Finding Love On The Trail: 6 Of Our Favorite Romantic Hikes

Finding Love On The Trail: 6 Of Our Favorite Romantic Hikes

Romantic Hikes for Valentine's Day (or any day of the year)

This year, skip the boring date night and head for the hills for a truly special and memorable adventure with your crush. We've hand selected our favorite hikes with our friends at the American Hiking SocietyContinental Divide Trail CoalitionWashington's National Park Fund, photographer Caitlin Laurent, and her boyfriend- and read how Roy Steves took a girl on a hiking first date (along with some Pad Thai)...and now they are celebrating 10 years together!

While we can't claim Backpacker's Pantry Pad Thai will make you fall in love, it sure helps!

Lake Louise: Caitlin Laurent, photographer

"The short period between seasons in the Canadian Rockies is such a special time for embracing new weather while trying to make the most of the conditions you are about to leave behind. 

In an effort to make the most of this time - and not yet ready to say goodbye to our summer backpacking adventures - we ventured out on a day hike at Lake Louise.

This famous lake is usually bustling with tourism but on this day the trails were quiet and we had the whole overlook to ourselves. With a picnic blanket in tow, we had the perfect canvas for a cozy mountaintop picnic overlooking the lake. 

It was cold enough that our fingers froze while we waited for our lunch to cook, but mild enough that the lakes had yet to freeze, making for the most stunning views of blue glacial water contrasting the fresh white snow. 

Nothing beats having a mountain top completely to yourselves. Add a hot lunch and a fresh layer of snow and you have the perfect winter afternoon."

- Caitlin Laurent, photographer


Arizona Desert: Customer Roy Steves (and his now wife)

"It was a warm Arizonan September, 2014, and I had a date with an outdoorsy girl I fancied! She stated flatly that you can't really get to know someone over a dinner or a coffee, so she wanted to go hiking and camping as a first date. I found this fascinating, so I went out and bought all new backpacking gear (having just moved there), and let my coworkers know where I was going.  

"I'm going to either be murdered in the desert or have a great time--either way, should be interesting!" I remember telling them.So, after a beautiful hike down to a gushing natural spring, our first meal together was prepared over a borrowed MSR camp stove with only the finest plastic sporks for cutlery, and a beverage pouch of dark rum for dessert. That set an excellent precedent, and now a decade later, we are married, and still have a particular fondness for Backpacker's Pantry's Pad Thai, which now reminds us of not only that adventure, but so many of others we've had since."

- Roy Steves


Take these stories as a sign to skip the stress of restaurant reservations this Valentine's Day and take your romantic dinner to the trails- because nothing suits an adventurous couple better than an equally adventurous date. 

We asked some of our favorite nonprofit organizations- who are not only working hard to protect the trails we love, but are also experts on them- for their favorite romantic hikes.

Consider this your Michelin Guide for outdoor dining this Valentine's Day: 

1. Red Cloud Peak Trail
What could be more romantic than taking on a challenge and summiting a 14er together with some of Colorado's most impressive and colorful views?! We'd pack some Vegan Pad Thai because this climb is a little spicy, especially if you want to make it a double and tack on Sunshine Peak, too!
2. Sweetwater Bridge
Take your sweetheart to Sweetwater Bridge in Wyoming! Heading north on the CDT along Sweetwater River outside of Atlantic City, you'll pass through Wyoming grasslands and sagebrush. Make this gentle, relatively flat hike extra sweet by ending with a Backpacker's Pantry Dark Chocolate Cheesecake - a perfect treat for two!
    - Continental Divide Trail Coalition
3. Devil's Bridge Trail
Located in Sedona's Coconino National Forest — pack a Cinnamon Apple Oats breakfast to share and head out early in the morning to beat the crowds and have a chance to have the bridge all to yourself while you catch the sunrise.
    - American Hiking Society 
4. Fremont Lookout in Mount Rainier National Park
This sunset hike is the definition of “dinner with a view!" Throughout the trail, you’ll have a grand view of Mount Rainier and sweeping views of the surrounding Cascade mountains. Once you reach the lookout, find a spot that faces Mount Rainier, cozy up with a blanket, share a meal, and wait for sunset. This summer we brought Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai and it was the perfect meal to have as the sun went down and the clouds cleared for the mountain to come out. (photos attached from this summer!)
     - Washington's National Park Fund
5. Heart Lake
Make your heart smile with a trip for two to Heart Lake! Located just off the CDT near Lincoln, Montana, Heart Lake lies nestled in a high basin in the Scapegoat Wilderness. After enjoying the wildflowers along the hike, camp out at the lake for the night and start your morning with a hearty Rocky Mountain Scramble breakfast from Backpackers Pantry. 
    - Continental Divide Trail Coalition
6. Olympic National Park’s coastal beaches
These beaches are iconic places to experience the Pacific Northwest in its truest form. If you like long walks on the beach and picnics in parks, we recommend Rialto Beach. After you’ve explored the tidepools and watched the birds fly over the ocean, have a sweet treat before you head back to the trailhead; we recommend the Backpacker’s Pantry Cinnamon Apple Oats to fuel your adventure on the coast and throughout this iconic national park!
     - Washington's National Park Fund
We hope these hikes will help stoke the flames or give you ideas for your next big outing!