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Best Dayhikes In America

With strong legs and an ambitious plan, you can see more wild country in 12 hours than some backpackers see in a week, and still make it home in time for dinner.

You have one free day. One single, solitary day to see the wide, wild world. It may be the last 24 hours of your family vacation, a layover day during a business trip, or a late-summer Saturday with (finally!) no weddings, yard work, or soccer practice. You wish you had time for an overnight, but there’s just one day. Today. How will you spend it?

May we suggest a dayhike? Before you start snickering, understand that we’re not talking about an easy stroll down your neighborhood nature trail. We haven’t traded in our tents and boots for a motel and sneakers. But we know that busy people sometimes need to squeeze their wilderness wanderings into the space of a day. And dayhiking has its rewards. With a lighter load, you can move more quickly and comfortably through life-list quality terrain, often seeing twice as much scenery as you would if carrying a pack. You can save time and money on food, gear, and overnight permits. And you’ll avoid waiting lists for the trails you want to hike. Then there’s the simple pleasure of pizza and beer at the end of every day.

With these rewards in mind, we want to send you on a butt-kicking, proud-to-be-a-backpacker, dawn-to-dusk wilderness adventure. Read the following pages for trails that let you…

>> Bag a week’s worth of high peaks in North America’s best ranges.

>> Hike to the bottom (and back) of the deepest canyons.

>> Explore the wild interior of classic national parks.

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