Hiking News

Backpacking Essentials Infographic

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 @ 11:06 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

Backpacking Essentials Infographic

Forgetting travel items is a pain. When you are heading to a big city it’s usually okay if you forget an item or two as you can always grab it at the hotel or a nearby store.

But what do you do if you are headed to the middle of nowhere for your next big hiking or backpacking excursion?

Chances are you are severely out of luck. That’s a reason you may find this Infographic from Live Outdoorsy to be helpful.

They talk about all the essentials to bring with you along with some tips for making it a worthwhile experience.

Thanks to new friend Nate Alger for sharing this infographic with us:



At Berryessa National Monument, Wildflowers and Rebirth

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 @ 12:48 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

At Berryessa National Monument, Wildflowers and Rebirth

The fields give way to darkly arching oaks, tree tunnels shading a narrow country road outside Winters, Calif. The early-hour brightness indicates the nearness of summer.

Here, an hour and a half northeast of San Francisco, the dense press of civilization lifts, and the open wilderness weaves itself into the landscape. The light is somehow ventilated, given more space.

This is Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, one of our country’s newest national monuments. The knobby fullness of the surrounding hills resembles rising bread. Named for the craggy 7,056-foot peak at its northern end, the monument runs along a ridgeline that stretches south through seven counties to Blue Ridge. One writer called Berryessa’s outline a long, lumpy Christmas stocking.

What do we want from our wildlife areas? Something so remote we’ll never see it? Or something close enough, braided into our tangle of civilization, to remind us of all that exists alongside us in this world?

This year, 27 national monuments were made newly vulnerable to oil, gas and other resource extraction, placed under review by President Trump for what he deems as presidential overreach amounting to a “massive federal land grab.” But it’s important to note that these places were never meant to be walled off or untouchable. They’re meant to be explored.

Read full story…


New Ulster hiking trail will link to 750-mile NY system

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 @ 12:23 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

New Ulster hiking trail will link to 750-mile NY system

Neil Bettez said he saw the future of New Paltz, NY after a recent Town Board meeting. The town supervisor and his deputy, Daniel Torres, were walking along one of the few complete portions of New Paltz’s future River-to-Ridge Trail, which isn’t yet open to the public.

It was sunset. The sunlight warmed their faces as the corn stalks bordering the trail stood sentry over the nearby Wallkill River.

There, in the Shawangunk Ridge’s foothills, “You feel like you’re a million miles away” from earthly concerns and civilization, Bettez said.

In the coming years, the soon-to-be-completed trail will connect to the Empire State Trail.

That 750-mile path will link New York City to Canada, and Albany to Buffalo, when it opens in 2020.

The new River-to-Ridge Trail also will connect New Paltz to the Mohonk Preserve – New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve – and the carriage roads that the nonprofit is restoring in its nearby foothills.

Read full story…


New trail coming to Lemolo Lake, Oregon

Posted by on Jul 30, 2017 @ 6:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New trail coming to Lemolo Lake, Oregon

Soon, outdoor enthusiasts will be hiking and mountain biking down a new trail through the shade-covered Umpqua National Forest, catching glimpses of Lemolo Lake between the evergreens.

A trails enterprise team through the U.S. Forest Service started constructing 4.5 miles of new trail in the Diamond Lake Ranger District on July 19, 2017, connecting the freshly cleared dirt path with existing trails and the North Umpqua Trail to make a 10-mile loop around Lemolo Lake. The most recently built trail, on the east side of the lake, was completed in 1992.

The soil derives from pumice, a light, porous volcanic rock that in its dust form has the consistency of fluffy flour. One of the crew members likened it to cake mix that needs eggs and water to make it stick together in a batter ready for baking. The powdery pumice needs some light rain to compact it down into an easily passable trail.

The Forest Service is planning to let the trail undergo a winter of rain and snow to compact it down before officially opening it up with a ribbon cutting in 2018. In the meantime, signage, kiosks, benches, parking areas, wooden bridge crossings and other trail improvements will be put in place along the Lemolo Lake Trail.

The project also includes improving portions of the existing trail and designating 0.7 miles of a forest road and 2.5 miles of the new trail as a Nordic winter trail, connecting it to the existing winter and Nordic-use trail.

Read full story…


Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests Designated as Treasured Landscape by National Forest Foundation

Posted by on Jul 28, 2017 @ 6:36 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests Designated as Treasured Landscape by National Forest Foundation

Since the establishment of eastern National Forests at the beginning of the 20th century, the forests of western North Carolina have been recognized and valued for their importance to scenic outdoor experiences and directly connected to the health of the region. The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in particular cover a remarkable and unique landscape, spanning the biodiversity hotspot that is the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Here in this verdant corner of America, wild rivers carve deep valleys into the highest mountain ranges in the Eastern U.S.

Ecologically, the ancient forests of western North Carolina support a diversity of forest communities, from dry piedmont forests to high-elevation spruce-fir forests. Along with a diverse landscape, the forests support some of the most pristine waters in the country. Waters from the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests supplement municipal water supplies in eight southeastern states, from Kentucky through Georgia.

As part of their national Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences conservation program, the National Forest Foundation has designated the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests as a Treasured Landscape campaign site.

Through this designation, which the NFF is calling the Investing in the Great Outdoors campaign, they are working with the U.S. Forest Service and community partners to address and expand much-needed restoration efforts on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests of western North Carolina.

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are also among the most visited in the National Forest System. The landscape contains a broad range of nationally recognized recreation destinations. Over the last 30 years, as the area’s population and visitation has increased, so has pressure on the Forests to provide clean water and recreation from a healthy forest landscape.

At the same time, forest infrastructure, mostly constructed in the 1950s, has degraded over time. Areas of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests that experience high visitation are being “loved to death.” The Treasured Landscape campaign aims to fix that.

Learn more here…


Easier mountain hikes in Maine

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017 @ 6:39 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Easier mountain hikes in Maine

You don’t always have to huff and puff for miles to reach a great view from the top of a mountain. In Maine, there are plenty of short hikes up small mountains and hills to vistas that may take you by surprise.

There are all sorts of reasons you might be drawn to these shorter mountain hikes. Maybe you’re trying to introduce a kid to hiking. Maybe you’re just a beginner hiker yourself. Or maybe, for whatever reason, you just aren’t cut out for the big mountains anymore.

Hiking doesn’t have to be this big daylong undertaking, especially in Maine, where there are hundreds of easy to moderately challenging trails to enjoy. Some of these trails explore small mountains and hills that offer great views.

(Think easy to moderately difficult. You won’t see Katahdin on this list, but you will find a smaller mountain that offers an amazing view of Katahdin!)

Whatever your reason for hiking small mountains — and believe me, you don’t actually need a reason — here are a few Maine trails you might enjoy…


5 Michigan Trails with a Twist

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 @ 12:31 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

5 Michigan Trails with a Twist

The experience many hikers, bicyclists and afternoon strollers seek is simply being on the trail and enjoying their companions and surroundings. There are plenty of others, though, whose time on the trail is best topped off with a special reward—a unique experience, a breathtaking view, an intriguing discovery and Michigan trails can provide that.

Nationally known as “The Trails State,” Michigan offers thousands of miles of recreational trails, and more than a few of them offer an extraordinary twist along the way that will satisfy any reward seeker-types.

Just 8 miles in length, the Huron Sunrise Trail, running from Rogers City along Lake Huron’s western shoreline to Forty Mile Point, packs a wonderfully scenic wallop any time of day. For the all-time ultimate trail experience, however, hikers, bikers and skaters should do as its name suggests and be on the trail at dawn.

On the opposite side of the Lower Peninsula, sky gazers can experience the incredible beauty of a night sky over the Great Lakes at Emmet County’s Headlands International Dark Sky Park, and its Dark Sky Discovery Trail.

Visitors to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula don’t have to wait ‘til journey’s end to enjoy a unique experience. Instead, there’s something all along the 47-mile trail that allows hikers, bikers and off-roaders to immerse themselves in the rich history of an industry that shaped not only the state of Michigan, but also the entire nation.

Here is but a handful that all will enjoy, especially early birds, night owls and determined trekkers…


Middle Emerald Pools Trail at Zion National Park To Be Restored Thanks to $1 Million Grant

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 @ 11:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Middle Emerald Pools Trail at Zion National Park To Be Restored Thanks to $1 Million Grant

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation has awarded the National Park Foundation a $1 million grant – the largest private contribution ever awarded to the foundation to enhance the national parks in Utah. The grant, part of the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, is earmarked not only for extensive critical repairs and upgrades at Zion National Park, but also for programs to provide Utah’s youth with opportunities to visit the parks and programs in their home state.

The Middle Emerald Pools Trail – one of Zion National Park’s most beloved hiking trails – has been closed since December 2010 when heavy rain caused rockfalls and extensive mud slides destroying much of the trail. The Eccles Foundation grant will fund needed repairs and improvements to the trail. With constraints requiring extensive reengineering, realignment and reconstruction, the anticipated completion date for the trail project is in December 2019, at which time it will reopen to the public.

The grant will also make it possible for up to 20,000 school children from throughout Utah – including many who have never before visited a national park – to participate in engaging, hands-on, in-park experiences through programs such as the National Park Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids initiative and Concrete to Canyons.

“Thanks to funding from the Eccles Foundation, Middle Emerald Pools in Zion National Park will get an essential infusion of support to restore and reopen the trail,” said National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth. “Private support like that from the Eccles Foundation plays a vital role in meeting critical needs within our parks.”

Read full story…


Manhunt for armed, dangerous suspect shuts down part of Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 @ 11:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Manhunt for armed, dangerous suspect shuts down part of Pisgah National Forest

Law enforcement shut down access to part of Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC on July 23, 2017 during a manhunt for a dangerous suspect.

Phillip Michael Stroupe II, 38, of Weaverville, NC is considered armed and dangerous by authorities. He has outstanding warrants in Buncombe County for kidnapping and has pending charges in Yancey County, according to the sheriff’s office.

Roads and trails on the Pisgah Ranger District east of Highway 276 and south of the Blue Ridge Parkway were closed, according to a news release from the National Forest Service. Visitors to the forest near Asheville should avoid the area which includes trails and roads in the Mills River area, Yellow Gap Road, Turkey Pen Gap, Trace Ridge and Wash Creek.

Highway 276 also was closed from the Pisgah Ranger District office to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Attractions along that stretch of road were closed, including Sliding Rock, Cradle of Forestry, Looking Glass Falls and Pisgah ranger station visitor center.

Stroupe is described as a white man, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a small build, shaved head, large neck tattoo under his chin. He has a history of violence and resisting law enforcement, according to the sheriff’s office.

At one point, Stroupe allegedly left his vehicle and stole a mountain bike while pointing a handgun at the bike’s owner, according to the sheriff’s office.



Update July 27, 2017

Manhunt for Phillip Stroupe comes to an end

Stroupe, accused of stealing a mountain bike at gunpoint before leading authorities on a 6-day manhunt that closed parts of Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina, has finally been apprehended.

The search ended around 1:30 A.M. this morning when Stroupe was picked up by authorities on Highway 70 west of Marion, North Carolina, about an hour and fifteen minutes northeast of where the search began.


Hiking is growing more popular, and Oklahoma offers plenty of trails

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 @ 7:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking is growing more popular, and Oklahoma offers plenty of trails

Fall hiking in the Ouachita National Forest in southeast Oklahoma is a well-loved tradition.

“The scenic drive is beautiful, and the mountains make you seriously question if you are still in Oklahoma.”

Newcomers might make the assumption that Oklahoma’s landscape is dry, flat and uninteresting. But Oklahoma natives and seasoned transplants know it offers diverse terrain, from open prairies to wooded pines, with hiking trails for experts and beginners.

More women are taking the opportunity to get outside, especially the 20-30 and 50-60 age groups.

“What we see most are the opportunities that are very close to home that have new hikers interested.”

Martin Nature Park, Arcadia Lake trails and Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge are among those venues.

In the three years since the Norman/OKC Hiking and Outdoor Fun Meetup was organized, more than 1,000 people have joined and the group has hiked all over Oklahoma, the most popular area being the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

“It’s only a little over an hour drive from Norman, but it’s totally different there from anywhere else in Oklahoma. They have great trails; it’s really pretty. There’s lots of wildlife, and it’s fairly close by.”

Read full story…


Hate Hiking on Crowded Trails? You’ll Likely Have This Uninhabited Island of Ancient Cedars To Yourself

Posted by on Jul 22, 2017 @ 6:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hate Hiking on Crowded Trails? You’ll Likely Have This Uninhabited Island of Ancient Cedars To Yourself

Some people hike to get away from the rest of humanity. There’s nothing worse for them than climbing up to a waterfall to discover a gaggle of people posing for selfies, and if there are more than three cars at the trailhead, they start grousing that their pristine woodland is basically a shopping mall.

For them, there will always be the ancient cedars of Long Island, Washington, a trail through 8 square miles of uninhabited forestland where you’re likely to hike for three hours along well-maintained trails without seeing another soul.

None of the trails around Willapa Bay in Washington’s lightly populated far southwestern corner are especially busy to begin with. The boggy estuary has its own understated beauty, but lacks the churning white surf and towering waterfalls that attract the selfie sticks.

Add in the need to make a short paddle, and you’ve weeded out almost everyone.

Long Island sits off the southern shore of the Willapa Bay, a salt marsh famed for its oysters, clams and birds. But, on the near side, it’s only a few hundred yards from the mainland. It takes less than 10 minutes to paddle each way in a kayak.

The trick is timing. At low tide, the water here recedes to reveal a mud flat—50 feet of slippery, sinking muck that can’t be safely or pleasantly navigated by either foot or boat. So you’ll need to consult a tide chart, and plan your trip so that you begin and end when the tide in the bay is no lower than 4 feet high.

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Jennifer Pharr Davis to start Mountains to Sea Trail Trek August 15, 2017

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 @ 12:26 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Jennifer Pharr Davis to start Mountains to Sea Trail Trek August 15, 2017

Follow the adventures of Jennifer Pharr Davis on her three-month, 1,175-mile hike of North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Although Jennifer is most famous for setting hiking speed records, her goal this time is different. She is undertaking this journey on the MST’s 40th anniversary to “encourage a love of the outdoors and help people experience this amazing trail that’s right outside our back doors.”

Jennifer’s hike will be a family affair. Her husband Brew will handle logistics, and he and their two children – 4-year-old Charley and 10-month-old Gus – will join her frequently on the trail.

Jennifer is a vibrant writer and a warm and inspiring speaker. She’ll be blogging and posting regularly about her adventures on the MST, and she will also be speaking and answering questions at four special events across North Carolina.

You can follow Jennifer’s trek in two ways:

First – sign up to receive a weekly e-mail with links to her blog, photos and Facebook posts.

Second – come hear Jennifer at one of her four public events. Use the links below to register. All events are from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. Admission is free with a donation to help Friends of the MST build, protect and promote the trail.

Tuesday, August 29th in Asheville at Highland Brewing (sponsored by Mast General Store)
Thursday, September 21 in Winston-Salem at SECCA (sponsored by Great Outdoor Provision Co.)
Tuesday, October 10 in Raleigh at the NC Museum of Natural Science (sponsored by REI)
Thursday, October 26 in Wilmington at Brooklyn Arts Center (sponsored by Duke Energy Foundation)


Mountain Valley Pipeline: An Unnecessary Threat to the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 @ 12:46 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

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 landscape that will be seen from 20 miles away.

The proposed pipeline route would require the creation of a 125-foot swath up and down steep slopes in hazardous areas, which would destroy thousands of acres of pristine forest, visible for 60 miles away. Multiple iconic viewpoints in Virginia will be severely impacted, including Angels Rest, Kelly Knob, Rice Fields, and Dragons Tooth — some of the most visited and photographed locations on the entire A.T.

To accommodate the visual and environmental damage that would be caused by the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the U.S. Forest Service would also need to lower the Jefferson National Forest Management Plan standards for water quality, visual impacts and the removal of old-growth forest. Modifying the forest management plan will open the door for Mountain Valley Pipeline to destroy heritage landscapes and disregard public interests.

Situated on land that is unstable, crossing over a known and active seismic zone, the risk of severe erosion, landslides and pipeline failure are extremely high. Such instability also poses a high likelihood of natural gas leaks, which could poison the surrounding environment and contaminate the drinking water used by nearby communities.

Learn more here…


For Exercise, Nothing Like the Great Outdoors

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 @ 8:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 now, that for optimal health, we need to move. But research and anecdotal experience indicate that people rarely exercise if they do not enjoy it. Workouts, for many, are something like possessions: If they don’t spark joy, they tend to be discarded.

Many different aspects of exercise are thought to affect how much we like working out. But in general, most experts agree that a workout’s intensity and its duration have the greatest influence on our feelings about it.

The study compared outdoor mountain hiking with treadmill walking. The mountain hiking turned out to have been, objectively, the most strenuous of the workouts. Although the altitude gains during the indoor and outdoor walking had been comparable, people’s heart rates had risen higher during the mountain hike.

But, interestingly, almost all the participants reported that the outdoor effort had felt less strenuous to them than their time on the treadmill.

And their mood scores were much higher after the outdoor hike than the treadmill workout, indicating that they had enjoyed that workout more than being in the gym.

Read full story…


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

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 @ 8:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 diversion to visit the island of Great Bernera and the reconstructed Iron Age huts at Bostadh, before heading to the end of the road at Mealasta.

This landscape was part of a very ancient mountain range, once as high as the Himalayas. This has been eroded by time, and more recently ground smooth by vast sheets of ice leaving the muscular bare hill and beaches of Uig.

Lewisian gneiss are the oldest rocks in Britain – and some of the oldest in the world. The rock is metamorphic, in that volcanic heat and pressure has altered its structure somewhat. Originally, the rocks were like granite which changed as the Earth’s crust became molten and they solidified: you can see great variations in the way the layers are displayed, ranging from the white to pale grey and even very dark grey.

The world famous Calanais standing stones are older than Stonehenge and much more sculptural and beautiful. Erected 5,000 years ago, they were an important place for ritual activity for at least 2,000 years. The main complex contains around 50 stones in a cross formation, with 13 stones and a small chambered cairn in the inner circle.

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The Pacific Crest Trail’s shadow hikers

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 @ 7:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

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 California-Mexican border, all the way to Canada. They hug, take pictures and scrawl breathlessly in the logbook: “Wow!! Wow!! Wow!! Let’s do this!” “Dreams come true!” On this spring day, up to 50 would-be thru-hikers set out, focused on the hike’s first leg, 42 miles to the town of Mount Laguna, California.

On the other side of the monument, just across the border, other hikers are assembling, unseen by the recreationists. Every day, up to 50 people wait until the Border Patrol agent’s truck peels away from the border fence. Once the truck is out of sight, they’ll slip through and begin their own journey north.

These are border crossers, and they are focused on simply getting to a road, where a driver will take them deeper into the U.S. Some dash 1,200 feet to where Highway 94 swings close to the border. Some hug the Pacific Crest Trail, making occasional short forays across it; others quietly join the hoopla at the monument and try to blend in with the thru-hikers. And some hike a route that echoes the trail’s first leg, heading toward a pick-up point near Mount Laguna.

Read full story…


The Best Secret Spots in America’s National Parks

Posted by on Jul 15, 2017 @ 7:21 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

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, sometimes they’re all a visitor sees.

During the centennial anniversary year of the park service in 2016, there was a couple who road tripped to all 59 national parks in an effort to cast a brighter light on the beauty of America’s greatest natural treasures.

Their goal was to explore as much as they could in short periods of time (59 parks in 52 weeks averages out to about six days per park, including travel time), and to give the smaller and lesser-known parks the same treatment we would give to the most popular parks in the system.

One of the best parts of the quest? They encountered plenty of unexpected surprises – out-of-the-way places that made them feel as though they were getting simultaneously closer to the parks and farther from the rest of humanity.

Here are 11 of those secret gems that should be on your next itinerary...