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Destination help, former Boy Scout reconnecting with the wilderness

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Hi everyone, I'm Andrew and I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I just joined this forum because recently I have been wanting to reconnect with the adventurous side of me. Growing up, I was in Boy Scouts and was in love with all things outdoors: fishing, backpacking, camping, etc. (I've never been hunting, but I have wanted to try it.). After I got my Eagle Scout, I graduated high school/went to college. It was at that point that I lost the access to the outdoors. Recently I have been wanting to go back to that involvement in the outdoors, so I've been going fishing when I can. 
While I was in Boy Scouts, I was fortunate enough to have experienced some amazing places: I've trekked Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, hiked to the top of Hermit's Peak in New Mexico, climbed Mount Democrat in southern Colorado, and done a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters area in northern Minnesota/Manitoba region. I loved all of those places, I highly recommend them if you can go. 

Now, I'm 22 and finishing up my junior year at college. My friend and I have been wanting to start going on camping trips and backpacking trips again. I've planned a smaller, less intense trip in May to backpack/camp/fish in the Ouachita National Forest in Oklahoma. But this summer we were also wanting to go on a bigger trip as well. And I'm honestly at a loss as to where I should go. 
When I was in scouts, the itinerary was mostly picked out for us already, so I've never had to do this myself before. 
Could someone tell me some places/trails to check out? I know this might sound annoying, but I really need advice and recommendations. 
I would really prefer the place we go for our big return to the backcountry be somewhere remote/secluded, somewhere where we can have campfires, and have fishing opportunities. As far as length of the trip, I'm thinking of something like 4-5 days. We would have to drive to the location from Fort Worth (college budget), but I honestly don't mind a long drive, it might give us an opportunity to stop somewhere cool along the way. 
Can anyone please help me with my trip? I looked at countless National Forest pages yesterday, but they all confused me. I don't know where to go.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Hey Andrew, there are obviously a lot of choices out there. If I were in your shoes, I’d start by pulling from those past experiences - did any of those previous trips strike a chord? For example if southern Colorado was particularly interesting that could obviously narrow things down to a certain type of trip, area, and terrain. Same with the Boundary Waters. Once narrowed down to a particular region you can then further narrow things down from there.

For further ideas on trips, either for areas you’ve already been to or for completely new ideas, this map has links to all of our past destination articles and should help with generating some possibilities:


And of course, while it’s a great time to get some trips and itineraries planned out at home, as far as when to actually go on any trip (and the closer to home the better) it’s a tough time to firmly schedule dates and everything changes on a near daily basis right now. Considering the current situation one will have to obviously further watch closures, non-essential travel and social distancing considerations, orders, exercise good judgement, and be especially prudent with actual trip timing.

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