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Top Climbing Destinations
If the side of a sheer rock wall fills you with the urge to strap on a harness and search for finger-holds, then you were born to rock climb. No matter where your travels take you, you’ll find a great climbing spot to tackle. Be safe and climb well! And don’t forget to email us with more great climbing spots.
The towering rock walls of Yosemite make this the ultimate climbing destination. You’ll find 3,000-foot cliffs shooting up from the valley floor, just beckoning you. When you’re done tackling rock walls and boulders, take the hike up Half Dome for the incredible views.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado
You’ll find amazing Colorado scenery at the Garden of the Gods, a climbing oasis that’s just outside Colorado Springs (45 minutes from Denver). You can climb year round here, tackling the 300-foot sandstone fins. You’ll find climbs that are suitable for all levels and age groups.
Barn Bluff, Minnesota
Overlooking the backwaters of the Mississippi and downtown Red Wing, Minnesota you’ll find Barn Bluff, a steep cliff face that’s ideal for climbing. Don’t miss the spectacular views of the river below or the city in the distance.
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Top White Water Kayaking Destinations
Nothing gets your adrenaline pumping like splashing through white water as you paddle your way down a surging river. From east to west, our country if filled with exciting rivers and white-water courses that are just waiting to be explored. So pick your river and grab your paddle!
Salmon River, Idaho
Idaho is famous for its white water, and in a state of superlatives, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is an absolute gem. You can paddle for over 100 miles, dropping more than 3000 feet as you kayak in and out of 100 rapids and pools. What an introduction to the River of No Return Wilderness!
Gauley River, West Virginia
Said by many to be one of the top ten paddling rivers in the world, the Gauley River is legendary. After the Summersville Dam opens in the fall, you can enjoy three weeks of perfect white water as thousands of gallons of water pour down the river every second. You’ll drop 650 feet on your 26-mile kayak trip, dipping in and out of holes, dodging boulders, and riding waves. (56 of the rapids on this run are Class III-V.)
Upper Yough, Maryland
Steep and rugged, this is one of the finest white water rivers in the East. You’ll need to keep your wits about you as you paddle this Class IV-V river, rounding pools and powering through rapids. White water experience is a must on this one!
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Top Sea Kayaking Destinations
Picture yourself paddling into a secluded cove, gliding silently beside seals, otters, sea birds, and maybe even whales. Bald eagles soar overhead, and kingfishers chatter in the distance. All this can be yours when you head out on a sea kayaking expedition to one of the sites on the list below.
Abalone Cove to Royal Palms State Beach, California
This gorgeous stretch of the southern California coast leads you past deserted beaches, wooded shores, and mysterious sea caves. Bring a picnic lunch and hop out of your kayak for some of the best tide pool viewing you’ll find anywhere.
Misty Fjords National Monument, Alaska
This gorgeous hidden gem is a delight to kayak. You’ll find incredible beauty at the most popular destinations -- Rudyerd Bay and Walker Cove. But be sure to paddle off the beaten path for an isolated look at wildlife and these lovely shores.
Peace River Fossil Hunt, Florida
Southern Florida is famous for its palm trees and turquoise waters…and its kayaking. From the coast, head up the Peace River and explore the banks, watching for birds and wildlife. If you hop out for a break, keep your eyes peeled for fossils.
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Top Hiking Destinations
Ready to hit the trail? Whether you’re in the mood to climb a mountain or stroll along the banks of a river, you’ll find plenty of pretty views and picturesque spots along the trails on this list. Send us an email and let us know about your favorite hiking trails!
Glacier Gorge, Colorado
No place on earth can match the beauty of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. This trail will lead you to incredible views as it winds through fields of wildflowers. Keep your camera handy for shots of the waterfalls and bring your fishing rod along for fishing in the clear alpine lakes.
Mount Whitney, California
This highest peak in the continental U.S. deserves plenty of respect, and it also makes a very nice hike. With its western slop in the Sequoia National Park, this peak offers views that can’t be matched. At 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney is a steep challenge, but the summit is quite achievable for committed hikers.
Breakneck Ridge Trail, New York
You’ll get terrific views of the Hudson River, Shawangunk, and Catskill Mountains from this trail that begins in Hudson Highlands State Park. The route winds over ridges and through deep forests, fields of wildflowers, and rocky areas. You’ll also pass an old fire lookout tower.
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Top Family Hiking Destinations
Diamondhead Crater, Hawaii
If you’re on the big island of Oahu, one of the best family experiences is to climb up Diamondhead, the landmark extinct volcano that towers over Waikiki. Be sure to bring a flashlight for the trip, since the trail runs through dark tunnels! The rocky trail can be steep, but with patience even small kids can reach the observation deck at 761 feet. From the top, you’ll have stunning views of the beaches and shores, including Koko Head and Waikiki.
Baxter Mountain Trail, New York
Take your family on an Adirondack hiking trip and enjoy fabulous views of the High Peaks and Keene Valley. The 2.2-mile trail (round trip) leaves from Spruce Hill. Parts are steep, but manageable for most kindergarteners. To ensure that you won’t be hiking through snow, plan your trip for a warm day between May and October.
Winchester Mountain Trail, Washington
The Cascade Mountains are serious in size, but this trail is great for anyone in fifth grade or above. The four-mile (round trip) route carries you through lush forests, past an old lookout post. After its start at Twin Lakes, the trail climbs 1,300 feet on its way to the summit. (Visit between August and mid-October. You’ll need four-wheel drive to reach the trail head.)