From The Field: West

Our trail scouts' top local hikes
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Our trail scouts' top local hikes

Ice Lake Basin, San Juan NF, CO

Andrew Klotz, Durango, CO 

There aren’t many places—even in mountain-choked Colorado—where you can see a quarter-mile-wide swath of columbines at the base of 150- and 300-foot waterfalls, beneath a horseshoe of Thirteeners. “In July, the meadow at mile 2.7 is one of the best places to see Colorado’s state flower,” Klotz says. Climb 800 vertical feet to milky-blue Ice Lake, with up-close views of 13,760-foot “Alp-like” Golden Horn and 13,894-foot Vermilion Peak. Retrace your steps to complete a 7.6-mile out-and-back. Trip ID515724



Start early: “Storms come on strong around 2 p.m.”

Cascade Pass, North Cascades NP, WA

Rosemary Seifried, Marblemount, WA

Pick a hot day for this 5.4-mile out-and-back to see the power of ice crashing from hanging glaciers on 8,100-foot Johannesburg Mountain into the valley below. “It’ll sound like a big rockfall, and then a hissing sound,” Seifried says. Switchback past delicate pink mountain heather to 5,392-foot Cascade Pass, then continue 200 yards on the Sahale Arm Trail to a scree field where marmots whistle. Trip ID10253



“Bring binoculars to scan Mixup Arm for mountain goats and Pelton Basin for black bears.”


Halemau’u Trail, Haleakala NP, HI 

Jeff Bagshaw, Kula, HI

You could finish this hike in a day, but you shouldn’t miss a night at the primitive Holua campground (permit required, free at headquarters). That way, Bagshaw says, you’ll witness the best of this 5.3-mile out-and-back into a dormant Maui volcano. “About 2,000 pairs of an endangered seabird called the ’u’au nest in the cliffs overhead. You can hear their wings whoosh over you at night, and they seem to call their names: oo-A-oo.” Also, savor some of the world’s best telescope-free stargazing here: “If you have 20/20 vision, you can see the four Galilean moons of Jupiter.” Trip ID42361

“Hike a 1.5-mile loop past the campground to see endangered ’ahinahina (aka silversword) in bloom.”

Hollywood Hills Loop, Griffith Park, CA

Jason Bazalar, Los Angeles, CA

Explore 4,210-acre Griffith Park on this rocky 3.5-mile loop topping out at 1,625-foot Mt. Hollywood. Sweeping views across the L.A. urban jungle (which you’ll glimpse from the viewpoint at mile 1.3) juxtapose with the park’s chaparral-covered slopes, home to coyotes and a recently spotted cougar. Go on July 4th to witness a dozen or more fireworks shows simultaneously: “You’ll see displays from all of the L.A. metro area,” Bazalar says. Trip ID27874



“Stop at Dante’s View to fill water and get L.A. views.”

Sunset Peak, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, UT

Rick Gardiner, Murray, UT

Don’t let Salt Lake City’s 90°F heat lull you into forgetting a windbreaker: “Typically, it’s 10 to 15 degrees cooler at the trailhead than in the valley, and another 10 to 15 degrees cooler at the summit because of the wind,” Gardiner says. Look for moose at marshy Lake Martha, one of four lakes you’ll pass on this 5.3-mile out-and-back to Sunset Peak’s 10,650-foot summit and its 360-degree views of Snowbird, the Uintas, and Mt. Timpanogos. Trip ID 5746



“The snow melted early this year, so July should be prime time for wildflowers along the trail.”