Standard vs Hiker Trips

We offer both standard photography trips and hiker trips. No matter which style you go with, all Backcountry Journeys Photography Tours & Workshops will offer world-class service and personal instruction, as well as a seamless adventure travel experience. We do still think that when looking at our tours it is important to consider the trip style before getting registered!

We can provide nearly whatever you’re looking for whether that be a camping and hiking experience, in the case of our Brown Bears of Katmai in Summer tours, or if your thing is more luxury and little to no hiking, our Yellowstone Wildlife Safari tour, as well as our boat-based Marine Wildlife of Alaska tour where we eliminate the hiking and the camping in lieu of a cushy ride and an inviting bed in a lodge at night.

Backcountry Journeys offers lodge-based photography tours and wilderness camping trips in the most pristine and remote mountains, deserts and wilderness areas of the world. Joining a Backcountry Journeys Photography Tour is really embarking on the trip of lifetime. All of our locations are hand selected to provide truly unique, one of a kind, photographic experiences in areas of the world that are unmatched.

Backcountry Journeys Photography Tours & Workshops will include most meals, lodging, ground transportation while on the tour, National Park entrance fees, guide fees and other items essential to a successful trip – meaning that once your there all you have to worry about is your experience!

We are set apart by our commitment to offer the finest outdoor photography travel experience in the industry.

Our trips give you more time in the field to work on your photography while getting personalized instruction from your guide as we’ve got the logistics handled. We focus on the quality of the experience and the photography. That means that we don’t rush anything and if the light is right you get to stay and keep shooting rather than rush on to the next planned stop on the itinerary. We keep it flexible so that you get the experience you want.

So, what should you expect if you choose a hiker or standard trip type?

Standard trips will always have a difficulty rating of “1” and hiker trips vary in physical difficulty with the scale being from “1” (easiest) to “5” (most difficult). See below for explanations of the difficulty levels.


Regular light hiking on most, if not all, days of your tour – with the goal being to hike to certain photo destinations that are not otherwise accessible. On some tours you will be camping, including meals designed and cooked by your guide and some trips you will be staying in excellent lodging. For example, on our Canyons of Utah: Zion & Bryce Hiker tour, which runs November 4-9, 2018, we’ll hike three to five miles -on Day two of our trip- on slick and uneven terrain with minimal elevation gain. On Day three however, we’ll gain 400-2,000 feet of elevation over the course of five to nine miles of hiking. Day four will see a much shorter hike between zero and three miles with a bit of elevation gain depending on how far we hike. On the final day we’ll plan to hike three to eight miles with up to 700 feet of elevation gain. All in the name of “getting the shot”.

This is one example of this style of trip. When looking at trip choices, you will be able to find the total estimated hiking mileage and elevation in the Daily Itinerary part of the trip page. If you consider yourself a hiker you won’t find our hiker trips necessarily difficult – but it’s all relative. Basically if you like to hike these are the trips for you – if you would rather not and for you it’s all about the photograph see below :)


Very little to no hiking. Great accommodations at a local lodge, including restaurant meals. Our standard trips are all about the photography and our standard itineraries will give you more time to focus (no pun intended) on your photographic masterpieces without hauling all of our camera gear up and down the mountain! Most of these trips include light walks to / from our vehicles to fantastic photographic locations in the various locales and National Parks we explore. We spend plenty of time on each composition to get it right – in camera!

Backcountry Journeys is in the business of providing not just photography tours but, real vacations where you will leave with memories that will last a lifetime!

So, please do take a look at our trips this year (and or next year, too), and consider whether you’d like to hike, camp or enjoy the comforts of a comfy ride and soft bed, then join us for some excellent photography in wild places, great food (regardless of inn-based or camping), and some fun laughs after long, rewarding days in the field.

Trip Difficulty Levels

Level 1

Activities include road-based photography sessions and /or light walks. Sometimes they involve getting into and out of small boats depending upon the trip (all of our boat-based trips are level 1). Walks are generally on smooth dirt trails or paved pathways.

Level 2

Activities include light walking along maintained dirt trails and pathways with your camera gear. Mileage is generally between three and five miles but elevation gain is never more than a few hundred feet.

Level 3

Activities include walking and hiking along trails that may have more significant elevation gain. Mileage is generally between four and seven miles and elevation gain may be up to 1500 feet. Trails may be uneven, rocky and slippery.

Level 4

Activities include hiking on more challenging trails that are steep, uneven and with elevation gain up to 2500 feet. Mileage will vary but can range from five to nine miles.

Level 5

Our most challenging activity level for those who like to really push it! Activities include steep hiking on rough, rugged trails and often in trail-less wilderness areas. Expect significant elevation gain and lots of sweat!

Trips with both standard & hiker versions (brand new dates!!):

Canyons of Utah: Zion & Bryce

Yosemite Fall Colors

Glacier National Park

Yellowstone & Grand Teton in the Fall

Great Smoky Mountains in Autumn