Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

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Hike Bear’s Hump

This short trek is a perfect introduction to Waterton Lakes National Park. Beginning just behind the main Visitor Centre for the park, this rugged little trail makes a surprisingly steep climb to a rocky promontory with clear views in nearly every direction. From here, you’ll have unparalleled views of Waterton Village and the Lakes themselves, not to mention the picturesque…

read » May 24, 2016
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Hiking Crypt Lake

Voted Canada’s Best Hike in 1981 and rated one of the world’s most thrilling trails by National Geographic in 2014, the 11-mile trail to Crypt Lake and back is definitely worthy of superlatives. Your trip begins on a boat ride from Waterton Township, then climbs up nearly 2200 feet of trail through dense forest surrounded by towering peaks. You’ll pass…

read » May 23, 2016
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Hiking Lineham Falls

A beautiful journey through Lineham Canyon, this hike takes you through dense pine forests and open alpine meadows filled with summer wildflowers into a gorgeous amphitheater dotted with azure lakes and crowned by a 410-foot tall waterfall. A stunning day hike — one of the finest in the region. If you’ve ever spent time hiking in the Columbia River Gorge…

read » May 19, 2016
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Hike Millard Canyon Falls

This short trip to a picturesque waterfall is a beautiful hike at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains that has long been closed due to wildfires. Extend your time in the area at the nearby campsite or with neighboring trails. The 2009 Station Fire really did a number on outdoor recreation in the San Gabriel Mountains. Millard Canyon, long…

read » May 19, 2016
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Hike Red Rock Canyon and Blackiston Falls

A just-under 2 mile loop trail that explores some of the scenic highlights of northern Waterton Lakes National Park, this route takes you inside the beautifully color-contrasted Red Rock Canyon and to a lovely overlook of Blackiston Falls. This is a great introduction to this section of the park or a nice way to squeeze in some extra trail time…

read » May 18, 2016
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Hike the Mayhem Gulch Trail

This great front country journey provides some much-needed natural escape for citizens of Denver. Just an hour’s drive outside the city, hikers can enjoy a quick and easy (and mostly solitary) trek or a full day in the outdoors. An alternating weekend use prevents unnecessary conflict between hikers and cyclists — if you’re headed here on the weekend and aren’t…

read » May 17, 2016
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Hike Crandell Lake

A fairly moderate, family-friendly hike from one of the major campgrounds in Waterton Lakes National Park to a beautiful lakeside backcountry campsite framed by stunning peaks in the Canadian Rockies. This is a beautiful route that is understandably popular with summer swimmers. Picturesque Crandell Lake and its lakeside campground can be reached by two routes in Waterton Lakes National Park…

read » May 17, 2016
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Hike to Lower Bertha Falls

Lower Bertha Falls is an unusual waterfall — a twisted, tangled cascade sprawled across upturned rocks and hidden amongst a dense wall of greenery. This waterfall is accessible via a moderately challenging trail, but even in the summer you can find solitude on this route. More energetic hikers can continue past the falls to a backcountry campground at Bertha Lake…

read » May 16, 2016
Photo by Allison Park for Modern Hiker

Hike Hamilton Mountain

Note: While my gps track showed under 6 miles for this trip, my hiking partner’s clocked in at 6.5. Doing some research, there seems to generally be some discrepancy on the exact milage for this trip. However, the consensus seems to put it at around 6.5 miles. Before moving to Portland, I was semi-aware of a place people referred to…

read » May 12, 2016
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Hike the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls

The best way to get a taste of the Na Pali Coast’s legendary beauty is not to pay hundreds of dollars for a helicopter ride. Nor is it to pay slightly less to take a boat ride with 50 strangers up and down the coast. The best way to see Kauai’s stunning north shore is to step onto the Kalalau…

read » May 11, 2016
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Hiking Oakoasis Preserve

The County of San Diego’s Oakoasis Open Space Preserve protects a lush “oasis” of coast live oaks along with meadows, chaparral, and good views west over the San Vicente Reservoir. The preserve lies, in the shadow of its more challenging and popular big brother to the east, El Capitan Open Space Preserve, directly across Wildcat Canyon Road from Oakoasis’s entrance. You won’t get…

read » May 10, 2016
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Hiking Valley of Fire

Arriving at the Valley of Fire at sunset leaves no question as to how the valley got its name. Spectacular red sandstone formations, glowing at golden hour, rise in sculpted shapes from the desert floor. The features are solidified shifting sand dunes from the age of dinosaurs. Of course, they’re also impressive in the morning and afternoon. The Valley of…

read » May 5, 2016
Gonzales Canyon

Hiking Gonzales Canyon

This moderate route through a trio of coastal canyons offers a nice respite from the crowded confines of suburban North County. Along the way, you’ll enjoy well-preserved stands of aromatic coastal sage-scrub before reaching an impressive grove of California sycamores along the banks of Gonzales Creek. In spite of coastal North County’s legendary beauty, hiking opportunities north of La Jolla…

read » April 25, 2016
monument valley

Visiting Monument Valley

Perhaps no other single location in the world is more uniquely identified with the American West than Monument Valley. These epic mesas and buttes have been etched into our collective memory over decades of films, television shows, and cartoons and in many ways now act as a visual shorthand for The West, but for many, many years they were ignored…

read » April 21, 2016
Mauna Kea

Hike Mauna Kea

The island of Hawai’i, colloquially known as the “Big Island,” features a number of remarkable extremes that set it apart not just from the other Hawaiian Islands, but from most other places throughout the world. Here is a place with barren volcanic deserts and lush rain forests receiving 240″ of rainfall a year separated by a few dozen miles. On…

read » April 20, 2016
Rabbit Peak

Hiking Rabbit Peak via Villager Peak

One of the most challenging hikes in Southern California. This ascent of a long, ramp-like ridge takes you first to Villager Peak and then, after much undulating, to the remote sky island of Rabbit Peak. The views are phenomenal, and the sunsets and sunrises can be once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Not for the faint-of-heart, and certainly only for experienced hikers, this is…

read » April 19, 2016
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Hike the Wahkeena / Multnomah Falls Loop

This is it folks, THE trail to do in the Columbia River Gorge (okay, well, I think so anyways). Have a day in Portland? Or, do you live in Portland and have somehow missed this one? Do this hike. I will admit: I have now lived in Portland for five months, and have consciously avoided this trail. The few times I’ve seen…

read » April 13, 2016
Barker Valley

Hiking Barker Valley

Barker Valley in the Cleveland National Forest is a place where you can truly get away from it all. This narrow valley full of massive oaks and tranquil meadows sits in one of the more remote corners of the Palomar Mountains. While the valley itself is too small to qualify for wilderness status, the area has a distinct “wilderness,” feel, making for…

read » April 11, 2016
Morongo-Mesquite Trail

Hike Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

When most people envision the desert, the first word that springs to mind is probably “dry.” Not so at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a lush pocket of the brand new Sand To Snow National Monument tucked between the western edge of Joshua Tree National Park and the towns of Yucca Valley, Morongo Valley, and Desert Hot Springs. The canyon’s unique…

read » April 9, 2016
Johnny Lang Canyon

Hiking Johnny Lang Canyon in Joshua Tree National Park

The 6-mile loop through Johnny Lang Canyon is a great introduction for folks interested in getting into off-trail desert hikes. I enjoyed this hike, but there are long stretches of exposure and trudging through the desert, so I wouldn’t recommend it on a hot day. Even in mild weather it’s a good idea to get an early start — the…

read » March 24, 2016