Explore Southern Appalachian history and culture at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Start your morning on the porch reveling in the thick morning fog from which the region earned its name. Later, bicycle through Cades Cove, or try your luck angling for rainbow trout on 700 miles of fishable streams. With 800 miles of trails, and over 80-historic structures including log cabin schoolhouses and gristmills, a journey here is a step back to a earlier era, where nature tended to steal the show.
The Lost Sea 02:47
Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park, just off the coast of Los Angeles, is home to some of the best kayaking on the West Coast. Rich with marine life and boasting the much-photographed Arch Rock, Anacapa is the perfect day trip or overnighter for the city dweller looking to get into some rough water. It’s a cliff island, so beware of winds, currents and fog.
Colorado has Aspen, one of the most famous skiing destinations on the planet. It also has Sand Dunes National Park, one of the only sandboarding and sandsledding destinations on the planet. Slalom down the granular slopes like some diabolical combination of Jean-Claude Killy and Lawrence of Arabia. Hit the dunes early in the morning or late in the evening, lest you roast in the 150° midday heat. And don’t forget the lip balm.
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park boasts rock formations that will set a climber’s mouth to watering. The 415-square-mile park is a full-service climbing destination, featuring opportunities for scaling rock, wall, ice and snow. Lumpy Ridge and Longs Peak are favorites of local and international climbers. Whether you are an experienced sport climber or a beginning boulderer, be safe and leave no trace of your visit.
Extreme Adventures in our National Parks 10 Photos