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

Friday Favorites: The Grand Canyon

I love the Grand Canyon. It is God’s creation at its finest. Most visitors see the iconic views from the edge of the canyon, but never see the Colorado River that formed it. This video was taken from the South Kaibab Trail where you can see the foot bridges crossing the river. If you can see in the distance downstream, there is a second foot bridge that takes you back to the top via the Bright Angel Trail.

read about this hike here:


10 Things You Must See and Do at The Grand Canyon

1)  Walk the Rim Trail.   This is where you see all the postcard worthy views as this trail runs along the edge of the south rim.   There are shuttle bus stops all along the trail.   I would recommend parking at the Visitors Center.   Walking the length of the trail to Hermits Rest.   Take the shuttle to the opposite end of the trail (South Kaibab Trailhead) and then walk back to the Visitors Center.   One way the Rim Trail is 12.6 miles.


2)  Eat at the El Tovar Dining Room.   El Tovar is an architectural masterpiece located directly on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.   Arguably it is the finest hotel in the National Park system.    The El Tovar Dining Room has incredible views to go along with delicious food and an extensive wine list.   I cannot recommend this restaurant enough.

3)  Get a drink at the bar at the North Rim.   Many visitors to the Grand Canyon only visit the South Rim.   Don’t make that mistake.   The drive from the North Rim to the South Rim takes about 4 hours, but you will be awed by the scenery around you the entire time.   The pace at the North Rim seems to be a little slower and the people a little friendlier.   After spending time hiking, taking time to chill at the Roughrider Saloon with a cold beverage is hard to beat.

4)  Hike down to the Colorado River.   Or if you have to, ride the mules down.   As amazing as the vistas are from the rim, looking up from the Colorado River is even more memorable.   I would recommend going down the South Kaibab trail and returning via Bright Angel Trail.   This can be done in a day during the shoulder seasons if you are in shape, but don’t try it in the heat of the summer.   The NPS recommends you get an overnight permit to camp at the bottom.   Round trip this is close to 16 miles (with 8 of it seemingly straight up) so it is difficult to do in a day.


5)  See the sunrise at Mather Point.    Mather Point is the iconic place to see the Grand Canyon.   It is on the Rim Trail and basically right behind the Visitors Center.   Crowds here can be very heavy with everyone trying to get that perfect selfie.   Beat the crowds and get here early for sunrise.   At sunrise you can have the place all to yourself.


6)  See the movie at the South Rim Visitor Center.   Normally I skip the Visitor Center movies, but I was glad I watched this one.   The history of the canyon is interesting and if you can’t make it to the bottom, you can at least see what it looks like in the movie.

7)  Watch for wildlife.    I have been fortunate at the South Rim to see California condors, mountain goats, elk, deer and coyotes.   At the North Rim they have an entire bison herd.   It’s really exciting to see wildlife up close.


8)  See the stars on a clear night with a new moon.   In the majority of the USA, you cannot see the Milky Way or even pick out more than 40-50 stars in the sky because of all the light pollution.   That is not a problem in most of the National Parks out west.   If you are fortunate enough to visit during a new moon, set your alarm and come out at night to be amazed by the millions of stars you can see.

9)  Tour the Hopi House.   The Hopi House is right across the street from El Tovar.  It is in a historic building and seems something like a cross between a museum and a gift shop.   It is a pretty cool place.

10)  Stay onsite.   Whether you stay at El Tovar or one of the other lodges onsite or camp at Phantom Ranch at the bottom, stay onsite to beat the crowds and to get the full Grand Canyon experience.