A European spends a Summer in the US & Canada: What is the most beautiful hikes?


Hello everyone,

I've just registered. Glad to be here!

My name is Vincent, I'm an adventure photographer originally based in Germany. 2 years ago my wife and I embarked on a trip around the world in our converted van. We've been down in South America most of the time and have now shipped the car to the US to explore around here.

We are super keen on spending as much time hiking and experiencing this beautiful country and it's huge variety of landscapes as possible. And I believe this community and all it's knowledge might be a perfect resource for tips on how to make the most of our stay here in the US.

We're currently on our way from the eastcoast to the west, approaching Colorado.

My US Visa is valid for ~2.5 more months. After that, we'd like to spend 2-3 months in Canada before hopefully being allowed to return to the US in the fall (August/September) for another month or two. I don't think we'll have time for Alaska this time around (the visa limits us unfortunately).

We are fit and experienced backcountry hikers. I think the sweetspot would be 1-2 weeks hikes. We're comfortable with trail-less backcountry and would prefer to stay away as much as possible from the crowds.

The rough route idea with the van through the US is to make a big loop around Utah, Arizona, Nevada (Moab, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Red Rocks etc.), then head west, up to Yosemite and up the coast via Washington and Oregon to Vancouver, Canada.

Some ideas for hikes or areas that I've written down:

Pfiffner Traverse, Colorado | I assume best in July?

Kings Canyon High Basin Route, California Sierra | I assume best in August or even better September?

Sierra High Route, California Sierra | I assume best in late summer as well?

Yosemite High Route, California | I assume best in July to mid September?

Wind River High Route, Wyoming | I assume best in July, August?

Hayduke Trail, Utah & Arizona | Good time now!?

Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades, Washington | July, August?

So I guess our best bet for the next 2 months is to start in the desert southwest – maybe with a section hike on Hayduke...

Which of the above (or any other suggestion you might have) would be beautiful and doable in May/June? I believe I read about the high routes from Andrew Skurka sometime ago but I'm afraid we're a little too early for those in the next 2 months. I assume that there's very beautiful lower elevation routes in those areas as well though? Would you have recommendations for routes or trails in those areas, that are in lower elevation and can thus be attempted earlier in the season maybe?

Thank you guys so much, I'm really looking forward to hearing your ideas and recommendations and head out there :)