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Hiking in San Francisco

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Muir Woods
Walk among old growth coast redwoods, cooling their roots in the freshwater of Redwood Creek and lifting their crowns to reach the sun and fog. Federally protected as a National Monument since 1908, this primeval forest is both refuge and laboratory, revealing our relationship with the living landscape. Muir Woods National Monument is world renowned for its old-growth coastal redwoods, attracting over one million visitors each year. With the park’s popularity come pressures on a fragile ecosystem representing more than 380 different plants and animals. The incredible diversity of flora and fauna at Muir Woods can be daunting sometimes, elusive at other times. The redwoods themselves dominate the scene, but the Steller's jay often steals the show. Ladybugs clustering by the thousands on ancient horsetail ferns boggle the imagination, while the slimy banana slug is able to disgust and fascinate all at once. Plants adapt to low light levels on the forest floor, while whole plant and animal communities bustle in the canopy above our heads.
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Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Think there’s no wide-open countryside left in Los Angeles? Think again. The Santa Monica Mountains stretch for 80km across the northwestern boundary of the Los Angeles basin. Within the range lie more than 60,000 largely undeveloped hectares of grassy swales, rock-studded hillsides, tree-shaded glens, and windswept beaches. A mosaic of state, local, and federal preserves protects this land, all managed under the umbrella of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the nation’s largest urban national park. One of the few mountain ranges in the United States to run east to west rather than north to south, the Santa Monicas can claim big nature bragging rights. Considered to be a “botanical island” in L.A.’s urban corridor, the slopes that run straight down to the Pacific are covered in chaparral, coastal sage, springtime wildflowers, and oak and sycamore forests. More than 20 species of endangered plants and animals thrive here. This is a place where you might see a bobcat stalk its prey, a coyote lope across the grasslands, or a golden eagle fly overhead.
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Tuweep
At 3,000 vertical feet (880 m) above the Colorado River, the sheer drop from Toroweap Overlook offers a dramatic view. The volcanic cinder cones and lava flows in this ancestral home of the Southern Paiute people make this area unique. Situated below the iconic rim of Grand Canyon, a visit to Tuweep provides an opportunity for an uncrowded, rustic, and remote experience. Access is challenging and demands skill at negotiating difficult roadways. Summer brings monsoonal rain and lightning. Winter includes rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Be ready for quickly changing conditions.
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Havasu Falls
The phrase “Havasu Falls” is often referencing the actual waterfall called “Havasu Falls” and it’s also often referencing the area where all 5 of the Havasupai Waterfalls exist on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon. Havasu Falls itself, the waterfall, is arguably the most aesthetic of the 5 waterfalls at Havasupai. It is the third and middle waterfall from top to bottom, and provides the best swimming, cascades, shade, places to relax, and general amazing ambiance. Havasu Falls is approximately 80 feet high, where the turquoise waters of Havasu Creek plunge from the travertine terraces above down to a large, idyllic pool of water below. From the pool below the waterfall, the water cascades down through a series of pools, each one a wonderful little swimming pool.
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Hermit Road
Hermit Road is a scenic route along the west end of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim which follows the rim for 7 miles (11 km) out to Hermits Rest. This extremely popular route is accessed by free park shuttle bus, foot, bicycle, or commercial bus tour most of the year, with private vehicles allowed only during winter months of December, January and February. Along the canyon rim are nine designated viewpoints where the free Hermits Rest Route shuttle bus stops. The Canyon Rim Trail also follows the rim of the canyon for 7.8 miles (12.6 km) along Hermit Road and offers the opportunity for short or long walks between viewpoints on both paved and dirt trails. In addition to the Rim Trail, three miles of paved greenway trail provide additional views for cyclists and hikers.
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Phantom Ranch
Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, is a popular destination for both hikers and mule riders. Overnight hiker dormitories and cabins can be reserved and meals are available for purchase. Advance reservations for meals and lodging at Phantom Ranch are required. Reservations are made through Xanterra via an online lottery 15 months in advance. The park's Backcountry Information Center does not make reservations for Phantom Ranch lodging or meals. Overnight guests of Phantom Ranch who have advance reservations do not need to obtain backcountry camping permits. Taking a mule ride at the Grand Canyon is a tradition that began more than 100 years ago. Trips into the canyon - as well as rides through the park's woodlands to scenic canyon overlooks - are offered on both the North and South Rims
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North Rim
A worthwhile trip for those who enjoy the road less traveled, the North Rim, or "other side" of Grand Canyon is visited by only 10% of all Grand Canyon visitors. The North Rim is over 8000 feet/2438 m. in elevation. For classic North Rim views, start at the Grand Canyon Lodge patio, then walk the paved trail out to Bright Angel Point. From the main parking area it is a relatively short, easy walk to Lodge itself. During winter months, the North Rim closes because of snow.
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Desert View Drive
Desert View Drive is a scenic route to the east of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim which follows the rim for 25 miles (40 km) out to the Desert View Watchtower and East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. Along the way there are: Six developed canyon viewpoints, Four picnic areas, Five unmarked pullouts and Tusayan Museum and ruin site (Ancestral Puebloan). Private vehicles, are allowed on Desert View Drive.
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Bryce Canyon National Park
Wind, water and time have eroded Bryce Canyon National Park's sandstone cliffs into otherworldly characters plucked from the unconscious of a mad Viking. Rows of humanoid pillars crosshatched by rock strata look almost intentional but perfectly surreal. So silent, eerie and beautiful. So improbable it has to be true! Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southern Utah near the city of Bryce (convenient, eh?), and is accessible by air or car from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, St. George and even neighboring Zion National Park. Done hiking and looking to rest your weary head? You’ve got options. The park itself is a one-stop vacation shop. Besides camping there’s a quaint, rustic lodge at the center of the park built in the 1920s featuring cozy cabins, suites and motel rooms, plus a dining room and gift shop. If you want to take things off-site, there are plenty of accommodation options in Bryce Canyon City (just outside the park) or in nearby Tropic or Cannonville. The park is open all year (24 hours a day), giving you both winter wonderland and summer spectaculars.
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Skiing at Park City
Winter mountain skiing is always a pleaser with its perfect combo of groomers and powder. Also Park City has more biking and hiking trails in the summer than any outdoorist can handle. Park City is a unique combination of easy access and remote appeal. At times you feel like you're hundreds of miles from the civilized world yet you're just 35 easy miles from the Salt Lake International Airport
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Mount Rainier National Park
Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. A lifetime of discovery awaits.
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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest (UWCNF) encompasses Utah's Wasatch Mountains adjacent to the state's northern metropolitan area, and the north slope of the High Uintas Wilderness. Containing nearly 2.1 million acres of geological and ecologically-diverse landscapes, this collection of forest areas is one of the most frequently visited in the nation. Ski and summer resorts located in this forest along the Wasatch Front near Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Park City provide world-renowned downhill skiing, Nordic and snowmobiling options, as well as a variety of summer activities ranging from the IMBA-certified mountain biking trails of Park City to the mountain coaster and Oktoberfest of Snowbird. Further south, American Fork Canyon and Provo Canyon offer a stunning mix of aspen and tree-covered slopes that include the zip lines, Blue Ribbon fly-fishing and singletracks of Sundance Mountain Resort, Deer Creek State Park and other destinations. Between the two canyons lies the 11,750-acre Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness.
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Camelback Mountain
Camelback Mountain is an amazing natural attraction in Phoenix, Arizona. The mountain gets its name from its unique shape. For the most part, it looks like the hump and head of a camel on its knees. It is located in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area and is a well-known landmark near metropolitan Phoenix. The area is one of the best places to indulge in a spot of hiking and rock climbing. The mountain is believed to be a sacred site of the Hohokam, the prehistoric North American Indians, up until the 14th century. There are 2 hiking trails to explore at Camelback Mountain. For a shorter hiking experience you could choose the Echo Canyon Trail, which is 1.14 miles long. On the other hand, if you are game for a longer adventure then 1.4-mile long Cholla Trail is the ideal alternative. The trails are challenging with steep grades although there are sections with handrails to make things a little easier. There is also a red sandstone rock formation known as the Praying Rock, which resembles a person kneeling down to pray. Avid rock climbers will find the region most challenging.
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Point Defiance Park
Point Defiance Park sits on 702 acres at the northern tip of Tacoma and features the best of everything, with miles of forested hiking and walking trails, beautiful rose gardens, picnic areas, beachfront access, and a 29-acre zoo. It’s no wonder over 2 million people visit each year – once you come here, you won’t want to leave!
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Discovery Park
Discovery Park is a 534 acre natural area park operated by the Seattle Parks and Recreation. It is the largest city park in Seattle, and occupies most of the former Fort Lawton site. The site is one of breathtaking majesty. Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular view of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams.
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Santa Catalina Mountains
Located on Tucson's north side, the rugged Santa Catalina Mountains in Coronado National Forest are Tucson's most prominent range with the highest average elevation. The highest point is Mt. Lemmon at 9,147 feet, noted as the southernmost ski destination in the United States. A trip from the Tucson valley to Mt. Lemmon takes you from 2,000 to about 9,000 feet, with scenery that resembles a trip from the Mexican to the Canadian border.
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Rincon Mountains
Located on Tucson's east side is the Rincon Mountain Wilderness Area of Coronado National Forest. The most popular way to experience the Rincons is at Saguaro National Park East, which offers numerous trails, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park, a massive underground labyrinth and one of the largest dry caves in the world.
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Colossal Cave Mountain Park
Hidden high in the southern Arizona Mountains with its endless Sonoran Desert vistas, rich history, and authentic Wild West vibe, Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a destination for the adventurous at heart.
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John Denver Sanctuary
The John Denver Sanctuary is nestled in the heart of Aspen, next to the Rio Grande Park, adjacent to Theatre Aspen's summer performances. Its location, near the Roaring Fork River, makes this an ideal spot for quiet meditation or a family picnic. The Song Garden features many of the iconic singer's lyrics etched into native river boulders placed in a perfect circle to represent the circle of life as a score of music. At the circle's center, a single Colorado Blue Spruce was planted which symbolizes the spirit of John. It is an idyllic location and visitors will not wonder for long where "Rocky Mountain High" originated. The man-made wetlands and winding streams work as an innovative stormwater filter system, cleaning water before it drains into the Roaring Fork River. Within the Sanctuary, you will find one of the largest perennial flower gardens open to the public, which adds to the friendly atmosphere for its visitors from around the globe. These beautiful gardens start blooming during late May/ early June, which makes this the perfect location for small get-togethers or even weddings.
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Knox Mountain Park
Knox Mountain Park is the City of Kelowna’s largest Natural Area Park. The park is 310 hectares (766 acres) in size and is located immediately north of Kelowna’s downtown. The summit of Knox Mountain rises approximately 300 metres above the high water level of Okanagan Lake. While the lake shoreline borders almost 1,400 metres of the western park boundary, much of the remaining boundary is surrounded by residential development. The size, height, central location and natural amenities make this park a landmark that is a highly desirable destination for residents and tourists alike. Views to the park from the City and views from the park of the City, lake, and surrounding mountains are unparalleled. The original parcel of parkland was first dedicated to the City in 1939. Knox Mountain is home to several representative Okanagan ecosystems as the park transitions from lakeshore to mountain top, including: riparian, wetland, Ponderosa Pine Bunch Grass, and dry Interior Douglas-fir. These ecosystems are fragile, dry and highly susceptible to erosion and degradation. The park supports numerous activities including but not limited to walking, running, hiking, pedal biking (road, cross country and downhill), birding, nature appreciation, sightseeing, winter recreation and dogs on-leash.
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Banff National Park
Rocky Mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, a picture-perfect mountain town and village, abundant wildlife and scenic drives come together in Banff National Park - Canada’s first national park and the flagship of the nation’s park system. Over three million visitors a year make the pilgrimage to the park for a variety of activities including hiking, biking, skiing and camping in some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain scenery. Banff is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Dinosaur Provincial Park
Standing beneath a towering hoodoo with a cactus at your feet, it’s easy to imagine a time when dinosaurs roamed the area. At Dinosaur Provincial Park, history is rediscovered every day and you’re invited to join in. Located about half an from Brooks, this place is a must visit if you are visiting Alberta. Camp, tour, and explore all that Dinosaur Provincial Park has to offer. There is so much to see and do at Dinosaur Provincial Park that in order to truly enjoy the entire extent of the park you should be prepared to stay a day or two.
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Espinazo del Diablo
Contact with nature always renews the soul and provides us with a break from the hectic lives we lead in the city. Break the monotony by exploring the cliffs and nooks of the Espinazo del Diablo –The Devil's Spine- which is a rough, beautiful place that will charge you with energy.
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Tracy Arm Fjord
Forty-five miles outside of Juneau, this scenic destination has it all — mammoth glaciers, towering granite walls, breathtaking mountains, waterfalls, and a large variety of wildlife. Tracy Arm is a 30-mile long fjord — a narrow inlet created by glacial activity — formed thousands of years ago. It winds its way past 7,000-foot snow-capped mountains and floating icebergs. At the end of the fjord lies the stunning Sawyer Glaciers, translucent blue mountains rising majestically out of the water. About once every hour, the North Sawyer and South Sawyer glaciers “calve” — an awe-inspiring phenomena in which large chunks of ice tumble into the sea below. Tracy Arm is also home to a large variety of wildlife including bald eagles, brown bears, goats, and whales. It provides some wonderful opportunities for capturing beautiful vacation memories.
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Admiralty Island
No trip to Alaska is complete without bears. Just twenty minutes from Juneau by floatplane is Admiralty Island, home to one of the world's highest density brown bear populations. Nicknamed “Fortress of the Bears,” there are approximately 1,600 bears — one for every square mile of the island. The most popular place to see these big, fuzzy creatures in action is Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary. Watch bears feed on salmon during the peak viewing season (July through August). In addition to bear viewing, you might spot seabirds, harbor seals, sea lions, whales, Sitka black-tail deer, or sea otters. The island is also home to the world’s greatest concentration of nesting bald eagles.
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McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls is a 641-acre park features over 80 campsites, including developed (RV) and hike-in sites. Screened shelters, group shelters and a group dining hall are also available. Outdoor recreation opportunities include hiking, mountain biking, bicycling, swimming, birding and wildlife observation. Onion Creek, which flows 1.7 miles through the park, offers both swimming and fishing opportunities.
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Eaglecrest Ski Area
Eaglecrest Ski Area is Juneau, Alaska’s community owned ski area. Located on Douglas Island just 12 miles from downtown Juneau, Eaglecrest spans over 640 skiable acres of breathtaking terrain serviced by four double chairlifts. The ski area has a vertical drop of 1,620 feet and offers terrain for all ability levels including groomed runs, wide-open bowls, and glades nestled throughout the mountain. Nordic skiing is also available on the area’s groomed Nordic trails. Eaglecrest is Juneau’s Winter Playground and provides skiers and snowboarders a big mountain experience with a small mountain feel.
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Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall, one of the most beautiful and accessible glaciers in North America, is just 13 miles from downtown Juneau and a few minutes from the airport. It’s a must-see destination for any Alaska vacation. You won’t believe your ice! A half-mile wide, with ice up to 1,800 feet deep, it’s little wonder this is Juneau’s most popular destination. Whether you’re in town for a day or week, there are many ways to experience the glacier. If you’re on a tight schedule, a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center provides fascinating information as well as excellent views of this ever-changing wonder. While there, be sure to watch a brief film about how the Mendenhall is part of the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield. Take a short trek down Photo Point Trail to a lookout platform for an unobstructed view of the glacier’s face and a perfect photo opportunity. You could do this all in about 90 minutes.
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Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center
A 103-acre facility dedicated to conservation, education, recreation and tourism. It houses an award-winning, 9500-square-foot building filled with live animal exhibits; photographic presentations of the site's flora and fauna; natural artefact and mineral displays; and a sizeable, vintage waterfowl decoy carving collection. Ecology and art exhibits are featured periodically. Over a mile of gravel paths and boardwalks link varied habitats such as the cypress-tupelo swamp, beech-magnolia and hardwood forests. Wildlife is plentiful at Bluebonnet Swamp, including hundreds of bird species utilizing the site throughout the year. Birders can view seasonal species during peak migrations, as well as year-round residents. While snakes and turtles are commonly seen from the trails, raccoons, rabbits, opossums, armadillos, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, deer and otter are also known to inhabit the site. Nature programs and environmental education are conducted throughout the year including educational group tours, live animal encounters, holiday and summer day camps, toddler activities, birding walks, field trips and special events.
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Chugach State Park
The Chugach Mountains create more than a dramatic skyline for Anchorage. They are a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Combined, Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest are home to some of the most accessible outdoor adventures in the state. Best of all, some of the top trailheads and access points are just 20 minutes from downtown. Chugach State Park is one of the largest state parks in the nation. To the east of that, Chugach National Forest is the second-largest national forest in the U.S. Together they comprise more than 9,000 square miles of hiking, rafting, biking, ATVing, kayaking and fishing. The most frequently climbed mountain in Alaska, most popular trailheads and more than 60 of the state’s most accessible glaciers are all found in the Chugach. With such a massive range, there are plenty of access points. And ways to enjoy it are as varied as the Chugach landscape. Head north for kayaking on a glacial lake or alpine berry picking. A trip south reveals countless hiking trails tucked into the mountains and amazing glaciers.
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Belle Isle State Park
Accessible by a bridge at the foot of East Grand Boulevard, this 982-acre island park features a zoo, aquarium, conservatory, Great Lakes museum and plenty of room to hike, barbecue, watch boats, bicycle and more. Original landscaping by the Dean of American landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmstead.
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Highbanks Metro Park
Highbanks is named for its massive 100-foot-high shale bluff towering over the Olentangy State Scenic River. Tributary streams cutting across the bluff have created a number of deep ravines in the eastern part of the 1,200-acre park. Ohio and Olentangy shales, often containing outstanding large concretions, are exposed on the bluff face and sides of the ravines.
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Lake Laurentian Conservation Area
The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area is a scenic natural area located only ten minutes from downtown Sudbury. Easily accessible by car, the area offers 2,415 acres (950 hectares) of protected green space. Imagine the remote tranquility of a wilderness setting, a man-made lake and pond, scenic lookouts, a self-guided nature trail, numerous wetland areas, hiking trails, bird watching areas, and snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails in winter. The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area offers the photographer, nature watcher, and recreationist boundless opportunity to experience the wilds. At Lake Laurentian children can: touch a frog, eat juicy blueberries, feed the birds, learn to survive if lost in the woods, see animal displays or plant a tree. The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area has something for everyone. Providing environmental education for over 40 years, is only one of the many benefits this facility provides.
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Cherokee Park
Cherokee Park Family Campground invites you to spend your next camping vacation on our quiet, scenic grounds in Portage County, near Akron in Northeast Ohio. The Park campground features gorgeous surroundings, quality facilities, excellent campsite amenities and friendly service. Set on 50 acres, just a short drive east of Akron, Ohio, Cherokee Park offers a peaceful setting with wooded and open space surrounding two small tree-lined lakes and an activities area. Enjoy the beauty of nature and the calming effect of a campfire. You might even spot an occasional deer during your stay. Cherokee Park offers 120 campsites with 30 amp electric and water hookups. Choose a sunny, open RV site or one that is shaded by trees. Pull-thru sites are available for today's larger RVs. Pets are welcome so long as they are leashed and attended. Cherokee Park offers a few family tent sites during the summer for a limited stay.