5 Great Adventures to Take in 2016
By Michael Lanza
Where will you take a big outdoor adventure in 2016? Do you have any plans on the calendar? It’s time to get the trip-planning wheels in motion: The prime hiking season for many mountain ranges is around the corner. In many national forests, like the backpacking trips in Idaho’s Sawtooths, Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, and on the Timberline Trail around Oregon’s Mount Hood, you won’t need a permit reservation. And if you’re thinking about a backcountry trip in a popular destination like The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (lead photo above) this fall, the time to apply for a backcountry permit is coming up fast.
Below are five outstanding adventures to consider taking in the coming months—some you’ve probably heard of, others maybe not, all of them outstanding.
Wondering what trip to take next, or have a place in mind but need more information? The Big Outside can help make that decision-making and planning easier.
You’ll find ideas and inspiration at my All Trips page and my Ask Me page, and in popular stories such as “New Year Inspiration: My Top 10 Adventure Trips,” “My Top 10 Family Adventures,” “My Top 10 Favorite Backpacking Trips,” and “Tent Flap With a View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites.” See also all of my stories about national park adventures and family adventures at The Big Outside.
You will also find useful advice in my “10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit” and my story “Are You Ready For That New Outdoors Adventure? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself.”
Don’t think you can fit in a big trip this year? Maybe you need to read my “10 Tips For Getting Outside More.”
Now get busy making this year a great one.
Go Deep Into Yosemite
So you’re ready for a hike of a lifetime in Yosemite National Park? That would be the 65-mile hike from Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows that I write about in my story “Best of Yosemite Backpacking, Part 1: South of Tuolumne Meadows.” A grand tour that delivers a full Yosemite experience, it tags not only two of the park’s best summits—Clouds Rest and Half Dome—but also explores some of Yosemite’s most-remote corners and two stunning, high passes, Red Peak Pass and Vogelsang Pass. Get on it: Backcountry permits are coveted prizes and you can (and should) apply for a reservation up to 24 weeks before your desired starting date. But 40 percent of permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis up to a day before your hike begins, so you can show up at the park and try for a permit.
See all of my stories about Yosemite, including my stories about hiking Half Dome and dayhiking to Yosemite Valley’s world-famous waterfalls, and my advice to a reader about where to take a first backpacking trip in Yosemite.
Explore Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
Imagine a place where stone towers rise into the sky, colorfully stratified cliffs stretch out in all directions, natural windows form arches in rock, and much of the physical landscape appears ever at the verge of toppling over.
Actually, you don’t have to imagine it—this exists across the Colorado Plateau in the Southwest, which not for nothing has America’s greatest concentration of national parks. See my story about exploring two of them, “No Straight Lines: Backpacking and Hiking in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.” Reserve a popular permit for backpacking in The Needles District of Canyonlands (lead photo at top of story) four months in advance for fall or spring dates.
See all of my stories about hiking and backpacking in southern Utah.
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Backpack Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains
Since moving to Idaho almost 20 years ago, I’ve gotten to know the Sawtooths pretty well (although I have much more hiking and climbing to do there), and every time I explore a new corner of that range, I think it may be the most beautiful spot I’ve seen there yet. That’s the impact the Sawtooths have on you. My stories about Idaho’s Sawtooths consistently rank among the most popular reads at The Big Outside, so apparently a lot of readers concur with my opinion about them.
See all of my stories about Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, including my feature stories about a 57-mile hike in the southern Sawtooths and backpacking to three of the range’s most accessible and prettiest lakes, and my Ask Me posts answering reader questions about where to backpack in the Sawtooths and the best dayhikes and backpacking trips there.
Circumambulate Mount Hood
If you’re looking to up the ante in terms of challenge while drinking a big glass of scenery just about every step of the way, backpack around Mount Hood. The 41-mile Timberline Trail around the 11,239-foot volcano presents serious creek crossings and one washed-out stretch of trail (that hasn’t been repaired for years and won’t be for the foreseeable future), as well as fields of wildflowers in mid-summer, waterfalls in abundance, and blow-you-away views of Hood around every bend.
See my story “Full of Surprises: Backpacking Mount Hood’s Timberline Trail.”
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Big Scenery in the Glacier Peak Wilderness
My family—with kids age 12 and 10—and three friends set out to backpack the five-day, 44-mile Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass route in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness knowing its reputation for five-star mountain scenery and a more adventurous flavor, due to the off-trail stretch, on snow, over 7,100-foot Spider Gap. Our kids, experienced backcountry hikers at that point, had no problem getting over that pass—and we discovered that, from many spots along this route, the views of Glacier Peak and the sea of jagged mountains surrounding it even exceeded our high expectations. As a bonus, this route’s reputation helps keep the crowds down.
See my story “Wild Heart of the Glacier Peak Wilderness: Backpacking the Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass Loop,” and all of my stories about Washington’s North Cascades region.
from The Big Outside http://ift.tt/1TEtWKM