What we're about

Welcome to the best Arizona based backpacking group! As founder of this group I have been in a number of hiking and backpacking groups since the dawn of the internet. I've seen groups fail, flounder or thrive for various reasons and plan on incorporating the best of what I've seen into this club while steering clear of the worst. This is a member driven group and all will be welcome and encouraged to post trips. Do you have a place that you'd like to go but don't want to do it alone? I find it more fun and safer when I go with others instead of by myself. No clue on how to a lead or are afraid of leading, send me a message and we'll go from there.

Backpackers of all ages, races, sexual orientation and nationalities are welcome. Please don't sign up for a trip unless you can handle it, know your limits since many trips are difficult. Beginner backpackers are welcome (I was one once) and beginner trips do get posted from time to time. Most trips that I "sleepsunderstars" post are remote and are less visited destinations. Don't think the destination will suck since you may never heard of it, I know of many hidden gems. Trips will mostly be in Arizona but as temperatures rise, so will the mileage to our destinations.

I keep this group small and remove zombie members. Its one of the ways I use to see if the group is growing. Once you've attended a backpack, you'll get promoted to event organizer and can post and lead trips if you'd like. Don't take it personal if I boot you for lack of participation. If you haven't visited the group meetup site in 6 months, I'll remove you but your always welcomed to join back up.

Now a personal message to all members; I pledge to the members to lead fairly, use good judgement when leading trips, be truthful, not allow any unwelcome harassment to any member and not to leave lost or injured people behind (it does happen). I'm not doing this to make money, I just want to have more backpacking friends! This group will never have a membership fee but instead a user fee, most likely $2-$5 per participant per night to fund the meetup fees. Cu on the trail!

Upcoming events (4)

😎 2 night Memorial weekend, AZ trail Mormon Lake (Suited for most) Moderate! 😎

Here's a relaxing and chill trip that can be done by most people over this 3 day weekend. I had a couple of other trips in mind but for many parts of AZ and NM, the precipitation has been less than 50% of average since October 1st. I have a feeling that this will be the last trip before fire restrictions and/or forest closures are enacted this year 😧 Hopefully I'll be proven wrong but anyway, lets get out and have a good time! This trip will be through one of the easier parts of the Arizona trail in the area near Mormon Lake which is by Flagstaff.

We'll either meet Friday night or early Saturday for this one. I'm not sure on that yet and with high gas prices, I'm sure some will want to car pool. Friday traffic on I-17 and AZ 87 just sucks 🤬 and with this being a holiday weekend, it may be best to leave early on Saturday or late Friday night. This is a passenger car friendly trip so that'll save us some money on gas.

The plan for this trip is to cover about 21 miles of the AZT with a couple of side trips to pass the long day light hours. I find May and June to be the best months to visit the Flagstaff area since the summer monsoon hasn't fired up yet 🌞 We'll finish and end our trip off of the Lake Mary Road (LMR) and will need to set up car shuttle.

On Saturday, we'll first drop off some vehicles near the Pine Grove CG which is by the higher end of Upper Lake Mary. This CG is off of FR 651 and close to the LMR. I'm thinking for a "Just in case" reason 😱 we should then drop a car off near the halfway point of this trip by the Dairy Springs CG. The Flagstaff and Rim area's have received average precipitation over the past 6 months and had an active Monsoon last summer. However, to me it feels like the right thing to do "Just in case" of something “bad” happening is to leave a car near Dairy Springs. We'll then cram everyone into the remaining vehicles and drive about 12 miles to the Gooseberry Springs TH near the junction of the LMR and FR 92 and start our trip.

This trip has a bunch of little ups and downs and we'll mostly be hiking through forest and meadows on trail, old roads and even an old railroad grade. There's less then 1500' of accumulated elevation gain (AEG) over the entire trip with 300' of it just prior to reaching our first nights campsite by Navajo Springs at 8 miles in.

From Navajo Springs, there's a 1 mile trail that leads to Mormon Lake Village. The little village enclave has a restaurant and convenience store that sells cold beverages. I'm thinking after setting up camp that some or all of us can hike to the restaurant for 🍽 and maybe even buy some 🍺🍷🍺 but that's up to you to decide if you'd like to go. If the spring is dry, we can acquire water at the Village. Afterwards, we'll hike back to camp and relax by a campfire🔥 (IF there's no ban).

The next day, we'll pack up at a leisurely pace (by 8AM) 😵 and head out on trail. We'll pass the Double Springs and Dairy Springs CG's along the way where we should be able to top off our water. If not, we'll have the "Just in case" vehicle staged so we can acquire water and/or alcohol. From the Dairy Springs CG, there's a short trail that leads to Mormon Mountain. I'm thinking that might be a good side trip to help pass the long day light hours.

We'll then continue on our journey cranking out the miles, its mostly all downhill from here. Although long, I think we can do around 12 miles on this day and detour off the AZT and camp by Upper Lake Mary on its west side. If the group can't do 12 miles, we'll camp in the forest a few miles from our ending point by the Pine Grove CG. The next morning, we'll pack up at a leisurely pace (by 8AM) 😵 and finish our trip (2-5 miles) and then deal with the shuttle back to our cars and drive back to the Phoenix area 😭

I'm by no means a professional guide but have 100's of nights of experience out backpacking. I formed this group not to make money but to meet other backpackers and reconnect with others that I haven't seen in sometime. Most of the places that I venture to are remote with help being many hours and sometimes days away. When you attend a trip you must realize that you are ultimately responsible for yourself and bad things can happen. I intend on using good judgement when leading but I will not be with you at all times. In an event that something bad happens, I intend on getting the injured person help and/or getting them out as soon as its safely possible. I expect the same in return. I watch your back and you watch mine.

😎 Beginner friendly, easy backpack to Canyon Creek near Young

Needs a location


With it being the first weekend of summer, it's time to beat the heat 🥵 How about a wet feet backpack trip in and along Canyon Creek? Canyon Creek is east of Payson and below the Rim near Young. I overlooked this hike for a long time but have enjoyed it every time I’ve hiked it. Its really easy, beginner friendly and for experienced backpackers, its a chill trip so bring all the comforts.

Its simple to navigate this one, just follow the creek! The creeks elevation is at about 6500' and descends a mere 250' in 5 miles. The hike goes through forest, meadows, along a dirt road and finally into a narrow and scenic canyon. We'll pack in 2-3 miles to a creek side forested campsite 🏕 One can go many miles farther but you’d need to purchase a tribal permit since you’d be entering a “Rez”.

This trip will take place a week or two before monsoon season but hopefully we'll have an early start this year 🤞🏻Storms can be a serious issue near and on the Rim ⛈ With safety always being my biggest concern I plan for us to camp on the upstream side of the narrows at about 3 miles in. If the monsoon hasn't started, we might backpack through the narrows and camp on the downstream side adding 2-3 miles and camp just outside of the tribal boundary. It'll depend on how the group feels and weather.

This will be a relaxing trip with lots of time to kick back and/or explore. No need to feel pressured into doing what the rest of the group is doing. I like to go slow when breaking camp in the morning on these short trips 😵 so no need to pack up at the crack of dawn. There are numerous spots to camp so we'll find a secluded spot. Fishing is supposed to be good so bring a pole and a valid AZ permit if you feel like it. Water footwear is HIGHLY recommended since we will be crossing the creek at times, no rock hopping on this one.

The last 5 "ish" miles of the drive to the TH are on good forest road but it is dirt. I'll check on road conditions prior to the trip but will call this passenger car friendly. If the road is crappy, then people with HC clearance vehicles will need to shuttle people.

🔥 There'll most likely be a fire ban in effect with a good chance of a forest closure for the dates of this trip 🔥 If the forest is closed I'm obviously postponing this trip but plan on rescheduling it this summer. I'll fully refund everyone's deposit if the forest is closed and repost the trip with a new date after the forest reopens.

I'm not a professional guide but do have 100's of nights of experience out backpacking. I created this meetup to met new backpackers and reconnect with ones that I have not seen in sometime. Most places that I venture to are remote with help being many hours and sometimes days away. When you attend my trips you must recognize that you are responsible for yourself and bad things can happen. I intend on using good judgement when leading and watching out for all. I may not be with you at all times but in the event that something bad does happen, I will attempt to get help ASAP and/or help get you out. I expect the same in return, I watch your back and you watch mine.

🇺🇸 California's Sierra's, John Muir Trail and Yosemite (60+ miles) 6 nights!

Hey everyone, any interest in this? I have permits for 6 and I'm looking to see if people will commit to this trip. I'm waitlisting everyone and I'll be screening anyone who signs up, if anyone signs up? There's a bunch of logistics involved and between transportation, lodging, a few meals at restaurants and a shuttle bus the expenses will add up 💰 If this trip fills the deposit will cover the CG's and permit fee. Also, did you notice that you'll have to put up with me for over a week! 🤪

This is a long trip so for those who have a job, you'll need to get the week off. However for the Monday to Friday crowd, Monday is the 4th of July 🇺🇸 The date for this trip is tentative, it'll depend on whether the Sierra's are free of snow. If the snow hasn't melted then this trip will be moved to Friday 8/12 to Sunday 8/21. I can't commit to a date until after the snow season, so at some point in April I'll decide.

The John Muir Trail is one of the best known long distance trails in the country. Its a mere 220 miles from one end to the other starting in Yosemite Valley and finishing on the top of Mt.Whitney which for those who don't know, is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. In between these two places is some of the most beautiful and spectacular scenery that I've seen.

I've been working on completing this trail in segments and in no particular order or direction. This year, I'm returning to do the northern part which is around 60 miles. The trip will start in Mammoth Lakes and enter into the Red Cones area. We'll head northbound going through Reds Meadow, Devils Postpile and later on Tuolumne Meadows before finishing off at the JMT's start/end at Happy Isles in Yosemite. Although I'd rather start in Yosemite, those permits are really hard to get. You have to win a lottery! We'll be passing by Half Dome on this trip and unfortunately, those permits are also hard to get and are date specific so that side trip probably won't happen.

This will be a HARD trip and although we'll be going in the easier direction, there still will be more than 8000' of accumulated elevation gain (AEG). Most of it will be in the first 1/2 of the trip. You will have to carry 6 days of food, a mandatory bear resistant canister 🧸 which is required to store your food. Your pack will be big and heavy 🥵 On the bright side, water is abundant so you won't have to carry a lot. Weather is usually great but it can rain and/or hail along with thunder and ⚡️⚡️⚡️ Most of this trip will be between 8000'-11000'. The days will be memorable and the mileages will vary, there's bound to be a high mileage day (15+ miles) but it should be mostly downhill. 🦟 Mossquasho's 🦟 may be bad at times, it varies from year to year. I plan on bringing enough repellent to bath in if needed. Speaking of bathing, hopping into one of the many lakes on the JMT is a popular mid day activity.

Usually at around the 2/3 point on this trip we would be able to stop by civilization at Tuolumne Meadows and get a burger or two. Yosemite is going to be a nightmare this summer with 4 major reconstruction projects going on. One of them has forced the cantina to be closed for this summer and the nearby country store will be on a part-time schedule. This is also a stopping point for our transportation back to Mammoth Lakes after the trip 🚎 as well as an exit point for a shorter mileage trip. I do intend on going all the way!

The plan isn't set in stone since the trail mileages and camp locations may change but what happens on 7/1,7/2,7/3,7/9 and 7/10 need to be;
7/1- Leave Phoenix late and start the 11 hour drive to Mammoth Lakes, staying in Needles or Barstow
7/2- Physically pick up permit, finish drive and stay at Mammoth Lakes RV Park and Campground.
7/3- Short shuttling of cars and start trip at Red Cones/Horseshoe Reservoir TH in Mammoth Lakes, then hike in 10.5 miles to Johnson Meadow (around 1500' AEG).
7/4- 10 miles to Garnet Lake, there'll be around 3100' "ish" of AEG
7/5- Get over Donahue Pass and make it to Lyell Forks Bridge 11.9 miles and 2500' AEG "ishes"
7/6- Work on making days 7/5 and 7/7 easier.
7/7- Make it to Cathedral Lakes 17.4 miles and 1100' AEG "ishes"
7/8- Make it to Clouds Rest Junction 11.7 miles and 400' AEG "ishes"
7/9- Finish trip in Yosemite Valley 6.5 miles and -3200' plunge. Catch YARTS bus ($26) back (2:30PM or 5:00PM departure). I'd like to get the early bus and get back to Mammoth around 6PM. Stay at Mammoth Lakes RV Park where they have clean bathrooms and hot showers. Then feast and have some beer 🍻WOO-HOO!
Day 10- Long drive back to Phoenix.

If you sign up, you'll have to purchase a YARTS bus pass for this trip after I've decided on a July (most likely) or August start date. Then send me proof in some way that you did. Hate being a 💩 about this but there are flaky people on meetup. Any questions? Send me a message.

Ragbrai XLIX (Bike-pack Across Iowa)!

Needs a location

I posted this last year, but there were no takers. I spent the whole winter talking this up so maybe maybe maybe...

This is a fantastic way to spend a week casually riding a bicycle down the very scenic Iowa highways. Nothing like it in Arizona (at least not in the summer).

This is literally a weeklong party on wheels. Each day you ride 60 to 80 miles on paved roads. This is a tour, not a race, so you ride at your own pace. Roads are usually closed to traffic so you don't have to worry about cars, you just have to keep the bike on the road. This may be harder than you think depending on how many beer gardens you've hit up along the way.

What's this about beer gardens?
That's right, along the route each day they'll be lots of vendors selling food, drinks, and novelties of all kinds. Each day you ride through a bunch of small towns where all the local mom-and-pop shops are vying with the dozens of out-of-state vendors for your tourist dollars.
Each day ends in a larger town called the "host town". There you can see some live entertainment organized for the riders.

Now let me tell you a little about the lore of Ragbrai. This is a HUGE deal in Iowa. I mean HUGE (picture the orange fellow saying this). Last year there were 17,000 riders! If you don't know what that looks like, I'll try to paint a picture for you. Imagine sitting on the side of a long highway. It's quiet, no traffic, all you hear is the wind and the constant buzzing of coasting bicycle gears. You're looking at a never-ending string of riders going by you. Two to three bicyclist wide. Non-stop. To the point where it can take a few minutes before you find a gap long enough to cross. Like that, for 10 hours straight.
There will be Amish selling ice cream, pie, and pickles. There will be food trucks from all over the US selling their best creations. There will be local restaurants, businesses, churches, and organizations offering various luncheons and dinners. Everywhere you look there will be hundreds of unlocked, unattended bicycles. I've done Ragbrai twice and have yet to hear of anything ever being stolen. That's how important Ragbrai is to everyone.

Interested? Here is what you need:

  1. You can register for daily passes (weeklong registration closed 2 weeks ago apparently), but I plan to be a "pirate" this year. Without the weeklong pass, the daily pass doesn't give you much (more details on this below).

  2. You need to get yourself and your bike to Sergeant Bluff, IA by 8am Sunday, July 24th. I realize this is much easier said than done, but if you really want to go, message me and I'll help you with the logistics. I will be living in Iowa (near Des Moines) so we can use my place as base camp if you fly into Des Moines.

  3. Figure out how you're getting back. We'll be starting in Sergeant Bluff on the west side of Iowa and ending in Lansing on the East side.
    Last year I drove my truck to the ending city, got a rental car, and drove it to the starting city. That worked well and we can do the same thing this year.

  4. You need a bicycle. Any will do, but 98% of people do the ragbrai on a road bike. I do it on a mountain bike because road bike is too easy.

  5. You need a strategy for sleeping in each town. I have saddle bags on my bike and take my backpacking gear (you only need tent/hammock, sleeping mat, and a light summer bag).
    Alternatives are:
    - have someone drive your stuff town to town
    - know anyone in Iowa with an RV?
    - get hotel rooms (this will be tough, i'd expect everything near by to be booked)
    - get one of those pull along child carriers or a bike trailer to pull your stuff behind you

  6. Bring money! $$ y'all
    This is how you will eat and party. Cash is better. Lots of street vendors with sketchy ipad credit card scanners.

  7. Other things to have:
    - Those bike shorts with the padding - makes a big diff after 4 hours
    - Rain jacket
    - Way to carry water (camelback or something like that). I like camelbacks the best because when it's hot you can dump ice and water in there. Keeps your back cold while giving you cool water.
    - Sun protective clothing or lots of sunscreen
    - Thigh lubricant of some sorts (I think there is Butt Glide or something like that). It's for chafing.
    - Battery pack for your phone. Outlets can be found, but it's not ideal because of the people to outlet ratio is always crazy.

How To Prepare:
The goal is for you to be able to sit in a bike seat for 4 to 6 hours a day. That's it! You don't have to be strong, fast, or efficient. You just have to be able to sit on the seat for 7 days in a row. Depending on what kind of bike you have, 60 - 80 miles of highway riding won't take more than 6 hours (and that's riding at a very casual pace).
Start by riding 1 hour 2 or 3 times a week.
After a few weeks, make those into 2 hour rides.
Few more weeks, go 3 to 4 hours at a time.
You really don't need much more than that.


Past events (87)

💫 Difficult backpack, night on Kendrik Peak near Flagstaff 🌟

Needs a location


Photos (1,837)