“Look for white rump patches of desert bighorn sheep on the steep cliffs at the end of the trail.”
Field Scout: Leslie Paige, Boulder City, NV
Narrow Gauge Loop, Yellowstone NP, WY
Check out the Mammoth area’s signature thermal features on this 5.2-mile loop. “As soon as you’re 50 yards up the trail, you’re hardly going to see anyone,” Suderman says. Near mile 2, cross a grassy plateau with views to 8,564-foot Bunsen Peak; continue 2 miles to Orange Spring Mound, a 20-foot lump of travertine stained by bacteria from the 160°F water that flows from its spring. Close the loop past Narrow Gauge Terrace, where a handful of sulfur-scented pools steam. Trip ID 300074
"We often see grizzlies in that area in early summer."
Field Scout: Brian Suderman, Gardiner, MT
Bear Creek Uncompahgre NF, CO
Climb 1,000 feet up a former mining road to a surging waterfall on this 4.5-mile out-and-back that departs from downtown Telluride. Within .5 mile, you’ll gain views of 12,804-foot Ballard Mountain and 13,472-foot La Junta Peak from the lush valley below. In June, look for fingertip-size wild strawberries ripening trailside on sunny, east-facing slopes. Continue .3 mile to Bear Creek Falls, which cascades 100 feet down a series of rocky shelves. Trip ID 424275
"In the spring, bring rain gear and plan on getting wet at the falls; a huge spray comes of of them."
Field Scout: John SirJesse, Telluride, CO
Mt. Pilchuck, Mt. Pilchuck State Park, WA
Transition from forest to subalpine meadows on this 4.8-mile out-and-back up a 5,340-foot Cascade summit. At mile .5, enter a section of 200-foot-tall old-growth Douglas fir and cedar. The woods give way to talus fields near mile 1; watch for marmots scampering among the rocks. At the top, climb a 10-foot ladder to a fire lookout. Summit after 2 p.m.—once the fog has lifted—for your best chance of unobstructed mountain-to-ocean views. Trip ID 23356
“You can get 360-degree views of Puget Sound, the Seattle area, and 10,541-foot Glacier Peak.”
Field Scout: Shawn Tobin, Gold Bar, WA