Phoenix, AZ: Peralta - Cave Loop

Stunning views of Weavers Needle and a fun, route-finding slickrock descent make this 4.6-mile Superstition Wilderness loop a Phoenix-area favorite.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Stunning views of Weavers Needle and a fun, route-finding slickrock descent make this 4.6-mile Superstition Wilderness loop a Phoenix-area favorite.

This rugged loop in the Superstition Wilderness follows the Peralta trail as it climbs 1,400 feet through several washes and some of Phoenix's best hoodoo viewing. The climb mellows at Freemont Saddle where spectacular views of Weavers Needle await. The prominent stone pillar, just 1.2 miles north, is a popular climbing destination and one of the Superstition Mountains’ most recognized features.The popular Peralta Trail is crowded with weekend warriors, but this route continues east from Freemont Saddle and turns south on a less-traveled and sometimes hard-to-follow path fora short climb toward Geronimo Cave at mile 3. Route-finding skills and sticky shoes are necessary for the Cave Trail where you’ll descend steep, solid slickrock that mingles with towering stone spires—watch for “the bathtub” and Squirrel Rock, prominent trail-marking features—as you descend toward the Bluff Trail junction, an easy 0.7 miles from the trailhead.-Mapped by Rich Rudow

Waypoints

SYT001

Location: -119.6220307, 34.4459745

Hike north from the trailhead and signs that warn about recent mountain lion sightings. The San Ysidro Trail cuts between private property at this point: do not wander off-trail.

SYT002

Location: -119.6219735, 34.4475573

Bear left @ the intersection with a paved road. Walk northeast along a wood fence. Continue along a rock wall and then pick up the trail again when it ends. San Ysidro Creek is to the left.

SYT003

Location: -119.6220056, 34.4508019

Bear left @ the Y-junction and walk around the chain link fence, heading northeast on a fire road.

SYT004

Location: -119.6218152, 34.452343

Bear right @ the T-junction and continue on the fire road.

SYT005

Location: -119.6222042, 34.4539489

Go straight past the second chain link fence and continue northeast. Just after the fence, the creek and some impressive sandstone slabs appear on the left. This is another popular rock climbing locale in Santa Barbara.

SYT006

Location: -119.6227712, 34.4568079

Go straight @ the T-junction, merging onto singletrack.

SYT007

Location: -119.6227098, 34.4578282

Bear right @ the Y-junction and continue north on the singletrack into a gorgeous oak grove. A sign with a yellow triangular logo displaying "trail courtesy" also marks the intersection.

SYT008

Location: -119.623569, 34.4646434

Here, spur trails offer access to the creek on the left side of the trail. This area's tranquil, shallow pools with little waterfalls are well worth cooling off in.

SYT009

Location: -119.6223046, 34.4674964

Reach another great pool with a tall waterfall and a lot of lush vegetation. There's also an impressive sandstone formation here: a narrow rib juts out of the canyon on the other side of the creek. Head northwest up a rocky sandstone trail that switchbacks into sweeping chaparral vistas.

SYT010

Location: -119.6352283, 34.4834692

The trail tops out on the Santa Ynez Ridge where views of the Santa Barbara backcountry are breathtaking. You can access the Romero Canyon Trail by turning right on East Camino Cielo and heading south from Romero Saddle. Otherwise, retrace steps back to the trailhead.

Trailhead

Location: -119.6219301, 34.4477241

©Chuck Graham

Rock climbing locale

Location: -119.6215868, 34.4531032

After the second chain link fence, look for the sandstone slabs on your left to see a good rock climbing spot. ©Chuck Graham

Trail Sign

Location: -119.6237111, 34.4639664

©Chuck Graham

San Ysidro Canyon Pool

Location: -119.6220803, 34.4673277

©Chuck Graham

View of Santa Ynez Ridge

Location: -119.6350837, 34.483354

©Chuck Graham

JES001

Location: -119.7288966, 34.4542533

Bear right @ the Jesusita Trailhead. Hike northeast for an immediate descent into a shady oak grove.

JES002

Location: -119.7281584, 34.4606391

Bear right @ Y-junction, staying on the Jesusita Trail. Continue northeast and climb to a meadow with terrific views of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The trail here is heavily rutted.

JES003

Location: -119.7294662, 34.4606295

Heading north, descend into a second oak tree grove. A paved road parallels the trail on the left. Ahead, the trail merges onto the road and follows it about 0.1 mile to a big red gate. Pass through the gate, and head east on a dirt road.

JES004

Location: -119.7323883, 34.4673175

Follow the dirt road for another 0.1 mile to a fork. Bear left on the singletrack. The trail begins to ascend into a thick mix of sycamore and oak trees that provide heavy shade. The trail switchbacks to an intersection.

JES005

Location: -119.7302396, 34.4692437

At the intersection with a dirt road, go straight and continue east on the singletrack.

JES006

Location: -119.7241174, 34.4763715

Reach a plateau with spectacular views of Santa Barbara, its foothills, and the Channel Islands. Ascend several more switchbacks to a fire road. Bear left past the electrical towers. Shortly thereafter, the fire road will head south toward the coast.

JES007

Location: -119.7186372, 34.473998

Bear south over a mostly rocky, sandstone trail. Turn right on singletrack. In a quarter mile, the trail ascends above chaparral and reaches Inspiration Point. Panoramic views of the Channel Islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel) and the clusters of sandstone monoliths to the south take your breath away. After taking in the scenery, retrace your steps back to the Jesusita Trail and head east toward Mission Canyon.

JES008

Location: -119.711709, 34.4717503

Reach the end of the Jesusita Trail. Cathedral Peak is north of this point; access to the Tunnel Trail and Mission Canyon is due east. When finished, retrace steps back to the trailhead.

Jesusita Trailhead

Location: -119.7291541, 34.4555095

©Chuck Graham

Meadow

Location: -119.7279525, 34.4606581

After ascending above a oak tree grove, you'll come across a meadow with the Santa Ynez Mountains to the northeast. ©Chuck Graham

View from Inspiration Point

Location: -119.7185111, 34.4739438

They don't call it Inspiration Point for nothing. ©Chuck Graham

NAL001

Location: -105.168348, 40.088977

Niwot Loop Trailhead has plenty of parking and serves as a local recycling drop-off point. The train begins by crossing a bridge on the lot's north side.

NAL002

Location: -105.1671571, 40.0905957

This alternative loop route doesn't follow the Niwot Loop Trail. Instead, you'll turn right here after the second bridge.

NAL003

Location: -105.1504576, 40.088595

An uphill stretch past enormous houses and three small ponds levels out at this Somerset Drive junction. Cross the road and join the trail in the Legend Ridge Open Space.

NAL004

Location: -105.1413059, 40.0886114

The trail turns north just after this road crossing. Traffic is light, but watch for nearly-there commuters on their way home.

NAL005

Location: -105.1479149, 40.091517

A 150-yard spur trail leads right toward the top of a small hill and more Niwot views. Continue south to close the loop and turn back toward the trailhead.

NAL006

Location: -105.17618, 40.087905

This trail-access point on Monarch Park Place is 0.5 mile west of the Niwot Loop Trailhead. As an out-and-back, it's an easy mile to add to your run.

Trailhead

Location: -105.1682353, 40.0889726

The Niwot Loop Trailhead sign as seen from N. 79th Street. © Kristy Holland

Bridge

Location: -105.1683533, 40.0893255

The bridge is the first of two that you'll cross just north of the trailhead. © Kristy Holland

White Rock Ditch

Location: -105.1670766, 40.0905978

You'll pass this sign, on the north end of the second bridge, on your left and follow the trail east. © Kristy Holland

Niwot Loop

Location: -105.1669586, 40.090606

This trail bypasses the signed Niwot Loop and follows an alternative trail to the right. © Kristy Holland

Neighborhood Access

Location: -105.160253, 40.0909753

One of several neighborhood access trails leading away from this open-space path. © Kristy Holland

Trailside

Location: -105.1543951, 40.0906634

Near mile 1.4, this trail squeezes between a rock wall and a slickrock-like section of field.

Legend Ridge

Location: -105.1501143, 40.0885868

The trail continues around a housing development called Legend Ridge. © Kristy Holland

View

Location: -105.1454258, 40.093175

From the loop's north side, you overlook Niwot's growing neighborhoods and 50-mile views of the Front Range, including Longs Peak, Sawtooth Mountain and the Indian Peaks. © Kristy Holland

SEV001

Location: -119.712, 34.46532

Follow the paved Tunnel Trail east for 1.5 miles toward a narrow canyon. Enjoy the sounds of a waterfall near the footbridge.

SEV002

Location: -119.7073638, 34.4698575

Cross over the footbridge and continue east. Ahead, the paved road meanders toward the canyon.

SEV003

Location: -119.7059852, 34.4698398

Heading northeast, the paved road ends at a dirt road. Bear left into a oak woodland habitat. The creek will be on the left.

SEV004

Location: -119.7075033, 34.4711931

From the dirt road, head northeast about 0.1 mile and turn left onto a singletrack that leads to the creek.

SEV005

Location: -119.7070849, 34.4727321

Cross the creek then bear right on the trail that hugs the left bank. Depending on the season, the creek could be gushing or completely dry. Exercise caution during the rainy season. In the dry season, you can take the dry creekbed straight to Seven Falls.

SEV006

Location: -119.7048, 34.47495

Seven Falls: The falls have sculpted a series of holes into the sandstone, creating some of the best front country swimming holes in Santa Barbara. Hoards of canyon tree frogs hunker in the alcoves and crevices around the swimming holes. Even in drought conditions, the upper pools are still full from the waterfalls that cascade into the smooth sandstone holes. When you're ready, retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Tunnel Trailhead Sign

Location: -119.7119021, 34.465311

©Chuck Graham

Tunnel Bridge

Location: -119.7072458, 34.4698221

Cross the bridge and continue up the road. ©Chuck Graham

Dry Season

Location: -119.7069776, 34.4727144

Rock-hop up the dry creekbed or take the trail on the left side of the creek to Seven Falls. ©Chuck Graham

Upper Falls

Location: -119.704746, 34.4749256

©Chuck Graham

Canyon Tree Frog Cluster

Location: -119.7046602, 34.4749167

You'll find clusters of canyon tree frogs in the sandstone crevices at Seven Falls. ©Chuck Graham

RAT001

Location: -119.6924104, 34.4577008

Past the entrance to Rattlesnake Wilderness Area in Skofield Park, hop on the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail. Rock-hop across the creekbed from left to right.

RAT002

Location: -119.6915591, 34.4589124

Bear left @ the Y-junction and head north toward the Santa Ynez Mountains, which come into view. The creek is now on the left as you rise above a canopy of sycamore, oak and California bay trees.

RAT003

Location: -119.6902228, 34.4631039

Bear left @ the Y-junction and continue through a grove of rock rose. Rattlesnake is the only canyon in Santa Barbara's frontcountry that possesses a healthy stand of this native California plant. When it blooms in the spring, it has a pretty pink flower.

RAT004

Location: -119.689576, 34.4636394

Bear left @ the Y-junction and rock-hop across the creekbed. Hug the large sandstone wall on the right for about 50 steps until the path crosses the creek.

RAT005

Location: -119.6885435, 34.4641161

After rock-hopping across the creek, bear right and climb above it. Hike through a small pine grove and pass a sandstone boulder field covered with colorful lichen. From here, the trail switchbacks several times, ascending above the creek and into a shady oak grove. The trail then descends back into the creek and along a series of tranquil pools.

RAT006

Location: -119.6882391, 34.4746092

After the pools, the trail ascends out of the creek. Go straight through the middle of the meadow, heading east. This is a good place to spot wildlife and, in the spring, wildflowers.

RAT007

Location: -119.6871278, 34.475257

After entering another oak tree grove, follow the rusty sign marked "Gibraltar" and begin the ascent over the steepest portion of the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail. Follow the switchbacks above the canyon. Pass sandstone formations on the left, which are popular climbing routes.

RAT008

Location: -119.6813679, 34.4740765

At the top of the trail, Gibraltar Road leads to the Santa Ynez Ridge. Bear right, dipping south. The road's shoulder has a launching pad for hang gliders and paragliders. When the winds are right during the fall, winter and spring, this is the best place in Santa Barbara County to watch the action. When finished, retrace steps back to the Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead.

Rattlesnake Trailhead

Location: -119.6923113, 34.4576857

©Chuck Graham

Rattlesnake Canyon Trail

Location: -119.6899509, 34.4632853

Hug the sandstone face to your right before crossing the creek. ©Chuck Graham

Rock Rose

Location: -119.6892428, 34.4640107

Rattlesnake Canyon possesses a healthy stand of rock rose, a California native plant. ©Chuck Graham

Rattlesnake Canyon oak grove

Location: -119.6863461, 34.4759781

There are several cool, shady oak tree groves in Rattlesnake Canyon. ©Chuck Graham

Rattlesnake Canyon

Location: -119.6812284, 34.4740765

The top of Rattlesnake Canyon is a good place to watch rock climbers, hang gliders, and paragliders. ©Chuck Graham

CAS001

Location: -110.727203, 43.784767

Head south from String Lake parking area.

CAS002

Location: -110.727669, 43.783733

At the String Lake Trailhead, turn right (heading southwest) and cross the wooden bridge between String and Jenny lakes.

CAS003

Location: -110.730686, 43.78166

Bear left @ Y-junction, heading south. Ahead, the dirt-packed, pine needle trail traces the edge of the sparkling Jenny Lake.

CAS004

Location: -110.74472, 43.768831

Turn right @ 3-way junction and head west on a horse trail (a quieter, lesser-used trail). Optional side trip: Continue straight @ 3-way junction for a 1-mile detour to Hidden Falls. Ahead, the path ascends through old lodgepole pine forest with scrubby underbrush.

CAS005

Location: -110.754365, 43.767026

Continue straight @ 3-way junction. Wind through an area where big glacial erratics line the trail on each side.

CAS006

Location: -110.759636, 43.764019

Maneuver and scramble around a cave formed by big boulders. Ahead: Cross a slide area next to the creek and pass through a boulder field (on the right). The sandy trail reenters the forest.

CAS007

Location: -110.776924, 43.76281

Hike past two giant glacial erratics; the serene, slow-moving creek flows by on the left. The trail weaves through pine forest and aspen groves; the gushing sounds of Cascade Creek can be heard as you hike.

CAS008

Location: -110.803703, 43.7645

Before heading back into the forest, take in the five-star views down canyon of towering, rugged mountains that flank each side of the trail. Next, continue heading west through trees draped in old man's beard (lichen); occasional views of the Tetons appear on the left through the trees.

CAS009

Location: -110.81686, 43.764493

Turn right @ Y-junction onto North Fork Cascade Canyon Trail (leave North Fork Cascade Canyon behind you). In the next mile, you'll cross a small wooden bridge with peek-a-boo views of the mountains and hike through fields of red bush. Watch for squeaking pikas and marmots.

CAS010

Location: -110.825401, 43.775742

Enter the North Fork Cascade Camping Zone. The trail continues to head north-northwest, paralleling Cascade Creek.

CAS011

Location: -110.830786, 43.784046

Turn right and leave the trail to reach a campsite in North Fork Cascade Camping Zone.

CAS012

Location: -110.830254, 43.784851

Set up camp near Cascade Creek and spend the night in the Tetons. Next day: Return to Waypoint 11 and turn left. Retrace your steps to the trailhead.

Cascade Canyon

Location: -110.802784, 43.764524

Towering Peaks

Location: -110.825143, 43.775618

CAS001

Location: -110.727272, 43.784771

Head south from the parking area to reach the String Lake Trailhead.

CAS002

Location: -110.727554, 43.784107

At the String Lake Trailhead, turn right (heading southwest) and cross the wooden bridge between String and Jenny lakes.

CAS003

Location: -110.730682, 43.781891

Bear right @ Y-junction toward Paintbrush Canyon. Cut through a wooded area with a spicy pine scent, then cross a grassy area next to String Lake. Ahead, the trail curves north across open hillsides dotted with boulders, sage, and scrub. Wind through a small aspen grove before crossing a creek and starting the steady ascent into the canyon.

CAS004

Location: -110.738335, 43.796135

Bear left @ Y-junction, heading toward Paintbrush Canyon. The ascent continues along a well-maintained, dirt singletrack covered with pine needles; it's rocky in spots.

CAS005

Location: -110.747864, 43.804249

A rocky slide area borders the trail on the left. Glacial erratics (good for bouldering) flank the trail. Look for quartz veins in the granite rock.

CAS006

Location: -110.764214, 43.802448

You'll see a small waterfall on the right, as you hike along this now-rocky trail.
As you turn the corner, incredible views of an unnamed lake are revealed on the left. The forest opens as the trail enters Lower Paintbrush Camping Zone; hike over a stream (good water source) via a wooden bridge with views of the valley straight ahead. The trail also crosses a moraine field scattered with giant boulders (look for the waterfall that plunges down another rock slide on the left).

CAS007

Location: -110.782356, 43.795166

Outlier Campsite: This campsite offers stunning views down the valley and up to jagged peaks; filter water in the stream that runs across the trail. Next, continue up steep switchbacks and follow rocky trail through an area littered with boulders and rock debris to a spot resembling a couloir (towering rock walls rise on 3 sides).

CAS008

Location: -110.791016, 43.788502

Turn right @ Y-junction, and head toward Holly Lake and Paintbrush Canyon Trail; cool breezes waft up the canyon. Follow dirt-packed trail up hillside with rocky gully on right, then hike through another rubble field (you may need to add extra layers; it can get breezy here). After passing through Wooded Horse Campsite, cut across open fields with short scrub and grass.

CAS009

Location: -110.8106, 43.793098

Turn hard left @ 4-way junction and begin a steady climb out of Holly Lake area on dirt-packed trail. Pass through open fields dotted with clumps of pines, boulders, and rock ledges. Ahead, the path transitions to pebbly, yellowish-orange granite stone as you traverse a scree field.

CAS010

Location: -110.815956, 43.794781

Carefully follow a narrow goat trail across a loose scree field. Thick, diagonal bands of quartz can be seen in the mountains on the left. Put on an extra layer just before reaching the top of Paintbrush Divide; there's no shelter on the ridge.

CAS011

Location: -110.817085, 43.794418

Traverse Paintbrush Divide, an exposed, treeless, and rocky ridge. Snow fields can cover the slopes on the right even in summertime and fall. In several hundred feet, you'll come to an old wooden sign marking the intersection of Paintbrush and Cascade canyons. Before you drop down the ridge, take in breathtaking views of the Tetons to the south. As you begin the descent into Cascade Canyon, Lake Solitude (a jade-colored glacial lake) can be seen in the cirque below. Descend boulders and rocky hillside on a scree trail.

CAS012

Location: -110.842186, 43.793984

Turn left toward Jenny Lake @ T-junction. In several hundred yards, turn right for a 0.1-mile detour to a rocky point on Lake Solitude-you'll get great shots of the Tetons and the lake. Next, turn left and follow the trail alongside the lake until it reconnects with North Fork Cascade Trail and enters a wooded area.

CAS013

Location: -110.840263, 43.791115

Enter North Fork Cascade Camping Zone. Pass quiet, spaced-out campsites (some with great views of the Tetons) on either side of the trail. You'll find more open campsites further down the trail.

CAS014

Location: -110.830872, 43.784077

Turn left to access a campsite in North Fork Cascade Camping Zone, or continue southeast on the trail (you'll hear the stream as you hike).

CAS015

Location: -110.830254, 43.784851

Set up camp near Cascade Creek and spend the night in the Tetons. Next day: Return to Waypoint 14 and turn right. Retrace your steps to the trailhead.

Scree Fields

Location: -110.816431, 43.794982

©Kari Bodnarchuk

Descent into Cascade Canyon

Location: -110.816753, 43.794084

©Kari Bodnarchuk

Lake Solitude

Location: -110.842663, 43.792705

©Kari Bodnarchuk

CAS001

Location: -110.727269, 43.78477

Head south from the parking area to reach the String Lake Trailhead.

CAS002

Location: -110.727553, 43.784108

At the String Lake Trailhead, turn right (heading southwest) and cross the wooden bridge between String and Jenny lakes.

CAS003

Location: -110.730729, 43.781722

Bear right @ Y-junction toward Paintbrush Canyon. Cut through a wooded area with a spicy pine scent, then cross a grassy area next to String Lake. Ahead, the trail curves north across open hillsides dotted with boulders, sage, and scrub. Wind through a small aspen grove before crossing a creek and starting the steady ascent into the canyon.

CAS004

Location: -110.738335, 43.796135

Bear left @ Y-junction, heading toward Paintbrush Canyon. The ascent continues along a well-maintained, dirt singletrack covered with pine needles; it's rocky in spots.

CAS005

Location: -110.747864, 43.804249

A rocky slide area borders the trail on the left. Glacial erratics (good for bouldering) flank the trail. Look for quartz veins in the granite rock.

CAS006

Location: -110.764214, 43.802448

You'll see a small waterfall on the right, as you hike along this now-rocky trail.
As you turn the corner, incredible views of an unnamed lake are revealed on the left. The forest opens as the trail enters Lower Paintbrush Camping Zone; hike over a stream (good water source) via a wooden bridge with views of the valley straight ahead. The trail also crosses a moraine field scattered with giant boulders (look for the waterfall that plunges down another rock slide on the left).

CAS007

Location: -110.782356, 43.795168

Outlier Campsite: This campsite offers stunning views down the valley and up to jagged peaks; filter water in the stream that runs across the trail. Next, continue up steep switchbacks and follow rocky trail through an area littered with boulders and rock debris to a spot resembling a couloir (towering rock walls rise on 3 sides).

CAS008

Location: -110.791016, 43.788502

Turn right @ Y-junction, and head toward Holly Lake and Paintbrush Canyon Trail; cool breezes waft up the canyon. Follow dirt-packed trail up hillside with rocky gully on right, then hike through another rubble field (you may need to add extra layers; it can get breezy here). After passing through Wooded Horse Campsite, cut across open fields with short scrub and grass.

CAS009

Location: -110.8106, 43.793098

Turn hard left @ 4-way junction and begin a steady climb out of Holly Lake area on dirt-packed trail. Pass through open fields dotted with clumps of pines, boulders, and rock ledges. Ahead, the path transitions to pebbly, yellowish-orange granite stone as you traverse a scree field.

CAS010

Location: -110.815959, 43.794781

Carefully follow a narrow goat trail across a loose scree field. Thick, diagonal bands of quartz can be seen in the mountains on the left. Put on an extra layer just before reaching the top of Paintbrush Divide; there's no shelter on the ridge.

CAS011

Location: -110.817085, 43.794418

Traverse Paintbrush Divide, an exposed, treeless, and rocky ridge. Snow fields can cover the slopes on the right even in summertime and fall. In several hundred feet, you'll come to an old wooden sign marking the intersection of Paintbrush and Cascade canyons. Before you drop down the ridge, take in breathtaking views of the Tetons to the south. As you begin the descent into Cascade Canyon, Lake Solitude (a jade-colored glacial lake) can be seen in the cirque below. Descend boulders and rocky hillside on a scree trail.

CAS012

Location: -110.842186, 43.793984

Turn left toward Jenny Lake @ T-junction. In several hundred yards, turn right for a 0.1-mile detour to a rocky point on Lake Solitude--you'll get great shots of the Tetons and the lake. Next, turn left and follow the trail alongside the lake until it reconnects with North Fork Cascade Canyon Trail and enters a wooded area.

CAS013

Location: -110.840263, 43.791115

North Fork Cascade Camping Zone: Pass quiet, spaced-out campsites (some with great views of the Tetons) on either side of the trail. You'll find more open campsites further down the trail.

CAS014

Location: -110.830872, 43.784077

Turn left to access a campsite in North Fork Cascade Camping Zone, or continue southeast on the trail (you'll hear the stream as you hike).

CAS015

Location: -110.830254, 43.784851

Campsite: Set up camp near Cascade Creek.

CAS016

Location: -110.825287, 43.775734

Leave the North Fork Cascade Camping Zone, and continue on pebbly trail, heading southeast through fields of red bush. Watch for squeaking pikas and marmots. Ahead, cross a small wooden bridge with peek-a-boo views of mountains.

CAS017

Location: -110.816903, 43.764462

Turn hard left @ T-junction onto Cascade Canyon Trail (leave North Fork Cascade Canyon behind you). The sandy trail parallels the stream as you cut through forest of lodgepole pines and Douglas firs; trees are draped in old man's beard (lichen); occasional views of the Tetons appear on the right through the trees.

CAS018

Location: -110.803703, 43.7645

The trail emerges from the forest, revealing views down canyon of towering, rugged mountains that flank each side of the trail. Cut through an open aspen grove and then weave in and out of pine forest and aspen groves; the gushing sounds of Cascade Creek can be heard as you hike.

CAS019

Location: -110.776848, 43.762699

Hike past two giant glacial erratics; the serene, slow-moving creek flows by on the right. The sandy trail soon emerges from the forest and passes through a boulder field (on the left); cross a slide area next to the creek.

CAS020

Location: -110.759582, 43.763966

Maneuver and scramble around a cave formed by big boulders and then wind through an area where giant glacial erratics line the trail on each side.

CAS021

Location: -110.754616, 43.766968

Turn left @ Y-junction onto a horse trail (a quieter, lesser-used trail). The dirt-packed, pine needle trail ascends briefly before descending through an old lodgepole pine forest with scrubby underbrush. Grab your camera: Views of Jenny Lake appear as you descend and pass through fields of shoulder-high bushes and giant lodgepole pines.

CAS022

Location: -110.744865, 43.768951

Turn left @ T-junction toward String Lake Parking Area. Follow dirt-packed, pine needle trail along the sparkling Jenny Lake. In 1.3 miles, continue straight @ 3-way junction (Waypoint 3) to return to the trailhead and parking area. Optional side trip: Turn right @ T-junction for a 1-mile detour to Hidden Falls.

Cascade Canyon

Location: -110.803084, 43.764462

©Kari Bodnarchuk

Scree Fields

Location: -110.816463, 43.795036

©Kari Bodnarchuk

Descent into Cascade Canyon

Location: -110.816796, 43.794115

©Kari Bodnarchuk

Lake Solitude

Location: -110.842609, 43.792659

©Kari Bodnarchuk

Towering Peaks

Location: -110.824799, 43.775153

©Kari Bodnarchuk

ROC001

Location: -119.5906962, 34.4528913

From the Romero Canyon Trailhead, hike northeast under a sycamore-tree canopy. While the trailhead sign warns about mountain lions, sightings are uncommon.

ROC002

Location: -119.5925431, 34.456891

Reach a dry creek and bear right, heading east through a beautiful oak tree grove.

ROC003

Location: -119.5908278, 34.4579181

Rock-hop across the creek, then
turn right and merge onto the fire road. Head south-southwest.

ROC004

Location: -119.5843851, 34.4527823

After switching back several times to views of the coast, you'll come to the lookout with the best views of Channel Islands National Park and the city of Santa Barbara.

ROC005

Location: -119.5935794, 34.4724362

Bear right at the 3-way trail junction and continue up the Blue Canyon Trail's steep singletrack.

ROC006

Location: -119.5890514, 34.4754905

Reach Santa Ynez Ridge, which offers views of Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Barbara backcountry. Watch for mule deer and other wildlife. When finished with the scenery, retrace steps back to the 3-way trail junction.

ROC007

Location: -119.5891877, 34.4754189

Bear right at the 3-way junction. Take the singletrack south-southwest into a gorgeous riparian corridor. Over the next 1.5 mile, descend 300 feet.

ROC008

Location: -119.5934399, 34.4724698

Reach a creek crossing with a small waterfall and a small swimming hole. Bear right off the trail to access the water. After cooling off, follow the singletrack through a shady oak woodland habitat.

ROC009

Location: -119.5908317, 34.4674985

Rock-hop across the creek, then bear right to continue south back to waypoint 3 and then the trailhead.

Lower Romero oak grove

Location: -119.5922756, 34.4575265

After crossing the dry creekbed, head east into this oak tree grove. ©Chuck Graham

Romero View

Location: -119.5833492, 34.4539171

This lookout is always worth a gander because it has great views of the city and the islands. ©Chuck Graham

Snowcapped backcountry

Location: -119.5890141, 34.475359

This is the snow-capped backcountry of the Los Padres National Forest from Santa Ynez Ridge. ©Chuck Graham

Romero Canyon Creek

Location: -119.5901299, 34.4688491

A year-round stream flows down Romero Canyon. ©Chuck Graham

COS001

Location: -119.6530344, 34.4559303

From the Cold Springs Trailhead, hike northeast on the sandstone path through a grove of oak and sycamore trees.

COS002

Location: -119.6541108, 34.458783

Bear left at the West Fork Trail sign. Cross the creek and continue on the West Fork Trail.

COS003

Location: -119.6583438, 34.4647802

Turn right at the Santa Barbara Land Trust sign. Descend into a dry creekbed using the roots of a California Bay Tree to climb up an embankment. Proceed on the trail to the left of the creek. Look for banana slugs on the trail.

COS004

Location: -119.6585545, 34.4657606

Bear right at the fork. Follow the trail as it meanders alongside and across the creek. The final crossing puts the creek on the right side of the trail. Several shallow pools have ladybugs, canyon tree frogs and two-striped garter snakes. In the spring, look for tiger lilies. Yuccas grow in the sandstone cracks in early summer.

COS005

Location: -119.6591699, 34.4699902

Tangerine Falls cascades down a sandstone cliff for 250 feet into a shallow pool. Scramble up either side of the falls for terrific views of Santa Cruz Island. When finished marveling, retrace steps back to the Cold Springs Trailhead.

West Fork

Location: -119.6540093, 34.4587827

©Chuck Graham

Banana slug

Location: -119.658376, 34.465196

Watch for canyon tree frogs, rough-skinned newts and banana slugs on the trail. ©Chuck Graham

Ladybug Cluster

Location: -119.6585155, 34.4664786

The west fork of Cold Springs harbors many critters like these clusters of ladybugs. ©Chuck Graham

Tangerine Falls

Location: -119.6593201, 34.4696364

This is Santa Barbara County's tallest frontcountry waterfall. ©Chuck Graham

GTR001

Location: -112.08355, 36.05341

Head north from the South Kaibab Trailhead (port-a-potties are available here). From May to mid-October, fill water bottles at the spigot near the bus stop. Caution: There are no other water sources along the South Kaibab Trail.

GTR002

Location: -112.087067, 36.06147

Pass the first viewpoint, which reveals views of countless buttes to the east. If possible, time this stretch with the sunrise. Next, the trail snakes down the canyon on a multitude of switchbacks (supported by metal rebar and pipes). The switchbacks and well-maintained, paved trail make this potentially steep descent less difficult. As you descend, you'll get an up-close view of the canyon's various layers.

GTR003

Location: -112.089485, 36.064053

Head north along Cedar Ridge, a wide ridge that resembles a plateau (stunning bird's-eye views of the canyon). There are established composting toilets here.

GTR004

Location: -112.088699, 36.07172

As the trail winds to the east behind O'Neill Butte, you'll catch more views of the canyon below.

GTR005

Location: -112.089996, 36.081291

Pass Skeleton Point, which offers the first views and sounds of the Colorado River. Look down to the east to see the numerous switchbacks ahead.

GTR006

Location: -112.086372, 36.085461

Look up towards the north-northwest and you can see Natural Arch at the top of the butte.

GTR007

Location: -112.088905, 36.090065

The trail travels across The Tipoff (there is a phone here that could be used in an emergency). Start marveling at all the buttes and points that surround you in every direction. Continue straight on the South Kaibab Trail at the next two intersections with Tonto West Trail, and Tonto East Trail. The metal stalls in the middle are used to tie up mules on their way up and down the rim.

GTR008

Location: -112.091133, 36.095207

Hike past an overlook with views of the Colorado River. Ahead, the dirt trail turns a reddish color, which stains shoes and socks.

GTR009

Location: -112.086647, 36.096249

First views of Black Bridge, a suspension bridge over the Colorado River. Look down on the series of switchbacks to come.

GTR010

Location: -112.087913, 36.09742

Soak up views of the Colorado River and surrounding canyons from this trailside overlook. The Colorado River becomes louder as you descend to the suspension bridge.

GTR011

Location: -112.087189, 36.098747

The Bright Angel Campground (north side of the Colorado River) comes into view for the first time.

GTR012

Location: -112.088867, 36.099342

Stay right @ Y-intersection on the South Kaibab Trail (toward Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground). River Trail enters on the left.

GTR013

Location: -112.089066, 36.100433

Walk across Black Bridge. To the west, you can see the Silver Bridge, as well as Bright Angel Campground. Below, whitewater rafters and kayakers take breaks on the beach next to the Colorado River.

GTR014

Location: -112.093971, 36.099842

Continue straight (west) at the 3-way intersection. Potable water and a bathroom are located here.

GTR015

Location: -112.095749, 36.104137

Trail passes through Phantom Ranch. Refreshments are available at the general store. You can also find potable water (seasonal) and bathrooms. Look across Bright Angel Creek to the west for the Trans-Canyon Telephone Line, a nationally registered Historic Place.
Also, potable water and bathrooms are available.

Find the North Kaibab Trail just past Phantom Ranch.

Take notice of the Trans-Canyon Telephone Line, nationally registered as a Historic Place, across the Bright Angel Creek to the West.

GTR016

Location: -112.091629, 36.110634

Continue straight on the North Kaibab Trail @ 3-way intersection. Clear Creek Trail enters on the right.

The trail now starts to travel through the Bright Angel Canyon.

GTR017

Location: -112.088203, 36.113331

Cross a footbridge across the Bright Angel Creek. This will be a first of a series of bridges that crisscross the creek.

Start to notice the enclosed feeling of the Bright Angel Canyon as the trail gradually rolls through the canyon.

GTR018

Location: -112.086769, 36.115189

Cross Bright Angel Creek on footbridge. This is a good area to filter water; drop your packs, refill water bottles, and relax on the shores of this small rushing creek.

GTR019

Location: -112.075974, 36.130684

Cross footbridge over Bright Angel Creek.

GTR020

Location: -112.073463, 36.133266

Cross creek on footbridge.

GTR021

Location: -112.066383, 36.140682

Follow the boardwalk through a grassy, marsh. This is the last of the bridge crossings.

GTR022

Location: -112.053535, 36.156731

Look northwest for views of Ribbon Falls. Pass the side trail to Ribbon Falls in roughly 300 yards.

GTR023

Location: -112.052177, 36.158909

Continue straight @ 3-way intersection. The trail to Ribbon Falls veers to the left.

GTR024

Location: -112.041405, 36.169842

Cottonwood Campground: Bathrooms, potable water (seasonal), emergency phone and ranger station are available here. Continue heading northeast.

GTR025

Location: -112.031876, 36.184891

Cross a bridge over Bright Angel Creek. Pass the Pumphouse Residence; potable water is available here seasonally.

GTR026

Location: -112.033958, 36.192539

Roaring Springs can be seen to the north. Optional: Turn right @ 3-way junction onto the 0.5-mile spur trail to Roaring Springs for views of water pouring out of the cliff wall and cascading down to Bright Angel Creek. Ahead: Catch the first views of the North Rim as the trail leaves behind Bright Angel Canyon and travels up Roaring Springs Canyon.

GTR027

Location: -112.04657, 36.207184

Cross a bridge over Roaring Springs. To the north, you may be able to spot the Supai Tunnel and the North Rim.

GTR028

Location: -112.049347, 36.211212

Walk through the Supai Tunnel, a 20-foot-long hole in the rock wall. Potable water (seasonal) and restrooms are available here.

GTR029

Location: -112.053062, 36.215408

The San Francisco Peaks rise dramatically to the south behind the flat-topped canyon. Switchback ascent continues.

GTR030

Location: -112.056679, 36.21693

The hike ends at the top of the North Rim (the trailhead to North Kaibab Trail). Pick up your shuttle car.

Grand Canyon and the Colorado River

Location: -112.088829, 36.093361

Views looking north after The Tipoff. ©Trung Q. Le

South Kaibab Trail

Location: -112.085053, 36.058781

Descending the South Rim via switchbacks on the South Kaibab Trail. ©Trung Q. Le

South Rim

Location: -112.083264, 36.05338

©Trung Q. Le

O'Neill Butte

Location: -112.086426, 36.060547

Trail leading down to Cedar Ridge and O'Neill Butte. ©Trung Q. Le

Views from Cedar Ridge

Location: -112.090332, 36.066063

Views to the east from Cedar Ridge. ©Trung Q. Le

View from Skeleton Point

Location: -112.089645, 36.081257

The switchbacks from Skeleton Point to the canyon floor. ©Trung Q. Le

Natural Arch

Location: -112.08625, 36.085213

©Trung Q. Le

The Tipoff

Location: -112.090248, 36.091732

©Trung Q. Le

Black Suspension Bridge

Location: -112.086525, 36.096249

View of the Colorado River and Black Bridge. ©Trung Q. Le

Black Suspension Bridge

Location: -112.089066, 36.099689

©Trung Q. Le

Bright Angel Canyon

Location: -112.085976, 36.114513

Gradually travel through the canyon, as it slowly encloses around you. ©Trung Q. Le

Bright Angel Canyon

Location: -112.076515, 36.128655

©Trung Q. Le

Roaring Springs Canyon

Location: -112.043556, 36.201965

Notice the many different layers of the North Rim. ©Trung Q. Le

San Francisco Peaks

Location: -112.049026, 36.211178

Looking south from the Supai Tunnel. ©Trung Q. Le

Supai Tunnel

Location: -112.049713, 36.211422

©Trung Q. Le

Views from the North Rim

Location: -112.056511, 36.216217

Looking south from the North Rim. ©Trung Q. Le

Views from the North Rim

Location: -112.056473, 36.216961

Looking south from the North Rim. ©Trung Q. Le

North Rim

Location: -112.056213, 36.216942

©Trung Q. Le

CLR001

Location: -119.4678116, 37.825489

At the Sunrise Trailhead, hike south on a paved path. No water is available at the trailhead except Tenaya Lake.

CLR002

Location: -119.4680023, 37.8244324

Bear R @ Y-junction. Continue on the shady, worn trail that is lined with large granite boulders. Spur option: Turn left and walk 400 feet through trees to picturesque Tenaya Lake.

CLR003

Location: -119.4620514, 37.8063774

During the next mile, climb 1,000 feet up switchbacks with granite steps and cobblestones.

CLR004

Location: -119.4584579, 37.8007202

Bear R @ Y-junction. The first major climb is now over. Leave the Sunrise Trail and follow the trail sign to Clouds Rest. From here, the trail loses about 300 feet of that hard-fought elevation.

CLR005

Location: -119.4636459, 37.7835312

Cross a small creek. (It runs yearlong, representing a possible water source). The trail from here climbs for a short distance through an evergreen forest.

CLR006

Location: -119.4692459, 37.7773056

Bear R @ 3-way junction. The trail gradually ascends for a bit then takes a moderate climb to the ridge. Here, the trail is very wide and the growth between trees sparse. During the ascent, look west to see the backside of Cloud's Rest.

CLR007

Location: -119.4878616, 37.7698631

Bear R @ the trail marker and head up the rocky path. Veer L onto the narrow ridge leading to the summit. After the first crest, the summit of Clouds Rest is in view. Continue on the narrow trail 500 feet to the top.

CLR008

Location: -119.4893217, 37.7678991

Reach the Clouds Rest summit (9,926 feet). Enjoy 360-degree views of Yosemite, including Half Dome, North Dome, Sentinel Dome, El Capitan, Glacier Point, Cathedral Rocks, Pinnacles, Vogelsang, Tenaya Lake, Olmstead Point, Fletcher Peak, Cathedral Peak, and Unicorn Point. Retrace steps back to Tenaya Lake and the Sunrise Trailhead.

Half Dome and the Valley

Location: -119.4891586, 37.768364

©Dave Miller

Tenaya Lake

Location: -119.4676924, 37.825277

©Dave Miller

Trailhead

Location: -119.4683609, 37.8257217

Sunrise Trailhead. ©Dave Miller

Granite Trail

Location: -119.459281, 37.8027991

©Dave Miller

Trailmarker

Location: -119.4595261, 37.8006859

©Dave Miller

Tarn

Location: -119.461937, 37.789608

©Dave Miller

Burned Tree

Location: -119.4636688, 37.7852364

©Dave Miller

Ominous

Location: -119.4684372, 37.7799454

©Dave Miller

Junction

Location: -119.4693222, 37.7763443

©Dave Miller

Northern View

Location: -119.4761505, 37.777668

©Dave Miller

Wide Trail

Location: -119.4790421, 37.7766457

©Dave Miller

Lightning Tree

Location: -119.4810028, 37.7748375

©Dave Miller

View from the top

Location: -119.4861889, 37.7716307

©Dave Miller

Summit in Sight

Location: -119.4878311, 37.7710075

©Dave Miller

Almost There

Location: -119.4882813, 37.7704773

©Dave Miller

Narrow Trail

Location: -119.4886398, 37.768837

©Dave Miller

Happy Hikers

Location: -119.4894257, 37.7679901

©Dave Miller

EDL001

Location: -117.6644325, 37.1149178

Hike north from S. Eureka Road. Make sure to turn around for views of the 700-foot Eureka Dunes, the highest dunes in California and some of the tallest in the U.S.

EDL002

Location: -117.6716757, 37.139167

Take a moment to stop and look around at this overlook, which showcases the dunes below and the snowy Inyo Range. Continue north-northwest through the narrow valley between the foothills.

EDL003

Location: -117.6782539, 37.1514633

After climbing another 400 feet, rest at this open, flat area between two 4,000-foot foothills. Continue north through the canyon, following the wash. The canyon walls are a few hundred feet higher than the wash.

EDL004

Location: -117.6719435, 37.1721031

Bear left at an intersection between two canyon washes. Continue three-quarters of a mile over gravel, passing beautifully colored canyon walls before reaching another fork in the canyon.

EDL005

Location: -117.6748443, 37.1857649

Bear left at the second fork in the canyon. Once the canyon opens, continue northwest to Big Pine Road.

EDL006

Location: -117.680448, 37.1925223

Follow Big Pine Road to the left and continue westward to Crater Mine.

EDL007

Location: -117.6909214, 37.2117204

After bearing left onto Big Pine Road, turn right and continue north past the mining area.

EDL008

Location: -117.6841736, 37.2202135

Camp off the dirt road on a flat area near the pass. Pick a spot with protection because this area can get very cold and windy. From camp, follow the dirt road until it dead ends into the mountains. A mineshaft is at the end of the road. Route-finding will be necessary for the remaining stretch to Last Chance Mountain (there is no trail and the terrain is extremely rugged).

EDL010

Location: -117.6814071, 37.2589589

Scramble up a steep, dirt slope to the first saddle in Last Chance Range. From the saddle, hike the ridgeline over 4 unnamed peaks to Last Chance Mountain. Head northwest to the first peak (7,853 feet). Go north-northwest to the second peak (7,978 feet). Continue northwest to the third peak (8,250 feet). Then, head due north and turn east, skirting the ridgeline around the fourth peak (8,211 feet). Hike north, then northwest along the ridge to the summit of Last Chance Mountain (8,456 feet).

EDL011

Location: -117.6998083, 37.2801412

Last Chance Mountain (8,456 ft.): Savor views from the trip's high point, then turn around and follow the same route back to Eureka Dunes.

Eureka Dunes

Location: -117.6608276, 37.114336

©Roger Homrich

Crater Mine

Location: -117.6899242, 37.2116695

©Roger Homrich

DUN001

Location: -117.706275, 37.3331429

From Willow Creek Road, head south into the Last Chance Range. In the next 4.5 miles, you'll hike over 6 unnamed peaks before cresting 8,456-foot Last Chance Mountain.

DUN002

Location: -117.7061248, 37.3166256

Crest a 7,242-foot peak. Ahead, the route curves to the south, then the southeast to the second summit.

DUN003

Location: -117.7022195, 37.3064199

Crest a 7,526-foot peak, then descend to a saddle.

DUN004

Location: -117.7003312, 37.3052251

Turn right on the saddle, heading southwest.

DUN005

Location: -117.7042043, 37.2957348

Summit a 7,735-foot peak, then continue heading south.

DUN006

Location: -117.7042258, 37.287131

Crest a broad ridge and bear left, heading southeast over a 8,361-foot summit.

DUN007

Location: -117.7028954, 37.2866701

Hike across a 8,361-foot peak, then follow the ridgeline east. Ahead, follow the ridge as it curves to the south and drops to a saddle below Last Chance Mountain. From the saddle, continue south to the summit of Last Chance Mountain.

DUN008

Location: -117.6998806, 37.2802337

Summit 8,456-foot Last Chance Mountain, the highest point along this route. Next, follow the ridgetop over 4 more unnamed peaks. After cresting the 4th summit, you'll descend a steep, dirt slope to a saddle.

DUN009

Location: -117.6917052, 37.2779458

From this saddle, head south. The route skirts the summit of an 8,211-foot peak.

DUN010

Location: -117.6910937, 37.2712866

Crest a 8,250-foot peak. From here, briefly head east, then follow the ridgeline to the south to a 7,978-foot peak.

DUN011

Location: -117.6876605, 37.2677348

Summit a 7,978-foot peak. Ahead: Head southeast, then follow the ridgetop as it curves to the south toward another summit.

DUN012

Location: -117.6856863, 37.2611772

From the 7,853-foot summit, head south, then east to a small saddle.

DUN013

Location: -117.6815557, 37.2589571

From the saddle, descend the drainage to the south, which leads to a mineshaft located at the end of a dirt road. From here, follow the dirt road 2.2 miles to a flat area and set up camp. Tip: Pick a spot with protection because this area can get very cold and windy.

DUN014

Location: -117.6841583, 37.220192

From your campsite, follow the dirt road to the southwest to Crater Mine.

DUN015

Location: -117.690918, 37.2117195

Pass Crater Mine. Turn left onto Big Pine Road and follow it for 2 miles.

DUN016

Location: -117.6804829, 37.1924931

Turn right and leave the road. Head southeast into the canyon. Cache spot.

DUN017

Location: -117.6748428, 37.1857643

Continue southeast at the fork in the canyon. Ahead: Hike over gravel, passing beautifully colored canyon walls before reaching another fork in the canyon.

DUN018

Location: -117.6719437, 37.1721039

Continue straight at the second fork in the canyon, heading south through the wash. The canyon walls are a few hundred feet higher than the wash.

DUN019

Location: -117.6784229, 37.1514237

This open, flat area between two 4,000-foot foothills is a good place to rest. When you're ready, descend south-southeast through the narrow valley between the foothills.

DUN020

Location: -117.6718998, 37.1391088

Take a moment to stop and look around at this panoramic point, which showcases the dunes below and the snowy Inyo Range. Continue south-southeast for 1.6 miles to a camping spot north of the Eureka Dunes.

DUN021

Location: -117.6647034, 37.116684

Campsite: Camp on the alluvial material to the north of the dune's peak. From this area, campers have great views of the valley and Inyo Range as well as unforgettable sunsets and sunrises. There is also a primitive camp in the area. No water or protection is available at this spot. Next, head south to Eureka Dunes.

DUN022

Location: -117.6625872, 37.1009882

Eureka Dunes are almost 700 feet tall, the highest dunes in California and some of the tallest in the U.S. Walking on the dunes or along their base is slow and tedious because the sand is so soft. Turn around at this point and retrace your route back to Waypoint 1.

Eureka Dunes

Location: -117.6620293, 37.1008855

©Roger Homrich

Last Chance

Location: -117.6988721, 37.2821288

©Roger Homrich

Crater Mine

Location: -117.6907182, 37.2117036

©Roger Homrich

RLA001

Location: -105.2829172, 39.9988153

Chautauqua Trail Trailhead: Head southwest up the wide trail on a steady climbing grade. Boulder's iconic Flatirons frame the foothill landscape in front of you, while behind you the town itself stretches out into the plains.

RLA002

Location: -105.2862887, 39.9956715

Turn left @ 3-way junction onto the Bluebell Mesa Trail. Continue hiking around the ridge with fantastic views of Boulder and the plains stretching out to the east.

RLA003

Location: -105.2842449, 39.9955708

Bear right @ Y-junction. The trail to the left can also be used to synch up with the Bluebell Shelter at Waypoint 5.

RLA004

Location: -105.2876459, 39.9926118

Follow the trail as it cuts to the left.

RLA005

Location: -105.2873603, 39.991087

Bluebell Shelter: Restrooms are available at the shelter. From here, continue west on the signed Royal Arch trail (it's about 0.9 mile to the summit from here). Ahead, the trail continues through a mix of deciduous and conifer forest, and winds along 2 wooden boardwalks.

RLA006

Location: -105.2886263, 39.9893033

Continue straight @ 3-way on the Royal Arch Trail. From here, the trail picks up a steep, 0.7-mile climb up rugged boulder steps to Royal Arch. There's a brief respite from this climb at Waypoint 7. The route backtracks here on the return trip and bears left heading towards the 2nd and 3rd Flatirons.

RLA007

Location: -105.2914868, 39.9844821

Take a break from the climb amidst a collection of giant boulders perched over views of the Front Range. From here, the trail continues down a short-but-steep rock scramble, before leveling out and then beginning a steep climb to Royal Arch.

RLA008

Location: -105.2915579, 39.9818617

The hike tops out at a magnificent rock arch, which frames views of the Front Range and surrounding plains. Look back the way you came for another excellent view of the Flatirons. Explore the area a bit to find more astonishing overlooks, but use caution scrambling amongst the rocks. From here, descend back down to Waypoint 6 and bear left at that Y-junction.

RLA009

Location: -105.2903362, 39.9895869

The trail encounters a modest-sized boulder often used by local climbers for bouldering. The route is a bit misleading here: Hug the right side of the boulder, and climb up a series of rock steps to continue.

RLA010

Location: -105.2905548, 39.9894903

Continue straight @ 3-way junction bypassing the access trail to the second Flatiron.

RLA011

Location: -105.289376, 39.991713

Continue straight @ 4-way junction.

RAL012

Location: -105.289259, 39.992779

Continue straight @ 4-way junction on the Chautaqua Trail. From here, continue a leisurely, even-footed descent back to the trailhead and Ranger Cottage.

Through the Arch

Location: -105.2916048, 39.9818391

© Mark Harrison

Chautauqua Ranger Cottage

Location: -105.2826168, 39.9988153

© Mark Harrison

Into the Woods

Location: -105.2876848, 39.9924679

Chautauqua offers visitors a taste of deciduous forest foliage at the foot of the Rockies. © Mark Harrison

Boardwalk

Location: -105.2881019, 39.9910089

A pair of wooden boardwalks keep hikers off an erosion sensitive stretch of the trail. © Mark Harrison

Get to Steppin'

Location: -105.2912468, 39.9858755

The boulder-staircase climb up to Royal Arch. © Mark Harrison

Royal Arch

Location: -105.2916102, 39.9820467

© Mark Harrison

Through the Scree

Location: -105.2900371, 39.9895006

© Mark Harrison

Chalk Rock

Location: -105.2903335, 39.9895848

The trail hugs the far (right) side of this rock, continuing up a set of rock steps. © Mark Harrison

Flatiron Access

Location: -105.2905507, 39.9894821

A side trail offers climbers access to the second Flatiron. © Mark Harrison

Flatiron from Below

Location: -105.2910094, 39.9895232

The base of the second Flatiron. © Mark Harrison

A Second Scree

Location: -105.29008, 39.9906514

The trail traverses another scree field on the return trip, offering up views of Boulder and the plains through a break in the trees. © Mark Harrison

Chautauqua Trail

Location: -105.2870625, 39.9948023

© Mark Harrison

Boulder Views

Location: -105.2858824, 39.9964215

© Mark Harrison

DVN079a

Location: -117.454834, 37.01088

From Racetrack Valley Road, head north into Valley Wash. Turn around for views of Ubehebe Crater to the south.

DVN080

Location: -117.465362, 37.056736

Enter Death Valley Wash. From here, bear left and follow the wash northwest for about 3.5 miles. The low-lying hills to the west will start to flatten out. At this point, look for a faint intersection where a faded mining road cuts through the wash.

DVN081

Location: -117.495064, 37.091427

Turn left at the intersection between the mining road and the wash. Then climb west for about 3.5 miles toward a notch in the mountains. Though the road leads to the notch for a short distance, it soon turns away from the mountains. Once the notch is in sight, keep climbing towards it and hike off-road. This stretch gains about 1,200 feet.

DVN082

Location: -117.556038, 37.083118

Reach an unnamed notch in the mountains. It looks very similar to the mouth of a canyon, but after walking through a narrow gorge, the route leads to a large, open area. Continue due west.

DVN083

Location: -117.565636, 37.08078

End of Day 1: Just past the narrow notch in the mountains, a wide slope offers a few flat areas to camp (it can get really windy here). No water is available. This is a very private area in Last Chance Range that is rarely, if ever, visited. From camp, hike southwest and gain a quick 1,000 feet over undulating terrain en route to the second notch in the mountains.

DVN084

Location: -117.586395, 37.064171

After climbing up to a very obvious gap in the mountains, continue southwest along the wash. Switchbacking may be necessary to avoid debris.

DVN085

Location: -117.591553, 37.05838

The wash splits at this point. Continue south along the left-hand wash toward a saddle, gaining about 800 feet.

DVN086

Location: -117.594063, 37.042618

After passing the ruins of an old, abandoned mine, summit a saddle. The rocks in this area are extremely colorful. Continue due south to a higher saddle.

DVN087

Location: -117.591499, 37.034462

Reach the second saddle, which showcases Joshua trees, and red, purple, and orange rocks. From here, descend south-southwest down a steeply graded wash. Follow the wash as it curves west and then west-northwest down to Dedeckera Canyon.

DVN088

Location: -117.62503, 37.036713

Enter Dedeckera Canyon. Huge walls of reticulated stone tower above the gravel-covered canyon floor. Descend 2 miles north through the canyon. At the canyon mouth, find views of Eureka Valley, the Inyo Range and Eureka Dunes.

DVN089

Location: -117.639587, 37.058041

Cache

DVN090

Location: -117.662285, 37.101055

Eureka Dunes are almost 700 feet tall, the highest dunes in California and some of the tallest in the U.S. Walking on the dunes or along their base is slow and tedious because the sand is so soft.

DVN091

Location: -117.664703, 37.116684

End of Day 2: Camp on the alluvial material to the north of the dune's peak. From this area, campers have great views of the valley and Inyo Range as well as unforgettable sunsets and sunrises. There is also a primitive camp in the area. No water or protection is available at this spot. From camp, hike north, gaining 400 feet, to a stellar view of Eureka Dunes and the foothills of Last Chance Mountain.

DVN092

Location: -117.671677, 37.139168

Take a moment to stop and look around at this panoramic point, which showcases the dunes below and the snowy Inyo Range. Continue north-northwest through the narrow valley between the foothills.

DVN093

Location: -117.678276, 37.15144

After climbing another 400 feet, rest at this open, flat area between two 4,000-foot foothills. Continue north through the canyon, following the wash. The canyon walls are a few hundred feet higher than the wash.

DVN094

Location: -117.671944, 37.172104

Bear left at an intersection between two canyon washes. Continue three-quarters of a mile over gravel, passing beautifully colored canyon walls before reaching another fork in the canyon.

DVN095

Location: -117.674843, 37.185764

Bear left at the second fork in the canyon. Once the canyon opens, continue northwest to Big Pine Road.

DVN096

Location: -117.68045, 37.192524

Follow Big Pine Road to the left and continue westward to Crater Mine. Cache spot.

DVN097

Location: -117.690918, 37.21172

After bearing left onto Big Pine Road, turn right and continue north past the mining area.

DVN098

Location: -117.684158, 37.220192

End of Day 3: Camp off the dirt road on a flat area near the pass. Pick a spot with protection because this area can get very cold and windy. From camp, follow the dirt road until it dead ends into the mountains. A mineshaft is at the end of the road. Route-finding will be necessary during the next 12 miles because there is no trail and the terrain is extremely rugged.

DVN099

Location: -117.681404, 37.258961

Scramble up a steep, dirt slope to the first saddle in Last Chance Range. From the saddle, hike the ridgeline over 4 unnamed peaks to Last Chance Mountain. Head northwest to the first peak (7,853 feet). Go north-northwest to the second peak (7,978 feet). Continue northwest to the third peak (8,250 feet). Then, head due north and turn east, skirting the ridgeline around the fourth peak (8,211 feet). Hike north, then northwest along the ridge to the summit of Last Chance Mountain (8,456 feet).

DVN100

Location: -117.699806, 37.28014

Summit Last Chance Mountain (8,456 feet), the highest point on the 14-day trip. From Last Chance, hike over 6 more unnamed peaks. Continue north-northwest to the first (8,361 feet) of the six. Then head west to a saddle between the 8,361-foot peak and the second peak (8,338 feet). From the saddle, go north to a 7,735-foot mountain. After reaching the summit, continue north and bear east along the edge of a 7,376-foot mountain. Continue north-northeast to a 7,526-foot peak before turning northwest along a ridge down to a 7,242-foot mountain. From here, descend north to Willow Creek Road.

DVN101

Location: -117.706062, 37.333218

Bear right on Willow Creek Road and follow it for 2 miles to Cucomungo Canyon and the Nevada Border. Pass through the surrounding hills with the mountains high above. Mining prospects are scattered among the hillsides. Last Chance Mountains will be to the south. In the distance, the Sylvania Mountains spread across the landscape to the north, east, and west.

DVN102

Location: -117.680916, 37.353035

Pass the unmarked Nevada Border. End of Day 14 and the thru-hike of Death Valley National Park. It is recommended that thru-hikers get picked up from this spot instead of leaving a car here.

Creosote

Location: -117.464874, 37.053669

©Roger Homrich

Thru-hiker Roger Homrich

Location: -117.623406, 37.036681

©Roger Homrich

Eureka Dunes

Location: -117.663917, 37.098455

©Roger Homrich

Crater Mine

Location: -117.689323, 37.211738

©Roger Homrich

Last Chance

Location: -117.698853, 37.281769

©Roger Homrich

Nevada Border

Location: -117.680225, 37.353034

©Roger Homrich

DVN035

Location: -117.1465607, 36.6066933

This section hike starts at Stovepipe Wells Campground, the only designated camping spot along this route. A sign notifies travelers that they are at sea level. Fires are permitted here. There is also a general store, gas station and a motel with $4 showers. The ranger station is next to the general store. From Stovepipe Wells Campground, head northwest towards a major alluvial fan and Marble Canyon, about 8 miles away. Both features are very noticeable. Walk through a low dune and then climb the fan, using the washes as routes into the canyon's mouth.

DVN036

Location: -117.2727814, 36.6436043

Enter the wide mouth of Marble Canyon on a 4WD road. Petroglyphs can be found at the entrance of the canyon.

DVN037

Location: -117.2955399, 36.6320534

Marble Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon merge here. Continue west, following Marble Canyon as it narrows. Cottonwood Canyon heads southwest.

DVN038

Location: -117.3304901, 36.6187782

The 4WD road ends here. A barricade indicates that jeeps cannot travel any further through the canyon. Continue southwest through Marble Canyon.

DVN039

Location: -117.33564, 36.6072311

Make a short detour around a massive boulder that is wedged in a narrow gap. Climb up and to the right to bypass it.

DVN040

Location: -117.3504639, 36.6099319

Reach a fork in the canyon and bear left. Continue southwest for 2.5 miles through a series of stunning, water-carved narrows to Deadhorse Junction.

DVN041

Location: -117.3719635, 36.5830307

Marble Canyon and Deadhorse Canyon intersect at an open, flat area. Deadhorse heads south and appears much more prominent. Stay in Marble Canyon and proceed west through a narrow cut.

DVN042

Location: -117.3731842, 36.5828285

End of Day 1: Pick a high shelf along the right side of the canyon. Be sure to check for loose rocks above the dark marble walls. From camp, head west further up the narrow canyon.

DVN043

Location: -117.3859863, 36.5870705

Reach the first of three canyon junctions. At this point, the canyon area widens. Proceed climbing west. Do not head north up the side canyon.

DVN044

Location: -117.4005508, 36.5861168

Second canyon junction. Follow the fork to the northwest. Do not head up the side canyons to the west or north here.

DVN045

Location: -117.4202271, 36.5922279

At the third canyon junction, follow the western fork.

DVN046

Location: -117.4212494, 36.5922775

Climb up the large rock slabs of a small, dry waterfall.

DVN047

Location: -117.4250412, 36.5936127

At the cluster of Joshua trees, continue west. Do not follow the side canyon to the north. The correct route climbs northwest. It curves through a narrow, rocky gorge and then bends down to the southwest, intersecting with Harris Canyon.

DVN048

Location: -117.4385223, 36.5973549

Continue west-southwest at the junction with Harris Canyon, which heads south. This area is thick with vegetation.

DVN049

Location: -117.4479218, 36.5984268

The ruins of Goldbelt Mine, a few rusted trucks, and dilapidated structures mark the end of the canyon. A dump truck indicates the location of Goldbelt Spring. Check in advance to see if it is flowing. From here, follow the mining road northwest to an intersection with a sign designating that Quakenbush Mine is ahead.

DVN050

Location: -117.4505539, 36.6008911

Follow the road north-northwest past the open pits and trusses at Quackenbush Mine.

DVN051

Location: -117.4550095, 36.6131325

Take a right on the 4WD road and hike to the north. Drop through a field of Joshua trees with stunning views of Sand Flat and the surrounding mountains. The road travels northeast for a while, and then abruptly bends east before making a U-turn. Continue northeast at the bend, leaving the road for shallow washes. Head towards the diagonally striped mountains ahead and the entrance of Sand Flat.

DVN052

Location: -117.4428406, 36.6336937

Cache

DVN053

Location: -117.4393845, 36.6420479

Two converging mounds are bisected by a wash, marking the entrance to the ancient lakebed. Walking toward the bottom of this dry lake, high ground quickly surrounds hikers. Hug the western edge of the flat and walk north towards the rounded point ahead.

DVN054

Location: -117.4360275, 36.6670303

Bend to the northwest after skirting the base of the mountain to the left.

DVN055

Location: -117.4454803, 36.6733055

A prominent foot sticks out of the mountain to the south, head southwest and climb up a steep and taxing grade. After reaching the top of the foot, continue west-southwest to a large, flat area.

DVN056

Location: -117.4558868, 36.668705

From the flat area, proceed northwest to a minor saddle.

DVN057

Location: -117.4704971, 36.6778755

Reach a minor saddle with great views of Hidden Valley. Follow a steep wash to the northwest down towards the valley. The wash soon bends to the west and releases hikers onto the valley floor.

DVN058

Location: -117.480484, 36.6786537

Enter Hidden Valley, a large but intimate area with a reticulated mud floor and shrubs. Two very large, dark mounds sit prominently northwest of this point. Head across the valley towards them, favoring the mound to the south.

DVN059

Location: -117.5016861, 36.6858063

End of Day 2: At the base of the southern mound, pick one of the many flat areas with views of this secret valley. No water sources are available. From camp, head west and climb up a few hundred feet to a visible saddle.

DVN060

Location: -117.5102692, 36.6867981

After reaching the top of the saddle, hike northwest from this open area down towards a narrowing gorge. Do not follow it northwest once it begins to constrict. Instead, bend to the southwest towards a rocky overlook.

DVN061

Location: -117.5266495, 36.6920204

This rocky overlook offers views of the Racetrack (a 3-mile-long, 1-mile-wide playa), Ubehebe Peak, and the rest of the valley. The Grandstand rises up like a granite island from the playa surface. Head south and descend from the overlook on a very steep slope that narrows into a rock wash constricted by boulders and a few dry falls. Follow the wash as it turns west and puts hikers on the border of the hard, cracked playa surface. Skirting the base of the mountains you just descended, head south-southwest toward the southern end of the playa.

DVN062

Location: -117.5513916, 36.6739006

Explore Sliding Rock, one of the mysterious moving boulders of the Racetrack. Then proceed southwest toward the next prominent boulder.

DVN063

Location: -117.5558777, 36.6709671

After checking out another boulder, turn back to the north-northwest and walk toward the Grandstand. Hike for 2 miles across the hard playa.

DVN064

Location: -117.5664597, 36.6930313

Pass the Grandstand, a very large cluster of granite that protrudes a hundred feet or more from the playa floor. From here, continue north to an intersection with Racetrack Road, a rutted, dirt jeep path.

DVN065

Location: -117.570137, 36.7473946

Cross Racetrack Road and continue north to a pass. The route will curve northwest as the pass narrows.

DVN066

Location: -117.5689545, 36.7498322

Cache

DVN067

Location: -117.5750885, 36.7645416

From the pass, hike northwest across an open, flat area until the space between the mountains narrows again. Follow a faint mining road that skirts the eastern hills and proceeds in a northeasterly direction as it drops down from the hills. The road makes an abrupt turn to the west as it lowers hikers down to a wash.

DVN068

Location: -117.5814209, 36.7756157

Head north-northeast into a broad, sloping wash. Hike up the wash toward a large canyon opening in the mountains ahead that becomes visible shortly after beginning the climb.

DVN069

Location: -117.5707321, 36.8087769

End of Day 3: Near the opening of the canyon, the alluvial fan has flat shelves that offer places to camp. Be sure to camp high in case of a flood. From camp, proceed north to the canyon opening.

DVN070

Location: -117.5680237, 36.8177681

Enter a narrow canyon with very steep, 6,000-foot walls. Follow the canyon north-northeast for a little over 2 miles.

DVN071

Location: -117.553421, 36.8456535

At the large, open area, the canyon constricts to the north and a side canyon appears to the east. Walk in that direction up a narrow, dry, creek bed. The small creek eventually disappears as it climbs up onto an open plateau.

DVN072

Location: -117.5384216, 36.8453522

Stop at a large, open plateau with views of Tin Mountain to the east. After taking in the scenery, head north to a saddle that overlooks a large, dry lake.

DVN073

Location: -117.5387192, 36.84972

Reach a saddle with great views of the largest of the Virginia Dry Lakes. Descend to the north and enter the dusty lake at its southwest corner. Proceed to its northeast corner between a dark, rocky gap. Then hike west-northwest to the second dry lake.

DVN074

Location: -117.5257416, 36.8631325

The second dry lake is smaller, but just as beautiful as the first. From here, walk toward a flat saddle covered in large boulders.

DVN075

Location: -117.5238495, 36.8677216

After making it to a flat saddle, hike north down a very steep wash until reaching a wash that bends to the right.

DVN076

Location: -117.5197525, 36.8863525

From here, the wash curves to the right and joins with Racetrack Valley Road. Proceed north to the southern base of the rock mound. Follow its eastern base and then hike along the road.

DVN077

Location: -117.4973297, 36.9112358

After hitting the road, follow it north until the black soil of the Ubehebe Crater becomes visible.

DVN078

Location: -117.4667664, 36.9851494

End of Day 4: Park rules require that backpackers camp 2 miles from Ubehebe Crater. From camp, hike northwest for about 1.5 miles over rutted washes and black soil toward Ubehebe Crater. Stay high on the contours to avoid the deep washes. Skirt around Little Hebe Crater and approach the southwest rim of Ubehebe Crater.

DVN079

Location: -117.4547577, 37.0080795

Ubehebe Crater: This 500-foot deep, half-mile wide crater was formed when magma heated the water table to the point where it exploded and covered the area in volcanic cinders. Descend into it or walk the long way around its rim. From the crater, head north to Racetrack Valley Road.

DVN079a

Location: -117.4547482, 37.0116344

Section hike ends at Racetrack Valley Road.

Joshua Field

Location: -117.422905, 36.5938911

©Roger Homrich

Sand Flat

Location: -117.4417038, 36.6379128

©Roger Homrich

Hidden Valley

Location: -117.4919128, 36.6817741

©Roger Homrich

Stone

Location: -117.5485611, 36.6758538

©Roger Homrich

Racetrack

Location: -117.5643539, 36.6810837

©Roger Homrich

Cactus

Location: -117.5696716, 36.8136826

©Roger Homrich

Ubehebe

Location: -117.4549627, 37.0100923

©Roger Homrich

DVN001

Location: -116.364006, 35.6477127

From Harry Wade Road, cross over the dried-out Amargosa River and hike north for 2.7 miles through low-lying hills. Prepare to move slowly across the sandy terrain.

DVN002

Location: -116.3703613, 35.6832657

Pass the Ibex Dunes, then hike north 5 miles through sandy terrain, passing dunes and rugged hills. Between the dunes and Ibex Spring, you'll gain 800 feet of elevation on a long, low-grade slope. The first 600 feet of climbing are soft and sandy; the remaining 200 feet are much rockier.

DVN003

Location: -116.4106216, 35.770771

Pass Ibex Spring and follow an old mining road west through a narrow gap in the hills. (The gap reveals a large broad wash flanked by the rugged Black and Ibex hills). Drop down about 300 feet into the wash, and then climb about 700 feet up and across Buckwheat Wash. Head through rocky and rutted terrain toward the large, white stains on the hills, which are remnants of an 1800s mine.

DVN004

Location: -116.4542999, 35.8015175

End of Day 1: Set up camp in Buckwheat Wash at the abandoned mine (look for the large pile of talc at the base of the Talc Hills). The next day, leave camp and hike north along a rutted wash with hard-packed terrain. Stay along the base of the mountains to the west.

DVN005

Location: -116.444046, 35.8500786

Reach Hanging Rock, a massive, oblong boulder protruding 12 feet out of the side of sediment walls. Hike north through tall channels of water-carved sediment.

DVN006

Location: -116.4417877, 35.8640518

The channel narrows, revealing a thin, private slot canyon with 100-foot walls, warm colors, and a sandy bottom. Continue hiking through the canyon and be aware of flash floods.

DVN007

Location: -116.4399567, 35.8662529

Bear left through the canyon. Turning right will lead to a dead end.

DVN008

Location: -116.4369736, 35.8695679

Exit through the wide mouth of the canyon. Continue east in the channel, heading toward American Mine.

DVN009

Location: -116.4272766, 35.8716583

Pass a 10-foot, rocky waterfall on the left. Climb out of the channel and reach a very faded mining road. The American Mine is on a hill to the east.

DVN010

Location: -116.4268265, 35.8713989

Optional side trip: Hike up to American Mine to explore this hidden mining camp and a wooden homestead built into the mountain. Bottles, cans, and metal debris cover the area. When finished, retrace steps back to the old mining road.

DVN011

Location: -116.4272766, 35.8717575

Continue northwest, following the faded road.

DVN012

Location: -116.4273834, 35.8725319

Walk across the wash (the first of three that have destroyed the already faded road).

DVN013

Location: -116.4264679, 35.874897

Second wash crossing.

DVN014

Location: -116.4269257, 35.8785934

Third wash crossing. Follow the road and begin climbing toward the pass that's 650 feet away.

DVN015

Location: -116.4265366, 35.8807869

Reach a mountain pass with views of 11,049-foot Telescope Peak, the highest peak in Death Valley. Follow the road until it intersects with I-178, then bear right onto the highway and walk up Salsberry Pass.

DVN016

Location: -116.4425888, 35.9141426

Hike along the shoulder of I-278/Jubilee Pass Road toward Salsberry Pass.

DVN017

Location: -116.4275436, 35.9260216

Salsberry Pass may not be the day's highpoint, but what it lacks in elevation it makes up for in scenery. Pastel rocks and wildflowers are prominent features here. The expanse of Greenwater Valley stretches out to the north; Calico Peaks are to the left, including Salsberry Peak.

DVN018

Location: -116.4247971, 35.9279556

Cache

DVN019

Location: -116.4171448, 35.9451675

Turn left off I-178 and walk toward the large monolith, entering Greenwater Valley. The monolith is visibly distinct from the surrounding terrain and offers high-lying flat spots to camp.

DVN020

Location: -116.4413681, 35.982769

End of Day 2: Camp on a high, flat spot to avoid flash floods. From Day 2's camp, head northwest across the alluvial contours of the Calico Peaks until a large mound isolated from the low hills becomes visible. Continue northwest and skirt its northern base. Then proceed west-southwest into an increasingly narrow section in the hills. Follow a small wash up the hills to the low pass about 1,000 feet above base of the Calico Peaks.

DVN021

Location: -116.5638199, 36.0342255

Scramble up boulders and scree to an unnamed, low pass with vast views of Greenwater Valley and Gold Valley. From the pass, hike west down a broad slope into a narrow cut in the mountains.

DVN022

Location: -116.6158676, 36.0196342

Cache

DVN023

Location: -116.5798874, 36.033287

Reach Lost Section Road, another old mining route. Follow it southwest through a narrow cut in the mountains and into Gold Valley.

DVN024

Location: -116.6228104, 36.0215645

Bear right at the fork in the road and head north, entering Gold Valley.

DVN025

Location: -116.6329117, 36.0391846

Bear right at the second fork in the road and head north. When the short cliff of sediment along the right edge of the road reaches head height, hike northwest toward Sheep Saddle.

DVN026

Location: -116.6413574, 36.072731

Climb up the short but steep route to Sheep Saddle and enjoy views of Telescope to the left. After taking in the scenery, hike northwest into Sheep Canyon. Watch your footing as it is a 700-foot descent on loose talus from here to the canyon floor. Once the hard and smooth canyon floor is reached, head west. Climb along the right wall of the canyon, navigating around a series of three 30-foot, dry waterfalls. From there, continue west down the canyon.

DVN027

Location: -116.6767426, 36.0799255

End of Day 3: Pick a flat shelf at the bottom of the canyon, just past the side canyon that joins Sheep Canyon. The walls are high and steep. This spot is very secluded and the view of the night sky past the rock walls is unforgettable. From Day 4's camp, hike west through an open, flat area of Sheep Canyon. After exiting the canyon and hiking down the alluvial material, walk out onto the salt pan.

DVN028

Location: -116.7351151, 36.090435

Cache

DVN029

Location: -116.8582306, 36.1435585

After hiking northwest for 8 miles from Badwater Road (a few hundred feet below the sea) over flat and salty terrain, turn right and walk north along West Side Highway. This is a seldom-traveled dirt road with a few unreliable springs: Shorty's Grave and Bennett's Last Stand.

DVN030

Location: -116.940361, 36.3069649

End of Day 4: This is also a cache site. Park rules dictate backpackers must camp 2 miles away from West Side Road. Though this route cuts across alluvial material to Day 4's camping spot, turning left off West Side Road onto Trail Canyon Road makes for an easier route. The next day, leave camp and walk down a rutted, 4WD road until it intersects with West Side Road.

DVN031

Location: -116.8889313, 36.3213425

Head north on West Side Road. The Panamint Mountains are to the left; Amargosas to the right. Continue through Middle Basin, which looks like a small, frozen lake.

DVN032

Location: -116.9241486, 36.4290276

Reach Corduroy Cross, an old settler's crossing. From here, walk toward the transmission lines to the north that run from Furnace Creek to Stovepipe Wells. Follow the telephone lines as they bend northwest toward the base of Tucki Mountain.

DVN033

Location: -116.9936066, 36.5101128

End of Day 5: Camp at a flat spot on the eastern base of Tucki Mountain, near Cottonball Marsh. The marsh is a shallow pool of salty water with polygonal salt formations beneath it. Begin Day 6. From camp, hike north-northwest over alluvial material. Detour around small washes, losing the transmission lines in the meantime. Climb more than 600 feet up a steep grade to I-178.

DVN034

Location: -117.0831299, 36.6104622

Head towards two large mounds near the road. Cross I-178 and walk towards the dunes to the west. After checking out the dunes, rejoin the road and follow it to Stovepipe Wells Campground.

DVN035

Location: -117.1465836, 36.6067581

End of Day 6: Reach Stovepipe Wells Campground, the only designated camping spot on this thru-hike. A sign notifies travelers that they are at sea level. Fires are permitted here. There is also a general store, gas station and a motel with $4 showers. The ranger station is next to the general store. From Stovepipe Wells Campground, head northwest towards a major alluvial fan and Marble Canyon, about 8 miles away. Both features are very noticeable. Walk through a low dune and then climb the fan, using the washes as routes into the canyon's mouth.

Ibex Hills

Location: -116.3891602, 35.7297935

Flowers

Location: -116.4449463, 35.8525352

Wildflower

Location: -116.4441757, 35.8617859

Salsberry

Location: -116.428215, 35.9272156

Gold Valley

Location: -116.622879, 36.0215454

Valley Floor

Location: -116.707077, 36.0828171

Salt Pan

Location: -116.8838882, 36.2383194

Trail Canyon

Location: -116.9207916, 36.3033676

Panamints

Location: -116.9092941, 36.3693275

Coyote

Location: -117.0054245, 36.5317078

Dunes

Location: -117.1094513, 36.6094649

ARP001

Location: -105.6342986, 39.9952174

From the Fourth of July Trailhead, hike northeast. In roughly 250 feet, the path swings northwest above North Fork Middle Boulder Creek. Although this trailhead is crowded in midsummer, the dirt access road leading to it (and nearby Buckingham Campground) may be undriveable into late May.

ARP002

Location: -105.637291, 39.9989243

Wilderness regulations are posted at the Indian Peaks Wilderness Boundary less than 0.5 mile from the trailhead.

ARP003

Location: -105.6437051, 40.0032513

Watch your footing on slick rocks as you cross this waterfall stream.

ARP004

Location: -105.6463015, 40.0041471

Turn right @ T-junction, following signs for Arapaho Pass.

ARP005

Location: -105.6503463, 40.0061441

This viewpoint offers a peek at Mount Neva's snow-streaked slopes, 2 miles due west. Continue hiking northwest.

ARP006

Location: -105.6585109, 40.0103763

Turn left @ Y-junction and continue climbing past scraggly treeline stands.

ARP007

Location: -105.6591761, 40.0106967

Leftover equipment at the inactive Fourth of July Mine make an interesting backdrop for a photo-op. Campsites are scattered around this area in the shadow of South Arapaho Peak. From here continue west up the trail as it transitions from hard pack to loose rock path.

ARP008

Location: -105.6780294, 40.0143144

Turn left @ Y-junction to continue 100 yards to the saddle of Arapaho Pass.

ARP009

Location: -105.6784744, 40.0146713

Arapaho Pass is 11,906 feet above sea level, but a manageable 1,800 feet above the trailhead. Meander to the north side of the ridge to look down on Caribou Lake (which is accessible via a switchback path to the northeast). Due west (just a bit up the trail) is Lake Dorothy. Keep an eye out for backcountry skiers taking runs off Mount Neva. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Views of Mount Neva

Location: -105.650239, 40.0061441

Look due west for the prominent 12,814-foot summit of Mount Neva. © Jenn Fields

Wilderness Boundary

Location: -105.6371713, 39.9989119

Indian Peaks Wilderness Boundary © Jenn Fields

Western Views

Location: -105.640626, 40.0019906

Breaks in the trees above the trailhead offer views of the Indian Peaks. © Jenn Fields

Waterfall

Location: -105.6435764, 40.0032513

Hikers crossing a waterfall stream on the Arapaho Pass trail. © Jenn Fields

Signs for Arapaho Pass

Location: -105.6462049, 40.0041471

The trail is well-marked: Follow the signs for Arapaho Pass. © Jenn Fields

Peak Views

Location: -105.6484258, 40.0054867

Summits near Arapaho Pass peek above the tree tops en route to the saddle. © Jenn Fields

Junction: Arapaho Glacier Trail

Location: -105.6584144, 40.0103434

Stay left at the trail junction, continuing toward Arapaho Glacier and South Arapaho Peak. © Jenn Fields

Fourth of July Mine

Location: -105.6590366, 40.010631

Hikers (with dog in tow) pose for photos at the abandoned Fourth of July Mine. © Jenn Fields

Below Arapaho Pass

Location: -105.6775975, 40.0142795

Looking uphill toward hikers lined up at the pass. © Jenn Fields

Caribou Lake

Location: -105.6784236, 40.0146369

A view of Caribou Lake nestled in a bowl just northwest of Arapaho Pass. © Jenn Fields

Southern View

Location: -105.6783861, 40.0146082

The flanks of Mount Neva loom above hikers on the saddle. © Jenn Fields

Northern Views

Location: -105.6784478, 40.0146739

Grassy hillsides continue climbing north-northwest from the pass. © Jenn Fields

DVN001

Location: -116.3640044, 35.6477125

From Harry Wade Road, cross over the dried-out Amargosa River and hike north for 2.7 miles through low-lying hills. Prepare to move slowly across the sandy terrain.

DVN002

Location: -116.3703593, 35.6832643

Pass the Ibex Dunes, then hike north 5 miles through sandy terrain, passing dunes and rugged hills. Between the dunes and Ibex Spring, you'll gain 800 feet of elevation on a long, low-grade slope. The first 600 feet of climbing are soft and sandy; the remaining 200 feet are much rockier.

DVN003

Location: -116.4106217, 35.7707717

Pass Ibex Spring and follow an old mining road west through a narrow gap in the hills. (The gap reveals a large broad wash flanked by the rugged Black and Ibex hills). Drop down about 300 feet into the wash, and then climb about 700 feet up and across Buckwheat Wash. Head through rocky and rutted terrain toward the large, white stains on the hills, which are remnants of an 1800s mine.

DVN004

Location: -116.4543915, 35.8014906

Set up camp in Buckwheat Wash (look for the large pile of talc at the base of the Talc Hills). Retrace steps back to Harry Wade Road in the morning.

Ibex Hills

Location: -116.3931942, 35.7349477

FLT001

Location: -77.3634872, 42.3490524

Walk northwest on Finger Lakes Trail and cross Knight Creek. Wide trail leads uphill through meadow of tall grasses.

FLT002

Location: -77.367847, 42.3511308

Trail cuts to the right (northwest), then continues ascent alongside a field; connect white blazes.

FLT003

Location: -77.3688583, 42.3519173

Turn left @ 4-way junction, then bear right into woods; leaf-covered trail winds beneath towering trees.

FLT004

Location: -77.3730774, 42.3513527

Leave shady forest for 0.1-mile jaunt through grassy corridor. The rolling hills break up the skyline.

FLT005

Location: -77.3737411, 42.3504944

Bear right to re-enter woods. Look between gaps in trees: the leaves frame views of verdant hills and valley.

FLT006

Location: -77.3749237, 42.3496208

Trail pops out of woods, overlooking a patchwork of fields. Next, continue southwest traverse of Brooks Hill.

FLT007

Location: -77.3785324, 42.3464775

Pass under powerline; continue south.

FLT008

Location: -77.3785477, 42.3453102

Turn right, tracing the edge of another field.

FLT009

Location: -77.3787689, 42.3435249

Turn right (west) and follow hedgerow.

FLT010

Location: -77.3823853, 42.3434715

Continue straight, heading west on the shoulder of Cochrane Road, a wide dirt road. The road descends ahead.

FLT011

Location: -77.3978653, 42.3465118

Trail curves to the west. Ahead, pass farm fields dotted with cows.

FLT012

Location: -77.3990707, 42.3465881

Turn around and return to the trailhead at the bridge over Campbell Creek.

Finger Lakes Trail Sign

Location: -77.3632979, 42.3490613

Finger Lakes Trail

Location: -77.3637486, 42.3507581

Rolling Hills

Location: -77.3677182, 42.3512418

Grassy Hills

Location: -77.3682761, 42.3514717

Woods Walk

Location: -77.369585, 42.351773

Grassy Trail

Location: -77.3728466, 42.3513766

Wooded Views

Location: -77.3735118, 42.3504886

Trail Views

Location: -77.3758936, 42.3486966

Countryside

Location: -77.3780823, 42.3452869

Rolling Fields

Location: -77.3788118, 42.3442402

Dirt Road

Location: -77.3870248, 42.3444424

Cows

Location: -77.3890579, 42.3462781

Farmhouse

Location: -77.3914021, 42.3463574

Roadwalk

Location: -77.397185, 42.3464803

RDH001

Location: -71.5910786, 41.1599266

This trailhead is the far west access point to Rodman's Hollow Nature Preserve along Cooneymus Road. A gate here can serve as a bike rack, but there is no designated car parking here. Parking is available at the Black Rock entrance to the Preserve further east. From here begin hiking south on Black Rock Road all the way down to the bluffs (Waypoint 3). In mid-to-late summer, keep an eye out for delicious blackberry bushes along the trail, but take care to wear high socks and check for ticks along the way.

RDH002

Location: -71.5911987, 41.1490617

Continue straight towards the bluffs at this 3-way crossroads junction.

RDH003

Location: -71.591742, 41.1476541

Reach the edge of the bluffs and turn left to hike east. Just ahead you'll turn up a road to an old cabin. After touring the beach, you'll return to this waypoint and continue west to walk along the top of the bluff.

RDH004

Location: -71.590933, 41.1477617

At this junction, bear left to continue on the road towards the old conservancy cabin. After touring this cabin, you'll return to this point and hike down the bluffs (a slight scramble) to walk east on the beach.

RDH005

Location: -71.5900898, 41.1488498

Turn right at this intersection onto Snake Hole Road. Just ahead, you'll turn right and hike the driveway of the old conservancy cabin.

RDH006

Location: -71.5900254, 41.1477794

Enjoy top-of-the-bluff views from the old conservancy cabin before backtracking to Waypoint 4. At that junction, continue straight to scramble down the bluffs.

RDH007

Location: -71.5915328, 41.1474481

At the bottom of the bluff, turn left to walk east along the beach.

RDH008

Location: -71.5851404, 41.1483243

When you've had your fill of the beach, U-turn back to the bluff and return to Waypoint 3. From there walk west along the top of the bluff to begin a counter-clockwise loop through the preserve.

RDH009

Location: -71.593869, 41.1472814

The trail comes to a top-of-the-bluff overlook with amazing views of the Atlantic. Soak it all in before continuing the loop back toward the junction with Black Rock Road at Waypoint 10.

RDH010

Location: -71.590813, 41.1501603

Turn left at 3-way junction and head north back to the trailhead and Cooneymus Road.

Atlantic Overlook

Location: -71.5936732, 41.147226

© Melissa Stolasz

Preserve Sign

Location: -71.5887594, 41.15982

© Melissa Stolasz

Gate

Location: -71.5911305, 41.1597715

A few feet in, there is a gate and a large rock to the right. © Melissa Stolasz

Trailhead

Location: -71.5912539, 41.1592828

© Melissa Stolasz

Blackberry Stash

Location: -71.5901059, 41.152667

In mid-to-late summer, keep an eye out along the trail for delicious blackberry caches, but watch for ticks. © Melissa Stolasz

Trail Split

Location: -71.5916991, 41.1476541

© Melissa Stolasz

The Cabin Driveway

Location: -71.5894729, 41.1483368

The old conservancy cabin in the distance. © Melissa Stolasz

Cabin View

Location: -71.5899879, 41.1476865

© Melissa Stolasz

Trail Intersection

Location: -71.5909052, 41.147743

The trail heading down the bluffs to the beach. © Melissa Stolasz

Down the Bluffs

Location: -71.5915275, 41.1473875

The climb down the bluff may require a bit of easy scrambling. © Melissa Stolasz

Beach Clay

Location: -71.5902293, 41.1473633

© Melissa Stolasz

Driftwood

Location: -71.5881962, 41.1480339

© Melissa Stolasz

Along the Beach

Location: -71.585412, 41.1482843

© Melissa Stolasz

MPR001

Location: -72.8473195, 44.5056976

Stevensville Road parking lot and trailhead: Begin walking due east on Stevensville Road, a rough fire road. The Frost/Butler Lodge Trail junction is about 0.2 mile up the road on the left at Waypoint 2.

MPR002

Location: -72.84428, 44.5060706

Turn off the road to the left and approach the junction of the Frost Trail and the Butler Lodge Trail. Continue straight on the Frost Trail at this junction. The hike returns via the Butler Lodge Trail (to the right). On the return trip keep an eye out for a spur trail to the right that leads up to a small post-hike swimming hole.

MPR003

Location: -72.8362101, 44.5159246

The trail reaches its first rock outcropping overlook. As the hike continues up the spine of Maple Ridge, there are numerous rock bald spots like this one that afford spectacular views of neighboring Green Mountain peaks.

MPR004

Location: -72.8321028, 44.5185871

Continue on the Maple Ridge Trail as it curves right. This trail junction offers access to Underhill State Park.

MPR005

Location: -72.8285214, 44.5190363

Continue straight on the Maple Ridge Trail heading towards the Forehead.

MPR006

Location: -72.8272426, 44.5194669

The Cut: Here, the trail scambles up a narrow rock shelf known as "The Cut." This spot is about as technical as this hike gets, but is very much a beginner-to-intermediate trail obstacle (which adventurous kids will eat up).

MPR007

Location: -72.8253973, 44.5198035

The Gap: The trail hops over a very narrow space between two stable rock ledges. This passage may look imposing at first but is actually very narrow and can almost be stepped across without jumping. Tip: A running start helps here.

MPR008

Location: -72.8221142, 44.5202625

Turn right onto the Wampahoofus Trail (named for a mythical yeti-like creature) and continue through a rock garden stretch of trail that will require a bit of down-scrambling. Optional detour: Continue 0.2 mile toward the Forehead. This side trip includes a bit more steep rock scrambling, with nothing highly technical between you and a broad rock overlook.

MPR009

Location: -72.8218311, 44.5199354

The trail snakes through a narrow (and stable) rock tunnel.

MPR010

Location: -72.8203869, 44.5164298

Continue straight on the Butler Lodge Trail.

MPR011

Location: -72.8203118, 44.5154812

Butler Lodge: Take a break at this primitive cabin shelter maintained by the Green Mountain Club. From here, the trail continues down the Butler Lodge Trail on a more gradual descent through dense forest back to Waypoint 2 and then the trailhead.

First Views

Location: -72.8360081, 44.5159249

Overlooks of the Champlain Valley and the Adirondacks are scattered along the spine of Maple Ridge. © Broudy/Donohue Photography

Underhill State Park Junction

Location: -72.8319311, 44.5185795

The Nose of Mount Mansfield pokes over the horizon. © Broudy/Donohue Photography

Upwards and Onwards

Location: -72.8284228, 44.5190614

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

The Cut

Location: -72.8271353, 44.5194592

Scrambling up The Cut. © Broudy/Donohue Photography

Scrambling Pup

Location: -72.8264192, 44.5199718

The Maple Ridge hike is a tough-but-doable ascent for agile dogs. © Broudy/Donohue Photography

The Gap

Location: -72.8252792, 44.5197882

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Wampahoofus Junction

Location: -72.8219962, 44.5202166

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Down Scramble Ahead

Location: -72.8218353, 44.5201171

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Rock Tunnel

Location: -72.8217494, 44.5199182

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Walking the Rock

Location: -72.8208375, 44.5172025

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Butler Lodge

Location: -72.8201938, 44.5154736

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

RST001

Location: -73.786981, 44.185411

Parking lot and railhead: Begin hiking west (following signs for Rooster Comb) over a swampy area on a plank-covered trail.

RST002

Location: -73.788946, 44.1858912

At the trail junction with the local school route, bear left, passing a bench and a small pond.

RST003

Location: -73.7942272, 44.1828541

Continue to the right towards Rooster Comb @ 3-way junction with the trail heading up to Snow Mountain. From here, the trail continues climbing with intermittent steep stretches up rock steps.

RST004

Location: -73.8039767, 44.1760399

Continue following the trail as it crosses through a stream.

RST005

Location: -73.8093925, 44.1725569

At the junction with the trail to Hedgehog Mountain and Snow Mountain, continue to the right for the remaining 0.5-mile climb up to Rooster Comb. From here to the summit, the grade levels off briefly before ticking up in steepness for another 650 feet of climbing.

The return trip can be made into a loop by bearing right here after summitting Rooster Comb and then continuing on the Sachs Trail back to Waypoint 3. Otherwise, after Rooster Comb, turn left to backtrack to the trailhead from here.

RST006

Location: -73.8087455, 44.1745518

Bear right @ 3-way junction to head 0.1 mile to a valley overlook. After the overlook, backtrack to this waypoint and bear right to hike another 0.3 mile to up to the Rooster Comb summit.

RST007

Location: -73.807965, 44.1757682

Keene Valley overlook: The far-reaching views across the valley to the town below offer a preview of the Adirondack vistas you'll see atop Rooster Comb. From here, backtrack to Waypoint 6 and bear right to continue the steep climb up to Rooster Comb.

RST008

Location: -73.8105727, 44.1730315

Here, the climbing goes completely vertical as the route scales a wooden ladder en route to the summit. Just past the ladder, cut right, then switchback left as the trail crosses left over the top of a slabby rock.

RST009

Location: -73.8116596, 44.172397

Rooster Comb: Soak in far-ranging views of the Adirondack High Peaks atop this rock outcropping summit. Look east to Snow Mountain and further east to Giant Mountain (the twelfth highest Adirondack peak). This is a good spot to break for lunch before backtracking to Waypoint 5. From there, bear left to return to the trailhead, or bear right to make a loop return to the trailhead.

Heading out

Location: -73.7870161, 44.1854796

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Trailside bench

Location: -73.7888575, 44.1858969

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Into the woods

Location: -73.7891901, 44.18572

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Snow Mountain Trail Junction

Location: -73.7942138, 44.1828541

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Root-wrapped rock

Location: -73.8014531, 44.177295

The trail passes by a gnarly root/rock formation: it almost has a modern art feel. © Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Snow/Hedgehog Junction

Location: -73.809367, 44.1725377

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Trail Detour

Location: -73.8088077, 44.1745288

© Berne Broudy

Keene Valley Overlook

Location: -73.8079789, 44.1757138

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Adirondack ladder

Location: -73.8106129, 44.1730552

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

View from Rooster Comb

Location: -73.8116468, 44.1724588

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Prayer Flags

Location: -73.8116495, 44.1724684

© Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

DSP001

Location: -85.6178436, 34.4989586

Trailhead for the red, orange, and blue-blazed loops: Head southwest from the wooden walkway at the Azalea Cascade Trail sign next to the parking lot in DeSoto State Park on Cherokee County Road 89. The DeSoto State Park map from the Country Store (free) is not to scale. This track hikes the red, blue, and orange trails in a counter-clockwise loop.

DSP002

Location: -85.6188126, 34.4982872

Turn right @ 3-way intersection off of the boardwalk and onto the a dirt path. This trail continues a short distance marked by red rectangular blazes.

DSP003

Location: -85.618782, 34.4989967

Turn left @ 4-way intersection, leaving the red trail and continuing on the orange-blazed trail. Various spur trails detour along the next mile or so, some of them leading to waterfall viewpoints.

DSP004

Location: -85.6210938, 34.497673

Turn right @ 3-way junction.

DSP005

Location: -85.6220716, 34.4976044

Turn right at a rock outcropping. Continue 25 yards and turn left @ 3-way junction with a closed trail. A sign to the right indicates an old trail to a campground. Just ahead the trail crosses a small seasonal stream.

DSP006

Location: -85.6245117, 34.4957237

Turn left @ 3-way junction to head towards Laurel Falls. Soak in the views before backtracking to this waypoint and turning left to continue hiking west.

DSP007

Location: -85.6276932, 34.496685

Turn left @ 3-way junction to continue on the orange-blazed trail. To the right, the silver-blazed trail heads to an RV campground.

DSP008

Location: -85.6314926, 34.4951096

Turn left @ 3-way junction for a 50-yard detour to Lost Falls. Enjoy the scenery before backtracking to this waypoint and turning left to continue on the orange trail.

DSP009

Location: -85.6319656, 34.4952087

Turn left @ 3-way junction. Start looking for and following the blue-blazed trail. Ahead the trail crosses Laurel Creek and then starts heading east back towards the trailhead.

DSP010

Location: -85.6318207, 34.4946976

Cross Laurel Creek and enjoy the view of Lost Falls from above. Look for and follow the blue blazes on trees after crossing Laurel Creek. Shortly ahead to the east, you'll turn left @ a 3-way to continue downhill on the blue trail back towards the trailhead.

DSP011

Location: -85.6260681, 34.4950485

Here the blue-blazed trail bears to the right (and does not cross Laurel Creek).

DSP012

Location: -85.621385, 34.4968528

Turn right @ 3-way junction, following the blue trail downstream. Do not cross the bridge over Laurel Creek.

DSP013

Location: -85.6195984, 34.4970131

Go straight (bearing slightly right) @ 3-way junction. Do not cross the creek onto the wooden boardwalk. A right on the boardwalk is a backtracking detour to the trailhead.

DSP014

Location: -85.6177597, 34.4982033

Turn left and cross a small wooden bridge right before County Road 89. The parking lot should be in sight.

DSP015

Location: -85.6177826, 34.4988708

Back at the parking, you can call it a day, or begin the yellow and green trail loop. Cross CR 89/DeSoto Parkway, and head downhill 100 feet. Turn left on a gravel driveway and head towards the wooden fence.

DSP016

Location: -85.617363, 34.4986954

Turn right in front of the wooden fence and follow signs towards Indian Falls. Continue about 100 feet and turn left @ a 3-way to follow the wooden fence downstream for another 100 feet.

DSP017

Location: -85.6168137, 34.4985962

Turn right @ T intersection and cross the wooden foot bridge (at the top of Indian Falls) From here, start following the yellow blazes down the river.

DSP018

Location: -85.6167603, 34.4982796

Continue straight @ 3-way intersection (not left) and go another 20 feet and turn left at another 3-way intersection. Head downhill and follow the yellow blazes. The left turn at this first junction takes you to the base of Indian Falls.

DSP019

Location: -85.6163406, 34.4952888

Bear left @ 3-way junction to continue along the river bank going downstream. Ahead you'll continue left at another 3-way to parallel the river and cross a wooden footbridge shortly thereafter.

DSP020

Location: -85.6133118, 34.4923134

Bear left again at @ 3-way junction to continue paralleling the river downstream. Shortly ahead the trail navigates up a tricky section, briefly scaling the river bank over roots and rocks.

DSP021

Location: -85.6119919, 34.4921619

Come to a spot in the trail marked by several big rocks and turn right to head up a steep stretch of switchbacking trail that snakes between huge boulders in spots and has a cliff-like feel.

DSP022

Location: -85.6100929, 34.4913572

At the top of the climb turn right and then another immediate right. Look for and follow the green rectangular blazes of the green trail that skirts contour lines near the top of the canyon.

Just ahead turn right @ the 4-way intersection and continue following the green blazes all the way back to the intersection with the yellow-blazed trail near Indian Falls. Along the way, various side trails descend down to the river and cabins in the woods.

DSP023

Location: -85.6125283, 34.4910388

Turn right @ 3-way junction, and continue downhill, turning right at a second 3-way split in about 20 feet. Continue following the green blazes to stay on the right track.

DSP024

Location: -85.6133118, 34.4915199

Turn right @ 3-way junction and then left at the 3-way junction right after. From here out, various side trails spur off the green trail (down to the river or to cabins); look for and follow the green blazes to continue back towards Indian Falls. Remember to follow the green blazes and you'll end up back at Indian Falls.

DSP025

Location: -85.6164093, 34.4941139

Cross a small stream and turn left @ 3-way junction. There is a huge gall on a tree to the right immediately after this left turn. Ahead, look for a small waterfall on the side of the trail.

DSP026

Location: -85.6168823, 34.4968414

Bear left @ 3-way as the trail skirts a cluster of cabins.

DSP027

Location: -85.6164474, 34.4978905

The trail ducks right behind a cabin through a rocky and sandy area and then back into the woods. Ahead you'll continue straight at a 3-way and (shortly after) cross back over the Indian Falls footbridge. From there, backtrack across DeSoto Parkway to the trailhead.

Laurel Falls

Location: -85.6244266, 34.4954823

© Scott Sanders

Azalea Cascade Trailhead

Location: -85.6178471, 34.498944

© Scott Sanders

Laurel Falls

Location: -85.6243891, 34.495469

© Scott Sanders

Lost Falls

Location: -85.6317866, 34.4948456

© Scott Sanders

Above Lost Falls

Location: -85.6317973, 34.494682

© Scott Sanders

A Green Alley

Location: -85.6231445, 34.4958094

© Scott Sanders

Indian Falls

Location: -85.6166857, 34.498241

© Scott Sanders

West Fork Little River

Location: -85.6163254, 34.4955368

© Scott Sanders

Serene River Scene

Location: -85.6141591, 34.4928693

© Scott Sanders

Tree Gall

Location: -85.6164229, 34.4941161

Galls are tumorous plant growths often caused by irritation from insect eggs. © Scott Sanders

SAW001

Location: -84.1388397, 34.2451401

Trailhead and parking lot: Pick up the asphalt path next to the restrooms, heading past the playground and picnic areas, and veering left at the first split in the trail just ahead.

SAW002

Location: -84.1396866, 34.2453461

Continue straight @ 4-way intersection. There are Sawnee Mountain trail maps available here.

SAW003

Location: -84.1401029, 34.2453131

Turn left @ 3-way junction.

SAW004

Location: -84.1402075, 34.2449184

Continue bearing left @ 3-way intersection.

SAW005

Location: -84.1397542, 34.2447189

Go right @-3-way intersection.

SAW006

Location: -84.140363, 34.2445193

Bear right @ Y-junction for a short detour to an abandoned gold mining shaft on the left side of the trail. U-turn back to this waypoint and bear right to continue heading west on the Laurel Trail.

SAW007

Location: -84.1376877, 34.2525063

Turn left @ 3-way intersection, and continue north to the treehouse/gazebo at the Future Outdoor Education Center. Let the kids play around a bit, and then return to this junction and turn left to continue hiking east on the Laurel Trail.

SAW008

Location: -84.1411597, 34.2490889

Turn left @ 3-way intersection, continuing on the Indian Seats Trail.

SAW009

Location: -84.1350549, 34.2500245

Continue straight, passing a scenic viewpoint of the north Georgian mountains.

SAW010

Location: -84.1345139, 34.2502861

Arrive at a wooden observation deck with a display identifying the surrounding mountains. Retrace steps back to Waypoint 9 and turn left @ the 3-way intersection.

SAW011

Location: -84.1375762, 34.247027

Turn left @ 3-way intersection.

SAW 012

Location: -84.1383165, 34.2463596

Turn left @ 3-way intersection, heading back through the picnic area and playground area to the trailhead.

Trailhead

Location: -84.1387939, 34.2451468

Restrooms, trail information, a playground and a picnic area accompany the trailhead. © Scott Sanders

Abandoned Gold Mine

Location: -84.140473, 34.2446767

One of several abandoned gold mine pits in the Preserve. © Scott Sanders

Outdoor Education Center

Location: -84.1382656, 34.2531882

The Sawnee Mountain Preserve Future Outdoor Education Center has a treehouse/gazebo that the kids can play around on. © Scott Sanders

Indian Seats Trail

Location: -84.1395235, 34.2478518

Trails at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve are well groomed, wide, and gently sloping. © Scott Sanders

Overlook

Location: -84.1350335, 34.2500179

The Blue Ridge Range can be seen to the north. © Scott Sanders

Above the Trees

Location: -84.1344783, 34.2502861

© Scott Sanders

TCK001

Location: -83.178932, 35.633694

Pin Oak Gap Trailhead: Begin hiking northwest on the Balsam Mountain Trail. The trail gains 1,100 feet of elevation in the first 3.5 miles up towards Laurel Gap. This stretch can feel long and steep (especially with heavy packs and stiff legs from the car ride).

TCK002

Location: -83.202087, 35.646313

Bear right @ 3-way intersection to continue as the Benton MacKaye Trail joins the Balsam Mountain Trail on the same treadway.

TCK003

Location: -83.187622, 35.665348

Laurel Gap Shelter: Four miles in, this shelter is a perfect spot to make camp for night one of a two-night trip. Water and cables are available, but a permit is required to camp here; be sure to contact the Park Service in advance for the use of all shelters on this route.

TCK004

Location: -83.186663, 35.667347

Turn left @ T-intersection, continuing on the Balsam Mountain Trail. The Benton MacKaye Trail shoots off to the right.

TCK005

Location: -83.191996, 35.677727

Continue left @ 3-way junction, following the trail as it traces the ridge of Balsam Mountain. The Gunther Fork Trail shoots off to the right.

TCK006

Location: -83.256653, 35.69445

Arrive @ 3-way junction between the Balsam Mountain Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Turn left to walk 0.1 mile to the Tricorner Knob Shelter. This hike continues right at this junction on the Appalachian Trail for a 5-mile, out-and-back detour up to a turnaround at Black Mountain. If you're up for the extension, you can either stash your gear at the shelter, or just continue on to Black Mountain with your pack.

TCK007

Location: -83.25692, 35.714611

Old Black Mountain. Turn around here and retrace your steps to Waypoint 6. If you're staying the night, continue straight for 0.1 mile to the shelter. If you have the time (and the energy), turn left at Waypoint 6 to continue back to Laurel Gap Shelter (8 miles) or even the Pin Oak Trailhead (12 miles).

TCK008

Location: -83.257233, 35.693634

Tricorner Knob Shelter: Make a sharp left @ a 3-way junction to continue to access the Tricorner Knob Shelter (permit required to stay the night). From here, the track continues back to Waypoint 6, and turns right on the Balsam Mountain Trail to backtrack 9.8 miles to the Pin Oak Trailhead.

Smoky Smokies

Location: -83.201736, 35.642532

© Scott Sanders

Tree Tunnel

Location: -83.199501, 35.652901

© Scott Sanders

Gnarly Roots

Location: -83.194824, 35.660221

© Scott Sanders

Laurel Gap Shelter

Location: -83.187908, 35.665351

Permits are required for the use of all shelters on this route. Contact the Park Service in advance of your trip. © Scott Sanders

Funky Fungi

Location: -83.200516, 35.680958

© Scott Sanders

Light in the Woods

Location: -83.222069, 35.692749

© Scott Sanders

Early Season Foliage

Location: -83.211494, 35.687058

© Scott Sanders

On the AT

Location: -83.259071, 35.707794

© Scott Sanders

Tricorner Knob Shelter

Location: -83.257439, 35.695801

Sheltered fire place not pictured. © Scott Sanders

GBP001

Location: -95.6884718, 29.7348122

This parking area is on the northernmost vehicle access point of Barker-Cypress Road. This route follows the paved path on the lot's eastern side.

GBP002

Location: -95.6865567, 29.734924

Pass through this gate and follow the paved trail north between forest and an open meadow. Watch for cyclists of different skill levels and speeds as you round the corner.

GBP003

Location: -95.6853175, 29.7390975

You'll pass alongside this big, grassy meadow on both the out and inbound legs of this route.

GBP004

Location: -95.6852355, 29.7419104

If the weather has been dry and flood conditions aren't a concern, turn right onto singletrack at the Noble Road Trailhead near mile 0.6. The next 1.7 miles of this route may be impassable if the Barker Reservoir is flooded. If so, continue straight on the paved path.

GBP005

Location: -95.6774426, 29.754989

Turn left here where the wooded trail intersects an open, grassy corridor.

GBP006

Location: -95.6812191, 29.7569822

The trail passes through Buffalo Bayou, a swampy waterway flowing east through central Houston. This entire park is part of the Barker Reservoir Watershed and is an important part of Houston's flood control and prevention plans. Note: This section of singletrack is sometimes underwater and impassable.

GBP007

Location: -95.6854141, 29.758845

Turn left at this T-junction to complete the loop. To add extra mileage to your hike, turn right and continue following the hike and bike path north along the park perimeter.

GBP008

Location: -95.6852961, 29.7563303

Cross Buffalo Bayou on this paved bridge.

Meadow

Location: -95.6850815, 29.7390789

The large, grassy meadow alongside the trail. © Melissa Stolasz

Gate

Location: -95.6860471, 29.7349799

This gate prevents vehicular traffic on the smooth, inviting hike and bike trail. © Melissa Stolasz

Trail

Location: -95.6807041, 29.7493071

Follow this grassy corridor and singletrack trail for a change of scenery. © Melissa Stolasz

Paved Trail

Location: -95.685339, 29.7501454

The hike and bike path in George Bush Park is flat, wide and open enough for cyclists, runners, in-line skaters and hikers. © Melissa Stolasz

Map

Location: -95.6881499, 29.7347936

© Melissa Stolasz

CLA001

Location: -120.424341, 47.305445

From the parking pullout along FR 9712, it's a steep uphill past the sign post. The trail quickly levels out as you enter grassy meadows filled with lupines.

CLA002

Location: -120.424326, 47.304152

Don't be fooled into thinking that these giant conifers are ponderosa pines. Look up: They're actually massive, old-growth western larch, which turn golden shades of yellow in mid-October before their needles fall off.

CLA003

Location: -120.423384, 47.303471

Pass a spectacular mountainside of rocks on the right, an incredible display of the area's geologic history. Ahead, pass through a scarred forest, which was burned in a relatively recent fire. The burned larch and pine trees are now home to masses of busy woodpeckers; song birds dash around the bare branches as well. Lush, grassy meadows and a wildflower bonanza of currents, paintbrush, and lupines complete the scene.

CLA004

Location: -120.418846, 47.299212

Exit a short stretch of dense forest and hike past a rocky perch dotted with wildflowers. Keep an eye to the sky for raptors. This is also a popular hang-out for mule deer and elk.

CLA005

Location: -120.4151773, 47.2958073

Cross a bridge over Clara Lake's outlet creek. You can't see the lake from this broad, flat wetland marsh of grasses and reeds; however, dragonflies are a common sight.

CLA006

Location: -120.4149735, 47.2952907

Stay right @ Y-junction. The well-traveled trail on the left starts from the Mission Ridge Ski Area parking lot.

CLA007

Location: -120.4164165, 47.2952398

Hike past grassy reeds and dragonflies until you're looking over Clara Lake, a long, skinny, and shallow lake. Keep hiking: You're almost to the second lake.

CLA008

Location: -120.4195976, 47.294403

The trail drops down to the spectacular Marion Lake. Nesting grebes and mergansers frequently usher their young around the green waters. Incredible rock formations punctuate the hillsides. In the fall, golden larch tree are reflected in Marion's waters. Turn around and return to the trailhead.

Marion Lake

Location: -120.4194796, 47.2943957

©Alan Bauer

WHS001

Location: -120.6025779, 47.844177

Hike north from the parking area at Maverick Saddle, heading through a mix of pine, fir, and cedar (the Mad River flows down on the right). This stretch of trail passes wild ginger, trillium, yellow violets, and queen's cup.

WHS002

Location: -120.604912, 47.859454

Continue straight @ 3-way junction with Trail No. 1403 on your left, which heads up to Lost Lake. In about 100 yards, cross the Mad River on a large bridge.

WHS003

Location: -120.606047, 47.861274

Continue straight on the Mad River Trail @ the unsigned 3-way junction with Jimmy Creek Trail (a great hike that climbs to the summit of Cougar Mountain). For the next two miles, hike to the almost constant sounds and sights of the Mad River, meadows of wildflowers, and the occasional whistles of marmots.

WHS004

Location: -120.614537, 47.884955

Pass a string of meadows and a scenic campsite. Continue straight @ the junction with Trail No. 1421 and continue hiking toward the far northern reaches of the river valley and the highland plateaus.

WHS005

Location: -120.615175, 47.894621

Cross the upper Mad River. Note: Depending on the season, hikers may have to turn around at this first river crossing. Although the trail might be snow free by mid to late June, you could find waist-deep water levels here in years with high snow levels. If you wait until late July to hike this trail, the ford will likely be shin deep.

WHS006

Location: -120.608659, 47.902086

Ford the river again, then turn right onto Trail No. 1415 and head toward Whistling Pig and Cougar meadows.

WHS007

Location: -120.596772, 47.901109

Turn left onto Trail No. 1417 @ 3-way junction and hike past a lovely meadow filled with paintbrush and elephant head.

WHS008

Location: -120.595285, 47.905249

Whistling Pig Meadow stretches out before you. Hike the narrow trail leading out into the middle with vast views to the east and west. Look for deer and elk and maybe a whistling pig marmot.

WHS009

Location: -120.593339, 47.907725

Pass the famous hunter's cabin nestled in the trees in the middle of the meadow. Enjoy views in all directions before leaving Whistling Pig Meadow and continuing northeast.

WHS010

Location: -120.58797, 47.914192

Turn left onto Trail No. 1424 @ T-junction and climb to elevations over 6,000 feet. Take a few side steps off the trail to find great views of the Entiat Mountains and the river valley. Ahead, look for warblers in the open meadows and woodpeckers in the deadwood stands of trees.

WHS011

Location: -120.618616, 47.919741

Turn left and start hiking south toward Blue Creek Meadow, passing mini meadows and lodgepole pines and firs. You may spot elk, deer, and coyote.

WHS012

Location: -120.622115, 47.91397

Blue Creek Meadow: Drop your pack at the trail junction with the Mad River Trail. To visit the historic Blue Creek Guard Station building, walk back a few feet to the side trail that leads across Blue Creek. When you're ready, continue southeast along the trail. You'll cross Blue Creek and hug the eastern edge of Blue Creek Meadow before closing the loop back at Waypoint 6. Turn right @ Waypoint 6 to return to the trailhead.

The Hunter's Cabin

Location: -120.5925465, 47.9077126

©Alan Bauer

MGL001

Location: -119.610733, 37.501415

From the unnamed trailhead near the visitor center and tour kiosk, hike due east on a well-traveled path.

MGL002

Location: -119.609863, 37.501083

Reach the Fallen Monarch Tree and then begin a gradual climb up the trail. Immortalized by an 1899 photograph of horse-mounted U.S. Cavalry officers on top of the downed giant, Fallen Monarch likely fell about 300 years ago. Because sequoia bark has a high concentration of tannin, these trees decay very, very slowly.

MGL003

Location: -119.604607, 37.503914

Cross the road and pick up the trail directly to the right. Pass the Bachelor and Three Graces.

MGL004

Location: -119.601166, 37.503388

Reach the Grizzly Giant, one of the largest and oldest sequoias in the world. Follow the trail around to the left of the tree and head northeast.

MGL005

Location: -119.600108, 37.504841

Pass the California Tunnel Tree. In the late 19th century, the base of massive redwood was burrowed so that stagecoaches could pass underneath it. Stay left @ the T-junction. Follow the trail as it curves right and then cross the road.

MGL006

Location: -119.598595, 37.505543

After crossing the road, turn left up the trail. The pathway banks around the bottom of a hill, then heads north.

MGL007

Location: -119.60408, 37.509865

Find two sequoias joined at the base, appropriately named Faithful Couple. Bear right @ the T-junction and hike northeast.

MGL008

Location: -119.602859, 37.510265

Climb past Clothespin Tree. Its tall, narrow tunnel is the result of naturally occurring fire. Follow the path as it winds toward the Mariposa Grove Museum.

MGL009

Location: -119.601547, 37.512928

Go straight at the 4-way junction, following the trail past restrooms and a meadow. Watch for white-tailed deer.

MGL010

Location: -119.599007, 37.513722

Learn about the giant sequoias at the Mariposa Grove Museum. When ready, retrace your steps to Faithful Couple.

MGL011

Location: -119.604378, 37.509794

Bear left @ the Y-junction, follow signs to the parking lot. The trail descends through juvenile sequoias, sugar pines and young cedar trees.

MGL012

Location: -119.609428, 37.507633

Go left @ 3-way intersection.

MPG013

Location: -119.608917, 37.506645

Bear right @ the 3-way intersection.

MPG014

Location: -119.610084, 37.502682

Reach the parking lot and the end of the loop.

Sequoia Grove

Location: -119.600014, 37.513309

© Dave Miller

Trailhead

Location: -119.610313, 37.501377

© Dave Miller

Burn

Location: -119.607056, 37.502861

© Dave Miller

Controlled Burn

Location: -119.605858, 37.502975

© Dave Miller

Bachelor

Location: -119.604553, 37.504078

The Bachelor and Three Graces. © Dave Miller

Grizzly Giant

Location: -119.601296, 37.5037

© Dave Miller

California Tunnel Tree

Location: -119.600143, 37.505051

© Dave Miller

Faithful Couple

Location: -119.604469, 37.509838

© Dave Miller

Clothespin Tree

Location: -119.602615, 37.510365

© Dave Miller

Museum Trail

Location: -119.601425, 37.51318

© Dave Miller

Snowfall

Location: -119.60067, 37.513393

© Dave Miller

Mariposa Grove Museum

Location: -119.59906, 37.513573

© Dave Miller

DVN001

Location: -116.364006, 35.6477127

From Harry Wade Road, cross over the dried-out Amargosa River and hike north for 2.7 miles through low-lying hills. Prepare to move slowly across the sandy terrain.

DVN002

Location: -116.3703613, 35.6832657

Pass the Ibex Dunes, then hike north 5 miles through sandy terrain, passing dunes and rugged hills. Between the dunes and Ibex Spring, you'll gain 800 feet of elevation on a long, low-grade slope. The first 600 feet of climbing are soft and sandy; the remaining 200 feet are much rockier.

DVN003

Location: -116.4106216, 35.770771

Pass Ibex Spring and follow an old mining road west through a narrow gap in the hills. (The gap reveals a large broad wash flanked by the rugged Black and Ibex hills). Drop down about 300 feet into the wash, and then climb about 700 feet up and across Buckwheat Wash. Head through rocky and rutted terrain toward the large, white stains on the hills, which are remnants of an 1800s mine.

DVN004

Location: -116.4542999, 35.8015175

End of Day 1: Set up camp in Buckwheat Wash at the abandoned mine (look for the large pile of talc at the base of the Talc Hills). The next day, leave camp and hike north along a rutted wash with hard-packed terrain. Stay along the base of the mountains to the west.

DVN005

Location: -116.444046, 35.8500786

Reach Hanging Rock, a massive, oblong boulder protruding 12 feet out of the side of sediment walls. Hike north through tall channels of water-carved sediment.

DVN006

Location: -116.4417877, 35.8640518

The channel narrows, revealing a thin, private slot canyon with 100-foot walls, warm colors, and a sandy bottom. Continue hiking through the canyon and be aware of flash floods.

DVN007

Location: -116.4399567, 35.8662529

Bear left through the canyon. Turning right will lead to a dead end.

DVN008

Location: -116.4369736, 35.8695679

Exit through the wide mouth of the canyon. Continue east in the channel, heading toward American Mine.

DVN009

Location: -116.4272766, 35.8716583

Pass a 10-foot, rocky waterfall on the left. Climb out of the channel and reach a very faded mining road. The American Mine is on a hill to the east.

DVN010

Location: -116.4268265, 35.8713989

Optional side trip: Hike up to American Mine to explore this hidden mining camp and a wooden homestead built into the mountain. Bottles, cans, and metal debris cover the area. When finished, retrace steps back to the old mining road.

DVN011

Location: -116.4272766, 35.8717575

Continue northwest, following the faded road.

DVN012

Location: -116.4273834, 35.8725319

Walk across the wash (the first of three that have destroyed the already faded road).

DVN013

Location: -116.4264679, 35.874897

Second wash crossing.

DVN014

Location: -116.4269257, 35.8785934

Third wash crossing. Follow the road and begin climbing toward the pass that's 650 feet away.

DVN015

Location: -116.4265366, 35.8807869

Reach a mountain pass with views of 11,049-foot Telescope Peak, the highest peak in Death Valley. Follow the road until it intersects with I-178, then bear right onto the highway and walk up Salsberry Pass.

DVN016

Location: -116.4425888, 35.9141426

Hike along the shoulder of I-278/Jubilee Pass Road toward Salsberry Pass.

DVN017

Location: -116.4275436, 35.9260216

Salsberry Pass may not be the day's highpoint, but what it lacks in elevation it makes up for in scenery. Pastel rocks and wildflowers are prominent features here. The expanse of Greenwater Valley stretches out to the north; Calico Peaks are to the left, including Salsberry Peak.

DVN018

Location: -116.4247971, 35.9279556

Cache

DVN019

Location: -116.4171448, 35.9451675

Turn left off I-178 and walk toward the large monolith, entering Greenwater Valley. The monolith is visibly distinct from the surrounding terrain and offers high-lying flat spots to camp.

DVN020

Location: -116.4413681, 35.982769

End of Day 2: Camp on a high, flat spot to avoid flash floods. From Day 2's camp, head northwest across the alluvial contours of the Calico Peaks until a large mound isolated from the low hills becomes visible. Continue northwest and skirt its northern base. Then proceed west-southwest into an increasingly narrow section in the hills. Follow a small wash up the hills to the low pass about 1,000 feet above base of the Calico Peaks.

DVN021

Location: -116.5638199, 36.0342255

Scramble up boulders and scree to an unnamed, low pass with vast views of Greenwater Valley and Gold Valley. From the pass, hike west down a broad slope into a narrow cut in the mountains.

DVN022

Location: -116.6158676, 36.0196342

Cache

DVN023

Location: -116.5798874, 36.033287

Reach Lost Section Road, another old mining route. Follow it southwest through a narrow cut in the mountains and into Gold Valley.

DVN024

Location: -116.6228104, 36.0215645

Bear right at the fork in the road and head north, entering Gold Valley.

DVN025

Location: -116.6329117, 36.0391846

Bear right at the second fork in the road and head north. When the short cliff of sediment along the right edge of the road reaches head height, hike northwest toward Sheep Saddle.

DVN026

Location: -116.6413574, 36.072731

Climb up the short but steep route to Sheep Saddle and enjoy views of Telescope to the left. After taking in the scenery, hike northwest into Sheep Canyon. Watch your footing as it is a 700-foot descent on loose talus from here to the canyon floor. Once the hard and smooth canyon floor is reached, head west. Climb along the right wall of the canyon, navigating around a series of three 30-foot, dry waterfalls. From there, continue west down the canyon.

DVN027

Location: -116.6767426, 36.0799255

End of Day 3: Pick a flat shelf at the bottom of the canyon, just past the side canyon that joins Sheep Canyon. The walls are high and steep. This spot is very secluded and the view of the night sky past the rock walls is unforgettable. From Day 4's camp, hike west through an open, flat area of Sheep Canyon. After exiting the canyon and hiking down the alluvial material, walk out onto the salt pan.

DVN028

Location: -116.7351151, 36.090435

Cache

DVN029

Location: -116.8582306, 36.1435585

After hiking northwest for 8 miles from Badwater Road (a few hundred feet below the sea) over flat and salty terrain, turn right and walk north along West Side Highway. This is a seldom-traveled dirt road with a few unreliable springs: Shorty's Grave and Bennett's Last Stand.

DVN030

Location: -116.940361, 36.3069649

End of Day 4: This is also a cache site. Park rules dictate backpackers must camp 2 miles away from West Side Road. Though this route cuts across alluvial material to Day 4's camping spot, turning left off West Side Road onto Trail Canyon Road makes for an easier route. The next day, leave camp and walk down a rutted, 4WD road until it intersects with West Side Road.

DVN031

Location: -116.8889313, 36.3213425

Head north on West Side Road. The Panamint Mountains are to the left; Amargosas to the right. Continue through Middle Basin, which looks like a small, frozen lake.

DVN032

Location: -116.9241486, 36.4290276

Reach Corduroy Cross, an old settler's crossing. From here, walk toward the transmission lines to the north that run from Furnace Creek to Stovepipe Wells. Follow the telephone lines as they bend northwest toward the base of Tucki Mountain.

DVN033

Location: -116.9936066, 36.5101128

End of Day 5: Camp at a flat spot on the eastern base of Tucki Mountain, near Cottonball Marsh. The marsh is a shallow pool of salty water with polygonal salt formations beneath it. Begin Day 6. From camp, hike north-northwest over alluvial material. Detour around small washes, losing the transmission lines in the meantime. Climb more than 600 feet up a steep grade to I-178.

DVN034

Location: -117.0831299, 36.6104622

Head towards two large mounds near the road. Cross I-178 and walk towards the dunes to the west. After checking out the dunes, rejoin the road and follow it to Stovepipe Wells Campground.

DVN035

Location: -117.1465836, 36.6067581

End of Day 6: Reach Stovepipe Wells Campground, the only designated camping spot on this thru-hike. A sign notifies travelers that they are at sea level. Fires are permitted here. There is also a general store, gas station and a motel with $4 showers. The ranger station is next to the general store. From Stovepipe Wells Campground, head northwest towards a major alluvial fan and Marble Canyon, about 8 miles away. Both features are very noticeable. Walk through a low dune and then climb the fan, using the washes as routes into the canyon's mouth.

DVN036

Location: -117.2727814, 36.6436043

Enter the wide mouth of Marble Canyon on a 4WD road. Petroglyphs can be found at the entrance of the canyon.

DVN037

Location: -117.2955399, 36.6320534

Marble Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon merge here. Continue west, following Marble Canyon as it narrows. Cottonwood Canyon heads southwest.

DVN038

Location: -117.3304901, 36.6187782

The 4WD road ends here. A barricade indicates that jeeps cannot travel any further through the canyon. Continue southwest through Marble Canyon.

DVN039

Location: -117.33564, 36.6072311

Make a short detour around a massive boulder that is wedged in a narrow gap. Climb up and to the right to bypass it.

DVN040

Location: -117.3504639, 36.6099319

Reach a fork in the canyon and bear left. Continue southwest for 2.5 miles through a series of stunning, water-carved narrows to Deadhorse Junction.

DVN041

Location: -117.3719635, 36.5830307

Marble Canyon and Deadhorse Canyon intersect at an open, flat area. Deadhorse heads south and appears much more prominent. Stay in Marble Canyon and proceed west through a narrow cut.

DVN042

Location: -117.3731842, 36.5828285

End of Day 7: Pick a high shelf along the right side of the canyon. Be sure to check for loose rocks above the dark marble walls. From camp, head west further up the narrow canyon.

DVN043

Location: -117.3859863, 36.5870705

Reach the first of three canyon junctions. At this point, the canyon area widens. Proceed climbing west. Do not head north up the side canyon.

DVN044

Location: -117.4005508, 36.5861168

Second canyon junction. Follow the fork to the northwest. Do not head up the side canyons to the west or north here.

DVN045

Location: -117.4202271, 36.5922279

At the third canyon junction, follow the western fork.

DVN046

Location: -117.4212494, 36.5922775

Climb up the large rock slabs of a small, dry waterfall.

DVN047

Location: -117.4250412, 36.5936127

At the cluster of Joshua trees, continue west. Do not follow the side canyon to the north. The correct route climbs northwest. It curves through a narrow, rocky gorge and then bends down to the southwest, intersecting with Harris Canyon.

DVN048

Location: -117.4385223, 36.5973549

Continue west-southwest at the junction with Harris Canyon, which heads south. This area is thick with vegetation.

DVN049

Location: -117.4479218, 36.5984268

The ruins of Goldbelt Mine, a few rusted trucks, and dilapidated structures mark the end of the canyon. A dump truck indicates the location of Goldbelt Spring. Check in advance to see if it is flowing. From here, follow the mining road northwest to an intersection with a sign designating that Quakenbush Mine is ahead.

DVN050

Location: -117.4505539, 36.6008911

Follow the road north-northwest past the open pits and trusses at Quackenbush Mine.

DVN051

Location: -117.4550095, 36.6131325

Take a right on the 4WD road and hike to the north. Drop through a field of Joshua trees with stunning views of Sand Flat and the surrounding mountains. The road travels northeast for a while, and then abruptly bends east before making a U-turn. Continue northeast at the bend, leaving the road for shallow washes. Head towards the diagonally striped mountains ahead and the entrance of Sand Flat.

DVN052

Location: -117.4428406, 36.6336937

Cache

DVN053

Location: -117.4393845, 36.6420479

Two converging mounds are bisected by a wash, marking the entrance to the ancient lakebed. Walking toward the bottom of this dry lake, high ground quickly surrounds hikers. Hug the western edge of the flat and walk north towards the rounded point ahead.

DVN054

Location: -117.4360275, 36.6670303

Bend to the northwest after skirting the base of the mountain to the left.

DVN055

Location: -117.4454803, 36.6733055

A prominent foot sticks out of the mountain to the south, head southwest and climb up a steep and taxing grade. After reaching the top of the foot, continue west-southwest to a large, flat area.

DVN056

Location: -117.4558868, 36.668705

From the flat area, proceed northwest to a minor saddle.

DVN057

Location: -117.4704971, 36.6778755

Reach a minor saddle with great views of Hidden Valley. Follow a steep wash to the northwest down towards the valley. The wash soon bends to the west and releases hikers onto the valley floor.

DVN058

Location: -117.480484, 36.6786537

Enter Hidden Valley, a large but intimate area with a reticulated mud floor and shrubs. Two very large, dark mounds sit prominently northwest of this point. Head across the valley towards them, favoring the mound to the south.

DVN059

Location: -117.5016861, 36.6858063

End of Day 8: At the base of the southern mound, pick one of the many flat areas with views of this secret valley. No water sources are available. From camp, head west and climb up a few hundred feet to a visible saddle.

DVN060

Location: -117.5102692, 36.6867981

After reaching the top of the saddle, hike northwest from this open area down towards a narrowing gorge. Do not follow it northwest once it begins to constrict. Instead, bend to the southwest towards a rocky overlook.

DVN061

Location: -117.5266495, 36.6920204

This rocky overlook offers views of the Racetrack (a 3-mile-long, 1-mile-wide playa), Ubehebe Peak, and the rest of the valley. The Grandstand rises up like a granite island from the playa surface. Head south and descend from the overlook on a very steep slope that narrows into a rock wash constricted by boulders and a few dry falls. Follow the wash as it turns west and puts hikers on the border of the hard, cracked playa surface. Skirting the base of the mountains you just descended, head south-southwest toward the southern end of the playa.

DVN062

Location: -117.5513916, 36.6739006

Explore Sliding Rock, one of the mysterious moving boulders of the Racetrack. Then proceed southwest toward the next prominent boulder.

DVN063

Location: -117.5558777, 36.6709671

After checking out another boulder, turn back to the north-northwest and walk toward the Grandstand. Hike for 2 miles across the hard playa.

DVN064

Location: -117.5664597, 36.6930313

Pass the Grandstand, a very large cluster of granite that protrudes a hundred feet or more from the playa floor. From here, continue north to an intersection with Racetrack Road, a rutted, dirt jeep path.

DVN065

Location: -117.570137, 36.7473946

Cross Racetrack Road and continue north to a pass. The route will curve northwest as the pass narrows.

DVN066

Location: -117.5689545, 36.7498322

Cache

DVN067

Location: -117.5750885, 36.7645416

From the pass, hike northwest across an open, flat area until the space between the mountains narrows again. Follow a faint mining road that skirts the eastern hills and proceeds in a northeasterly direction as it drops down from the hills. The road makes an abrupt turn to the west as it lowers hikers down to a wash.

DVN068

Location: -117.5814209, 36.7756157

Head north-northeast into a broad, sloping wash. Hike up the wash toward a large canyon opening in the mountains ahead that becomes visible shortly after beginning the climb.

DVN069

Location: -117.5707321, 36.8087769

End of Day 9: Near the opening of the canyon, the alluvial fan has flat shelves that offer places to camp. Be sure to camp high in case of a flood. From camp, proceed north to the canyon opening.

DVN070

Location: -117.5680237, 36.8177681

Enter a narrow canyon with very steep walls a few hundred feet above the canyon floor. Follow the canyon north-northeast for a little over 2 miles.

DVN071

Location: -117.553421, 36.8456535

At the large, open area, the canyon constricts to the north and a side canyon appears to the east. Walk in that direction up a narrow, dry, creek bed. The small creek eventually disappears as it climbs up onto an open plateau.

DVN072

Location: -117.5384216, 36.8453522

Stop at a large, open plateau with views of Tin Mountain to the east. After taking in the scenery, head north to a saddle that overlooks a large, dry lake.

DVN073

Location: -117.5387192, 36.84972

Reach a saddle with great views of the largest of the Virginia Dry Lakes. Descend to the north and enter the dusty lake at its southwest corner. Proceed to its northeast corner between a dark, rocky gap. Then hike west-northwest to the second dry lake.

DVN074

Location: -117.5257416, 36.8631325

The second dry lake is smaller, but just as beautiful as the first. From here, walk toward a flat saddle covered in large boulders.

DVN075

Location: -117.5238495, 36.8677216

After making it to a flat saddle, hike north down a very steep wash until reaching a wash that bends to the right.

DVN076

Location: -117.5197525, 36.8863525

From here, the wash curves to the right and joins with Racetrack Valley Road. Proceed north to the southern base of the rock mound. Follow its eastern base and then hike along the road.

DVN077

Location: -117.4973297, 36.9112358

After hitting the road, follow it north until the black soil of the Ubehebe Crater becomes visible.

DVN078

Location: -117.4666443, 36.985096

End of Day 10: Park rules require that backpackers camp 2 miles from Ubehebe Crater. From camp, hike northwest for about 1.5 miles over rutted washes and black soil toward Ubehebe Crater. Stay high on the contours to avoid the deep washes. Skirt around Little Hebe Crater and approach the southwest rim of Ubehebe Crater.

DVN079

Location: -117.4547577, 37.0080795

Ubehebe Crater: This 500-foot deep, half-mile wide crater was formed when magma heated the water table to the point where it exploded and covered the area in volcanic cinders. Descend into it or walk the long way around its rim. From the crater, cross over Racetrack Valley Road twice (it is a one-way loop) and head north for 3 miles over rolling terrain to Death Valley Wash.

DVN080

Location: -117.4653625, 37.056736

Enter Death Valley Wash. From here, bear left and follow the wash northwest for about 3.5 miles. The low-lying hills to the west will start to flatten out. At this point, look for a faint intersection where a faded mining road cuts through the wash.

DVN081

Location: -117.4950638, 37.0914268

Turn left at the intersection between the mining road and the wash. Then climb west for about 3.5 miles toward a notch in the mountains. Though the road leads to the notch for a short distance, it soon turns away from the mountains. Once the notch is in sight, keep climbing towards it and hike off-road. This stretch gains about 1,200 feet.

DVN082

Location: -117.5560379, 37.0831184

Reach an unnamed notch in the mountains. It looks very similar to the mouth of a canyon, but after walking through a narrow gorge, the route leads to a large, open area. Continue due west.

DVN083

Location: -117.5656357, 37.08078

End of Day 11: Just past the narrow notch in the mountains, a wide slope offers a few flat areas to camp (it can get really windy here). No water is available. This is a very private area in Last Chance Range that is rarely, if ever, visited. From camp, hike southwest and gain a quick 1,000 feet over undulating terrain en route to the second notch in the mountains.

DVN084

Location: -117.5863953, 37.0641708

After climbing up to a very obvious gap in the mountains, continue southwest along the wash. Switchbacking may be necessary to avoid debris.

DVN085

Location: -117.5915527, 37.0583801

The wash splits at this point. Continue south along the left-hand wash toward a saddle, gaining about 800 feet.

DVN086

Location: -117.5940628, 37.0426178

After passing the ruins of an old, abandoned mine, summit a saddle. The rocks in this area are extremely colorful. Continue due south to a higher saddle.

DVN087

Location: -117.5914993, 37.034462

Reach the second saddle, which showcases Joshua trees, and red, purple, and orange rocks. From here, descend south-southwest down a steeply graded wash. Follow the wash as it curves west and then west-northwest down to Dedeckera Canyon.

DVN088

Location: -117.6250305, 37.0367126

Enter Dedeckera Canyon. Huge walls of reticulated stone tower above the gravel-covered canyon floor. Descend 2 miles north through the canyon. At the canyon mouth, find views of Eureka Valley, the Inyo Range and Eureka Dunes.

DVN089

Location: -117.6395874, 37.0580406

Cache

DVN090

Location: -117.6622849, 37.1010551

Eureka Dunes are almost 700 feet tall, the highest dunes in California and some of the tallest in the U.S. Walking on the dunes or along their base is slow and tedious because the sand is so soft.

DVN091

Location: -117.6647034, 37.116684

End of Day 12: Camp on the alluvial material to the north of the dune's peak. From this area, campers have great views of the valley and Inyo Range as well as unforgettable sunsets and sunrises. There is also a primitive camp in the area. No water or protection is available at this spot. From camp, hike north, gaining 400 feet, to a stellar view of Eureka Dunes and the foothills of Last Chance Mountain.

DVN092

Location: -117.6716766, 37.1391678

Take a moment to stop and look around at this panoramic point, which showcases the dunes below and the snowy Inyo Range. Continue north-northwest through the narrow valley between the foothills.

DVN093

Location: -117.6782761, 37.1514397

After climbing another 400 feet, rest at this open, flat area between two 4,000-foot foothills. Continue north through the canyon, following the wash. The canyon walls are a few hundred feet higher than the wash.

DVN094

Location: -117.6719437, 37.1721039

Bear left at an intersection between two canyon washes. Continue three-quarters of a mile over gravel, passing beautifully colored canyon walls before reaching another fork in the canyon.

DVN095

Location: -117.6748428, 37.1857643

Bear left at the second fork in the canyon. Once the canyon opens, continue northwest to Big Pine Road.

DVN096

Location: -117.6804504, 37.192524

Follow Big Pine Road to the left and continue westward to Crater Mine. Cache spot.

DVN097

Location: -117.6908875, 37.2117043

After bearing left onto Big Pine Road, turn right and continue north past the mining area.

DVN098

Location: -117.6841583, 37.220192

End of Day 13: Camp off the dirt road on a flat area near the pass. Pick a spot with protection because this area can get very cold and windy. From camp, follow the dirt road until it dead ends into the mountains. A mineshaft is at the end of the road. Route-finding will be necessary during the next 12 miles because there is no trail and the terrain is extremely rugged.

DVN099

Location: -117.6814041, 37.2589607

Scramble up a steep, dirt slope to the first saddle in Last Chance Range. From the saddle, hike the ridgeline over 4 unnamed peaks to Last Chance Mountain. Head northwest to the first peak (7,853 feet). Go north-northwest to the second peak (7,978 feet). Continue northwest to the third peak (8,250 feet). Then, head due north and turn east, skirting the ridgeline around the fourth peak (8,211 feet). Hike north, then northwest along the ridge to the summit of Last Chance Mountain (8,456 feet).

DVN100

Location: -117.6998062, 37.2801399

Summit Last Chance Mountain (8,456 feet), the highest point on the 14-day trip. From Last Chance, hike over 6 more unnamed peaks. Continue north-northwest to the first (8,361 feet) of the six. Then head west to a saddle between the 8,361-foot peak and the second peak (8,338 feet). From the saddle, go north to a 7,735-foot mountain. After reaching the summit, continue north and bear east along the edge of a 7,376-foot mountain. Continue north-northeast to a 7,526-foot peak before turning northwest along a ridge down to a 7,242-foot mountain. From here, descend north to Willow Creek Road.

DVN101

Location: -117.7060623, 37.3332176

Bear right on Willow Creek Road and follow it for 2 miles to Cucomungo Canyon and the Nevada Border. Pass through the surrounding hills with the mountains high above. Mining prospects are scattered among the hillsides. Last Chance Mountains will be to the south. In the distance, the Sylvania Mountains spread across the landscape to the north, east, and west.

DVN102

Location: -117.6809158, 37.353035

Pass the unmarked Nevada Border. End of Day 14 and the thru-hike of Death Valley National Park. It is recommended that thru-hikers get picked up from this spot instead of leaving a car here.

Ibex Hills

Location: -116.3891602, 35.7297935

©Roger Homrich

Flowers

Location: -116.4449463, 35.8525352

©Roger Homrich

Wildflower

Location: -116.4441757, 35.8617859

©Roger Homrich

Salsberry

Location: -116.428215, 35.9272156

©Roger Homrich

Gold Valley

Location: -116.622879, 36.0215454

©Roger Homrich

Salt Pan

Location: -116.8838882, 36.2383194

©Roger Homrich

Valley Floor

Location: -116.707077, 36.0828171

©Roger Homrich

Trail Canyon

Location: -116.9207916, 36.3033676

©Roger Homrich

Panamints

Location: -116.9092941, 36.3693275

©Roger Homrich

Dunes

Location: -117.1108246, 36.6104279

©Roger Homrich

Coyote

Location: -117.0054245, 36.5317078

©Roger Homrich

Joshua Field

Location: -117.422905, 36.5938911

©Roger Homrich

Sand Flat

Location: -117.4417038, 36.6379128

©Roger Homrich

Hidden Valley

Location: -117.4919128, 36.6817741

©Roger Homrich

Stone

Location: -117.5494156, 36.6759911

©Roger Homrich

Racetrack

Location: -117.5643539, 36.6810837

©Roger Homrich

Cactus

Location: -117.5696716, 36.8136826

©Roger Homrich

Ubehebe

Location: -117.4549179, 37.0099564

©Roger Homrich

Creosote

Location: -117.4648743, 37.053669

©Roger Homrich

Thru-hiker Roger Homrich

Location: -117.6249466, 37.0362015

©Roger Homrich

Eureka Dunes

Location: -117.6645203, 37.0987282

©Roger Homrich

Crater Mine

Location: -117.6908798, 37.2117119

©Roger Homrich

Last Chance

Location: -117.6988525, 37.2817688

©Roger Homrich

Nevada Border

Location: -117.6809082, 37.3524208

©Roger Homrich

MUN001

Location: -121.9536871, 45.630489

From the Wahclella Falls parking area, head south for 100 feet, then turn right and head north for 400 feet to reach the trailhead.

MUN002

Location: -121.9539553, 45.6313556

At the trailhead, head southwest on the paved trail (marked with a "Moffett Creek to Tanner Creek Section" sign).

MUN003

Location: -121.9542503, 45.631273

Walk across the wide, paved bridge over Tanner Creek, a cascading creek bordered by lush, open woods. Continue following the paved road.

MUN004

Location: -121.955519, 45.6307929

Turn left off of the paved road onto Gorge Trail (No. 400). Ahead, the trail starts to climb up the Tanner Creek drainage.

MUN005

Location: -121.9549638, 45.6294049

The trail switchbacks to the right and heads north.

MUN006

Location: -121.9576728, 45.630988

The trail leaves the Tanner Creek drainage and traverses the lush northern slopes of Munra Point, heading southwest.

MUN007

Location: -121.975692, 45.623395

Turn left (south) onto the trail to Munra Point @ 3-way junction. This junction is marked with a "Trail Not Maintained" sign (the word Munra is etched into the sign). The stiff ascent to Munra Point starts here: You'll gain more than 1,600 feet of elevation in the next 0.9 mile.

MUN008

Location: -121.9717437, 45.6230011

Keep your camera handy: Along this scenic stretch of trail, you'll be treated to bird's-eye views of the Columbia River Gorge.

MUN009

Location: -121.9706869, 45.6228322

Tackle one of several steep scrambles that require the use of both hands. You'll have to climb an 8- to 10-foot-high rock outcropping to continue on the trail.

MUN010

Location: -121.9636917, 45.6227272

At this point, the trail looks impassable due to a large, moss-covered rock face. Bypass this rock wall by hiking through some bushes on the left (north) side of the face.

MUN011

Location: -121.9619536, 45.6225809

Use caution while maneuvering up the 50-foot slot that rises 150 feet west of Munra Point. Note: This scramble is not recommended in wet weather.

MUN012

Location: -121.9614601, 45.6226446

Munra Point (1,814 ft.): On clear days, this rock pinnacle offers spectacular views across the Gorge. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Gorge View

Location: -121.9716847, 45.6229973

©Galen Williams

Wahclella Parking

Location: -121.9536388, 45.6304853

Sign for the Wahclella Falls parking area. ©Galen Williams

Trailhead Sign

Location: -121.9539338, 45.6313556

Pass the trailhead sign just before crossing Tanner Creek. ©Galen Williams

Bridge

Location: -121.9542235, 45.6312768

Bridge over Tanner Creek. ©Galen Williams

Tanner Creek

Location: -121.9543791, 45.6312393

Views of Tanner Creek near the bridge. ©Galen Williams

Views from Gorge Trail

Location: -121.9609612, 45.6304253

©Galen Williams

Munra Point Trail

Location: -121.97559, 45.623395

©Galen Williams

Forest

Location: -121.973691, 45.6228923

View of the lush underbrush in this area of the forest. ©Galen Williams

View South

Location: -121.9715399, 45.6227047

View looking south into the Cascades. ©Galen Williams

Short Climb

Location: -121.9706225, 45.6228397

Hikers must climb a rock outcropping to continue on the trail. ©Galen Williams

Gorge Views

Location: -121.970129, 45.6230348

Another vantage point looking west into the Gorge. ©Galen Williams

Topslot

Location: -121.9619, 45.6225771

©Galen Williams

Munra Point

Location: -121.9614065, 45.6226409

The top of Munra Point. ©Galen Williams

GRL001

Location: -121.7362976, 44.0310593

Head north from the trailhead on a well-traveled dirt trail that winds through the woods. In roughly 50 feet, cross Fall Creek on a footbridge. Ahead, the path follows and crisscrosses Fall Creek as it gradually climbs to Green Lakes (you'll be treated to views of numerous small, cascading falls). If you need to refill your water supplies, or enjoy a cool dip on a hot day, follow the numerous scramble trails down to the creek.

GRL002

Location: -121.7332001, 44.0393295

Pass one of the larger falls on Fall Creek. Ahead, the roar of the creek softens as the trail climbs away from the creek.

GRL003

Location: -121.7401962, 44.0542297

Cross the footbridge over Fall Creek.

GRL004

Location: -121.7429962, 44.0574493

Cross another footbridge over Fall Creek.

GRL005

Location: -121.7427979, 44.0590401

Continue straight @ 3-way intersection toward Green Lakes. The trail to Moraine Lake enters on the left. Over the next 1.8 miles, you'll hike next to the massive lava domes that rise to the west. From the trail, the sides of the lava domes resemble vertical rock walls. Prepare for steeper sections of climbing along this stretch.

GRL006

Location: -121.7309618, 44.0807415

Turn right @ Y-junction, heading northeast. In roughly 50 feet, continue straight @ 3-way junction. Note: Ignore the sign that says Broken Top Trailhead is to the right. Hike northeast through the Green Lakes area, and savor views of South Sister to the west and Broken Top to the east. Numerous primitive campsites are strewn throughout this area.

GRL007

Location: -121.7278719, 44.0822829

The trail starts an aggressive ascent up loose rock and scree to Broken Top's northwest ridge.

GRL008

Location: -121.7082977, 44.087101

The trail crests the northwest ridge. Leave behind the scree-filled trail, and travel on loose soil and rock. Maneuver over and around loose rocks and large boulders. Bend Glacier covers Broken Top's northern slopes.

GRL009

Location: -121.6998062, 44.0832863

At the base of the summit block, you'll have to tackle a 10-foot (low 5th class) rock climb and a 300-foot, 3rd class scramble to reach the summit. Be extremely careful with your foot and hand holds. Broken Top's crumbling summit is covered with loose rocks.

GRL010

Location: -121.6994019, 44.0829468

Broken Top (9,175 ft.): Soak up views of the Cascades. The Three Sisters rise to the west-northwest and Mount Bachelor can be seen to the south. If visibility is high, Mounts Washington, Jefferson, and Hood can be seen to the north. Follow the same route back to Waypoint 1.

View from the Northwest Ridge

Location: -121.7067146, 44.0862287

View of North Sister, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mount Jefferson. ©Trung Q. Le

PMR001

Location: -121.6483002, 44.1230087

The trail starts from a large, flat parking area covered by small pumice and volcanic rock. Hike northwest on Park Meadow Trail, a wide and shady horse trail.

PMR002

Location: -121.6601028, 44.125721

Keep straight @ 4-way intersection to continue on Park Meadow Trail. On the left, a side trail leads up to Snow Creek Ditch. A cross country ski trail enters on the right. Ahead, the trail continues its almost unnoticeable descent and narrow slightly.

PMR003

Location: -121.664958, 44.1266584

Cross a footbridge over Snow Creek.

PMR004

Location: -121.687274, 44.1216062

Rock hop across Squaw Creek. From here, the trail gradually ascends to Park Meadow. The trees occasionally open up, offering views of The Three Sisters and Broken Top.

PMR005

Location: -121.7031956, 44.1172313

Pass through Park Meadow, an expansive meadow rimmed by forest. This meadow offers the first open views of Broken Top to the south. In 450 feet, cross the East Fork Park Creek. There are several good camp spots along the creek, as well as throughout the meadows. After crossing East Fork Park Creek, continue straight @ 3-way junction with Pole Creek Trail (to the right).

PMR006

Location: -121.7160702, 44.109929

Turn left onto the climber's trail @ 3-way intersection. This junction is usually marked by cairns on the right side of the trail. If you notice a large rock formation on the left-hand side of the trail, you've passed the climber's trail. Ahead, hike south across the open meadows that surround Golden Lake.

PMR007

Location: -121.7157698, 44.1024409

Golden Lake: The expansive meadows surrounding the lake offer striking views of Broken Top. There are several established campsites located throughout the meadows. Filter water in the streams that flow into Golden Lake (this is the last available water source).

PMR008

Location: -121.7154694, 44.1000679

The ascent to the northwest ridge is very difficult and slow. The route crosses very loose gravel, shale, and scree. Find the best available path to the low point on the ridge.

PMR008

Location: -121.7195969, 44.0910301

Crest Broken Top's northwest ridge and head southeast.

PMR009

Location: -121.7082977, 44.087101

Leave behind the scree-filled trail, and travel on loose soil and rock. Maneuver over and around loose rocks and large boulders. Bend Glacier covers Broken Top's northern slopes.

PMR010

Location: -121.6997986, 44.0832787

At the base of the summit block, you'll have to tackle a 10-foot (low 5th class) rock climb and a 300-foot 3rd class scramble to reach the summit. Be extremely careful with your foot and hand holds. Broken Top's crumbling summit is covered with loose rocks.

PMR011

Location: -121.6994019, 44.0829391

Broken Top (9,175 ft.): Soak up views of the Cascades. The Three Sisters rise to the west-northwest and Mount Bachelor can be seen to the south. If visibility is high, Mounts Washington, Jefferson, and Hood can be seen to the north. Follow the same route back to Waypoint 1.

View from the Northwest Ridge

Location: -121.707015, 44.0863828

View of North Sister, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mount Jefferson. ©Trung Q. Le

MTW001

Location: -121.8558655, 44.3801308

The route starts where the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) intersects the dirt road (this junction is marked with a large PCT sign). Head south through thin growth on a very flat stretch of trail. Enjoy it while it lasts; you'll start gaining elevation near mile 2.5.

MTW002

Location: -121.8717422, 44.3588982

As you pass this point, Mount Washington can be seen to the southeast through the trees. Ahead, the flat, dusty trail curves to the southeast.

MTW003

Location: -121.8652954, 44.3506851

Turn left @ 3-way intersection onto a climber's trail marked with cairns. In roughly 100 feet, bear left @ Y-intersection to access Washington's North Ridge. (The trail to the right gradually ascends a meadow, then aggressively climbs a scree field to the base of the summit block. This trail is very difficult to ascend and is generally used to descend the summit.) The trail continues to travel under the covering of the trees that offer intermittent glimpses of Washington's summit. Watch your footing as the path becomes looser and steeper.

MTW004

Location: -121.8499527, 44.3450089

You'll get your first true views of Mount Washington's summit block and the North Ridge 4 miles into the hike. From here, the trail continues to aggressively climb to the ridge under the covering of trees. The trail transitions from loose soil to large rocks, and will gradually become loose scree and dirt intermixed with large rocks.

MTW005

Location: -121.8434858, 44.3420821

Crest the North Ridge of Mount Washington. For more views, scramble up and over a nearby rock outcropping to see Black Butte to the east and Three Fingered Jack and Mount Jefferson to the north. Next, the trail travels up the spine of the ridge on very loose soil, scree, rock, and shale. From this vantage point, you can start to notice detailed features of the summit block.

MTW006

Location: -121.8381577, 44.3327255

The summit block of Mount Washington: At this point, you'll have to climb 1-3 pitches to reach the summit. There's a low 5th class crux at the beginning and a 3rd-4th class scramble for the remaining stretch to the summit. Multiple slings, carabiners, and rappel rings are attached to the surrounding rocks.

MTW007

Location: -121.8385162, 44.3321457

Mount Washington (7,794 ft.): Views of the Cascades surround you on the summit of this shield volcano. Three Fingered Jack and Mount Jefferson rise to the north; the Three Sisters break up the horizon to the south; Big Lake stretches out below. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Big Lake

Location: -121.8534207, 44.3480821

©Trung Q. Le

Mountain Shadow

Location: -121.8456745, 44.3437394

©Trung Q. Le

The Summit Block

Location: -121.8432498, 44.342036

©Trung Q. Le

Black Butte from the North Ridge

Location: -121.8423057, 44.3409157

©Trung Q. Le

Cascade Peaks

Location: -121.8406963, 44.3397801

Views of Big Lake, Three Fingered Jack, and Mount Jefferson. ©Trung Q. Le

North Ridge

Location: -121.8394947, 44.3383989

©Trung Q. Le

North and Middle Sister

Location: -121.8381858, 44.3324286

©Trung Q. Le

Summit view of the North Ridge

Location: -121.8384004, 44.3321216

View of the North Ridge approach. ©Trung Q. Le

MSH001

Location: -122.183594, 46.146225

The trail head is located at the SW end of the parking area, near the entracne, for the Climber's Bivouac.
Take Ptarmigan trail #216A from the trail head.

For the next 2 miles, gradually ascend toward Monitor Ridge under the covering of new growth forests. on a nice dirt path.

MSH002

Location: -122.190239, 46.164394

Continue straight @ 4-way intersection towards Monitor Ridge. The other trail at this intersection is the Loowit Trail #216, which circumnavigates Mt. St. Helens.

There is also a compost toilet here. If you pass up this opportunity, the remainder of the trail will offer very little covering, and will actually be exposed.

The trail will continue to travel under the covering of the new growth as it gradually ascend towards Monitor Ridge.

Also, about 200 yds prior to this intersection, on the only switchback thus far, there is an awesome view of Mt. Adams directly East.

MSH003

Location: -122.191277, 46.166496

Base of the Monitor Ridge.

The trail will now leave behind the covering of the trees and begin exposure to the sun and wind. Also, the dirt hiking trail has now become volcanic silt and loose rocks.

From the base of Monitor Ridge, begin a scramble over large rocks and small boulders up to the ridge itself.

The trail will now be marked by large wooden poles. Best way is to scramble to one pole, and then look ahead for the next and traverse to that one. Repeat this process for the remainder of the hike.

MSH004

Location: -122.193512, 46.167606

Top of the Monitor Ridge.

The trail will now travel on the spine of Monitor Ridge all the way to the summit.

Take a look to your East/Right, as Mt. Adams will be looming large the rest of the way.
Also, to the South, Mt. Hood can be seen and on a clear day, Mt. Jefferson as well.

The trail will now consists of bouler/rock hopping or travel on a sandy/volcanic silt trail. This will be interchanged the rest of the way.

Sometimes, it might be easier to leave the trail behind and traverse over the rock/boulder gardens, and vice versa.
As long as you continue to travel to the next wooden pole, it really doesn't matter which terrain you choose.

MSH005

Location: -122.193146, 46.168755

To the West/Left, notice a small pyramid like rusty contraption.

This is one of the monitors used to monitor the seismic activity on Mt. St. Helens.

Continue to travel over the rock/boulde garden and volcanic silt trail. Remember to look for the wooden post that mark the way.

MSH006

Location: -122.189682, 46.180027

A large solar-powered seismic monitor.

A nice place to take a break and soak in the surrounding views.
Also, take note of the summit ahead.

The trail will now travel over larger rocks/boulders with small flat areas in between. Take advantage of the flat areas to take a break or rest up.

The trail will become more steep and the terrain alot looser to travel over.

MSH007

Location: -122.189598, 46.183273

This is the start of the tranisistion of the trail from rock/boulders to scree.

The trail will alternate between traveling over rock/boulders and scree.

Take a look back down and marvel at how the trail traverses up Monitor Ridge spine over rocks, scree, boulders and volanic silt and fine pumice.

MSH008

Location: -122.188835, 46.187668

The final push to the summit, is one that becomes difficult.

As the trail is now completely scree. Be prepared to take 2 steps forward, while sliding 1 step back.

Althouh the summit is about 300 vertical feet away, take your time, as speed can be counter-productive in this loos scree.

MSH009

Location: -122.189484, 46.189957

The "summit". This is the traditional stopping point for all climbers on this trail.
In actuality, the true summit is about a 200 yd rim walk to the West.

Soak in the awesome views of Mt. Rainier directly north. Notice the erie Spriti Lake below, still filled with trees from the 1980 blast, floating silently on the surface.

Directly below, take a look at the ever growing lava dome within the crater.

Mt. Adams from the summit

Location: -122.189019, 46.189925

Mt. Rainier from the summit

Location: -122.189373, 46.189932

Mt. Hood

Location: -122.190564, 46.165447

Peaking over the morning haze

Initial climb on the spine of Monitor Ridge

Location: -122.192516, 46.166881

Summit can be seen in the distance.

Small rock/boulder garden

Location: -122.193203, 46.171302

Unique rock formation on Monitor Ridge

Location: -122.191358, 46.173947

Rock/Boulder gardens and wooden post marking the path

Location: -122.18977, 46.177394

Solar powered monitor

Location: -122.189727, 46.180662

Wooden Post marking the path on the rock/boulder gardens

Location: -122.189384, 46.183248

Summit can be seen ahead.

View from the summit, looking south on the final scree slope

Location: -122.189201, 46.189932

NIT001

Location: -105.814764, 40.256558

From the parking lot and trailhead, hike east along the crushed granite path. The trail follows the North Inlet, so it's not uncommon to see fly fishermen during this stretch. Pass a ranch with grazing horses to the right and a red cabin to the left.

NIT002

Location: -105.798812, 40.258339

The North Inlet flows right next to the North Inlet Trail, providing excellent access to fishing.

NIT003

Location: -105.765445, 40.272339

Pass Cascade Falls on the right. A spur trail full of roots and rocks shoots off to the right and brings hikers to the base of the falls.

NIT004

Location: -105.721264, 40.281425

Reach the trail junction with the Lake Nanita Trail, which leads to Lakes Nonoki and Nanita. The side trip to both lakes will tack on 7 extra miles.

NIT005

Location: -105.716758, 40.279739

Begin climbing up exposed switchbacks. The Continental Divide and unrivaled mountain views are to the right.

NIT006

Location: -105.702553, 40.286892

Bear left to reach July Campsite. A bear box is available directly uphill. The creek runs due east of the site and makes for an excellent water source. After camping overnight, retrace steps back to the trailhead.

Aspens

Location: -105.806665, 40.256211

©MacKenzie Ryan

Horse

Location: -105.805292, 40.256178

©MacKenzie Ryan

Ranch

Location: -105.803876, 40.25608

©MacKenzie Ryan

North Inlet

Location: -105.798512, 40.258405

©MacKenzie Ryan

Campsites

Location: -105.796237, 40.260075

The first of many accessible campsites along North Inlet. ©MacKenzie Ryan

North Inlet

Location: -105.767484, 40.270292

©MacKenzie Ryan

Rock Wall

Location: -105.765832, 40.271537

©MacKenzie Ryan

Cascade Falls

Location: -105.765381, 40.27188

©MacKenzie Ryan

Headwaters for Big Pool

Location: -105.762634, 40.281883

©MacKenzie Ryan

Marshland

Location: -105.742013, 40.286974

©MacKenzie Ryan

Big Pool

Location: -105.738537, 40.285582

©MacKenzie Ryan

Storm on Grand Lake

Location: -105.737572, 40.285942

©MacKenzie Ryan

Exposed Trail

Location: -105.727186, 40.284142

©MacKenzie Ryan

Elk Herd

Location: -105.718753, 40.28077

©MacKenzie Ryan

Continental Divide

Location: -105.717359, 40.280164

©MacKenzie Ryan

View from Switchbacks

Location: -105.713239, 40.282538

©MacKenzie Ryan

More Switchback Views

Location: -105.710986, 40.283176

©MacKenzie Ryan

Switchback Vistas

Location: -105.709806, 40.2837

©MacKenzie Ryan

Mountains

Location: -105.706759, 40.285271

Views to the east. ©MacKenzie Ryan

CHA001

Location: -105.55645, 40.271774

Trailhead and Longs Peak Ranger Station is well equipped with modern toilets, but can be very crowded on summer weekends.

CHA002

Location: -105.56411, 40.274994

Turn left at the Y-junction half a mile from the trailhead.

CHA003

Location: -105.570524, 40.272994

Pass the spur trail that leads to a backcountry campsite.

CHA004

Location: -105.580032, 40.273212

Cross an upper branch of Alpine Creek on two sturdy wooden bridges.

CHA005

Location: -105.578568, 40.270432

Around 10,700 feet, the steep, stair-stepped trail crosses treeline. Look for the Twin Sisters across the valley.

CHA006

Location: -105.581444, 40.270691

Lift your eyes off the trail and start watching for views of Longs Peak's Diamond Face to the southwest.

CHA007

Location: -105.584282, 40.270828

Turn left at Y-junction following signs for Chasm Lake.

CHA008

Location: -105.5914, 40.267544

Above treeline, the rocky path is cairn-marked in some stretches. Pass a cairn here.

CHA009

Location: -105.592537, 40.265656

Turn left at this Y-junction. The well-traveled path to Longs Peak veers right at this point.

CHA010

Location: -105.591949, 40.265625

Privy: This outhouse has excellent 360 views. Go even if you don't have to.

CHA011

Location: -105.594825, 40.264234

Peacock Pool is the small lake to the south; Chasm Lake is out of view, beyond the moraine to the southwest.

CHA012

Location: -105.600601, 40.258827

Bear left for yet another photogenic privy before your arrival at the lake.

CHA013

Location: -105.601074, 40.258704

Patrol cabin: Hopefully you'll never need to meet the rangers that work here.

CHA014

Location: -105.602844, 40.258176

Chasm Lake: Bring binoculars to seek out climbers ascending the Diamond Face. Turn around and retrace your steps to the trailhead.

Trailhead

Location: -105.556254, 40.271749

Longs Peak Trailhead © Jenn Fields

Creek

Location: -105.577948, 40.274189

The trail crosses and parallels several creeks before it reaches treeline. © Jenn Fields

Bridge

Location: -105.579793, 40.273223

A sturdy bridge eases the crossing of an upper branch of Alpine Creek. © Jenn Fields

Valley View

Location: -105.578377, 40.270423

At treeline, a hiker scopes out the valley below. © Jenn Fields

Scrub

Location: -105.58121, 40.270702

The trail turns rockier above treeline. Longs Peak looms above and left. © Jenn Fields

Longs Peak And Mount Lady Washington

Location: -105.58269, 40.270669

Catch glimpses of Longs Peak and Mount Lady Washington in the distance as you push west.

Sign

Location: -105.584063, 40.270767

All of the trail junctions on this route are well-marked. © Jenn Fields

Split

Location: -105.592368, 40.265642

The trail to Chasm Lake continues left from here, straight for Longs Peak. © Jenn Fields

Privy

Location: -105.59182, 40.265634

Pretty view from the privy © Jenn Fields

Peacock Pool

Location: -105.594653, 40.264259

Peacock Pool © Jenn Fields

Columbine Falls And Longs Peak

Location: -105.596478, 40.263306

Catch views of Columbine Falls backdropped by Longs Peak as you continue to the west.

Columbine

Location: -105.600548, 40.258823

Columbine burst from between rocks beneath Chasm Lake in mid-July. © Jenn Fields

Patrol Cabin and Ship's Prow

Location: -105.600758, 40.258585

Patrol Cabin: Say hi to the rangers as you pass -- hopefully you'll never have to meet them on a rescue. © Jenn Fields

Scramble

Location: -105.601691, 40.25829

Follow the cairns. They mark the easiest way over this class-II scramble. © Jenn Fields

Chasm Lake

Location: -105.602758, 40.258176

Chasm Lake

Location: -105.603032, 40.257861

Because of its high altitude and relative lack of sunlight (Mount Hood and Mount Lady Washington block most afternoon sun), Chasm Lake holds ice deep into summer.

TDL001

Location: -118.49848, 33.440779

This hike begins at the bus stop, a short walk from the dock and just to the east of the restaurant. The first 0.4 mile on the main road are relatively flat and easy.

TDL002

Location: -118.50217, 33.43659

Just before the water's edge at the back of Cat Harbor, a well-worn road leads up and to the right. Follow it to begin the mile-long climb to the ridgeline.

TDL003

Location: -118.5041, 33.43656

The climb intensifies as it follows a smaller, right-hand path from this point (a few hundred yards west of the main road).

TDL004

Location: -118.50662, 33.44025

A flat spot offers brief respite on the climb, and a faint trail leads right to a hammock-shrouded scrub oak.

TDL005

Location: -118.50834, 33.43979

This is the only real switchback on the climb. Turn right to continue up the final push to the ridgeline.

TDL006

Location: -118.50871, 33.44257

The cactus and sage-lined path keeps climbing, but you're almost to the top.

TDL007

Location: -118.52557, 33.44731

After a mile of rolling up and over the ridgeline contours, a short climb leads to a large open dirt area atop a hill. Turn left for a quick, steep downhill and a mellow climb to the Silver Peak Trail.

TDL008

Location: -118.52617, 33.441609

This mapped route joins the Silver Peak Trail road just below the island's west-end ridge. The quick uphill detour is worth the views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina's rugged backside.

TDL009

Location: -118.52655, 33.44157

If it's not too windy, this ridge-top overlook is a great place to stop for a snack, or to stretch your legs before turning around and following the steep path downhill.

TDL010

Location: -118.51678, 33.43927

Just after a flat section of trail, you'll pass a large, round water tank on your left and the old Two Harbors dump on your right. The old dump area is inactive and is a popular grazing spot for deer.

TDL011

Location: -118.50941, 33.433349

The steep, 1.5-mile downhill leads to Wells Beach, a maintenance and work area for the village of Two Harbors. Stay on the main road and watch for old, dirty maintenance trucks as you head uphill and round a bend on the narrow road.

TDL012

Location: -118.50798, 33.43283

Look back and to the left side of Catalina Harbor for a view of a local landmark, the ridgeline between Mount Torquemada and Cat Head, which resembles the silhouette of a pregnant woman.

Trailhead

Location: -118.4983635, 33.4407527

There isn't much traffic on the Cat Harbor Road, where this hike begins. © Frannie Finley

Cat Harbor Road

Location: -118.50214, 33.4365269

The Cat Harbor road is the darker-surfaced one on the left. This route follows the dirt trail to the right from this unmarked Y-junction. © Frannie Finley

Footpath

Location: -118.5041142, 33.437458

This prickly-pear-lined path begins the intense climb to the ridge above Two Harbors. © Frannie Finley

Two Harbors

Location: -118.5060453, 33.439929

A view of Two Harbors from the hammock. Notice Bird Rock on the upper left and Big Fisherman's Cove on the upper right. © Frannie Finley

Hammock

Location: -118.506217, 33.4402871

Who knows how long it'll last, but this hammock is a nice spot for a rest. © Frannie Finley

Mainland

Location: -118.5096502, 33.4434385

You'll find 100-mile views of the southern California coast on a clear day. In the foreground, is the Isthmus Cove on the right and Fourth of July Cove on the left. © Frannie Finley

Pregnant Lady Landmark

Location: -118.5076332, 33.4325158

A local landmark, the silhouette of a reclining pregnant woman, looms above the moorings in Cat Habor. © Frannie Finley

WPT001

Location: -122.0257187, 36.9595871

From Gharkey Street and West Cliff Drive, this is the path's official beginning before dipping down to the beach boardwalk and away from West Cliff Drive.

WPT002

Location: -122.0260692, 36.9521382

Steamer Lane: World-class surfing, big wave days and international competitions all take place at this Northern California break.

WPT003

Location: -122.0288157, 36.9520181

Have a dog? Technically leashes are required at this beach, but locals have been bucking the system for years and unofficially taken over this stretch of sand.

WPT004

Location: -122.0446515, 36.9505263

The only house on the western side of West Cliff, it was not uncommon to see multiple structures before the ocean claimed the cliffs they were perched on.

WPT005

Location: -122.0560831, 36.9496989

The path ends at Natural Bridges State Park. To head back, make a U-turn and retrace your steps back to path's beginning.

Big Wave Day At Steamer Lane

Location: -122.0258707, 36.9514437

Dog Beach

Location: -122.0286441, 36.9520396

Santa Cruz Surf Statue

Location: -122.0247602, 36.9547103

Commissioned to honor local surfers, rarely does a day go by that a hawaiian lay is not placed around his neck.

Bailing Out

Location: -122.025978, 36.9516837

Large Offshore Break

Location: -122.0254523, 36.9518381

Steamer Lane

Location: -122.0258814, 36.9520824

At this world-class surf break it is not uncommon to see some of the world's best big wave riders carving up the waves.

Natural Bridges State Park

Location: -122.0575261, 36.9496088

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Location: -122.020576, 36.9636262

Views from West Cliff look out over the wharf, Boardwalk and main beach.

Santa Cruz Lighthouse

Location: -122.0267075, 36.9514094

Take five and check out the surf museum open inside the lighthouse. Ancient boards and blurry black and white photos await.

SFL001

Location: -106.4639, 37.231466

The South Fork Roaring Gulch Loop begins on Trail 724 with a short downhill to the Conejos River. Be sure to sign the register at the South Fork Trailhead.

SFL002

Location: -106.468308, 37.227119

Cross the Conejos River at mile 0.4 and continue on the signed South Fork trail through an open, grass-covered valley before veering north and beginning an easy, uphill workout.

SFL003

Location: -106.470915, 37.230606

Pass through a small gate at mile 0.7 and continue on the gradual uphill.

SFL004

Location: -106.473895, 37.233879

Turn left @ Y-junction to follow Trail 724 and begin this route's loop section. A few use-trails branch uphill to the right, but stay left to follow the faint trail west through aspen-scattered meadows.

SFL005

Location: -106.5092754, 37.2269113

Even in July, the braided flow of this Hansen Creek crossing may require shoe removal to stay dry. It is worthwhile to check with rangers before your trip to discuss snow-melt conditions and come prepared for safe stream crossings.

SFL006

Location: -106.510812, 37.222059

This meadow campsite at mile 3.7 sits beside a gurgling set of rapids. From here, the trail turns uphill, passes through another gate, and rises from the creekbed, clinging to the walls of South Fork Canyon.

SFL007

Location: -106.516392, 37.216114

Pass through this second gate before entering the the South Fork Conejos River narrows.

SFL008

Location: -106.54114, 37.217302

Continue west on the overgrown Trail 724 @ 3-way junction. There are several good campsites in this area at the base of Canon Verde: one in the meadows just south of the trail junction and another farther downhill near the river.

SFL009

Location: -106.5696359, 37.2259375

A few interesting geological features--an andesite talus slope at mile 6.4 and a volcanic outcropping at mile 7.3--and another campsite precede this wet crossing of Conon Rincon. From here, the trail continues climbing toward Conejos Peak.

SFL010

Location: -106.578259, 37.260894

Several trails converge in this alpine meadow that marks the loop's half-way point. This route continues north on trail 722, a faint, cairn-marked path heading toward the east side of the eastern Twin Lake. You'll bypass trails toward Glacier and Timber Lakes, and an unnamed trail to the western Twin Lake. Just uphill from the junction is a campsite that would provide valuable shelter from afternoon storms.

SFL011

Location: -106.573954, 37.268483

The path gets more prominent as it approaches this 360-degree viewpoint. Take it all in: To the south, the valley you just ascended and a plateau of alpine lakes; to the west, Twin Lakes; to the north, Conejos Peak; and to the east, a stretch of flower-filled alpine meadow.

SFL012

Location: -106.564454, 37.27744

The trail skirts a couple of unnamed ponds below Conejos Peak before crossing Hansen Creek's upper reaches and turning right at this Y-junction toward Roaring Gulch.

SFL013

Location: -106.555103, 37.276665

Turn right @ Y-junction onto Trail 720, heading southeast to complete this loop route. The left-hand trail heads north to Saddle Creek and an alternative trailhead on Forest Road 105.

SFL014

Location: -106.521622, 37.25816

The cairn-marked trail disappears occasionally along the mostly-flat, several mile stretch of tree-scattered alpine meadow before-and after-these ruins near mile 15.9. The post here marks the abandoned trail west to Bear Lake, but this route continues east across the creek to begin descending toward the trailhead. Scattered trees and snow can make the trail difficult to follow, so look for blazes marking the route.

SFL015

Location: -106.493828, 37.252717

A first set of downhill switchbacks ends at the top of this long, narrow meadow. At the meadow's base is a trail junction: Bypass the Bear Lake Trail and continue downhill through dense aspen groves toward another set of long, sweeping turns.

SFL016

Location: -106.477008, 37.239046

Less than half a mile from loop's end (1.5 miles from the trailhead), you'll pass through another gate above the Conejos River.

Trailhead

Location: -106.4639568, 37.2313876

The signed trailhead where this 21-mile loop begins. © Charlie Williams

Cabin

Location: -106.4645791, 37.2293204

The trail skirts a log cabin just downhill from the trailhead. © Charlie Williams

South Fork

Location: -106.4680767, 37.2270822

The signed trail crosses a large field on the west side of the Conejos River. © Charlie Williams

Aspen

Location: -106.4942551, 37.2333353

Crowded corn lilies cover the ground in this area's meadow-bound aspen groves. © Charlie Williams

Campsite

Location: -106.5108204, 37.2219905

This meadow-side campsite is a good stopping point for hikers looking to acclimatize to the altitude, or who got a late start from the trailhead. © Charlie Williams

Trail 726

Location: -106.5409899, 37.2172403

Trail 726 heads south to a couple of good campsites, but this mapped route follows the westbound trail instead. © Charlie Williams

Views

Location: -106.5780258, 37.2608015

Alpine meadows above 11,500 feet offer excellent views of surrounding peaks. © Charlie Williams

Twin Lakes

Location: -106.5757084, 37.2674275

The Twin Lakes, nestled in a bowl-shaped basin. © Charlie Williams

Elk

Location: -106.5697861, 37.27296

In the alpine meadows above Twin Lakes in mid-summer, you might spot herds of elk like this 100-head group. © Charlie Williams

Conejos Peak

Location: -106.5687561, 37.2739162

Views of 13,172-foot Conejos Peak from the loop's northwestern apex. © Charlie Williams

Vista

Location: -106.5354538, 37.2706378

Unobstructed views from the 11,000-foot alpine meadows characterize this several-mile stretch of trail. © Charlie Williams

Cabin Ruins

Location: -106.5213776, 37.2580007

Though pleasant in the summer, this harsh alpine environment proved too much for residents of this long-abandoned cabin. © Charlie Williams

Aspen

Location: -106.4864016, 37.2466597

Magical groves of aspen in the upper reaches of Roaring Gulch. © Charlie Williams

BLU001

Location: -105.5817676, 40.0830461

Mitchell Lake Trailhead: Begin by following Mitchell Lake Trail No. 912 on the left side of the parking area bathrooms.

BLU002

Location: -105.5865042, 40.085214

The wood-stepped trail flattens out again near this plank platform, the first of many along the trail. The wooden walkways protect the marshy, muddy terrain from hikers, and vice-versa.

BLU003

Location: -105.5886281, 40.0855992

After skirting a marshland on your right, you'll re-enter the woods and cross the trail's most impressive bridge: a double-railed structure 15 feet above the cascading Mitchell Lake drainage creek.

BLU004

Location: -105.5891155, 40.0853259

At mile 0.5, the trail crosses into the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The boundary is marked with a wooden sign and posted wilderness-area regulations.

BLU005

Location: -105.5944085, 40.0865578

Turn left to stay on the trail, following it west about 100 feet from the shore of Mitchell Lake.

BLU006

Location: -105.5957824, 40.0867295

Stay straight @ 3-way junction, or turn right on user created trails for a quick 100-foot detour to check out the lakeshore.

BLU007

Location: -105.5973388, 40.0866059

This double log bridge is a close runner-up for the most impressive along the trail.

BLU008

Location: -105.6002353, 40.0865468

Hop onto this 150-foot boardwalk trail to stay out of the mud.

BLU009

Location: -105.6078543, 40.0837818

Climb onto this large, flat rock for a rest, or just enjoy the southern view of this pond from the trailside overlook.

BLU010

Location: -105.6131324, 40.0853152

As you approach treeline and the shores of Blue Lake on this rocky trail, the knobby fir and pine take on twisted, whimsical shapes.

BLU011

Location: -105.6174251, 40.0884472

The wide, open area at the foot of Blue Lake may be crowded with other hikers. Stop for a picnic on the inviting rocks near here, or continue west along the lakeshore for other prime, and more private, spots.

Indian Peaks

Location: -105.5884409, 40.085558

Half a mile into the hike, you'll pass a wooden sign marking the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. © Steve Johnson

Log Bridge

Location: -105.5971098, 40.0864773

Crossing a wide cascade on the trail above Mitchell Lake. © Steve Johnson

Boardwalks

Location: -105.6059074, 40.0849669

Boardwalks help control trail damage and keep hikers dry on marshy sections of this trail. © Steve Johnson

Pond Overlook

Location: -105.6080317, 40.0836536

The trail overlooks several small, unnamed ponds en route to Blue Lake. © Steve Johnson

Mt. Audubon

Location: -105.6173015, 40.0883816

A view of Mt. Audubon's south-facing talus slope. User-created trails criss-cross the lower portion of the slope. © Steve Johnson

Pawnee Peak

Location: -105.6174088, 40.0883816

Pawnee Peak view from the shores of Blue Lake © Steve Johnson

Mount Toll

Location: -105.6172585, 40.0883816

A view of Mount Toll from the eastern shore of Blue Lake © Steve Johnson

Stopping Point

Location: -105.6172156, 40.0883488

Large, flat rocks near the lakeshore are fun to climb and make great picnic spots. © Steve Johnson

Waterfall

Location: -105.6218076, 40.0897277

This 30-foot fall is at the western end of Blue Lake. © Steve Johnson

SBT001

Location: -84.1386566, 30.1408405

Stoney Bayou Trailhead is about 1.5 miles south of the St. Marks NWR Visitor's Center. Start hiking east on a trail that follows old logging roads around brackish water pools. Peer through the flaxen-grass clearing here for a chance spotting of white-tailed deer. Wildlife sitings in the refuge are not uncommon: you may encounter wild pigs, birds, even black bear on this trail.

SBT002

Location: -84.1300278, 30.1397705

Go right @ T-junction to head toward the Stoney Bayou Pools, a wildlife oasis alive with croaking bullfrogs, slithering snakes, and alligators basking in the sun.

SBT003

Location: -84.1394424, 30.1237106

Turn left @ 4-way junction; here the Stoney Bayou Trail joins Florida National Scenic Trail for 1.4 miles, and follows the shore of Stoney Bayou; grassy tufts and lily pads float in the marsh. This junction also offers a bailout (to the right) to Light House Road. Continue straight at this junction for a short detour to a Gulf of Mexico viewpoint. As you continue on the Florida Trail, you'll start to wander through the Stoney Bayou Pools (keep an eye out for gators!).

SBT004

Location: -84.1189117, 30.11376

Turn left @ T-junction and walk down a corridor flanked by a saltwater estuary and brackish forest swamp; scan trees for the elusive bald eagle.

SBT005

Location: -84.1070786, 30.1367779

Make a hard left at a crooked T-junction to hike northwest. During spring migration, this area is a parade of rainbow-plumed birds; in fall, flocks of butterflies speckle the forests with vibrant colors.

SBT006

Location: -84.1169815, 30.1401196

Bear left @ Y-junction to follow main trail.

SBT007

Location: -84.119133, 30.1397896

Bear right @ Y-junction to continue through a longleaf pine forest where the rare red-cockaded woodpecker makes its woody nest.

SBT008

Location: -84.1266632, 30.1394596

Continue right @ Y-junction. Keep an eye out for the diverse bird culture of the refuge along this stretch: multitudes of ibises, ospreys, and blue herons rule the sky.

SBT009

Location: -84.1276016, 30.1394901

Bear left @ Y-junction. In 0.2 mile, stay right to return to the parking lot.

Grazing Deer

Location: -84.1350861, 30.140419

Peer through flaxen-grass clearing for white-tailed deer. ©Eli Schelin

Winding Trail

Location: -84.1304779, 30.1398182

Trail is highlighted by splashes of rusted red and yellow-green as the trees begin to change for fall. ©Eli Schelin

Lurking Gator

Location: -84.1389999, 30.1248341

Stoney Bayou Pools is a wildlife oasis alive with alligators basking in the sunlight. ©Eli Schelin

Stony Bayou Pools

Location: -84.1387787, 30.1234226

The serene view of Stony Bayou Pools unfold as the trail follows the shoreline. ©Eli Schelin

Swimming Predator

Location: -84.1288452, 30.1185379

An alligator glides through the murky pools, a fascinating, but potentially dangerous sighting. ©Eli Schelin

Soaring Flocks

Location: -84.1133728, 30.1325436

During spring migration, this area is a parade of rainbow-plumed birds. ©Eli Schelin

Upland Estuary Forest

Location: -84.1104431, 30.135149

Thick vegetation and lime green ferns are a startling contrast to the murky brown and blue pools along the shore. ©Eli Schelin