10 Must-Take Adventures for Outdoor Addicts
From rafting to hiking to biking, these adventure-centric trips should be on every outdoor enthusiast's bucket list.
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Nankoweap Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park's most difficult named trail is Nankoweap Trail that begins from the North Rim and travels 14 miles to the Colorado River, including an 11-mile stretch without a water source. The payoff is a view of the Colorado River usually only seen by rafters, and the Nankoweap Graineries–cliff structures used by Native Americans centuries ago to store food supplies.
Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai’s Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trail that crosses five valleys through the rainforest of the Garden Island to the Na Pali Coast, which is only accessible via hiking. The trail, which begins at Ke’e Beach, is as rugged as the distinct cliffs, but the beauty of the hike and the payoff of camping on Kalalau Beach has made this trail a bucket list trip for hikers worldwide. Permits are required for the trail.
Rafting the Gauley, West Virginia
Every September during “Gauley Season” the Gauley River National Recreation Area rages with white-water released from West Virginia’s Summersville Dam, creating some of the best Class V rafting in the world. Adventures on the Gorge takes thrill-seekers on multi-day rafting and camping trips covering 26 miles of stomach-dropping rapids and beautiful West Virginia scenery.
Winter in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park in winter is a snow shoeing or cross-country skiing paradise for the few who venture into the park. Wildlife is plentiful, and the Yellowstone Association Institute conduct field classses that track wolves and other wildlife. Old Faithful Snow Lodge is open, and guests arrive by tracked snowcoaches.
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park's towering sandstone cliffs, slot canyons, waterfalls and hidden green oases make it a hiker's fantasy. During the winter private vehicles are allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is only open to park buses during the summer. There are several marked trails, and backpacking requires a permit which you should apply for three months prior to your visit.
Tour du Mont Blanc–France, Switzerland and Italy
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 105-mile, week-long trek that travels through France, Italy and Switzerland as it circles Mont Blanc through the Alps. The trail begins in the ski town of Les Houches, France, and is marked with yellow "TMB" signs. Dorm-style huts are situated 10 miles apart along the trail and are available with prior reservations, or hikers can trail camp or stay in the many small villages the trail passes through.
Biking Through Myanmar
Cycling is the best way to explore Myanmar's interior with its colorful Buddhist stupas and lush, rolling countryside. Myanmar is a safe country to tour alone or with organized tours that handle logistics, such as Intrepid Travel's Cycle Myanmar.
Milford Track, New Zealand
Called "the finest walk in the world," New Zealand's Milford Track travels 33 miles through beech forests, mountains and glaciers from Glade Wharf to Sandfly Point in Fiordland. Hikers pass lakes and waterfalls as they travel between communal huts that provide bunks and meals. Hut reservations must be booked in advance since trail camping is not permitted.
The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
This 26-mile, four-day trek passes ancient Inca cities and lush, mountainous farmlands before arriving at at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. Hike unguided after securing a permit or hire a tour company. Other Peru tours include Peru: Adventure in the Andes that includes visitng Machu Picchu and staying in the Skylodge Adventure Suites, a glass capsule suspended on a cliff overlooking the Sacred Valley.