PLEASE NOTE: If you’re interested in Grand Canyon backpacking trips, and you don’t see them in the calendar, it’s likely because permits aren’t available yet. Permits are issued approximately 4 months prior, and it’s extremely beneficial to register before the permit process begins. Learn more or register on the individual trip pages.

Trip Dates



October ushers in the fall peak season in the desert and canyon destinations. Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase-Escalante, the Sedona area, Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands are all absolutely stunning this time of year. Joshua Tree and Death Valley begin to open in October as well, although they are still quite warm, especially early in the month. In these desert and canyon destinations we offer backpacking trips, llama treks, inn-based tours, camping tours and day hikes.

More benefits of October are in general very few crowds in America’s national parks and the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains and Vermont hit their peaks. Yosemite is wonderful in October because Yosemite Valley is at a low elevation of appx 4500′ which makes for great fall hiking and thinned out crowds.

Internationally, there are many options of where to trek in October which is a wonderful perk. Kilimanjaro is excellent in October; Inca Trail is at its best as are other Peru hikes; Vietnam is great in October; and Nepal is in its prime. Patagonia is beginning to open up in October although its still early in the season and conditions are reflective of this fact with wet, snowy and cold conditions.


The major drawback to October is that the USA and northern hemisphere mountain destinations come to a full or partial close. Yellowstone, the Tetons, the other areas of Wyoming, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, the Eastern Sierras, Rocky Mountain National Park, North Cascades and Mount Rainier all run into short days, cold nights and the potential for winter weather.


There are three main categories of destinations to hike in October:

– USA desert and canyon destinations – these options include Grand Canyon, Sedona’s Red Rock Country, Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Joshua Tree and more.

– USA fall mountain destinations – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Vermont’s Green Mountains, and Yosemite National Park are all wonderful this time of year.

– Trekking and backpacking internationally – recommended options for October are Peru, Kilimanjaro, Vietnam, Nepal and Patagonia.