What we're about

DC UL Backpacking hosts an average of 80 backpacking events each year, specializing in high-mileage, lightweight backpacking trips throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Our membership structure helps backpackers gain or enhance their outdoor skills. In general, our trips are quite challenging but you’ll find a wealth of experienced backpackers who are eager to share advice. Visit our website (www.dculbackpacking.com) to learn more about our group and our membership and trip ranks, and to read our FAQs.

Our goal: To cultivate a community of independent outdoors men and women who want nothing more than to have a fulfilling backcountry experience–to wake early, to walk far, and to travel light.

Join us. We look forward to meeting you!

When applying to join our group, make sure to fill out our questionnaire fully. We also require that your profile photo is of yourself. If you have any questions prior to joining, please email organizer[at]dculbackpacking.com

Upcoming events (5+)

IO: Wonderland Trail

Needs a location

(Very) last minute posting and unfortunately no more space left, but wanted to create the event to facilitate photo + trip report sharing and make it easy for DCUL'ers planning future trips to Wonderland to see what we did! Itinerary: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/8T4BJ8XsO56mptEFGV7aH0Pg/

Social: Independent Trekking Around The World!

Northeast Neighborhood Library

Kylie and I spent a year hiking independently in seven countries: The United States, Iceland, India, Nepal, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. We will be sharing our hiking experience (and a little bit of volunteering experience), and the research/logistics that went into planning this. We will sharing photos as well - some of them never shared before :) This talk is part of the D.C. Public Library's "Trips of a Lifetime” series. Afterwards, we'll adjourn to a nearby pub to keep the conversation going. Please make sure to also RSVP on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/independent-trekking-around-the-world-tickets-63303689038?

LM in the Dolly Sods, WV

9486 Virginia Center Blvd Parking

I've been slack on getting out backpacking so I want to make this trip easy. This will be a relaxed, LM (low mileage) trip and beginners are welcome. We'll have lots of opportunities to take breaks, enjoy scenery, sit by the water and just breathe. Can you tell where my mind is? This could be a good chance to try any new gear or systems you have been considering. A co-organizer is welcome but not required. The exact route is TBD but I have both nights campsites already in mind. We'll begin at the Blackbird Knob Trailhead. Here's a simple map I've used many times. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5152038.pdf If you are a beginner or have a status within DCUL of less than MO (Member Only), we will definitely need to communicate prior to this trip to ensure all gear and safety concerns are being addressed. I'm always available to discuss any questions/concerns anyone has regardless of DCUL status. We'll meet at the Vienna Metro North Parking Lot at 5:00pm Friday, July 26. We should return there by 4:00pm Sunday, July 28. I can drive and take 3 passengers plus gear. The total group is limited to 6 people for simplicity. Standard DCUL rates of $0.10/mile per passenger applies. (Plan on 284 miles, RT)

IO: Norway's Massiv Route (Two Weeks)

Dulles International Airport

So, with Patrick Martino (Moses), who's currently with State in Oslo, we've planned to spend two weeks this summer backpacking some of Norway's best scenery. DCUL's resident Norwegians--Jo and Karine--also advised us about this route. In essence, we're going to fly to Oslo on 7/26. Then, 7/27 or so, we're going to take a combination of trains and a bus from Oslo to the start at Breheimen. Then, we'll start walking south on the Massiv route (https://massiv.dnt.no). The entire route is 350 kilometers long (that's 218 miles), so I'm a little unsure if we'll hike the whole thing (I suppose we could). We've set it up so that you can come for one week or two. The most spectacular scenery is in the first half of the trip, including Norway's Jotunheimen park. There will be opportunities for adventuresome side trips (including glaciers and climbing). Provisionally, we're thinking to end at Geiterygghytta - Finsehytta, where there is excellent rail connections. South of this point, the route becomes less mountainous ... but who knows how it shakes out. We'd return to Oslo on Saturday, 8/10, and the States Sunday, 8/11. This itinerary will no doubt be refined over and over, but you get the gist. I am very much a guy who backpacks with the attitude of "Let's walk into the woods and see what happens." Norway has an extensive system of huts along this route, but unlike many European nations, they're also cool with our camping out. So, though we may be staying in the vicinity of the huts at times, with all the amenities that entails, we will be carrying our gear and planning to sleep out (much as we did in Corsica, but unlike the Dolomites or Switzerland). Hammock camping will be impossible as we'll be above the tree line almost the whole trip. I'm sure most people will occasionally opt to stay in a hut from time to time. These huts DO NOT take reservations (which I love): they also cannot turn people away. All that is for the good. As for food, well, there will be quite a lot of food along the route, both in huts and at a few grocery stores. So, we won't need to carry a lot of consumables, and no doubt the siren's song of hot meals in the huts will beckon. Prices in the huts are certainly not cheap ... But this won't be a trip with complicated resupply drops. Norway is definitely not an inexpensive country to visit, so you should plan for the inevitable expenses. That said, we're not going to have much in the way of hotel reservations. Moses has offered his palatial digs in Oslo. We're going in high season, so the weather should be ideal, though we should expect to see inclement weather (snow, rain) ... and, of course, bugs! Overall, this should be a great opportunity to see some of the most beautiful terrain in the world, all with a light pack. Patrick, Jen, and I would love some company. We could take seven more people. If you'd like to come, you should be a veteran club member, used to walking consecutive long days. We should know you and like you, and you should be comfortable with DC UL's tradition of cultivating independent outdoors people. This is definitely not a guided trip. So, sign up and ask questions!

Past events (712)

VMO: Catlett/Hazel Mtns, ~35 miles in SNP

Vienna Metro (North Parking Lot)

Photos (33,296)