Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is a easy and accessible hiking route before it opens to automobile traffic, usually in early July. Many who hike the road do not realize it is a pathway of a historical and perhaps prehistoric significance. The Arapaho used the route as they migrated over the Continental Divide to the west. They called it the Dog`s Trail because the snow covered terrain allowed their dogs to pull travois. The area usually held the snow for long periods, even into the early summer months.
Endowvalley, located at the lower part of the road, was created by the snowmelt from the Mummy Range to its north, Trail Ridge to the south and the headwaters of Fall River Pass feeding Fall River. These rushing waters carved the valley.
The Hanging Valley of Sundance Mountain on the south, with the Thousand Falls of Sundance Creek, tumultuously fuming down the escarpment, is just one of the many captivating vistas to behold. At almost every twist and turn in the road, there will be delightful surprises to enjoy.
For the first time, the Warrior Hike Program will deploy 26 of America’s returning combat veterans in three teams to “Walk Off The War,” by thru-hiking the triple crown of America’s National Scenic Trails – the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest Trails. The veterans will use this six-month-long, 2000-plus-mile physical challenge to come to terms with their wartime experiences and reconnect to civilian life.
In 2013, 14 returning combat veterans thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail located in eastern United States. This year, Warrior Hike has nearly doubled the number of hiking veterans, and has expanded to include the Continental Divide and the Pacific Crest Trails, in western United States, in order to include combat veterans from around the country.
Today, March 17, the first Warrior Hike team of 14 veterans begins its journey at the start of the Appalachian Trail in Dawsonville, GA. The second and third teams, each composed of 6 veterans will begin their thru-hike on April 12, on the Continental Divide Trail in Crazy Crook, NM, and the Pacific Crest Trail in Campo, CA.
The “Walk Off The War” Program provides participating combat veterans with the equipment and supplies required to complete a six-month thru-hike of a National Scenic Trail; coordinates trail town support in the forms of transportation, food, and lodging along the trails; and assists veterans with future employment opportunities through program partners and sponsors.
If you’ve heard anything about the weather in Scotland, you’ve heard the word “wet.” Or perhaps “boggy.” Or “ever-changing.” These conditions make even more impressive the large collection of well-known footpaths that are the best way to explore the stunning countryside.
The most famous one is the West Highland Way, a 95-mile (150-kilometer) trail from the outskirts of Glasgow into the remote and moody Highlands. It ends shortly past the foot of the highest mountain in the United Kingdom, Ben Nevis, which can be walked up and down as a day hike, if you’re fit.
The single most useful tool for planning walks in Scotland is the popular website WalkHighlands.com. The site breaks down dozens of trails, with frank talk about muddy or risky conditions. It also links to that other essential tool, Ordnance Survey topographical maps.
Over his 6,800 mile walk across America, Josh Seehorn saw amazing wildlife, gestures of friendship and kindness from strangers and, he believes, he even helped a man turn around his life after years of drug and alcohol abuse.
But truth be told, Seehorn, 27, of Athens, Ga., said he was pretty happy Saturday to reach the crest of the dune at Cape Henlopen State Park and see, after 360 days, his goal in sight: the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s so hard to put into words,” he said Saturday from the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park. “It is such a relief. I can’t walk any farther.”
Seehorn’s walk across America on the American Discovery Trail was not his first major hiking adventure. In 2011, after completing graduate school, he walked the Appalachian Trail.
Seehorn started his trek – which combined hiking and running – in March of last year at a desolate beach at Point Reyes National Seashore in California. He recalled that no one was on the beach when he started his trip.
“This is overwhelming,” he said, as he surveyed the crowd that came out to greet him. “To come to a beach full of people, it’s awesome.”
More than six decades after the first thru-hike, America’s most famous trail retains its singular allure. Whether you’re looking for a weekend trip or planning a 2,178-mile odyssey, here are some of the highlights of the Appalachian Trail.
This article features highlights like The Longest Above Treeline, The Best Hut, The Most Scenic Stretch, etc.
A section of Blue Ridge Parkway from Milepost 174 to Milepost 177.5 will close on Monday, March 17, 2014, in order to begin restoration activities at Mabry Mill. The signed detour, from Virginia State Route 758 to Old Route 58 (Jeb Stuart Highway), will be in place for approximately two weeks. Due to the dangerous nature of the work in this area, complete closure of the Parkway to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists is necessary.
Mabry Mill, located at Milepost 176, is one of the most visited spots along the historic motor route and gives visitors a peek into the mountain heritage and former lifestyle of the local area. This spring, a series of critical repairs are needed to the pond and mill wheel at the site to restore much of its cultural and historic integrity. Removal of silt from the pond is the first step in this process. The road closure is necessary so heavy construction traffic can access both lanes of the motor road while sediment removal work is underway. The only phase of the restoration project anticipated to require a total road closure is the silt removal.
Other phases in the restoration project involve replacement of leaking water wheel buckets and the two outer rims of the wheel, and replacement of the deteriorated timbers that support the wheel axle. Additional work will include cleaning of the flume that delivers water to the wheel and replacement of select side boards and support timbers. The mill wheel will be repaired by skilled craftsmen from the Blue Ridge Parkway Historic Preservation Workshop to ensure that the milling tradition continues at this site for future generations to enjoy.
Parkway managers ask that visitors be aware of closure gates or detour signs in the area and apologize for any inconvenience this detour may cause to local businesses or park visitors. Funding for this restoration project is made available in part by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
Recent unseasonably mild weather has created ideal winter hiking conditions in northern New Mexico, and the White Rock and Los Alamos area boasts some of the best sunny and scenic strolls around.
“We love hiking around here,” said Bob Rosenthal, 61, as he and his wife, Patrice, 57, enjoyed a recent outing to Tsankawi off State Road 4 near White Rock. “It’s quiet and peaceful, there’s the remarkable Indian ruins and the views are stunning.”
The couple from Ojai, Calif., said they learned of the secluded getaway while vacationing in Santa Fe once before and have returned to the site numerous times since. “It’s just a delightful place to visit,” Patrice Rosenthal said.
Administered by the National Park Service at Bandelier National Monument, the site features a 1.5 mile loop trail that leads hikers onto a mesa for an eye-popping view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the Pojoaque Valley below.
While roaming through the ruins of an ancient Indian pueblo atop the mesa, one might begin to understand why the native people chose to live here. The site affords grand views of the Rio Grande valley below, and caves carved out of the south-facing sandstone cliffs provided additional living quarters amid the warm winter sunshine.
The Ozark Trail, despite its impressive 362-mile length in the heart of some of Missouri’s most scenic lands, remains a mystery to many. It doesn’t have an identifiable image that springs to one’s mind, like the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail might.
“I don’t think people really know it’s there, especially in the Springfield area,” says trail regular Ron Koskovich. “In Missouri, it seems like every time you talk about hiking they immediately think of trails in Arkansas and the Ozark Highland Trail down there. But the Ozark Trail is something special we’ve got right here in our own state.”
The Ozark Trail got its start in the 1970s as a patchwork network of disconnected trails that some in the hiking community saw as having potential to be stitched into something much bigger. The Ozarks Trail Council got things going, but trail building, maintenance and expansion plans are now the work of the nonprofit Ozark Trail Association.
“We now have the goal of making this a through-trail, a multi-use, long-distance trail that eventually will connect with the Ozark Highland Trail in Arkansas,” says Matt Atnip, the OTA’s first executive director. “When it’s done there will be 700 miles of trail, from St. Louis County down into Arkansas. That’s pretty big.”
The U.S. Forest Service today is mourning the loss of Jason Crisp, a 38-year-old law enforcement officer on the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest. Crisp is survived by his wife and two children.
“This is a tragic loss for our Forest Service family,” said Special Agent in Charge Steve Ruppert. “Our thoughts are with Jason’s wife and their two sons. Words cannot express our sadness.”
Crisp and his K-9 partner Maros were killed in the line of duty March 12, 2014 in Burke County, N.C. Crisp, who began his career on the Grandfather Ranger District as a timber marker, graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in 2005.
“Jason took great pride in his work on the Grandfather,” said Southern Regional Forester Liz Agpaoa. “He was a very kind and understanding man who could light up a room with his sense of humor. He will be missed by all who knew him and had the fortune to work with him.”
That first warm and sunny day of the spring practically begs us to run outside and hit the trail again. As everything turns green and wildflowers shout their colors, spring can be one of the most exciting times to explore our National Forests.
Regardless if this is your 50th or 5th spring hitting the trails or finding the perfect early season camp spot, it’s always a good idea to review safety.
Spring weather is fickle. The day may start out clear and sunny and before you know it, snow is falling. Be sure to pack extra layers of clothing, including socks. Is there anything worse than cold, wet feet?
Heading up into the mountains? You’ll most likely encounter snow. And where there is snow in the mountains, avalanches are always a risk. Check your local avalanche forecast before heading out.
Kristin Bail, forest supervisor of the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina, announced that the agency has begun the next phase of revising the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land and Resource Management Plan (the Forest Plan).
“We’ve received a large number of comments from the public since the assessment for the Plan began in the fall of 2012, and we’re hoping that trend will continue as we move into the next phase of plan revision,” said Bail. “I encourage anyone interested in the two national forests to submit comments on the Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement by April 28, 2014.”
The plan development phase officially began with publication of a Notice of Initiation, which was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 3, 2013. This next phase involves beginning the work on the Environmental Impact Statement that will accompany the development of the revised plan. The public has 45 days to comment on the Notice of Intent, the Preliminary Need for Change and the Proposed Action, which was published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2014.
Comments or questions about plan revision can be sent by email to NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us. For those who prefer regular mail, written comments can be mailed to National Forests in North Carolina, Nantahala and Pisgah Plan Revision, 160 Zillicoa St. Suite A, Asheville, NC 28801.
More information about the plan revision process is available online at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision.
A great way to get your son or daughter into the outdoors this summer, and possibly have them earn some money at the same time, is to have them apply for one of many jobs that exist for teens across the National Park System.
From Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland and Virginia to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in California, there are jobs to be had through the National Park Service’s Youth Conservation Corps program.
Not only would they get paid to work in some of the coolest places in the country, but they will have the chance to learn about careers with the National Park Service and get valuable work skills that can help them get their next job. They will be working with other incredible people and hopefully will build a lifetime bond. If they like to hike, backpack, climb, kayak, bike, horseback ride, then get them motivated.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision affecting the legality of a rails-to-trail route in Wyoming has left officials nationwide wondering if the decision will affect any of the multiple recreation trails in their neighborhoods.
The court sided with a Wyoming property owner in a dispute over a bicycle trail that follows the route of an abandoned railroad. The decision could force the government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate landowners.
The justices ruled 8-1 that property owner Marvin Brandt remains the owner of a 200-foot-wide trail that crosses his 83-acre parcel in southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest. The trail once was the path of a railroad and is among thousands of miles of abandoned railroads that have been converted to recreational trails.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the government was wrong to assert that it owns the trail.
No one really knows when Carlton McNeill started building trails in Panthertown Valley, but by the mid-1990s they were everywhere. They came in all shapes and sizes: wide boulevards along old logging roads, fern-lined footpaths on the creek banks, and some—the ones that led to the bases of waterfalls and lined the cliff tops—little more than game trails. Carlton would often be spotted walking his trails and greeting visitors with a folksy persona and a hand-drawn trail map. In time, he became known simply as “the caretaker of Panthertown.”
Today, visitors to Panthertown Valley in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains might not have a clue that Carlton ever existed, nor do they realize that, without his homemade trail-building efforts, the valley as hikers see it might not even exist. Panthertown is a 6,300-acre bowl perched at an elevation of 3,600 feet in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest. It is, arguably, one of the East’s most unusual wild treasures. A collection of rounded granite domes rim the valley where the rugged Tuckasegee River is born amid a blend of waterfalls and high-elevation bogs. The wild scenery has even spurred some to dub Panthertown the “Yosemite of the East.”
What makes Panthertown so remarkable is not just its scenic beauty or the work of a man with a lust for building trails. Panthertown’s history is an odd blend of wildness, loss, redemption and a bit of serendipity. It’s a story of individuals and groups coming together—some of them unwittingly—to protect one of the nation’s most ecologically diverse areas. Most importantly, it’s a story that may hold valuable lessons for the future of forest protection.
Travel expert Hilary Bradt has been lucky enough to explore some of the world’s most interesting countries.
And in 1973, she and her then husband George took the old Inca road in Peru leading from Cusco’s Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. They hiked it, explored the ruins and published the first ever description of the Inca Trail in 1974.
Now Hilary and co-writer Kathy Jarvis have written the only trekking handbook to cover the whole of Peru. Its is a clear guide to South America’s most varied hiking destination and includes 50 best walks and hikes and is packed with practical information, such as where to stay and eat in Peru’s top trekking bases.
Trekking in Peru is published in a small, portable format which can easily be slipped into a rucksack and is the perfect addition for inexperienced walkers and hard core trekkers alike.
Take it outside with other outdoor enthusiasts for a sunset/moonrise hike in the Cedar Ridge Wilderness Study Area near Jiggs, ID at 4 p.m. March 15, 2014.
The Elko District, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Cedar Creek Clothing are teaming up for the final event of the winter hiking series. This hike is for all ages and skill levels to participate. Following the hike, hikers can enjoy a beautiful moonlit night, the pop and crackle of a campfire, free hot chocolate, marshmallows and great conversations.
This event will last approximately two hours and is an opportunity to meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts and explore your public lands in a free, fun, family atmosphere.
Hikers should follow the directional signs on State Highway 228 (Jiggs Highway) approximately 27 miles from the junction of Lamoille and Jiggs Highways.
You can register at the BLM office at 3900 Idaho St., Cedar Creek Clothing at 453 Idaho St. or the U.S. Forest Service at 140 Pacific in Wells.
There’s a whole world out there that many experienced hikers and backpackers probably haven’t noticed, even on their favorite trails, unless their hiking partner happens to have four legs and a cold, wet nose.
Linda Mullally, author of “Hiking and Backpacking with Dogs,” says a canine companion can enhance the hiking experience in multiple ways, as long as the hiker/backpacker considers the pooch’s needs and takes care to prepare.
“You’re getting exercise. Your dog is getting exercise. And, all of a sudden, you’re discovering that world through your dog’s eyes,” she added. “When you hike with your dogs, you see some of the things they see, and you listen to some of the things they hear. It adds a whole new dimension.”
Mullally’s newest book, published by Falcon Press in association with Backpacker magazine, is a 121-page pocket guide that not only encourages hikers to take “man’s best friend” on the trail, but goes into intricate detail about how to make the experience fun and worthwhile for both dog and hiker.
Just as important, she devotes a good portion of the guide to the pitfalls that can occur for those who embark unprepared, beginning with the type of dog you’re probably better off leaving at home.
Harrison DeWalt is a typical 10-year-old, more interested in the computer game “Minecraft” than the outdoors. But for nearly two months, Harrison and his father Harry DeWalt spent up to 11 hours a day hiking across the entire country of Switzerland.
The duo hiked 12 to 20 miles a day last summer, following the Swiss hiking trail system, beginning in Geneva, crossing mountain passes through the Swiss Alps and ending in Feldkirch, Austria.
“It was everything you could imagine,” Harry DeWalt says. “There were beautiful chalets with flower boxes, sheep, cows with bells around their necks and snow-capped mountains next to turquoise lakes.”
But for DeWalt, 60, the real highlight was not the scenery — beautiful though it was. It was spending day after day with his only son.
The trip had been in the planning since Harrison’s birth in 2004. DeWalt, who was 50 when his son was born, told his wife Maureen Jordan that when the boy turned 10, he would like to take him hiking across Switzerland.
“He figured that would be the earliest age Harrison would physically be able to do it and he hopefully would not be too old to do it,” Jordan says. “I agreed at the time, thinking 10 years was a long time and he may not be serious. But Harry did not lose interest, mentioning it often, saving money for it, and telling Harrison about their proposed trip.”