Step by Step, Hut by Hut in Colorado

During a recent trek along a mountain trail in the central Colorado Rockies, Todd Pitock found signs of those who had come before him. These weren’t fellow hikers, though, but soldiers. One patch near the trail was pitted with foxholes — scooped-out hollows, with one raised side, like a shield, the whole thing grown over with grass. “I’ve found ammunition boxes...

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy to Launch Family Hiking Day

On September 24, 2011, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with its 31 Trail Clubs will be launching Family Hiking Day. This is an opportunity to introduce families to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), and all of the benefits that come from being active and spending time outdoors. The event will be held on National Public Lands Day and coordinating with First Lady...

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The Top Ten Health Benefits of Hiking

You know hiking is good for your health. But do you know just how good it is? For adults, regular aerobic exercise such as hiking leads to: Improved cardiorespiratory fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels) Improved muscular fitness Lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke Lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes Lower risk of high cholesterol and...

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Retired educators complete 24-mile hike in the Grand Canyon

As an elementary school principal, Ron Brelinski kissed a pig, shaved his head, rode a mechanical bull and spent a day on a school roof to motivate his students to reach new heights. But what he did last fall with his wife and their friend was no stunt. It was a monumental goal achieved by all three. They hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim last fall. Nevermind that Ron...

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Backpacking in Pennsylvania

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Pennsylvania is prevalent with lots of opportunities. You have canoeing, white water rafting, skiing, fishing, elk watching, birding, for example. But more than this, what this state is actually known for is the amount of Pennsylvania hiking and backpacking experiences it offers. Foremost among the Country’s Pennsylvania hiking...

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Mule power: Wilderness work requires a step back in time

Sometimes the old ways are the only ways of doing things when it comes to maintaining our country’s wilderness. In a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, the Backcountry Horsemen of California and the California Conservation Corps, crews keep the use of pack mules alive while sustaining wilderness trails in the state. With deep evergreen canyons, peaks more...

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Mind your food and garbage, black bears are on the move

Humans aren’t the only ones getting excited about blueberry season in the mountains. So are the black bears. Land managers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount Mitchell State Park and in the Pisgah National Forest have closed campsites and hiking trails due to increased bear activity, and want to remind visitors not to further tempt bears by leaving...

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Who Maintains Our Hiking Trails?

It is groups like the American Hiking Society, or Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. As government funds dry up for our national parks and forests, our wild areas are becoming more dependent on the efforts of volunteers to maintain trails and provide supportive services to visitors. Volunteer groups build bridges, prune encroaching shrubs, clear debris and improve trail...

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Hiking on a Maine Vacation on the Coast and in the Mountains

While the Presidential Range in New Hampshire has the lofty 5,000-footers, just 25 miles away across the Androscoggin River and a border, Maine’s rugged and isolated Mahoosuc Range attracts a fraction of the foot traffic yet provides big mountain experiences. Widely considered to offer some of the most demanding hikes and sharp climbs of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail,...

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Hike of the Week – A Devilishly Beautiful View

Fri, Aug 19 10:00 AM Milepost 422.4 on Blue Ridge Parkway – Devils Court House Overlook Join rangers at the Devil’s Courthouse Overlook at milepost 422.4 for one mile round trip strenuous climb to the peak of Devil’s Courthouse. At 5720 ft. the panoramic view is one of the best around. It includes four states, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia,...

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Hiking in Hawai‘i – O‘ahu’s best trails

Surf and sand are not the only ways to experience Hawai‘i. Hiking is an excellent way for newcomers and locals alike to get to know O‘ahu. Sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, Honolulu alone has dozens of trails ready for exploring. O‘ahu offers many trails, especially if you have access to a car and can expand your range up the Windward side toward the North...

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Buffalo roams in wildflower center’s preserve

Animal protection specialists will try again to tranquilize a large bison that has been roaming the grounds around the Austin, TX Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center since this weekend. The North American buffalo was spotted by gardeners Saturday, and officials at the center said they closed the hiking trails immediately. No damage has been reported, and the trails will...

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Open Houses to Discuss Proposed Backcountry Management Changes

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson is inviting the public to two open houses to discuss changes the park is considering in the way it manages its backcountry campsite reservation. The open houses are set for Tuesday, August 16 at the Old Oconaluftee Visitor Center at 1194 Newfound Gap Road in Cherokee, NC and on Thursday, August 18 at Park...

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Hunt for fearless cougar closes hiking trails

A large swath of trails near Squamish, B.C., has been closed to users as conservation officers hunt down an aggressive cougar that’s been stalking people. Conservation officer Insp. Chris Doyle said three groups of mountain bikers encountered the cougar over the weekend on trails around Alice Lake, about 80 kilometres north of Vancouver. In each case, Doyle said...

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Ecosystems a welcome surprise on Olympic Peninsula hikes

The lush, temperate rain forests of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula are like a Tolkien world of ancient, 300-foot spruce and hemlock. Far-reaching branches are heavily cloaked in moss and lichens. Certain characteristics define the forests of the Olympic Peninsula, including thousand-year-old trees, multilayered canopies and fallen logs that become nurseries for a...

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Parks primer: Rocky Mountain National Park

With a mix of soaring granite peaks, lush alpine meadows, high country lakes and waterfalls, Rocky Mountain National Park, in northeastern Colorado, is a park straight out of central casting. Driving the 48-mile Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park on the park’s east side to Grand Lake on the west offers thrills you can’t find in a car without a number painted on the...

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Lessons on Nature From a Cellphone Call

Once reviled by park rangers as an unfortunate distraction, cellphones are lately being embraced by national, state and local parks as a way to educate a more connected public. Fort Ord Dunes, on the Pacific coast about two hours south of San Francisco, features a new cellphone tour that hikers can dial into from the trail; it gives a guided walking tour of the cultural...

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Buried in Snow, Many Trails at Mt. Rainier Are Hazardous to Hikers

Most summers, the 3.8-mile round-trip hike to Comet Falls in Mount Rainier National Park is a popular, family-friendly walk. This summer, park rangers are recommending hikers use ice axes and crampons to navigate the route that is still covered with snow. And Comet Falls Trail isn’t the only one. Many popular summer mountain trails are still buried under slippery old...

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14er Trail Reopened To Public After 7-Year Closure

The U.S. Forest Service has opened a popular hiking trail southwest of Telluride after a seven-year battle over public land. The Rock of Ages Trail restores public access to Wilson Peak, a popular 14er in the Lizard Head Wilderness. “We are thrilled to open this new trail that will allow climbers to hike through Silver Pick Basin on their way to Wilson Peak ” said Judy...

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14ers: Your guide to getting started

Looking to hike your first peaks this summer? Maybe you’ve driven past the road markers pointing toward the peaks in the distance. Maybe you’re tired of your friends yammering on about their last backpacking trip. Maybe it’s just time to try one — it might just lead to a whole new obsession. Aside from being mentally and physically prepared,...

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Hiking Trails in the Catskills Mountains of NY

The origin of many hiking trails in NY State have their roots in the Native American-made paths to various hunting grounds. The intrepid artists of the Hudson River School used these trails to find beautiful panoramas to sketch and later paint in their studios. There is a wide variety of hiking trails, ranging from the most easy such as the paved and flat, like the path...

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Best Seattle Hiking Trails for Beginners

One of the most unique things about visiting Seattle is you’re in a city surrounded by mountains, wilderness, and waterways. This means it’s easy to find a place to enjoy a short nature getaway when you don’t have time for a longer excursion. One of the best and most popular outdoor leisure activities in Seattle is hiking. After all, you don’t need much to enjoy a good...

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Hiking Arizona’s National Scenic Trail

Grand things happen in the Grand Canyon State. Not only does Arizona hold claim on that huge scenic hole in the ground, it also is home to a lengthy, and unique, hike across the state — from the border with Mexico to the border with Utah — a trek of some 817 miles. Back before there were state borders and official trails, Native Americans created trails all...

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Hiking trails re-open after Arizona’s Wallow Fire

Although mop-up of the 538,049-acre Wallow Fire continues in Arizona, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests announced that the popular Mt. Baldy trails — including West Baldy, East Baldy and Baldy Crossover — have reopened for hiker use. As with all wilderness trails, no mountain bikes or motorized vehicles are allowed. However, trail users should be aware...

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Hiking western NC trails just got more rewarding

The new Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy Hiking Challenge consists of eight hikes with varying difficulties and distances. The challenge encourages people to explore some of CMLC’s preserved lands. Hikes in the challenge range from easy to moderate difficulty, with distances between one and four miles. “CMLC works very hard to protect our beautiful mountain...

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National Park Managers Consider Backcountry Camping Changes

Managers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are considering some changes in the process by which backpackers make reservations for overnight camping at the Park’s nearly 100 backcountry sites and shelters. The proposed changes, which would update the reservation procedure as well as increasing Ranger presence on the Park’s 800 miles of trails, would be covered by a...

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A.T. Boundary Crew to Recover Large Tract of Land

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Land Protection Program and volunteers from the American Hiking Society and Frostburg State University will be marking the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) boundary in Andover, Maine. Maine has more National Park Service (NPS) corridor boundary miles than any other state on the A.T.; with almost twice as many boundary miles as its...

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Boy Scouts biking and hiking trails near completion

The work of thousands of Boy Scouts will soon be open to the public as they approach completion of more than 16 miles of biking and hiking trails. The Order of the Arrow, the Scouts’ national honor society, is also rehabilitating about 12 miles of illegal ATV trails and removal of 4 acres of multiflora rose, an invasive species in West Virginia. The trails are located...

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Post office closures would make long hikes harder

Hiking the nearly 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail already is grueling, and the U.S. Postal Service may make it even tougher. A plan to close rural post offices could shutter several outposts long used by hikers to receive food and gear as they walk the trail from Georgia to Maine. Closing the post offices in Fontana Dam, N.C.; Glencliff, N.H.; and Caratunk, Maine, would...

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Rocky Mountains Research

I will be away for the next couple weeks for some r & r. I will be visiting my brother in the Rocky Mountains, doing some great hiking and sightseeing. We’ll be climbing a couple of fourteeners and checking out some of the national parks. Look for more trail reports when I...

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