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SLOTPeek-a-boo and Spooky Loop, UT
This four-mile Grand Staircase-Escalante scramble squeezes through redrock slots so narrow that “you have to take off your pack and turn sideways,” says Ryan Malavolta (right). Start at Dry Fork Wash trailhead and go up Peek-a-boo and down Spooky. ut.blm.gov/monument
PEAKHumphreys Trail, AZ
Hike through ponderosa pines to open ridges as you rise to the 12,633-foot summit of Humphreys Peak, an extinct volcano and highest point in Arizona. From the Snowbowl ski area, climb 4.5 miles (one way) to views of the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert.mass.gov/dcr/parks
CANYONLighthouse Trail, TX
Palo Duro Canyon lies smack in the middle of the Lone Star State’s panhandle. The “Grand Canyon of Texas” is a 20-mile-wide, 800-foot-deep chasm cut by the Red River. Trek three miles (one way) to the giant stone pinnacle called the Lighthouse.
SLOTWest Clear Creek, AZ
Hit the upper six miles of this 25-mile gash in the rugged Mogollon Rim near Payson. Prepare for frequent wading and a swim at mile 1.2 as the canyon walls pinch tight. Camp at mile five and return–or add two days to tackle pools and drops in the central section. fs.fed.us/r3/coconino
PEAKMogollon Crest Trail, NM
Spend a few days in the Gila Wilderness—summiting big-view balds, scrambling through canyons, marveling at ruins, and relaxing in hot springs—and you’ll wish for more than a weekend. From Sandy Point, this 24-mile out-and-back traces ridges and hits three highpoints.fs.fed.us/r3/gila
CANYONElephant Canyon Loop, UT
The astounding crack-and-needle landscape of Canyonlands National Park will make you think you’re walking on some distant planet. Connect the Chesler Park and Joint Trails on this 11-mile loop (camp at Chesler Park). Got time? Add a four-mile sidehike to Druid Arch.nps.gov/cany
SLOTParia Canyon/Buckskin Gulch, UT/AZ
Life slows to elemental simplicity–rock, water, sky–on this 39-mile trek through the West’s showiest slot. From White House trailhead, splash through the The Narrows, sidehike into Buckskin Gulch, and enjoy Edenic camping under cottonwoods on your way to Lees Ferry.nblm.gov/az/paria
PEAKCrest Trail, NM
The CT traverses 44 miles across the spine of the White Mountains Wilderness, home to the tallest peaks in southern New Mexico. From Skyline Campground, hike through meadows and along streams to summit views of the desert basin. Return or exit at FR 108.fs.us/r4/lincoln
CANYON Grandview, Tonto, Bright Angel Trails, AZ
Get the Grand’s finest views on this 35-miler. Descend from Grandview Point to Cottonwood Creek and head west on the Tonto Trail. Go 14 miles to Grapevine Creek and Lonetree Canyon. Continue to the campsite at Indian Gardens; hike out to the Bright Angel trailhead. nps.gov/grca
Salt Lake City hiker Ryan Malavolta, 30, relishes his nearby trail options. “Close-to-home Neffs Canyon is my favorite,” he says. “Neffs Canyon Trail has top-notch colors in the spring and fall, and my dog Janna loves the creek and trailside meadows.”.