6 Best Trail Mixes for Hiking (or Doing Absolutely Nothing)

The best trail mix is more than just mixed nuts and some crusty, dusty raisins—but it shouldn’t be a bag of straight-up candy, either. See, good trail mix is just that: a mix. And no one element should overpower or compromise the others. The almonds should be crunchy, not a little soft because they were trapped in a bag with some moist ingredients. The dried fruit should be plump and sweet and complement the roasty nuts—and when we say “roasty nuts,” we want more than just peanuts. A little chocolate is always welcome out on the trail, too—or at your desk, where you’ll more likely be eating one of the trail mixes on this list. 

For this taste test, I sourced bags of trail mix from several stores, but I really focused on Trader Joe’s trail mix, Walmart trail mix, and Target trail mix. All three stores are national and all three have a lot of trail mix options to choose from. Lo and behold, the six best trail mixes we tried were from those stores. So, whether you’re heading out for a hike or need a filling snack to get through a late afternoon meeting or a boring movie on the couch, this is the best trail mix you can buy.


best trail mix for nut lovers

Best for Nut Lovers

Great Value Omega-3 Trail Mix

Okay, I know I said that trail mix should be more than just mixed nuts, but this nut mix is just so impressive, especially for the price (around 8 bucks for a 22 ounce bag). Great Value Omega-3 trail mix remains a trail mix because it contains dried cranberries, but the nuts are the star. You get walnuts, pepitas, almonds, and pecans. We’re talking bitter nuts, sweet nuts, and itty bitty seeds, too. I’ve spent most of my life complaining about walnuts (too bitter unless they’re in brownies or chocolate chip cookies), but this Walmart trail mix may have changed my mind. Everything in this bag is excellent. If you’re in it for the nuts, this is the best trail mix.

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

trader joe's trail mix

Best Chocolate

Trader Joe’s Almonds Chocolate & Cashews Trek Mix

Did you know that chocolate is good for you if you eat it with nuts? This is a lie I tell myself, and you should feel free to do the same, especially if you pick up a bag of this Trader Joe’s trail mix. This is super simple stuff—it’s just roasted cashews, roasted almonds, and little nuggets of dark chocolate—but it’s just so good. The dark chocolate is deeply flavorful and tastes so good with the salted nuts. I also personally just love cashews and love to see them in this format when so many trail mixes are just peanuts (or peanuts and almonds if you’re lucky). It’s the best trail mix for chocolate lovers, but it’s the best trail mix for raisin haters, too.

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best fruit trail mix

Best Fruity

Great Value Tropical Trail Mix

I always think of dried fruit as being very expensive. Like, if you go to the farmers market and buy from the bulk bins, you’re clearly a millionaire. But this fruit-forward Walmart trail mix really proves that premise wrong. It’s around $6 for a 26 ounce bag (!), and it’s just absolutely bursting with good stuff. In addition to cashews and almonds (no peanuts here), you get dried cranberries, raisins, banana chips, dried papaya, and dried pineapple. The pineapple chunks are especially huge and delicious. This isn’t a trail mix for people who are watching their sugar intake (dried fruit is notoriously high in sugar), but it’s the best trail mix if you want a sweet treat that doesn’t involve actual candy. 

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best walmart trail mix

Best Sweet

Great Value Breakfast Trail Mix

The top two trail mixes on this list are very traditional, but this is the best trail mix if you want something different. This breakfast-themed Walmart trail mix is fun as hell. It combines dried cranberries, yogurt coated dried cranberries, walnuts, honey glazed almonds, and delicious nuggets of granola that are as sweet as they are filling. The honey glazed almonds are an incredibly luxe addition—they feel so fancy, even when you’re knee-deep in mud out on the trail. And, again, this Walmart trail mix is incredibly affordable for the quality at around 8 bucks for a big-ass bag. It’s worth it for those almonds alone. 

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best target trail mix

Best Runner-Up

Good & Gather Simple Trail Mix 

There’s a lot of Target trail mix. Like, maybe too much. We tried a few Favorite Day varieties and even though we usually really like Favorite Day products, the trail mixes were just candy overkill. Sorry if this makes me sound boring, but trail mix should still be somewhat healthy; it can’t be all chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. Good & Gather Simple Trail Mix doesn’t have the pizzazz of a lot of Target trail mix—hell, it even has “simple” in the name—but it’s pretty much perfect. You get roasted peanuts, roasted almonds, candy-coated chocolate candies, raisins, and, the pièce de résistance, plump dried cherries. This was the only trail mix we tried that contained dried cherries and they’re just such a dang treat—sweet and tangy in equal measure. I will say that I think the moisture from the cherries made the almonds a little less crunchy, but that’s the only remotely negative thing I can say about this Target trail mix. It’s just about the best trail mix we tried.

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best trail mix

Best of the Best

Trader Joe’s Rainbow’s End Trail Mix

Yup, this Trader Joe’s trail mix is another super simple trail mix, but it’s so perfectly executed that it ended up being the best trail mix we tried. It’s just roasted peanuts, roasted almonds, raisins, and candy-coated chocolate pieces, but every element is just right. The nuts are so crunchy, perfectly salty, and super fresh tasting (Trader Joe’s really has great nuts). The raisins are plump and sweet and I didn’t keep getting their little hard stems stuck in my teeth. And the candy-coated chocolate pieces are amazing. They’re so much better than M&M’s! The chocolate tastes creamy—almost caramelly, really—and very European. This is a crowd-pleaser of a trail mix. If you’re buying Trader Joe’s trail mix, buy this, and if you’re not buying Trader Joe’s trail mix, start by buying this.

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks


About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *