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Hike of the Day: Yellowstone's Back Basin

String together an impressive collection of thermal features on this 1.7-mile loop in Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin.

  This 1.7-mile lasso loop in Norris Geyser Basin visits the ever-changing thermal features of Back Basin. Boasting the hottest thermal landscape in Yellowstone National Park, this area of bubbling caldrons is a memorable stop on your park tour. From the parking area, head west to the Norris Geyser Basin Museum. At the museum, take the left-most path downhill, then veer left at the next junction to enter the stark expanses of Back Basin. Read more trail details, download GPS coordinates, and see short video clips of bubbling springs at Read Full Story...
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas

Hike near theropod and sauropod dinosaur tracks, then ditch the roadside crowds for some solitude and abundant views of the Paluxy River Valley on this 6.8-mile loop.

  Let your kids' imaginations run wild on a segment or all of this 6.8-mile loop through a state park dedicated to dinosaurs. This route also passes sandstone cliffs with five-star views over the Paluxy River Valley. Print driving directions and see more trail details at
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Monday, February 22, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: PA's Delaware Water Gap

Trek to the border of New Jersey along PA's finest section of the Appalachian Trail.

  Thru-hikers refer to the Keystone state as “rocksylvania” because the trail seems paved haphazardly with jagged stones. The payoff for the occasional stubbed toe? Long, rolling views from countless outcropping and balds. Access the trail, northbound, in Wind Gap for an easy start along a gentle climb through oak and box elder, crossing the... Read Full Story...
Tuesday, February 09, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Superior Hiking Trail, MN

Hike past rushing creeks, numerous overlooks, and verdant hills on the Superior Hiking Trail, then bike back on the Munger Trail on this 14.4-mile loop near Duluth.

Stash your bike at the Superior Hiking Trail’s Kingsbury Creek trailhead, and then start the hiking portion of this route at the Munger trailhead just west of Gary, MN. After a brief walk on the paved Munger Trail, head uphill into an oak and pine forest for an 8.5-mile hike along newer sections of the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail runs... Read Full Story...
Monday, February 08, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Alabama's Pinhoti Trail Loop

Ford creeks and rivers and traipse past rocky overlooks on this 17.6-mile loop along Alabama's secluded Pinhoti Trail.

This 17.6-mile loop follows a well-worn path as it crisscrosses numerous creeks and rivers (some of which can be tricky at high water). White quartz outcroppings offer hikers an opportunity to peer beyond dense tree cover, but... Read Full Story...
Friday, February 05, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Matthews Arm in Shenandoah

This rugged, 16.8-mile, 2-day backpacking trip reveals classic Appalachian wonders: idyllic waterfall-laden hollows, reborn woodlands, and scenic backcountry campsites.

Here's an ambitious weekend loop in Shenandoah National Park. You'll see: rushing waterfalls, old gravestones, beautiful hardwoods, and hike a series of steps aptly named Little Devils Stairs (see elevation profile). Book this trip in early spring to avoid the crowds and to catch extra views through the leafless trees. Download more details at Read Full Story...
Friday, February 05, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Mollies Ridge in the Smokies

Wildflower meadows, oak forests, snorting boars, and curious bruins (the Smokies have the highest concentration of black bears in the Lower 48): This 18.6-mile out-and-back claims them all.

From the shores of Fontana Lake, climb 1,900 feet in three miles to the west shoulder of Shuckstack Peak. The route undulates over two gaps (Sassafras and Red Ridge) to a campsite at Birch Spring Gap (mile 5.2). Hike two miles from camp to Gregory Bald, drop into fern-filled Ekaneetlee Gap, and finish the hike on Mollies Ridge, where you can spend a second night in a 12-bunk hut. The shelter is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a Cherokee woman who froze to death there—or was eaten by a bear called Spider Foot, depending on who you ask. Check out more map details, photos, and a bear movie collected by map contributor Jeff Chow at Read Full Story...
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Illinois’ Little Grand Canyon

This Shawnee National Forest hike loops 2.8 miles and drops 350 feet through a water-carved slot into Illinois’ Little Grand Canyon. Sure footing and a sense of adventure required.

From Hickory Ridge, this 2.8-mile loop descends toward the edge of the Grand Canyon—a 0.75-mile river-carved, sandstone slot in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest. The hike starts on a paved path, but after passing the observation platform near mile 0.4, the route turns sharply downhill into a sandstone slot on the canyon’s south side. Steps are carved directly into the soft rock: Take your time on and place your feet carefully to avoid slipping on the moss-covered surfaces.... Read Full Story...
Tuesday, February 02, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Three Fingered Jack, Oregon

This challenging, 12.2-mile trek ascends the spiny, volcanic ridge of Three Fingered Jack for dizzying views across the Cascade Mountains.

A challenging trek for hikers and climbers alike, this 12.2-mile out-and-back leads to the top of Three Fingered Jack, a striking shield volcano in the Cascades. From the trailhead, hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail. The path travels through fire-burnt forest before veering right onto an unmarked climber’s trail that leads up Jack’s south ridge (avoid the tempting surplus of side trails along the way). At mile 5.6, the trail crests the ridge and turns north over scree and loose gravel; Three Fingered Jack’s spiny ridge rises above.

Roughly 6 miles into the hike, the route traverses "The Crawl," an exposed and narrow ridgeline just below the summit... Check out more turn-by-turn details at Read Full Story...
Monday, February 01, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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Hike of the Day: Rhode Island's Block Island

Explore the unique glacial geology of Block Island and wander past Atlantic Ocean overlooks on this 3.5-mile amble through an idyllic nature preserve.

Just off the eastern tip of Long Island, a short ferry ride from Rhode Island proper, Block Island offers a great weekend escape for New Yorkers and New Englanders alike. Rodman's Hollow Nature Preserve (a short ride on a rental bike from the ferry landing), is an ideal way to explore the unique glacial geology of this small island. See the map and more...
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Friday, January 29, 2010 in: Destinations, Hike of the Day, Maps
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