After doing the Southern Sun in 2013 I knew that the Northern Trail had to be my second trek, as the mix of National Parks and cities offered was brilliant, and sounded even better than the Southern Sun (which was immense).
This trek is very different from the Southern sun as much of it is spent in more rural areas and National Parks. These were WITHOUT A DOUBT the highlight of the trip. There were some very long drives but the places I got to see were so worth it. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Badlands were all incredible. Yosemite has to be my personal favourite even though it had a hike that almost killed me. It was so beautiful and whilst the hikes are very challenging, you've not come all this way to look up at these things when you can spend a few hours sweating to look down from them! Lake Tahoe, Niagara falls were also highlights...we even crossed into Canada, although not all of our group could do this due to their passports.
Chicago became my new favourite U.S city, I absolutely loved it! We did a bike ride around the city before heading to a bar. Our free day was jam packed full of stuff, I crawled into bed that night! It's a beautiful city, I could have spent a good more few days there. San Francisco was brilliant, the boat tour and getting to see the golden gate bridge over a few drinks was amazing. Again, our free day was spent going to the pier and having a good walk about, exploring.
There were many optional activities throughout - some were brilliant like the bike tour in Chicago, rafting in Grand Teton, boat tour in San Fran. There were a few I didn't enjoy as much, but that's to be expected.
All in all, this was a top class trip, although very different from my first trek. My Southern sun trek was quite rowdy with lots of drinking and hangovers, whereas this was a lot more chilled out. The only gripe I do have is that there were some days where the drives were stupidly long and this was made worse by the 'silly' stops we had to make to break the day up. We stopped at Michael Jacksons house, a random sweet corn place plus a few others. I would just say that I'd much rather get to camp and spend the time there rather than at some naff random place, but this is just my opinion.
I would also add that camping is brilliant, don't be worried about it if you've never done it before, it becomes very easy. It can become intense after a while as you are spending 24/7 with people and it can get a little heated at times. That said, there were some fantastic laughs, games, meals made and it was wonderful to meet people from so many countries.
If you want some truly beautiful National Parks, really cool cities and a don't mind a few long drives then I would definitely recommend this trip.