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Traveling independently is one of the most transformative things I’ve ever done.
The feeling of empowerment is liberating. These trips allow me to experience ultimate freedom and flexibility, a break from the routine, a chance to relax and recharge, and an opportunity to challenge myself, or even the status quo.
Frankly, I hope all women can experience this because I believe that together, we are flipping the narrative and showing the world that the great outdoors are great for everyone: women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ. We all belong.
I want to be clear about one thing, though, solo travel isn’t something I just decided to do one day—it is something I worked towards through countless trips in all-women’s spaces, with friends and soon-to-be friends. This dream to experience the world without limitations has been my driving factor, and today I relish the opportunity to travel solo and with groups of like-minded women.
Berry cobbler in the backcountry
My first all-women backpacking trip was alongside a group of close friends in winter. We were headed to a remote backcountry ski hut in Aspen, Colorado, the first time any of us had done a hut-based tour.
We had to navigate the trail, manage avalanche conditions, feed ourselves, melt and boil our drinking water, and of course, tend the wood-burning stove. Did we bite off more than we can chew?
The moment our berry cobbler popped out of the oven we knew that we were not only capable, but excelling. The hut next door was full of Scouts and male travelers who, that same evening, were dining on backpacking meals. We learned this because the smell of our pie brought them to our doorstep in disbelief.
Just like that, the transformation started for all of us. Being in an all-women’s space and experiencing this level of self-reliance changes you. I suddenly realized I could do these types of adventures solo or in a group because I finally felt confident in my skills and abilities.
Our All-Women Trips: Be Among Friends Wherever You Go
Outdoor adventure is really a women’s world. If you’re ready to dip your toes into the transformative power of adventuring with a group of kind and compassionate women, look no further than the 16 trips below.
These trips are perfect for the solo traveler—I know it can be hard to find that perfect friend or friend group to travel with—and will instill you with the confidence to plan your own solo travel all in the company of soon-to-be life-long friends.
Recommendations for Your First Group Trip as a Solo Traveler
1. Discover Your Inner Valkyrie Hiking in Iceland
Forged by fire and never-ending frost, the hiking trails of Iceland are some of the most dramatic in Europe. Photo courtesy of Saga Líf
Top reasons to go hiking in Iceland:
- Experience a National Geographic-recommend thru-hike—one of the most beautiful in the world!
- Friendly locals, expert guides and well-maintained hut system
- Trails are memorable, rewarding, and perfect for all ages and skill levels
Best time to go: Late-June through mid-September
Iceland is top of our all-women trips for solo travelers list for many reasons: it is safe, stunning, and is brimming with other-worldly scenery. In this land defined by volcanoes and glaciers, you’ll reconnoiter among jet-black sand glistening with obsidian shards, walk past green-hewn rhyolite mountains, turquoise lakes, stunning waterfalls, and head right on to some of Iceland’s bubbling hot springs where you can relax after a day of hiking.
Join your guide, Saga Líf, and other female hikers, to uncover Iceland’s geological wonders in the span of one hike along the famous Laugavegur Trail, all while building your confidence in the outdoors and forming lifelong friendships along the way.
“As a certified guide for the past 7 years, I want to welcome women to the outdoors and embark on an exploratory mission of overcoming natural obstacles—internal, external, and otherwise.”
2. Find your Trail Magic Hiking 50 miles of the A. T.
Top reasons to hike the Appalachian Trail:
- Sweeping views from iconic balds and historical stops along the way
- Reconnect with nature and yourself as you cross around 50 miles of the A.T.
- Traverse tunnels of trees, rocky ridgelines, open summits, and rolling balds
Best time to go: May through October
Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is like taking a 5-month breather from your everyday life. But for those who want the AT experience without the full hiatus, here’s your chance to tackle an equally rewarding 50-mile section. Your local guide, Michelle Michaud, will provide expert guidance with encouragement, passion and patience to help you hone your thru-hiking skills. Break from your routine, reconnect with nature and meet other like-minded adventurers on a women-only guided Appalachian Trail hiking tour or with other hikers over 50.
“Long-distance hiking is a great opportunity to learn and grow. The outdoors teaches self-sufficiency, builds inner strength, and grants the ability to overcome hardships.”
– Michelle Michaud, Hiking The Appalachian Trail: 15 Tips for a First-Timer
Want to learn more? Be sure to check out the following articles by Michelle for a deeper look into what to expect and how to prep for your upcoming thru-hike:
3. Learn to Backpack on the Pacific Crest Trail
Top reasons to backpack on the Pacific Coast Trail:
- Learn backpacking basics with a team of outdoorsy women
- Practice how to set up the perfect campsite and staying safe on the trail
- Experience the most beautiful and iconic section of the entire 2,650 mile trek
Best time to go: June through August
Develop your backpacking basics and wilderness survival in an encouraging all-women environment while on a 4-day trek through Oregon’s share of the Pacific Crest Trail. Known as the easiest section of the PCT, this 30-mile introduction of the entire 2,650-mile trail has so much to offer—lush rainforest, summertime dips in translucent lakes, towering granite peaks, and sleeping under the stars. Experiencing a shorter section of the PCT means you’ll have more time to enjoy the scenery, swim in the lakes, observe local wildlife, and bond with your new friends.
Sign up for the upcoming webinar, A Walk on the Wild Side: Women’s Backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail, which includes a live Q&A session where you can ask your guide anything you want to know about women’s hiking trips on the Pacific Crest Trail.
“There’s hardly a more scenic setting for learning the basics of backpacking than Oregon’s backcountry: temperate rainforests lush with blueberries and huckleberries, meadows flooded with wildflowers, crystalline lakes, and the celestial Mt. Hood volcano.”
Write Your Own Story on These Trips of a Lifetime
4. Find Your Way to the Lost City of Machu Picchu
Top reasons to take a hiking tour to Machu Picchu:
- Explore one of the Seven Wonders of the modern World
- Learn about Indigenous traditions of the Quechua people
- Spectacular scenery, extraordinary architecture, and rich cultural history
Best time to go: May through September
Somewhere between heaven and earth rests Machu Picchu, the sacred Incan citadel perched among the clouds. To get there, you’ll wind through 26 miles of lush tropical flora, mountain rainforests, and along paved stone that speaks to more than 900 years of cultural history. They say only the sky’s the limit, but this 7-day all-women hiking tour to Machu Picchu will make you question that.
“The Machu Picchu trek will be one of the most treasured experiences of your life. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to walk among the relics of one of the world’s most fascinating cultures, this is your chance to find out.”
5. Explore the Hidden Depths of the Grand Canyon
Top reasons to go on a guided hiking tour in the Grand Canyon:
- One of the best ways to experience this iconic national treasure
- Known for its visually overwhelming size and landscape
- Immerse yourself in the geologic history of North America
Best time to go: Spring and fall
Most people experience the Grand Canyon from drive-up viewpoints, but to appreciate the grandeur of this geologic marvel you have to set out—or rather, down—on foot. Hiking into the canyon, you’ll follow the Colorado River as it snakes through endless layers of sedimentary rock boasting every shade of red imaginable. On this all-women hiking tour in the Grand Canyon, guides, Alyssa, Dara, and Kate, will take you backpacking through the South Rim and Tonto Trail for four days. The terrain will be challenging, but the dips in the Colorado River, sleeping under the stars, and getting up close to this ancient landscape will show you a world most others only see on a screen.
“The trick most people learn on their guided Grand Canyon hikes is that the best views aren’t from the top. The Grand Canyon is so big, you need to hike into it to get the real scope of its size and beauty.”
6. Hiking Paria Canyon: Explore Some of the Remotest Wilderness in the American Southwest
Top reasons to hike through the Paria Canyon:
- One of the best canyon-backpacking destinations in the world
- Towering walls of red rock, sandstone arches, and beautiful hanging gardens
- Get up close to centuries-old petroglyphs
Best time to go: Spring and fall
One look at a map of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and you’ll notice there are no paved roads. That’s because the Paria River Canyon is in a-no-man’s land, and this trip embodies every sense of that meaning. On this 7-day all-women’s hiking tour through the Paria Canyon you’ll walk alongside rainbow-coloured layers through interweaving chasms no more than ten feet across at times.
Guide, Sunny Stroeer, believes that pushing oneself in the outdoors gives us the opportunity to develop a refined sense of who we are. Want to eventually head out on your own? With each mile, slowly but steadily, you’ll find yourself more prepared for backcountry adventures.
“These trips we take part in have a way of bleeding into our regular lives, allowing us to tackle bigger goals, both at work and in our personal lives, which is why I’m committed to providing a platform for other women to develop mountaineering and backpacking skills in an all-women environment.”
– Sunny Stroeer, Why Choose An All-Female Backpacking Trip in Paria Canyon?
Sport Meets “Me Time” on These Wellness Adventures
7. Guided Rock Climbing & Yoga Retreat in Moab
Top reasons to go on a women’s hiking trip in Moab:
- This mega classic destination tops most climbers’ best-of list
- Amber-tinted rocks, sandstone arches, and soaring spires form a breathtaking setting
- 2-in-1: after a day of rock climbing, relax and unwind in yoga sessions
Best time to go: Year-round
Find your flow among the sunset-hued scenery, amphitheaters of red sandstone, perfect splitter cracks and fiery rock arch frames of Moab. On this 3-day retreat, AMGA Rock Guide and yogin, Heidi Wirtz, fosters a fun, safe, and encouraging environment to learn basic technical and movement skills of climbing—with guided yoga and meditation practices to relax your body and mind at the end of the day. Heidi has pioneered new routes up unclimbed big walls and mountains, which has given her a deep love of connecting with nature, sharing her passions and inspiring others to follow their dreams. What summit will you reach with your new skills?
“This is a perfect trip for an introduction to climbing and yoga, designed to help you flow up the rock with ease.”
– Hedi Wirtz
8. Treat Yourself to a Hiking Holiday in Spain
Top reasons to go hiking in Spain:
- Capture the essence of the Mediterranean by hiking through the countryside
- One of the best wine regions in the world: taste intensely-flavored reds and supple whites
- Roam the Pueblos Blancos, honored on the UNESCO World Heritage Intangible List
Best time to go: Spring and early-summer
Sun-drenched, steep slate slopes, warm Mediterranean breezes, and air filled with the aromas of sage, lavender, and oregano—Spain is a hiker’s paradise. You’ll spend your days walking through sweeping vineyards, verdant olive groves, thousand-year-old ruins, and along cobbled streets of whitewashed villages, all in the company of other venturesome women.
“Let your taste buds have the time of their lives as you tour the countryside—delectable wines, rich tapas, gazpacho, jamón, and so much more!”
9. Travel Back In Time on a Hiking Tour Through the Lake District
Top reasons to go on a hiking tour of Kendal and the Lake District:
- Visit charming historic sites, including medieval castles and Roman forts
- Uncover the rivers, hills, and limestone landscapes along lesser walked paths
- Sleep in a traditional English town, in an 18th-century hotel with spa facilities
Best time to go: June through July
Roam among castles, woods, and wildflowers in the UK’s historic Lake District and discover the natural beauty and serenity of a region that inspired some of the greatest poems of all time. On this 5-day women’s hiking tour of Kendal and the Lake District, you’ll explore the Cumbrian hills with a friendly fellowship of adventurous women. Heading out from your home—a 300-year-old riverside hotel—you’ll follow rivers, explore limestone escarpments and fells, visit medieval hamlets, and uncover ancient Roman fortresses.
“We want to support women to have great times together: to face fears, to build self-confidence, to try something new and simply to have fun.”
– Sara & Ginny of WalkingWomen
10. Retreat to Montana’s Mountain Lakes
Top reasons to visit Upper Holland and Sapphire Lake:
- Lush Montana mountains dotted with clear blue alpine lakes
- Learn backpacking basics and campsite setup tactics
- Reset your mind and body in nature with the support of like-minded women
Best time to go: June through September
A cooling sensation envelopes your skin. Your heart quickens. You break to the surface with a powerful inhale. Nothing beats the invigoration of plunging into a crystal-clear lake after a long day of hiking. If you’re looking for an immersive wilderness retreat, join a group of like-minded female travelers on this 3-day backpacking trip through the mountains of Montana. This is your opportunity to slow down, take in the sights, and reconnect with nature and yourself.
“Stopping to appreciate natural beauty is so good for your mental health. And those starry starry nights here in Montana, on my goodness—you’re going to want to sleep outside your tent.”
– Madison & Sally, Women Who Stride: Backpacking in Montana’s Mountains
Boundary Pushers: Adrenaline Adventures for the Active Traveler
11. Take Your Trail Running to New Heights: Running Camp in Chamonix and Courmayeur
- Run amongst incredible Alpine scenery of Chamonix, France
- Get premier guidance from top competitor, Meg Mackenzie
- Mingle with like-minded women, push your limits, and get stronger together
Best time to go: June through September
The mountainscapes of Italy and France are a runner’s eden—you’ll encounter gleaming glaciers, wildflower meadows, rushing streams, lofty balcony paths, and lush valleys dwarfed by the colossal peaks of the highest mountains in Europe. Apart from the iconic terrain, gain invaluable trail running skills from legendary runner, Meg Mackenzie.
Meg is an avid advocate for women’s causes and has dedicated her time to helping women find strength and confidence on the running trails. On this 6-day, all-women trail running camp in Chamonix and Courmayeur, she will share insight on how to prepare and train for long-distance running while exploring the endless Alps terrain. When you’re done for the day, savor French tarts, and unwind in a spa.
“My goal is to get more women involved in trail running and help those already in it to gain more self-confidence on the trails. Too many women think they are somehow inadequate or not strong enough for mountain activities.”
– Meg Mackenzie, Women Who Run: Trail Running Retreat in Chamonix Mont Blanc
12. Mountain Biking Some of the World’s Best with Trailblazers
Top Reasons to go on a mountain biking trip:
- Explore unparalleled mountain biking terrain with a community of active women
- Experience the authentic Swiss mountain life in an active way
- Shred challenging singletracks on a quick Utah getaway
Best time to go: July through September // Year-round
Lose your sense of time as you pedal through the landscape, flowing down singletracks or nailing your turns on technical switchbacks. With focused skills practice built into your ride, you’ll build confidence alongside your mentor and guide on these customized adventures for women. Enjoy a mix of world-class bike parks and dozens of mountain trails on an all-women’s mountain bike holiday in the Swiss Alps, or speed through the desert and master your balance on beginner-friendly loops on a women’s mountain bike tour near Zion.
“Mountain biking is one of the most enriching ways to experience the great outdoors. The confidence boost, and sense of achievement you feel as you’re speeding down gnarly singletracks or nailing turns on tight switchbacks stand unmatched in the outdoor adventure world.”
– Lindsey Ritcher, Founder and Lead Inspirer of Ladies AllRide
Don’t miss Lindsey’s free hour-long webinar: Women Who Ride: Mountain Biking Camps.
13. Lead Your Own Line: Climbing Camps For Women
Top reasons to join an all-women climbing camp:
- Master new moves on Utah’s magnificent sandstone
- Build community with fellow female rock climbing enthusiasts
- Climb three different world-class destinations, including one of the tallest monoliths in the world
Best time to go: Year-round
From some of the best trad lines in the U.S. to summiting one of the tallest monoliths in the world in Mexico, these all-women climbing retreats are your perfect opportunity to hone your rock climbing skills and learn from some of the best women climbing guides in the business. Each program is led by AMGA guides and participants will have plenty of opportunities to work on leading, develop overall technique and movement skills, and connect with other women in the climbing community.
“Through my days out with clients I began seeing some groups of women having the time of their lives, and I thought, all women should have access to those kinds of fun outdoor relationships.”
– by Aimee Barnes, Climbing in the City of Rocks: Answering a Silent Call
Climb the Highest Peaks
14. Learn Glacier Travel Fundamentals on Mount Shasta
Top reasons to take an intro to glacier travel trip:
- The views from Mount Shasta are simply breathtaking
- Push your limits and progress at an ideal pace on great terrain with an all-female team
- Learn glacier travel essentials while exploring the deeper elements of high mountain travel
Best time to go: Late June into July
Sprawling across the southern Cascades, and rising 10,000 feet above the surrounding flatlands, lies Mount Shasta. Cloaked year-round in snow and deep crevasses, Mount Shasta is considered one of the best training grounds for developing your glacier travel skills in the U.S. On this all-women intro to glacier travel adventure, you’ll learn how to use an ice axe and crampons in an efficient manner, and practice various mountaineering moves. Your experienced guide will show you the ropes and help you build a solid foundation of mountaineering skills with your all-women team.
Head into the mountains, and come out a richer and more confident woman.
“During this all-women’s climbing and mountaineering course, there’s a certain comfort and connectedness among ladies which is easily missed in co-ed camps. The dynamic is different, more open—I see women laughing, being themselves, and learning the craft with an innate affinity. I believe more women should have the opportunity to experience this.”
– Sunny Stroeer, Why Climbing Mount Shasta Will Level Up Your Mountaineering
15. Women Who Shred: Ski Touring the Grand Tetons
Why ski touring in the Grand Tetons is a perfect trip for solo women:
- Develop your touring and avalanche safety skills in an encouraging, all-women environment
- Plenty of first-rate slopes for skiers of all skill levels
- Phenomenal snow-pack and unmatched terrain ensures an epic experience
Best time to go: Late November to mid-April
Ask anyone who’s visited Jackson Hole and chances are they remember the moment they first caught a glimpse of the Tetons. While their reputation for challenging and steep lines proceed them, this Wyoming ski hub has terrain for everyone—from mellow touring to fun tree skiing, ridgeline traverses and grand couloirs, made all the more appealing by its easy backcountry access and over 500 inches of snowfall every winter. Come find out why ski touring in the Tetons with the Women’s Network is the ideal classroom if you’re looking to up your ski touring game or push your avalanche safety skills to the next level in a safe, encouraging, all-female environment.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than standing atop a sun-protected slope covered in fresh snow, looking back at your criss-crossed skin track, reeling in the accomplishment of your tired legs as you take in one last look at the breathtaking mountainscape, then push off into the best powder run of your life.”
16. Women Who Soar: Mountaineering Expedition to Aconcagua
Top reasons to go on a mountaineering expedition to Aconcagua:
- Tackle the second tallest of the Seven Summits
- Discover Argentina’s wonderful culture, food, and people
- Develop your mountaineering skills
Best time to go: Between November and March
Welcome to Aconcagua—Queen of the Americas, Roof of the Andes, and one of the fabled Seven Summits. Located in the north of Argentina, Aconcagua is considered the highest non-technical mountain in the world. Standing at 22,838 feet (6,961 m), you can find yourself on top of this rugged wind-swept peak alongside veteran guide and summiter, Sunny Stroeer, and a fellow cohort of high-climbing women on this 21-day guided women’s mountaineering expeditions to Aconcagua—as long as you possess a penchant for cold weather and suffering.
“To get out there and challenge yourself, to have an amazing experience. And that experience rises and falls with the people that you share that with, which is why doing this in all-women’s teams is so powerful.”
– Sunny Stroeer
Thinking About Going on an All-Women Trip as a Solo Traveler? Some Questions to Consider:
Should I go on an all-women trip by myself?
There are many reasons to go on a group tour if you’re a solo traveler. We often hear from guests that they want to visit a place or go on a specific trip but their schedule doesn’t align with a partner, friends or family. Rather than stay home, they are going for it!
For Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, sometimes a partner, or their social circle, is no longer physically able to accompany the kind of trip they’re interested in. Going on an all-women tour means connecting with other like-minded and physically-capable travelers, and often leads to new friendships and adventure partners.
Further, maybe you’ve always wanted to travel solo but have been hesitant for one reason or another. Traveling alone to and from a group tour can be a great way to give it a “test”, knowing that some of the logistics and planning will be taken care of for you.
Another important concern that prospective solo travelers have is about safety. When on a tour: one, there is safety in numbers and two, your guide has intimate knowledge of the area and takes great effort to mitigate risks. Some travelers are concerned about not knowing the local language, which is another benefit of going with a guide.
Lastly, going on a group tour can actually reduce costs compared to traveling entirely on your own. You will split costs, like car or van rental, hotel room, equipment, etc.
With that said, there are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Do you enjoy meeting new people or are you open to that type of experience?
- Are you comfortable sharing personal space with others? Some trips require you to share a hotel room or tent with another person.
- Can you be flexible and accommodating of others in the group?
Do many women travel solo on your all-women trips?
Increasingly, solo travelers are not alone. According to a recent survey by the publication Solo Traveler, the number of women going on solo trips increased by an astounding 230% in 2019.
Here at 57hours, about half of the participants in all-women trips are joining the group solo.
What do our guides do to foster an inclusive environment for all guests during a trip?
The guides that curate all-women trips do so with great intentionality. For them, a successful trip is often measured by things like: did the team make new friends and will they have memories for a lifetime? Did everyone feel comfortable being themselves? Are participants one step closer towards self-sufficiency in the mountains/backcountry/on the trail?
Perhaps clients say it best:
- “I can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the Laugavegur trail, the connections that were made, and the physical challenges of the trail. We experienced Mother Nature’s powerful winds which closed roads on our first day, but she was kind and always had us arriving at our destinations in the sunshine. But the hero of our trip was our guide Saga. Despite all the challenges she managed to get us up to the top of the mountain via super jeep (an experience not one of us will ever forget), encouraged each and everyone of us to give our best effort, fed us very well, entertained us with Icelandic stories and most importantly showed us the marvels of the trail with the enthusiasm of someone experiencing Iceland for the first time. Was it challenging for a senior citizen? Yes. Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat.” – Barbara Havrot
- “Sunny was an amazing guide. She went above and beyond to make sure each of us had a great time. She was very knowledgeable and we all learned a lot about backpacking and the beautiful Paria Canyon. It’s important, especially when you are relatively new to backpacking that you trust your guide and Sunny is the best! I have already told several of my friends to sign up for one of her trips!” – Beth Christo
- “Michelle was a perfect guide. She knows the terrain, gear required, and has the interpersonal communication to knit together a group of hikers with diverse skills. I learned about the newer electronic maps, compression packs, food + physical strength requirements. I trusted her to handle any situation so I could just walk, relax, improving my confidence, and physical skills.” – Sarah Hoss
Will I be sharing a room or tent with another woman?
This depends on the tour and accommodations available.
For backpacking trips, such as the all-women backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail, guides often provide 1- and 2-person tents. For 2-person tents, the internal dimensions are just big enough for two standard sleeping pads to fit side by side.
Whether or not you’ll have to share a tent depends on a variety of factors, such as the number of people signed up and who is bringing their own tent. Guides typically don’t have strangers share a tent, but that is something that will be communicated and coordinated with your guide directly. Participants traveling solo typically get priority for single tents, though this may cost extra.
With trips that stay in hotels or huts, accommodation can vary quite a bit. Sometimes only dorms are available for tours in the Alps during peak season, for example, which means 12 or more people will be staying in bunk beds in the same room (though guides typically aim for smaller private rooms). Regarding hotels, it is most common for there to be double occupancy (two people to a room). Some stays or guides will charge extra for a private room. In other cases, single occupancy is guaranteed. This will be communicated ahead of time and preferences can often be arranged for.
What are the ages of the other women on these types of trips?
This is highly dependent on the trip, but for the Laugavegur Trail and the Appalachian Trail, participant’s ages range between 40-60.
Solo Travel, Group, or a Bit of Both: Find What Suits You
Just last month, I was on a car ferry to Mljet, a small island off the coast of Croatia with a jaw-dropping National Park. I was in the midst of a 10-day journey along the Dalmatian Coast (solo) and while onboard gazing across the deep blue Adriatic, a huge smile spread across my face. The familiar sense of empowerment swept over me.
Having the confidence to travel alone and believing in my self-reliance is one of the most powerful things I have as a woman.
And just to follow up on that berry cobbler, in 2024, this same group will embark on our 8th annual hut trip in Colorado. Since then we’ve had fondu, bolognese, and Dutch baby pancakes, always with a side of community, resilience, and laughter.