|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – August 2009
Find real solitude amid the crowds at these secret stashes.
Guide's Secret Mt. Rainier National Park
"Klapatche and St. Andrews Parks are two of the most spectacular areas of Mt. Rainier," says Eric Simonson, of International Mountain Guides, "but they've been visited very little since the West Side Road was closed by flooding." A perfect day trip: Ride a bike eight miles up the road to St. Andrews trailhead, and hike 6.5 miles (round-trip) to lily-filled meadows. nps.gov/mora
Adirondacks, New York
Scramble the Great Slide to the top of East Dix.
Few summits in the Dix Range have maintained trails, all but guaranteeing solitude in this quiet corner of the High Peaks. To climb 4,012-foot East Dix, you'll follow unmarked social trails and the Great Slide, an exciting scramble on the northwest face. From NY 73, hike along two forks of the Bouquet River through a birch forest, reaching the Great Slide after 5.5 miles.
The swath of broken granite shoots up 850 feet at an average angle of almost 40 degrees. In dry conditions, it should be a cinch, but don't let your guard down–you'll definitely need to use your hands at the top. (Don't like exposure? A social path weaves through the trees alongside.) From the summit, return the way you came or continue over South Dix, Hough Mountain, and Dix Mountain (stock up on water for this challenging three-mile traverse). At the summit of 4,857-foot Dix Mountain, you'll finally reach a maintained trail, which you can follow about five miles north to the highway, ending 1.9 miles from your car.
Maps USGS topos Witherbee and Mt. Marcy
Permits None for dayhikes