The 5 National Park Hikes on My Bucket List

Yesterday I wrote about my 5 favorite National Park hikes that I have completed. It brought back a lot of great memories. If you missed it, check out these favorite hikes here.

Today I am writing about the Top 5 hikes I want to hike. Without further ado, here we go!

1) The Narrows in Zion National Park. This is a 16 mile hike literally in the Virgin River flowing through a slot canyon with walls as high as 1000 feet. It requires a permit to hike. I was able to get a taste of this a few years ago and have wanted to come back and hike the entire Narrows ever since.

2) Cascade Pass in North Cascades National Park. I’ve wanted to hike in this National Park ever since seeing it out of an airplane window. Cascade Pass is a great day hike with panoramic views of peaks and glaciers.

3) The Teton Crest Loop in Grand Teton National Park. This 30 odd mile hike would include some backcountry camping in the heart of the Grand Tetons. As beautiful as the Grand Tetons are from Jenny Lake, I bet it’s even more gorgeous up in the Tetons. This trail requires a permit.

4) The Peekaboo Trail in Canyonlands National Park. From Grand View Point in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands, I was able to gaze into the ruggedly beautiful Needles section and I’ve wanted to go there ever since. Bonus is this 10 mile trail through classic Canyonlands landscape is only accessible by 4 wheel drive!

5) Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Possible the most iconic and photographed hike in the National Park System. It’s also dangerous and incredibly difficult. I keep telling myself it can’t be scarier than Angels Landing, but I think it may be. 14.2 miles via the Mist Trail and all those famous waterfalls and then up those steel cables to the summit of half dome. This one requires a permit also.

One thing that makes it difficult to get these hikes all done is that most of them are only open in the summer and require a difficult to obtain permit. The limited hiking season (and limited vacation time) means it will take a few more years for me to hike all of these.

I’d love to hear what National Park hikes are your favorites or are at the top of your bucket list. Let me know in the comments. Thanks! rk

Picture of the Day: Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park

This picture was taken from Inspiration Point looking down at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful view. rk

Picture of the Day:  Driving right at the Grand Teton mountains

The Grand Teton mountains are majestic as they suddenly rise straight up from the earth.  No matter where you are in Grand Teton National Park, you find yourself gazing in their direction.  rk

Sunday Hikes: Jenny Lake – Inspiration Point

The Teton mountain range stretches for 40 miles and shoots thousands of feet straight up from the ground. It is one of the most impressive mountain ranges I have ever seen with the Grand Teton (the tallest mountain in the range) reaching 13,776 feet above sea level. We began our first hike in Grand Teton National Park at the south end of Jenny Lake. The Jenny Lake trail makes a loop around the lake with a side trail going into Cascade Canyon. We planned to go left (the shorter way) and up into the canyon to Inspiration Point. Unfortunately the section of the trail we had planned to hike was closed due to construction (and snow) so we had to take the long way around doubling the length of our hike. So we set off to reach Inspiration Point. The trail around Lake is fairly flat and follows alongside a scenic drive for most of the trail. 


It was an easy hike despite downed trees and large piles of snow still surviving into summertime. The views from the trail are beautiful with the trees making a natural framing for the mountains in some places and Jenny Lake sparkling blue in the sun. 


After about 2 miles the trail leaves the lake behind to follow a beautiful creek up towards the north Jenny Lake parking lot. 


Once we reached the parking lot there was a cool bridge that crossed the creek and the trail headed back towards the lake and into he mountains. There were a lot of new growth woods in this section of the hike giving us unobstructed views of the Tetons. Right where the creek flowed into the lake we spotted our first ever Marmots running around in the brush. We stopped to take pictures and they seemed unbothered by us completely. One Marmot a little further down the trail even seemed like he was posing on a rock for us. 


Along the way we saw loads more Marmots before trail started upwards a little more and into thicker woods. We soon reached the spur of the trail that lead up to Inspiration Point where half of us decided to turn back and half continued on up into the canyon (Me, Dad, Whit, and two year old Hasten on my back). The trailed gained elevation fairly quickly from this point and soon the entire trail was covered in snow. It was amazing how much snow was there in early summer and it even got so bad I considered putting my microspikes on so I didn’t slip down the mountain (the only reason I didn’t put them on is because I foolishly left them in the car). Somewhere along the way the trail became lost under all the snow and with the help of a few footprints and some fellow hikers we made our way over some fallen trees and into a large snowy opening with a beautiful view of the lake and the Grand Teton looming above our heads. 



It felt as if we had climbed way higher than we actually did but we excitedly decided this was where we wanted to be (partly because we couldn’t find the trail in the snow and partly because it felt like the perfect spot). We let Hasten play in the snow and throw snowballs while we took pictures and made coffee on a nice large rock. There was a very cool waterfall up on the cliffs above us that I wish we could have gotten closer to but without any snow gear at all it was hard to make it up the steep slope. We made our coffee and headed back towards the parking lot where the rest of our family waited for us. We slid down the snow most of the way back which was so much fun. Once we reached the loop trail where there was no more snow we went as fast as we could to get back while on the lookout for a moose that somehow evaded us despite everyone else on the trail telling us they saw it. We reached the parking lot as it began to rain and excitedly told the rest of the family about our adventure before all hopping in the car to eat dinner. This hike is one of my favorite hikes I’ve done and I can’t say I’ve ever had coffee in a more perfect setting. There is nothing like being up on a mountain enjoying nature and coffee. 



Thanks! – Josh

Picture of the Day: Marmot posing in Grand Teton National Park


While hiking around Jenny Lake in Grand Teton NP, I saw quite a few marmots.  This one in particular seemed to want to pose for pictures so I obliged.   I also had a near miss on a moose in this same area.  Several hikers said it had run through this general area right before I came through.  Thanks for reading.  rk