Hiking News

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

Posted by on Aug 12, 2011 @ 12:41 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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, it also provides some outstanding open summit views.

Preparation for hiking in the Maine wilderness is different than in popular trails in other New England states. In the remoteness of Maine help can be day’s away and not easily accessible by auto. You should be an experienced hiker and hikes are best tackled in a group or at least with a companion.

Most of these hikes are best taken during the normal hiking season in New England, which roughly runs from May – October, although in northern New England the first snows can come before October, and most people hiking the full Appalachian Trail aim to get to Mount Katahdin before October if they can.

See hike recommendations…

Hike of the Week – A Devilishly Beautiful View

Posted by on Aug 11, 2011 @ 7:10 pm in Hiking News | 1 comment

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, and Tennessee. Learn about this high elevation forest that supports unique plant and animal life.

Put on your hiking shoes, bring some water, prepare for the ever changing weather, and enjoy the view.

Call (828) 298-5330, extension 304 for more information.

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

Posted by on Aug 11, 2011 @ 6:55 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 Shore, or west to the Wai‘anae range.

Trail recommendations…

Buffalo roams in wildflower center’s preserve

Posted by on Aug 10, 2011 @ 5:24 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 remain closed until the buffalo is captured.

The animal was last seen Monday, and officials believe it roamed to the center of the preserve from a farm in nearby Manchaca. A rancher in Manchaca was unloading the buffalo, which he had just purchased, when it broke loose and trotted away.

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Open Houses to Discuss Proposed Backcountry Management Changes

Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 @ 3:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 Headquarters at 107 Park Headquarters Road in Gatlinburg. Both events will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Park managers are proposing changes to the system by which backpackers make reservations for the use of the park’s remote campsites and shelters and they also plan to increase the presence of Rangers in the backcountry. If implemented, the changes will include charging a reservation fee. No fees are being contemplated for day hiking. Details of the proposal may be found at the park’s website: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/ [pdf]

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Hunt for fearless cougar closes hiking trails

Posted by on Aug 8, 2011 @ 5:52 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 the animal was very difficult to scare off, and showed considerable interest in the humans. Officers were on the trails over the weekend. On Monday they closed seven trails and brought out their tracking dogs.

The animal has been spotted in the Garibaldi Highlands, a residential community north of Squamish, and around Alice Lake Provincial Park. The trails that link the two areas have been closed. Warning signs have been posted in the areas and Doyle said they are getting the information out to trail-user groups in the area not to use the trails.

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Ecosystems a welcome surprise on Olympic Peninsula hikes

Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 @ 4:39 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 variety of sprouting shrubs and trees.

The Olympic Peninsula has no equal when it comes to diversity of terrain. Within its 1 million acres thrive three ecosystems lovely Pacific Ocean beaches, majestic mountain glaciers and rain-forest valleys, where so much rain falls each year that it’s measured in feet rather than inches. Add glacially carved lakes of pristine beauty and clarity and the hiking possibilities continue to add up.

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Parks primer: Rocky Mountain National Park

Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 @ 9:06 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 side. You’ll start out in the shade of aspen and ponderosa pine before rising above the timberline to more than 12,000 feet above sea level. It’s breathtaking — and in the very best way.

The flat-topped Longs Peak can be seen from almost anywhere in the park, and each year it draws thousands of hearty souls trying to bag a peak 14,259 feet high. Read my trail report.

With more than 350 miles of hiking trails, there is something for just about everyone. Family friendly hikes include the Coyote Valley Trail, which follows the Colorado River and offers views of the Never Summer Mountains, and a loop trail around Lily Lake. A 3.5-mile hike takes you to Cascade Falls and a lung-busting 4.4-mile hike takes you to the 12,324-foot summit of Flattop Mountain.

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Lessons on Nature From a Cellphone Call

Posted by on Aug 6, 2011 @ 5:43 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 and natural history of the site, which used to be a military post and is now a protected habitat area for seals, sea lions and endangered snowy plovers. Numbered placards help situate visitors using the phone service for location-specific viewing information.

While observing the breezy ocean splendor beyond, take out your cellphone, dial (831) 998-9458, and punch in the number 204. A recorded voice will give you information on the local migrating patterns of whales and where to see a nearby raft of sea otters, among other notable details. Elsewhere in the park, dial 206, and you can listen to a retired ranger talk about the snowy plovers that nest on the beach.

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

Posted by on Aug 4, 2011 @ 10:22 pm in Hiking News | 1 comment

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 snow, causing hazards for hikers and making finding routes more challenging.

Heavy snowfall in the winter and spring coupled with what the National Climatic Data Center called Washington’s coldest April and June in 117 years have left snow lingering about five weeks longer than usual, said Paul Werth of Weather Research and Consulting Services.

As of July 28, only two hikers had been able to complete the Wonderland Trail, a 93-mile loop around Mount Rainier that is typically packed with hikers from July to October, Young said. Many hikers who’ve tried it have turned around after losing the trail.

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14er Trail Reopened To Public After 7-Year Closure

Posted by on Aug 3, 2011 @ 4:33 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 Schutza, Norwood District Ranger. “Public access would not have been restored without the efforts of The Trust for Public Land who purchased key private parcels on Wilson Peak and in Silver Pick Basin.”

The traditional route to Wilson Peak through private lands in Silver Pick Basin was closed in 2004. The new route takes hikers to the peak on a 3.7-mile trail. Construction of a new trailhead parking facility and access road were completed this week. Wilson Peak is one of three 14,000-plus foot peaks in the Lizard Head Wilderness. The new Rock of Ages Trail provides a shorter route to these peaks than is currently offered by existing trails, officials said.

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14ers: Your guide to getting started

Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 @ 7:12 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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, experienced hikers will tell you that you should know your route. Guidebooks and fourteener Web sites (try www.14ers.com) can give you detailed descriptions, conditions and class ratings for the peaks. Peaks are classified class I (being the easiest) through class V (being the most technical or difficult).

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Hiking Trails in the Catskills Mountains of NY

Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 @ 7:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 along the Ashokan Reservoir, to the extremely difficult 3 mountain loop of Devil’s Path, or the ascent to Slide Mountain. Whatever your chosen skill level, it will be easy to find just the right hike in NY’s Catskills.

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Best Seattle Hiking Trails for Beginners

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 @ 8:09 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 hike: Just bring appropriate clothing, water, snacks, and a map.

If you’re new to hiking, you probably don’t want to start out with a 4-day hiking and camping extravaganza. More likely, you’re looking for a relatively easy hike of a few miles that you can do in a daytrip. The following trails are some of the best places for Seattle hiking and are also suitable for beginners.

  • Washington Park Arboretum
  • Discovery Park
  • Burroughs Mountain Loop, Mount Rainer
  • Olympic National Park
  • Carkeek Park

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Hiking Arizona’s National Scenic Trail

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 @ 4:58 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 over this territory, marveling at its pristine forests and clear mountain streams and stressing the relationship between man and nature. As Chief Qwatsinas of the Nuxalk Nation acknowledged: “We must protect the forests for our children and for those who can’t speak for themselves, the birds, animals, fish, and trees.”

This indigenous respect-for-nature philosophy was eloquently summed up by Luther Standing Bear of the Oglala Sioux when he said, “The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of the forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas… he fits into the landscape.”

There is a certain irony therefore that the Arizona National Scenic Trail that traverses the state’s topo map from bottom-to-top runs adjacent to and/or parallel with acreage of Arizona’s 22 federally-recognized tribes while not overlapping any actual Native American ground.

A special Outdoor Centennial Celebration in advance of all the fanfare is being held from mid-September till the end of October when groups of four or more are invited to either tackle the full trail or cover one or more of 100 sections over the 6 week period.

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Hiking trails re-open after Arizona’s Wallow Fire

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 @ 8:09 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 that downed trees across the trail at multiple locations may present difficulties for hikers as well as horses.

Mt. Baldy is the second highest peak in Arizona at 11,420 ft. The trails meander through dense forest with large, old ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir and spruce. Hikers beware: the Forest Service has postponed planned trail maintenance, first due to the Wallow Fire, and now due to monsoon season. Since it’s not safe for a trail crew to work in such a remote wilderness location during lightning season, trail maintenance is planned to begin in September. cite

Hiking western NC trails just got more rewarding

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 @ 8:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 lands and facilitate access for people to enjoy them,” said Kieran Roe, CMLC executive director. “We believe that by getting out and exploring these places, you will discover why land conservation is so important. You’ll have a lot of fun doing it, too.”

By completing the eight hikes, participants can earn CMLC’s white squirrel embroidered hiking patch, representing the local wildlife oddity unique to North Carolina’s Henderson and Transylvania counties, CMLC’s primary protection areas.

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