures that provide both a minimal footprint and immersive nature-based experiences few others get to see.
The new trips will more than double Intrepid’s trekking portfolio within the U.S., with tours in sought after destinations such as Yellowstone, Yosemite and Zion, and will primarily focus on backcountry adventures on off-the beaten-track trails away from most signs of civilization, allowing travelers to reconnect with nature in its purest form.
In 2021, over 3.3 million people visited Yosemite National Park, yet just 1% of visitors got off the main (and often crowded) trails. With the addition of these new trips to its U.S. tour range, Intrepid hopes to change this trend. Backcountry trekking allows adventurers to see these iconic destinations away from the popular trails, often times with no vehicles or fixed facilities in sight, while relying on responsible camping and a “pack in, pack out” philosophy that makes for some of the most sustainable holidays on the planet.
Demand for this style of travel in the U.S. has increased dramatically since the onset of the pandemic, which saw people wanting to get away from city crowds and closer to nature. In April 2022, the company saw bookings in North America up 208% year-over-year, with customers predominantly planning active summer trips. For the U.S. year-to-date, active trip bookings are up 61% vs. 2019, with walking and trekking tour bookings up a remarkable 211%.
Samples of the new backcountry trips offered by Intrepid include:
- Hiking and Backpacking Yosemite’s North Rim (4 days from $1,395 USD per person)
Explore the North Rim of Yosemite Valley during an early season Yosemite hiking adventure up to the rim that overlooks one of the world’s scenic treasures. Travelers will see Yosemite Falls, North Dome and Indian Rock while taking in expansive views of the entire Yosemite Valley and the incomparable High Sierra, and will sleep under the stars, witness Yosemite’s only above water natural arch, and climb to the summit of Half Dome’s smaller twin, North Dome. This small group backpacking trip offers a wonderful opportunity to escape the crowds and absorb some of the best views in Yosemite National Park.
- Hiking and Camping in Zion (3 days from $1,468 USD per person)
Travelers will sleep under the stars in the heart of Zion National Park on a backcountry camping and hiking adventure in Utah’s most famous national park. Highlights include strolling down the paved River Trail, buttressed by tumbling water and a 3,000-foot cliff face, experiencing the iconic Virgin River Narrows hike walking through moving water on the way to Orderville Canyon, and exploring Snow Canyon, which is like a mini Zion and cuts impressive walls from the lava-covered country above the rim through the slickrock country below.
- Hiking Washington’s Olympic National Park and Mt Rainier (6 days from $3,675 USD per person)
Travelers will discover the best of the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier, from the high alpine ridges and glaciated volcanoes to dramatic waterfalls, wildlife, and lush rainforests. Hike along a ridge traverse 5,500 feet above sea level on a coastal hike to Shi Shi beach, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, walk through the Hoh Rainforest to see some of the largest and oldest trees in Washington, and admire the Reflection Lakes at Mount Rainier. The trip also includes a visit to the famous Makah Museum to learn more about the cultural history of the local Makah people.
- Hike New Hampshire’s Appalachian Trail and Presidential Peaks (4 days from $1,265 USD per person)
Travelers will hike the highest mountains in New Hampshire, the Presidential Range, including the highest point in the Northeastern United States – the summit of Mount Washington – spending their nights in authentic backcountry huts. Visitors will enjoy stunning views of the Ammonoosuc River before rock scrambling among beautiful waterfalls, eat a picnic lunch at Lake of the Clouds hut perched above the trees near spectacular alpine lakes, and traverse some of the most famous Presidential Peaks, including Mount Monroe and Mount Eisenhower.
- Hiking and Backpacking North Carolina’s Appalachian Trail (3 days from $945 USD per person)
Discover the Cradle of Forestry area where American forest conservation began and stop at Looking Glass Falls, a stunning roadside waterfall, which features incredible 360-degree views. Travelers will spend two nights camping in the heart of the action near the famous and unique rock feature known as Shining Rock and take in sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountain Range as they enjoy lunch on the summit of one of the peaks or in the grassy meadows of Ivestor Gap.
The addition of these new experiences are a result of Intrepid’s recent acquisition of Wildland Trekking, an environmentally-conscious U.S.-based tour operator focused on walking and trekking experiences, which was done to build upon Intrepid’s operational capability in the United States, providing more diverse and robust outdoor adventure-based options for both domestic and international travelers.
Intrepid Travel also launched its own dedicated American operations hub in 2021, Intrepid DMC North America, to increase its capacity in the region, ensure the utmost quality control over each trip and incorporate the highest sustainable and responsible measures. The company has additionally been increasingly focused on building more impactful relationships with BIPOC-owned businesses and suppliers throughout the United States to offer its travelers a broader range of experiences and perspectives.
For more information or to book these trips, visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/us/theme/walking.
With travel restrictions still in place for many international destinations, along with a desire to avoid or escape dense populations in cities, outdoor itineraries within the U.S. are holding greater appeal as pandemic fears start to fade.
A recent study by ValuePenguin looked at national park and monument visitation to see which parks saw the most and least visitors, and which ones are on the road to recovery.
- National parks in 2021 reclaimed 91% of their 2019 pre-pandemic visitation. Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida was the big winner with a 154% increase in visits: nearly 2.6 million in 2021, versus roughly 1 million in 2019.
- As pandemic fears faded, national park visitors stayed longer. While visitorship in 2021 was down 9% from 2019, the number of hours spent at national parks was down only 5%.
- But not all parks fared the same during the early portion of the pandemic. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska saw a drop in visitors from more than 1.1 million in 2019 to only 297 — yes, 297 — in 2020.
- Urban parks, monuments and memorials typically have seen the slowest recoveries. Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Boston National Historic Park and the Statue of Liberty National Park in New York all ranked in the bottom five for percentage change in visitors between 2019 and 2021.
View full report: https://www.valuepenguin.com/national-parks-study