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Backpacker Magazine – March 2014

Season Starters

These 17 trips ripen early. Dust off your boots to revel in mild temperatures, vibrant wildflowers, precious solitude, and far-reaching vistas unobscured by thick summer foliage.

by: Kelly Bastone

(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Graham) Carrizo Plain National Monument desert grassland
(Graham) Carrizo Plain National Monument desert grassland
(Kirkendall) Old-growth Bigleaf Maples and Vanilla Leaf
(Kirkendall) Old-growth Bigleaf Maples and Vanilla Leaf
(Michael Clark) Look for fossils in Ojito's Morrison Formation
(Michael Clark) Look for fossils in Ojito's Morrison Formation
(Chuck Blackley) Mountain Laurel along the AT in June
(Chuck Blackley) Mountain Laurel along the AT in June

More Season Starters: 

Los Angeles, CA In March and April, the Carrizo Plain National Monument’s desert grassland explodes with wildflowers. Best overnight: A 14-mile out-and-back to Caliente Ridge. Info; 3 hours drive

Cincinnati, OH Make a quick getaway to East Fork State Park’s 14-mile, hiker-only Backpack Trail, where April brings rumbling creeks and falls. Rainy-day bonus: Campsites 1 and 2 have shelters. Info; 1 hour drive



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