|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
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Tackle a challenging 51-mile trek that reaches the remote Little Colorado River.
You'll see more river runners than hikers on this unforgettable tour, thanks to two of the toughest rim-to-river trails in the Grand Canyon and a tricky route that connects them. Start with the nine-mile, 4,600-foot descent of the Tanner Trail, from AZ 64 near Desert View; the winding Colorado River comes into view about halfway in, pulling you downward.
At the river's edge, continue north toward Marble Canyon along the Beamer Trail. From a beach camp by Palisade Creek, dayhike 6.6 miles to the Little Colorado River and its swim-worthy turquoise waters. Now psyche up for the two-day hike downstream along the Escalante Route, which climbs up to 1,000 feet above the Colorado, with tricky routefinding and scrambling by Seventyfive Mile and Papago Canyons. From roaring Hance Rapid, follow the New Hance Trail past the dunes of Red Canyon and up through the Redwall and Supai formations to the rim.
Map Trails Illustrated Map #207, Grand Canyon NP ($12, natgeomaps.com)
Permits Overnight permits ($10, plus $5 per person per day) required