5 of My Favorite National Park Hikes

I thought it would be fun to share my 5 favorite National Park hikes that I have completed. All of these are great and if you are an avid hiker you should put on your bucket list.

1) The Highline Trail in Glacier National Park. This trail delivers breathtaking beauty around every turn. Starting at the Continental Divide at Logan Pass it follows the Garden Wall through the highest elevations in the Park. Read more about my hike here.

2) Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. This trail was named when an early explorer exclaimed that only an Angel can get up there. This trail is not for those with a fear of heights (or falling!). Read more about my hike here.

3) The High Peaks Trail in Pinnacles National Park. Scampering up and around the High Peaks of this National Park while surrounded by California Condors, what’s not to like! Read more about my hike here.

4) The Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park. Technically this is a non technical climb as much as it is a hike. The views of the island and the Atlantic Ocean are unparalleled. Read more about my hike here.

5) The Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park. You haven’t truly experienced the Grand Canyon until you reach the Colorado River. Beautiful and extremely difficult trail. Read more about my hike here.

Next up, I will share the 5 National Park Hikes that I haven’t completed but are at the top of my list to do.

Thanks for reading. rk

The 5 Most Dangerous National Park Day Hikes

National Parks are known as America’s best idea. As a result, many people think that they are completely safe places to visit. And they can be when proper precautions and planning are taken. However the huge influxes of visitors in recent years has also created a spike in visitor deaths. Below are the 5 most dangerous day hikes in our National Parks.

5) The Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park: This short trail with gorgeous views of the Park and the Atlantic Ocean also has had several deaths from hikers falling from the precarious cliffs. Famed for its 26 iron rungs climbing vertically up Champlain Mountain and the narrow ledge to navigate, this trail is thrilling and dangerous. You can read more about the Precipice Trail here.

4) Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park: One of the most famous day hikes in America is also one of the most dangerous in America. The trail’s notoriety brings a flood of hikers who inevitably are at risk at plummeting to their deaths. The 1400 foot drops on each side of a 2 foot wide trail are breathtaking and treacherous. You can read more about Angels Landing here.

3) The Narrows in Zion National Park: This gorgeous slot canyon in Utah can be as narrow as 20 feet across with rock walls a thousand feet high on each side. Unseen storms upstream can cause flash flooding and a race for your life. As this hikes popularity has increased, so have the drownings.

Wading in the Narrows

2) The Bright Angel Trail in The Grand Canyon National Park: Hordes of tourists descend this trail into the canyon. It’s an easy hike down and the views are amazing. Suddenly you realize it’s getting late and super hot and you now have many miles of switchbacks and thousands of feet of elevation change to get back to the top. Rangers rescue folks here almost daily, but still heat exhaustion claims lives every summer. Read more about the Bright Angel Trail here.

1) The Half Dome Trail in Yosemite National Park: The most dangerous day hike in the National Park system is Half Dome. You’ve probably seen pictures of the nearly vertical ascent up the cables. If one person slips, they can take several others down with them. But this trail is electrifying in more than one way. Stay off Half Dome if thunderstorms are in the area. Not only is the treacherous trail slick, but numerous hikers have been struck by lightning on this trail.

Photo Credit yosemitehikes.com

Ten Reasons to Visit Southern Utah in 2018

Southern Utah is one of the most beautiful places in the world.   Southern Utah is home to five National Parks along with multiple National Monuments and State Parks.   Here are ten reasons to go visit Southern Utah in 2018.

#1:  Arches – Utah has the greatest concentration of arches in the world. It even has a National Park named after Arches.

#2:  Hoodoos – Hoodoos are skinny spires of rock. You can see a bunch of them at Bryce Canyon.

#3:  Canyons – Canyons are beautiful. Canyoneering through them is great fun. The Narrows in Zion National Park is a great one to start with.

#4:  Hiking – There are thousands of miles of trails in southern Utah through the desert, canyons, and mountains. Angels Landing in Zion National Park is recognized as one of the most thrilling in the country.

#5:  Stargazing – The dark skies of southern Utah are perfect for seeing the Milky Way.

#6:  Riding the Rocks – Whether rock crawling in a Jeep or biking on the slick rock around Moab, you can get your adrenaline rush in southern Utah.

#7:  Exploring History — Canyonlands National Park is a great place to see Dinosaur Fossils and Petroglyphs.

#8:  Lake Powell – Boating through the lake to see remote arches and flooded canyons is a ton of fun.

#9:  Orchards – The orchards of Capitol Reef National Park have 3100 trees of dozens of varieties. It’s free to pick and eat as well!

#10:  Backcountry camping – Some parts of Canyonlands National Park and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument are days away from civilization. It’s a great place to get away from civilization.

rk

Sunday Hikes: Angel’s Landing (Josh’s Perspective)

I’m going to preface this post by saying that you should read last week’s “Sunday Hike” about Angel’s Landing for a little more detail on the trail itself.

Angel’s Landing acquired it’s name from someone exploring the Zion Canyon in the early 1900s and commenting that “Only an angel could land on it”. However nowadays thousands of people have stood atop the peak of Angel’s Landing and looked down at the ant-like cars below on the canyon floor. I am lucky enough to be one of those many people. My family and I began our hike in the summer morning and it was already getting hot. We followed the trail along the river and up towards the first set of switchbacks that were long and not too steep but in the direct sun. By the time I reached the top of these switchbacks I realized how far behind me the rest of my family was so I waited before I could see them and they waved me to go ahead without them. So I continued through the only shaded part of the trail, a small side canyon with trees and a creek and beautiful cool air. This luxury went away quickly however and I found my self facing the infamous Walter’s Wiggles, a set of 21 switchbacks that shoot you steeply up the canyon wall. I fought up the wiggles quickly and thought to myself that they weren’t all that bad after all. At the end of the wiggles the trail turned and opened up into the “Scout Lookout” area (Also known as the chicken out spot). This is where the trail began it’s most famous feature of a small narrow path crawling out across a rock spine jutting out some 1500 feet from the canyon floor. I didn’t hesitate at all and climbed up a steep rock with a nice chain to hold onto while yielding to the many people returning from the other end of the trail. This portion of the trail was much longer than I had expected but also nowhere near as terrifying as I expected. The scariest thing to me wasn’t the steep drop offs on either side off me but rather how many people populated this tiny trail. It took a while to reach the end because of the extra caution you have to take and giving way to returning hikers (All of which kindly encourage you that you are almost there). At last I reached the crowded summit and took in the beautiful surroundings of Zion.

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After looking around and taking some pictures I had a snack and started my journey back (That rhymes). The return trip felt much quicker as well as easier. I passed my dad and my sister on the way back (probably at one of the narrowest parts of the trail). My dad was clinging to the chain for dear life and asked me for water because they had none. We wished each other good luck and parted ways. I quickly arrived back to the Scout’s Lookout where my other family members were waiting. We had a little snack and some water and them headed back down the trail. We soon were back at the canyon floor, sitting at a picnic table and looking up at Angel’s Landing marveling at how crazy it was that I had just been all the way up there. My dad and sister soon met up with us and we continued the rest of our day but ever since I finished hiking Angel’s Landing, I have been looking forward to hiking it again. -Josh

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