WHATThe Backbone Trail (BBT) is moderately difficult. The BBT Program consists of 8 day-long hikes with averages of 8.5 miles and 3,200 feet of elevation gain and loss. The trail stretches 67 miles and enjoys a variety of terrain. The hike is led by experienced National Park Service volunteers who stop frequently to discuss the area’s unique fauna, flora, geology, natural history and cultural history. Significant vehicle shuttling is involved to avoid “in and back” hikes. The only fee is when using several California State Parks parking lots.
WHENThe hike’s 8 segments occur on the 2nd and 4th Saturday (not every other Saturday) of each month beginning in January. Additionally, allow for 2 hikes on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays in May in case we have to postpone hikes for whatever reason. All hikes stage at 8AM and last no more than 7 hours before returning to your car. Attendance is required at a Hiker Orientation the morning of the 1st Saturday in December followed by an optional volunteer led hike in the afternoon.
WHOThe first 40 applications selected are considered active hikers. The 20 or so at the top of the waiting list stand a good chance of being activated before the hike begins in January. Injury free hikers in average to good physical condition of any age are welcome. If an 8.5 mile hike with 3,200’ of elevation gain/loss on uneven footing while exposed to the elements is outside of your comfort zone, or the idea of numerous breaks for trail discussions isn’t your cup of tea this may not be the hike for you. PLEASE CONSIDER POSTPONING your application until a future year if you are unable to calendar the dates for Orientation and 10 hikes (January thru May). There is always an eager and hopeful waiting list.
HOWApplications will be accepted annually from October 25th through 31st. A randomized lottery will be conducted and results will be communicated the first week of November. Using this Application Form you can sign up for yourself and one other adult, or a minor child. Applicant’s name may only appear on one application (except for families). Families use multiple forms listing each minor as Hiker #2 and responsible party as #1. Groups of more than 2 hikers should be prepared to hike if their application is selected, but the rest of the group's aren't. Questions should be emailed to: BBTHIKE@GMAIL.COM.
The link below contains the Backbone Trail Application for the annual National Park Service led Backbone Trail hike. To be eligible for the hike lottery you must submit an Application. If you haven’t received your lottery results check your spam filter for mail from BBTHIKE@GMAIL.COM.
Online Application Form