Hiking News

Rocky Mountain National Parks 15 Best Day Hikes

Posted by on May 11, 2018 @ 7:19 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Rocky Mountain National Parks 15 Best Day Hikes

While massive glaciers shaped the meadows and peaks, Rocky was an inhospitable land. It was not until some 11,000 years ago that humans began venturing into these valleys and mountains. Spearheads broken in the fury of a mammoth’s charge and scrapers discarded along a nomad’s trail tell us little about the area’s early native peoples. Even though it was never their year-round home, the Ute tribe favored the areas green valleys, tundra meadows, and crystal lakes. The Utes dominated the area until the late 1700s.

With the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. government acquired the land now known as Rocky Mountain National Park. Spanish explorers and French fur trappers skirted the area during their wilderness forays. Even Major Stephen H. Long, the explorer for whom the peak is named, avoided these rugged barricades in his famous 1820 expedition.

In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act.

From its high glacial snow fields, rounded cirques, and jagged mountain peaks to its placid lakes and stunning montane forests, Rocky Mountain National Park is a territory of extraordinary beauty on a grand scale. The park encompasses over 400 square miles of Colorado’s Front Range, which juts up suddenly at the western edge of the Great Plains to create one of the most scenic and dramatic alpine areas in the country.

There are nearly 360 miles of hiking trails that range from very accessible to arduous and rewarding treks up to any number of incredible peaks within the park. It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few ideal day hikes that will give you a great introduction to Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

Why are New England’s hiking trails so beat-up?

Posted by on May 9, 2018 @ 12:28 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Why are New England’s hiking trails so beat-up?

The next time you find yourself cursing as you stumble and sweat up a steep, rocky trail in New Hampshire, here’s one target for your wrath: Horses. Or, rather, lack of horses.

“Out West, trails like the Pacific Crest Trail were graded for horses, so the incline never goes above 5 percent. That’s a major reason why they’re smoother and less steep,” said Roger Moor, whose 2009 hike of the Appalachian Trial led him to experience New England hiking.

The situation is different in New England, said Laurie Gullion, coordinator of the outdoor education program at UNH.

“Most trails here were created through hiking, not horse-packing,” Gullion said when asked to explain why New England trails have a reputation for being surprisingly difficult. “The conditions out West have always allowed using horses – the forest canopy is much more open than here.”

This has long been recognized by Appalachian Trail through-hikers, whose pace slows considerably as they cross north into New England.

“The generalization that New England trails are rockier and steeper than elsewhere in the country is true-ish. The Long Trail in Vermont and certain New Hampshire trails definitely have that reputation,” wrote Dennis Lewon, editor-in-chief of Backpacker magazine. “These are also some of the oldest trails in the country, I believe, and so perhaps they are rougher than elsewhere because of the standards when they were built.”

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Tips help you stay safe when hiking near where rattlesnakes live

Posted by on May 9, 2018 @ 9:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tips help you stay safe when hiking near where rattlesnakes live

Rattlesnakes and hiking go hand-in-hand. But the more you know about them, the safer you will be. From timber rattlers high in mountain meadows to western diamondbacks in the deserts, you will find rattlesnakes.

Proper clothing is a must when hiking near where rattlesnakes live.

  • Wear closed toe shoes
  • Wear long pants
  • Staying on trail is key to avoiding a rattlesnake

Scientists and doctors say you can throw away that snake bite kit because it simply does not work.

What you can do is contact local hospitals near your hiking area and find out if they stock the rattlesnake anti-venom. Most hospitals do not stock that medicine.

The same goes for your dog as well. Contact a local veterinarian and see if he or she carries the anti-venom. More veterinarians will carry the anti-venom as snake bites on dogs are much more common.

If you are like Indiana Jones and hate snakes, here is a little perspective that might put you at ease. Only 20 people died from snake bites in the entire country last year. You have a five times better chance of being hit and killed by a school bus.

Cite…

 

Seattle to run bus routes to trailheads

Posted by on May 8, 2018 @ 6:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Seattle to run bus routes to trailheads

The timber industry used to raise a cry of “elitist backpackers” whenever proposals to create parks, wilderness areas or protected recreation lands in mountains close to Seattle came up for a public hearing.

There are an awful lot of elitists these days, particularly on mountain trails in populous King County. Crowds are such that the first leg of a popular hike is just getting to the overflowing trailhead parking lot.

Enter Trailhead Direct, a program that could use the old Greyhound motto: “Take the bus and leave the driving to us.” The pilot program is already shuttling hikers by Metro bus to nearby out-of-doors.

Buses carried 300 hikers to trailheads in the Issaquah Alps over the weekend of April 21-22, 2018. Service to Mount Si will begin May 19th, and to Mailbox Peak beginning June 16th.

Trailhead Direct is sponsored by King County Parks and Metro’s Community Connections program, explained with the words: “This project seeks to ease vehicle congestion, reduce safety hazards and expand access to hiking destinations along I-90.” Outbound buses take off every 30 minutes, starting at 7:44 a.m., the last at 2:37 p.m.

A note on the pricetag: Metro off-peak fares apply, $2.50 for adults 19 and over, $1.50 for ORCA liftware passengers, $1.50 for youths 6 to 18, and free for little kids, up to four traveling with an adult.

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Work being done to perfect the Pacific Northwest Trail

Posted by on May 7, 2018 @ 12:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Work being done to perfect the Pacific Northwest Trail

The Pacific Northwest Trail is meant to showcase pristine wilderness, but the portion that passes through Skagit County, Washington isn’t living up to the rugged nature of the majority of the trail’s 1,200 miles.

Hikers who walk the length of the trail spend months climbing mountains, scrambling over brush and dodging high tides along the coast as they make their way through Montana, Idaho and Washington. Along the majority of the trail in Skagit County, however, they find themselves walking along many miles of roadways.

After winding through Washington’s Okanogan National Forest, North Cascades National Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the portion of the trail that runs through Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties is largely on forest roads and state highways.

Having hikers on those roads poses safety risks and goes against the grain of the National Scenic Trail concept, which is to connect trails across the country that showcase America’s wilderness.

The problem is that it is difficult to stitch together a trail between the North Cascades and the Olympics using only public lands.

“It’s this matrix of private and state Department of Natural Resources land in Skagit County,” PNTA president Jeff Kish said. “We’re trying to replace what we have right now because most of it is just roads.”

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Ouray Perimeter Trail surges in popularity

Posted by on May 7, 2018 @ 9:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Ouray Perimeter Trail surges in popularity

  A six-mile long hiking trail that almost encircles Ouray, Colorado has become one of the most popular paths in the San Juan Mountains. According to trail registers, more than 25,000 people trod the decade-old Ouray Perimeter Trail in 2017 — and that figure represents a mere fraction of actual users.

“According to Forest Service estimates, the true number of trail users tends to be two or three times the number that sign registers,” said Bob Risch, president of Ouray Trail Group.

“Usage is growing 25 percent a year,” Risch said. “Perimeter Trail turned out to be dramatically more popular than we expected. It kind of startled us.”

Why are so many hikers discovering — and then returning to — the trail?

It’s utterly unique, for one thing. Perimeter crosses six streams and rivers on seven bridges and visits four waterfalls. It courses through a former water diversion tunnel the Town of Ouray built in the early 1900s. It thrills rock hounds with its geological discontinuity; in this case, Precambrian rock that’s mysteriously 1 million years younger than the basement rock on which it sits. It offers gobsmacking views of the mountain scenery that led to Ouray’s nickname of “Little Switzerland.”

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Quakes, eruptions prompt closure of Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island

Posted by on May 6, 2018 @ 12:05 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Quakes, eruptions prompt closure of Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed late May 4, 2018 because of increasing concerns for the public’s safety.

It is not safe to be at the park on Hawaii Island, which is at the center of increasing seismic and volcanic activity, park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said in a news release.

The decision to close the park, on the southern tip of Hawaii Island, was made soon after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake at 3:32 p.m. on that day. The quake triggered rock slides along Chain of Craters Road and on park trails. A magnitude 5.4 quake an hour earlier caused part of a cliff to collapse into the ocean.

Throughout the day, fissures appeared in the ground at a public overlook near the park’s Jaggar Museum. Rocks that fell into the lava lake within Halemaumau Crater sent dark plumes of ash spewing skyward.

About 2,600 visitors were evacuated from the park. Guests at Volcano House, the only hotel within the national park, and at Kilauea Military Camp were relocated.

The park’s landscape began changing a few days earlier when the crater within the volcano’s Puu Oo vent collapsed, sending magma flowing toward nearby neighborhoods. Increasing activity a few days later forced the evacuation of Leilani Estates.

No injuries have been reported. It is not known when the park will reopen. The Hawaii Tourism Authority said business continues as usual in most other areas.

“No flights into airports anywhere in Hawaii are being impacted by Kilauea volcano, and the area where the lava is coming to the surface is very far from resort areas,” George Szigeti, the authority’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

 

Forest Service apologizes for damage to Appalachian Trail during patrols of pipeline protests

Posted by on May 5, 2018 @ 11:51 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Forest Service apologizes for damage to Appalachian Trail during patrols of pipeline protests

The U.S. Forest Service apologized for damaging the Appalachian Trail with all-terrain vehicles during its patrols of a pipeline protest.

In a news release, the agency admitted that its law enforcement officers used the ATVs from April 11 to April 30 on a short stretch of the scenic footpath that follows the ridgeline of Peters Mountain in the Jefferson National Forest of Virginia.

“We are still evaluating the damage, but this is clearly our mistake and I apologize that it happened,” Michael Donaldson, a special agent in charge of law enforcement for the agency’s Southern region, said in the news release.

Motorized traffic along the 2,200-mile trail from Georgia to Maine is generally prohibited.

Four-wheeling on the trail left tire tracks, muddy ruts and a swath of bare land six to eight feet wide, according to photographs provided by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The improper use came as the Forest Service monitored two ongoing protests of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which will cut through the national forest and under the Appalachian Trail as it transports natural gas from northern West Virginia through the New River and Roanoke valleys.

Cite…

 

Ed. note: Imagine the damage done by the pipeline itself.

 

Hiking etiquette: How not to be a jerk on the trail

Posted by on May 3, 2018 @ 12:50 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking etiquette: How not to be a jerk on the trail

Most everybody hikes for their own personal experience – be it adrenaline-fueled exercise or a contemplative walk – but that doesn’t mean you can completely ignore your fellow hikers.

Trail etiquette is incredibly important, especially as more and more people crowd trailheads this spring and summer, but what does it mean to hike politely?

For hikers encountering other hikers, the general rule of thumb is that the person going downhill yields to the person going uphill. On mixed-use trails, mountain bikers yield to hikers, and everybody yields to horses.

Just like driving on a freeway, it’s good to let faster hikers and trail runners pass. It doesn’t have to be complicated, simply step aside when you sense, see or hear someone coming up behind you. For those doing the passing, make your presence known with a simple “hello” or “excuse me” when you approach.

Here are a few hiking do’s and don’ts to keep in mind this season. Don’t think of them as hard-and-fast rules, but rather strong suggestions, pleas for politeness, requests for basic respect. We all share the same trails, so let’s treat each other well while we’re out there.

 

Hiking to the scenic summit of Oahu’s Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

Posted by on May 3, 2018 @ 9:21 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking to the scenic summit of Oahu’s Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

The nearly 5-mile round-trip trail is known for its unimpeded views of East Oahu. From the top of the ridge, at an elevation just shy of 1,600 feet, you’re treated to a panorama of Waikiki, Honolulu, Waimanalo and Konahuanui, the highest peak in the Koolau Mountain range.

Wiliwilinui Ridge sits to the left of the popular Koko Crater, and is part of three mountain ridges: Kuliouou, Hawaii Loa and Wiliwilinui. All three share similar terrain, with introduced and indigenous flora and those stunning vistas. Wiliwilinui isn’t the shortest hike of the trio, but it’s the easiest and a great intro to Hawaii ridge hikes.

The trailhead is in a gated community. The friendly guard takes down your car’s license plate number and hands you a red laminated parking pass. There are a limited number of passes each day. While this restricts trail access, it also means that it won’t be too crowded, a luxury on bustling Oahu.

The Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail starts off nice and easy. In fact, the beginning is a paved road. It soon gives way to a wide dirt road, which continues for just over a mile. The well-maintained trail was built by the U.S. Army in 1941 and was originally used as a service road.

The trail’s climbs sets of stairs—there are more than 10 sets in all—up to a nearly 1,600-foot elevation. The steps not only help prevent erosion along the ridge, they also help make it significantly easier to navigate the trail.

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Pisgah National Forest could use a lot of help on Pisgah Pride Day

Posted by on May 2, 2018 @ 12:34 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Pisgah National Forest could use a lot of help on Pisgah Pride Day

May 5, 2018 is the third annual Pisgah Pride Day at the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC.

Hosted by the nonprofit Pisgah Conservancy, the work day will convene at the Pisgah Ranger Station, where volunteers will be dispatched to perform trail work, remove invasive species, pick up trash, plant a rain garden near the fish hatchery to help collect runoff after storms, create a native pollinator garden (to support monarch butterflies, bees, humming birds and other pollinators) and tear down the old ranger station sign and build a new one.

Groups will be working in the wildly popular U.S. 276 corridor in Transylvania County near Brevard, focusing on the South Mills River Trail between Turkey Pen and Wolf Ford Horse Camp.

“Each year Pisgah Pride Day allows people who love Pisgah to give back and take care of this incredible natural resource, which has given so much to them,” said John Cottingham, executive director of The Pisgah Conservancy.

Last year about 300 people showed up on Pisgah Pride Day to renovate the heavily eroded Art Loeb Trail, clear vegetation from the viewing area at Looking Glass Falls, attack invading privet at Sycamore Flats and plant native flowering shrubs at the Ranger Station, among many other tasks.

Learn more here…

 

National Trails Day 2018

Posted by on May 2, 2018 @ 8:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

National Trails Day 2018

National Trails Day® is Saturday, June 2, 2018. Join this historic event and leave the trail better than you found it. In a single day, we’ll collectively improve 2,802 miles of trail—the distance across the United States.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System, pledge to pack out trash, join a trail work project, or clean up a park.

Make your commitment to give back to trails and parks by simply submitting the pledge form. After National Trails Day® we’ll ask you how many miles of trail you helped improve. Everyone who confirms they improved a section of trail (of any length) will be entered to win a prize package, which includes swag and premium outdoor gear.

It can be as simple as collecting trash. Or, take your trail cred to the next level by joining an organized trail work party to maintain or build new trail. Check out what trail work projects are in your area.

By pledging to leave a trail or park better than you found it, you are joining a national movement to preserve America’s remarkable public lands for future generations.

Plus, everyone who commits to improve trails and parks will be entered to win weekly giveaways of swag and outdoor gear.

Learn more here…

 

Artist paints women hikers

Posted by on May 1, 2018 @ 7:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Artist paints women hikers

In 2014, Sky Evans came across a photo on the internet of Colorado’s Hope Pass. An Oregon woman Evans knew was hiking the Continental Divide Trail and had posted the photo to her blog. Evans asked if she could paint the image.

“I wind up having this amazing experience with this painting in that it was like nothing I had ever done before,” Evans said last week at her home in Monroe. Evans had a print of her painting made and sent it to the woman’s house so it would be there when she got off the trail.

Inspired by the experience, Evans joined hiking pages on Facebook and asked women to send her photos from their backpacking trips. “I got hundreds of photos from the trail,” Evans said.

She chose some of the images to paint. Many were from the Pacific Crest Trail, featuring places like the Goat Rocks Wilderness, Mount Rainier and the Obsidian Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness. One painting is based on an image from Crater Lake National Park. Another features a woman hiking the Arizona National Scenic Trail.

Evans, who is 56, had been a backpacker in her younger days. She so enjoyed painting the hiking experiences of other women that she decided she wanted to return to the trail. In 2016, she hiked 150 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon.

The artist painted some of her own images from the hike. Evans now has a series of trail paintings called “The Wilderness of Women,” which will be on display in June at the Art in the Valley gallery in Corvallis, Oregon. The paintings feature a variety of styles, including impressionistic, abstract and realistic.

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Israel by Foot program makes country’s abundant, varied trails easy to find

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 @ 11:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Israel by Foot program makes country’s abundant, varied trails easy to find

Most tourists come to Israel either out of religious sentiment or because of an interest in the country’s abundant historical and cultural sites. Others come to enjoy the beaches and night life of Eilat or Tel-Aviv.

But aside from these known attractions, Israel is also a unique hiking destination. What makes Israel – a tiny country without high mountain ridges – attractive for hikers?

• Variety – This small area has the desert in the South, the Galilee mountains in the North and many historical and archeological sites that blend into the natural surroundings.

• Desert – The Negev is one of the most hiking-friendly deserts in world, and definitely the friendliest one closest to Europe. If you have not hiked a desert before, expect a truly unique experience.

• Wildflowers – In late winter and spring, wildflowers bloom in a variety of shapes and colors that will amaze and overwhelm your senses.

• History – While hiking, you will find ancient synagogues, Crusader fortresses, old monasteries and Nabatean towns blended into the landscape around them.

• Weather – The winter months, which present unfavorable hiking conditions in most northern countries, are the best months to hike in Israel

• Hiking Infrastructure – There are thousands of kilometers of wellmarked hiking trails in Israel covering the entire country.

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Pacific Crest Trail celebrates 50 years

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 @ 6:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Pacific Crest Trail celebrates 50 years

Thirty-six and a half miles east of Lake Isabella is the historic route discovered by Joseph Rutherford Walker in 1834 known as Walker Pass. Because the pass connects the Great Basin and the interior of California, it was only logical that when a walking and equestrian trail extending from Mexico to Canada was conceived, Walker Pass would be a vital section of that path.

It was 50 years ago this year that the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) was dedicated as a national treasure by President Lyndon Johnson. Part of the trail has actually been around since the 1930s and was used by the Boy Scouts, the YMCA and at the beginning was supported by American photographer Ansel Adams. Today, the section of the 2,659 mile long PCT that goes through this area is known as ‘Section G’ and is maintained by the Kern River Valley chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of America.

Fifty years ago, the founders of the PCT had hopes that their idea would be embraced by the outdoor enthusiasts of their time. Today, the trail is enjoyed annually by 200 to 300 thru-hikers, and countless other, partial trail hikers along with thousands of day hikers. Individuals and groups come from all over the country and the world in an attempt to conquer the trail.

Men and women come from thousands of miles away to add the PCT to their repertoire of difficult trails to traverse. Some even drive long distances just to walk the trail from Walker Pass to different destinations along the 50 mile stretch to Kennedy Meadows.

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Trekking on Turkey’s historic Ephesus-Mimas Route

Posted by on Apr 29, 2018 @ 12:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking on Turkey’s historic Ephesus-Mimas Route

An historic 709-kilometer route in İzmir, Turkey that connects ancient Greek Ionian footways awaits visitors who want to enjoy nature as well as learn of the culture and history in the region.

The main part of the route consists of six footways connecting ancient cities such as Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Klazomenai, and Erythrai.

The route starts in Ephesus in front of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World, and passes through Menderes, Seferihisar, Güzelbahçe, Urla and Çeşme districts and ends in Mimas, or Karaburun in Turkish.

Trek lovers can travel through paths and beaches by walking among colorful flora and are offered the chance to look closer at ancient history.

There are daffodils, artichokes, dates, and olives. On this route, you can also see endemic plants such as windflowers and mountain hyacinths. The Ephesus-Mimas Route offers both natural and historic beauty.

Cite…

 

Hiking the Jordan Trail to Petra

Posted by on Apr 28, 2018 @ 12:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking the Jordan Trail to Petra

Billed as the “Inca Trail of the Middle East,” the 400-mile Jordan Trail runs from the Mediterranean-influenced villages of Umm Qais in the north to the coral-rich Red Sea in the south, passing through 52 villages en route, as well as two UNESCO-listed sites. The result of an eight year effort by 40-some volunteers, the route is primed to put the country on the radar of travelers seeking an adventure without the crowds.

Trekkers can tackle the 36-day hike in one go or choose one of eight 50-mile-long sections. The most established route is a flashpacker-friendly stretch from Dana to the “Rose City” of Petra.

Planning a trek is surprisingly easy: The Jordan Trail Association, an NGO formed in 2015 to help maintain and develop the trail, has created a website filled with information on everything from licensed tour operators and hiking companies to what to pack and how fit you should be for different trail sections.

Yet unlike the well-marked and trafficked trails of trekking meccas, such as Switzerland and Chile, trails in Jordan can be difficult to navigate alone. A guide is recommended and because adventure tourism is still in its infancy here, there are only a handful of licensed hiking guides in the country.

Until you walk across Jordan, you won’t grasp the diversity of its landscape. Leave Dana and descend 4,000 feet into the Dana Biosphere Reserve’s central valley, taking in four unique ecosystems. Lonely cypress trees give way to Martian-like rock formations. Then the landscape changes to bone-dry river beds lined with palms and oleander, before, finally, becoming rust-hued desert.

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