Mountain Valley Pipeline: An Unnecessary Threat to the Appalachian Trail

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, spearheaded by EQT Corporation, is proposed to carry fracked natural gas for over 300 miles through the Virginia and West Virginia countryside, crossing over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and breaching the A.T. corridor. The pipeline will run parallel to the Appalachian Trail for over 90 miles and carve ugly gashes in the...

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For Exercise, Nothing Like the Great Outdoors

Long walks can improve moods and reduce anxiety, but the benefits may be greatest if the walks take place outdoors rather than in a gym, according to a new study by researchers in Austria. And while the Alps may be a particularly fine place to hike, a vigorous walk in the woods or paths near home may provide the mental boost we need to keep us moving. We all know, by...

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Scotland’s rocky road: a journey to the edge of Lewis

The road to west Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, starting with the A858 in Carloway and passing near the standing stones at Calanais, is probably the longest dead-end in Britain. As it runs into the B8011, and its unclassified extension, plus side turns, it snakes across rocky moors, past scenic sea lochs and on to wonderful white-sand beaches. There’s a...

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The Pacific Crest Trail’s shadow hikers

Against the backdrop of a desert sunrise, two human silhouettes exchange double high-fives. By 8 a.m., a bouncing crowd of a couple dozen has gathered around a group of wooden columns emblazoned with the crest of the Pacific Crest Trail — the monument that marks the start of the 2,650-mile path. These are “thru-hikers,” people who intend to hike from the fence on the...

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The Best Secret Spots in America’s National Parks

Each one of America’s 59 national parks has its well-known, must-see stops – for example, you probably aren’t going to hit Yellowstone without swinging by Old Faithful. While those sites became musts for a reason, they also have their drawbacks in the form of insane tourist traffic (and, sometimes, insane tourists) and not a whole lot of tranquility. And yet,...

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Lighten Your Pack with These 20 Ultralight Equivalents

If you’re new to the world of ultralight backpacking, baseweight numbers in the 5-10 lb range can sound like a hoax. These guys had to be skimping on essential gear somewhere to get their packs so light, right? Turns out after years of research, it is possible to have an ultralight pack with the same basic functionality and safety features as a traditional pack....

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The Army Veteran Who Became the First to Hike the Entire Appalachian Trail

      Carry as little as possible,” Earl Shaffer said. “But choose that little with care.” Shaffer was a World War II veteran, who, in 1948, became the first person to walk the entire Appalachian Trail. He was so picky about gear that he ditched his own cumbersome tent, sleeping in a poncho for months instead. He was particularly enamored of his Russell...

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Meet the woman who designs Colorado’s highest trails

What do you see when you look at a trail? Dirt and rocks? A line sketched across the landscape by 100,000 footsteps? The adventure of some not-yet-visible lake or summit or cirque? Master Forest Service trail designer Loretta McEllhiney sees those things, too. But she also believes that a good trail is about controlling two unstoppable forces: People flowing up a...

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Pack it in, pack it out

Summer is the peak time for hiking all across the country. Not co­incidentally it also is the peak time for littering along trails. Hiking has always been a popular pastime in a country rich with majestic forests, breathtaking views and well-maintained trails to suit just about any taste and fitness level. But in recent years use of them has soared for a number of...

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The Rule of 200 Feet and Other Campsite Tips

You’ve hiked all day and you’re ready to create a pop-up home for the night. Maybe you have the perfect backcountry campsite in mind. Maybe not. Maybe it’s already been snagged by other hikers. If you have to set up camp at the end of a day on trail, do you know what you’re looking for? How well do you know your Leave No Trace principles? Try to...

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Lycian Way: Hike through the best trekking route in Turkey

The Lycians built scads of city-states on the coast of the Mediterranean and formed the Lycian League to compete with other naval powers at the time. They were conquered by Alexander the Great and got Hellenized, much like everywhere else in between Athens and India. The Lycian Greeks governed themselves democratically, grew lots of olives, minted coins, and built a lot...

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Why Forest Bathing Has Become a Global Health Phenomenon

No, it’s not what it sounds like — forest bathing doesn’t actually involve an exterior physical cleansing. However, it does facilitate a cleansing of the mind and inner body. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese practice that translates in English to “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” What exactly does that entail, if not a bathtub in the woods? According to...

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Why Hiking Is the Perfect Mind-Body Workout

At first, walking and hiking may sound like two words for the same form of exercise. The footwear and scenery may vary, but the lower-body mechanics seem the same. Surprisingly, though, they’re radically different. Research shows that your joints, heart and muscles perform in distinct ways during a hike compared to what they do during a jaunt around the block. Like...

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A modern journey on the Oregon Trail tells a story of risk and reward

The sun is low over Wyoming’s South Pass, pinkening the western sky that called thousands of pioneers over this 20-mile basin between high, grassy slopes. It’s beautiful and historic, and the aroma of sage pings feelings of adventure. Most of you know it as the Mormon Pioneer Trail. But the images and place names — Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, Soda Springs....

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Forest Service plan could fundamentally change hiking in Oregon’s wilderness

News that the U.S. Forest Service is proposing a way to limit the number of people entering Oregon’s wilderness areas didn’t come as a major surprise. As the number of people hiking and camping in Oregon’s outdoors has skyrocketed, wilderness areas, often in fragile alpine environments, have been particularly hard-hit. What did surprise many was the scope of a plan...

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Women of the White Blaze

The Women of the White Blaze are yawning as dusk falls around them, their tired bodies begging them to lie down for the night. But something more important than sleep beckons on this night. Their shuttle bus driver mentioned that they might get to see the lightning bugs known as “Blue Ghosts” that tend to move down the mountains like fairies carrying lights down the...

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The man who went on a hike – and never stopped walking

In his 61st year on this earth, the man who calls himself Nimblewill Nomad left home and walked a very long way through the mountains – about 10 million steps, he estimates, or 4,400 miles. Then, he took another, even longer walk. And then another one. And then another. Soon, he had given away almost all of his money and taken to walking almost year-round, roaming the...

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The thru-hike you’ve never heard of: Oregon Desert Trail

Photographer Meg Roussos is one of just 290 hikers who have completed all three long-distance hikes in the U.S.: the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails. But this spring she decided to hike a lesser-known path, the Oregon Desert Trail, and rather than hiking with friends, she walked alone. She set out from her hometown in Bend, Oregon, in April to...

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Changes coming to Superior Hiking Trail

Several changes are in the works for the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail this summer. They include rerouting a portion of the trail in one place and installing a bridge in another location. In addition, the Superior Hiking Trail Association recently purchased land near the Encampment River to ensure the continued path of the trail through that property. On July 21 and 22,...

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10 backpack essentials for summer hiking adventures in Colorado

Colorado summers are as beautiful as they are volatile. Before you head into the high country for a hike this season, check your backpack. A well-packed bag can be the difference between a great day in the mountains and altitude sickness or — worst-case scenario — a rescue. According to a report based on National Park Service data, the most common contributing factors to...

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Empowering women in the outdoors: Why the white-hot interest?

Call it a new wave of feminism, call it a reaction to the current political climate, but there is a concerted push to get women outdoors — women’s-only trips, women’s classes, images and stories of women adventurers. One example: REI’s Force of Nature campaign, launched in April 2017 to “level the playing field,” has crossed from marketing to activism by earmarking $1...

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Elevated arsenic readings close popular San Diego hiking trails

On the northwest side of the one of the City of San Diego’s more popular open space parks is a trail called Miners Ridge Loop. It’s appropriately named because the city says the abandoned Black Mountain Arsenic Mine is located on the north slope of Black Mountain. But, if you had any thoughts of escaping the city life for a hike on a portion of that specific trail you’d...

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Hiking back in time to celebrate 100 years of the Long Trail

Dew shines in the early morning summer sun along the network of trails near the Winooski River. It’s where Mike Debonis continues his journey back in time on Vermont’s Long Trail. This year, the trail is celebrating 100 years. Debonis is honoring the anniversary by dressing in traditional 1917 attire – all wool – and spending his vacation on the...

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Volunteers Remove Nearly 150 Tires From Linville Gorge Wilderness

Linville Gorge Wilderness is now a more beautiful place thanks to the efforts of 85 volunteers who worked over 1,800 hours under the lead of Wild South to remove nearly 150 tires from the deep gorge. In the 1970s a large flood washed the tires down into the Linville Gorge Wilderness from a business north of the area. Since that time, tires have been a common site along...

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What To Do If You Sprain Your Ankle While Hiking

Contrary to what most people believe, sprained ankles aren’t one of those things that just happen. Not only can they be effectively treated when they happen, but with a little forethought, and some preparation, they can be prevented. Sprained ankles and other foot injuries are common in hiking. But you can dramatically decrease your chances of a sprain by taking some...

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The Crew Building the Next Great American Thru-Hike

In eastern Tennessee, 70-year-old trail builder Peter Berntsen is laying segments of the Cumberland Trail. The path will wend more than 300 miles through deep hollows, spiraling waterfalls, and diverse flora in the heart of Appalachia, at the mountainous edge of the Cumberland Plateau. He lugs an axe and mattock up a rocky and root-riddled stretch meandering through...

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Hikes To Explore Colorado’s Western Slope This Summer

Colorado’s Western Slope is rich in backcountry hikes. Knowing where to find them — and what to expect on a trail — just got easier with a new guidebook by Grand Junction outdoor writer Bill Haggerty. The Falcon Guides “Hiking Colorado’s Western Slope” has details on more than 45 trails in Western Colorado. It doesn’t have just...

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Hiking and biking County Mayo, Ireland’s Wild West

When the sun breaks out in rural Ireland, you can almost believe in fairies. County Mayo is the kind of place that visitors imagine when they think of rural Ireland: whitewashed stone houses in impossibly green fields dotted with sheep; rolling hills that tumble into the sea or break off in sheer cliffs; narrow winding roads that lead to villages with pubs and fish...

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White Settlers Wiped Thousands of Miles of Cherokee Trails Off the Map. This Man is Reclaiming Them.

These routes once snaked through the towering woods of Appalachia, before they were lost to history. Lamar Marshall has spent a decade painstakingly mapping them, and their rich history. Marshall cannot make it over the log. It lays across a small creek somewhere in the Nantahala National Forest outside Cowee, western North Carolina, as a bridge. His problem is a bruised...

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What you need to know about wildfire safety

Wildfire season is approaching fast. Poor air quality that limits athletic activity, the devastation of the places where we play, the release of climate change-causing carbons into our atmosphere, the economic impact on rural communities… these terrifying consequences are just some of the negative effects of forest fires. Unfortunately, wildfires are only just increasing...

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