America’s Best and Most Beautiful Winter Hikes

From Colorado to Oregon to Maine, these incredible winter hiking trails offer beautiful views, wildlife-spotting opportunities, and fewer crowds. If you have a habit of stashing your hiking boots the moment cooler temperatures arrive, you’ve been missing out. In the winter, the nation’s best hiking trails clear out and you can walk for miles without seeing another soul....

Learn More

Paths to the past: National Historic Trails lead travelers through time, US history

One of the best ways to learn history is to literally follow in the footsteps of those who were there, says Karen Berger, author of the new book, “America’s National Historic Trails.” “These are historic routes – a trail version of the National Park system,” she says. The 19 federally recognized trails range from 54 to 5,000 miles, and pass largely through...

Learn More

New hiking trails near Sedona, AZ hint at bigger things to come

Occupying a hilly slice of high desert below the east flanks of Mingus Mountain, the new Blowout Wash trail system is shaping up to become a prime Verde Valley hiking destination. The remediation project is a multi-agency collaboration of local, state and federal land agencies working together to improve recreational opportunities in Prescott National Forest southwest of...

Learn More

Teaching Kids to be Great Trail Stewards

Trails help keep us happy and healthy. No one wants to stay inside all the time, so we need places to go outside and explore. On trails you can get all your energy out, see cool plants, trees, and wildlife, and spend time with family and friends. It’s important we keep trails nice so everyone can enjoy them for years to come. Trails are an important resource, but...

Learn More

REI and National Forest Foundation Announce New Partnership to Plant 1 Million Trees

  A new partnership between the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and REI Co-op (REI) will plant 1 million trees on National Forests across the U.S. over the next decade. Each project will prioritize immediate reforestation to restore ecosystems adversely impacted by severe wildfire, pests, diseases, blowdown, or other natural disturbances. These efforts will...

Learn More

New polling on climate change: Denial is out, alarm is in.

Americans are now nearly four times more likely to say they’re alarmed about the climate crisis than to be dismissive of it. That’s the highest ratio ever since the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) first began gathering data on American attitudes about climate change back in 2008. According to survey data, more than a quarter of the U.S. adult...

Learn More

Maine town apologizes after criticizing anonymous hiker who fixed bridge along its trail

There’s a Maine town trying to identify the hiker who built a replacement bridge next to a collapsed one along a hiking trail on a popular 308-acre preserve. “When outside entities create trails and structures without notifying our department, that leads to confusion for hikers and others” using the Lowell Preserve, Windham town manager Barry Tibbetts posted on...

Learn More

Easy ways to improve your safety while hiking

Two recent deaths on Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, have stirred conversation about hiking safety, raising questions like: “What kind of safety gear should you carry besides water, snacks and a headlamp?” First of all, accidents happen, and sometimes they’re entirely out of our hands. On occasion, the most prepared hiker can become injured or worse. But there are...

Learn More

Forest Service in home stretch on draft Pisgah, Nantahala forests plan

James Melonas, deputy supervisor of the National Forests in North Carolina (NFsNC) office addressed a crowd of Forest Service colleagues at an April national training in Denver to share his thoughts on the ongoing Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests plan revision effort in Western North Carolina. His message: be transparent and build trust. “Really focusing on...

Learn More

The Best Winter Hiking Boots for Men and Women

In the past, once chilly temperatures and snowy days started to arrive, hikers used to pack up until spring came along. But now that hiking gear is warmer and more weatherproof than ever, they can enjoy the Great Outdoors year-round. If you plan on immersing yourself in nature this season, there are a few items that you should invest in prior to hitting the trails. In...

Learn More

Pair sets new hiking record with Tour de Smokies

Nancy East and Chris Ford were greeted by an entourage of fans and supporters when they emerged from the woods in the Big Creek section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, setting a new record for a unique long-distance hiking challenge. The pair hiked all 900 miles of trails in the park in just 30 days. East, from North Carolina, said she is still getting used to...

Learn More

Nature Conservancy buys 2,110 acres in heart of Superior National Forest

More than 2,000 acres of private land within the Superior National Forest will remain undeveloped under a real estate deal announced by the Nature Conservancy. The 2,110 acres of private land is surrounded by national forest land and includes six wild lakes, 3 miles of trout streams, 972 acres of wetlands and tracts of old-growth white spruce and white cedar. It’s also...

Learn More

New hiking challenge involves bringing your dogs to the Adirondacks

  A new hiking challenge called “ADK-9” asks hikers to bring their dogs with them on the outdoor adventure and take a picture of them on the peak. The ADK-9 hiking challenge provides 9 dog friendly hikes with views and offers a chance to explore lesser traveled peaks of the region. Once you have hiked all 9 peaks, you are eligible to become an ADK-9...

Learn More

Section of the Long Trail Permanently Protected

The Trust for Public Land, Green Mountain Club and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR), announced the protection of Codding Hollow, adding 160.7 acres to Long Trail State Forest in Johnson and Waterville, Vermont. The newly protected property includes one of the last unprotected sections of the Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail...

Learn More

These New Novels Show a Natural World in Peril

These new fiction releases are oddly compatible tales of gritty heroines on long-haul journeys in a natural world on the brink of destruction. Where these bleak stories diverge is on the matter of redemption. Each book places the relationship between humans and earth at its center, with different takes on just how screwed we are—in one, healthy wilderness is the last...

Learn More

Why Arches National Park has an overcrowding problem, causing 3-hour closures almost daily

Arches National Park has a problem. It’s too popular. While that may seem like good news, for many people who came to visit the park in September, it’s a major disappointment. Because of parking lot size, overcrowding and safety concerns, Arches has been forced to turn people away for hours of the day, mostly during weekends. In September, nearly every...

Learn More

A Day in the North High Country on the BRP – A Photo Essay

The first day of October I took a trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the high country north of Asheville, NC. The mountains here exceed 6,000 feet and the views seemingly go forever. It’s a captivating drive up, with plenty of pullouts so you can ooh and aah at the scenery. I tried to time my climb to catch some of the golden hour not long after dawn. My first stop...

Learn More

New 100-mile Hiking Trail in Ireland Comes With a Remarkable History Lesson

This September, Ireland launched the National Famine Way, which follows the footsteps of 1,490 emigrants who walked from Strokestown, Co Roscommon, to Dublin, hoping to escape the famine. It now doubles as both a live history lesson as well as a hiking and cycling trail. The trail follows the path of the 1,490 people who left Strokestown and joined ″some of the worst...

Learn More

The ‘Wetland Wanderer,’ celebrates outdoors career, Hispanic Heritage Month

When Lucia Ibarra was growing up in Las Mochis, Mexico, near the Gulf of California, she felt most at home running barefoot, climbing trees, playing in the ocean, and laughing with the sheep and horses on her mother’s ranch. “Since I was a kid I loved nature. My culture was humans and animals. But I felt like we were all connected and everything had a domino effect,”...

Learn More

What Makes an Appalachian Trail View Great?

Picture, in your mind, an Appalachian Trail (A.T.) view that inspires you. Now have a fellow A.T. hiker do the same. Did the view they selected look anything like yours? Most likely not. Since the A.T. traverses so many regions, the views along its 2,193 miles vary significantly, sometimes even within a few miles. From craggy mountains in North Georgia, to rolling...

Learn More

2,000 Miles, 650 Trails, No One in Sight: The Solitude of Hiking in a Time of Virus

  It was well after dark on a recent evening when Philip Carcia, a record-breaking hiker, emerged from another 28-mile day in the woods, his legs streaked with mud and crisscrossed with bloody cuts, into a desolate parking lot near New Hampshire’s border with Maine. Mr. Carcia, 36, has been living out of his red Toyota Yaris on the outer reaches of the White...

Learn More

Travel Back in Time at Mesa Verde

You may find yourself traveling back in time. Hop down a series of stone steps, take a sharp left turn, and feel your heart skip a beat. There, sprawled out below a sandstone plateau dotted with piñon pines and juniper trees, stands the 800-year-old remains of Cliff Palace, an ancient city of the Ancestral Puebloan people. The largest and best known of Mesa Verde...

Learn More

Check out the Triangle’s newest nature preserve with trails, working farms

The Triangle Land Conservancy‘s newest nature preserve, the Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve, is now open. The 405-acre property, at 4409 Mial Plantation Rd., Raleigh, offers nine miles of walking and biking trails that connect to the Neuse River Greenway. It’s the eighth nature preserve for the Triangle Land Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to...

Learn More

‘It’s just becoming awful’: Zion park officials try to deal with unprecedented amounts of graffiti

Officials at Utah’s Zion National Park are grappling with unprecedented amounts of graffiti throughout the park as visitors continue to flock to the canyon. These days, besides their normal job description of welcoming visitors, park rangers face the additional challenges of managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response as well as the presence of a toxic...

Learn More

Time for Litter Pickup and Pictures on the Blue Ridge Parkway – A Photo Essay

Those of you who have known me for awhile are aware that, since retirement, I have been what the National Park Service calls a VIP. Sounds pretentious, but really all it means is Volunteer in Parks. I help out at two, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Up on the Parkway I pick up litter, clean out storm drains, and do general tidying at one...

Learn More

The NFF and Gunnison County Team Up to Create Stewardship Jobs

An example of National Forest stewardship in action. As with many mountain communities in Colorado, visitation to the Gunnison Valley is at an all-time high. Land managers observe that they have never seen our public lands as busy as they have been in recent years. The area is surrounded by 1.7 million acres of National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management and...

Learn More

Route Finding and Navigation for Hiking & Mountaineering

As promised yesterday, Meanderthals will shift gears for awhile and introduce you to shared information on the Internet that can help you be a better steward in the outdoors. Today, it’s how to improve your route finding from the REI Co-op. On many hiking or mountaineering adventures, you’ll leave the well-trodden trail behind to set off for the summit. Doing so is...

Learn More

A Commitment from Meanderthals to Do Better

Have you been paying attention to social media in the Southern Appalachians region in recent days? No doubt you have seen the disturbing photographs from Max Patch, one of the iconic hiking locations along the Appalachian Trail, and in all of the South. Max Patch, and so many others of our favorite destinations, is being overcrowded to a slow, painful death. After any...

Learn More