Here's my favorite half day hike from Chamonix, commonly known as the 'Traverse Plan de l'Aiguille - Montenvers Train Mer de Glace'.
Be sure to get up early, so that the line isn't too long at the cable car to reach the Aiguille du Midi. Have your water and snacks packed and even in the middle of the summer- be sure to have your rain jacket, winter hat and gloves. Double check to make sure the ticket you're purchasing not only gets you up to the Aiguille du Midi point, but it also then lets you hop on the next cable car to head towards Helbronner (the incredible viewing spot that hovers over the border of France and Italy). Once you step outside there, you'll see hundreds of teams tackling the more technical descents on the snow and ice.
You'll then descend by cable car back to the mid-station at the Plan d'Aiguille (that you saw on the way up) and then walk the steep, zig-zag, wooded...
On Foot: Best Day Hikes On the Planet
There are such epic hiking adventures to be had in a single day, almost everywhere you go to be outside. I love the ritual of that early morning, a stuffed daypack and the reality that you have a huge, beautiful day ahead on foot. Not to mention those end of the day, exhausted celebrations where you relive your favorite stretches. From the canyons of Utah, the mountains of the French Alps, to the famous tramps (hikes) in New Zealand, here are a few of my favorites.
This huge, single day hike is in the running for the best day hike in the world contest. If you're spending time in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand and you love a challenging hike with unbelievable topography- be sure to give yourself a few days (in hopes of catching a full day of good weather) to tackle the crossing. It's a Middle Earth inspired lunar scape. I've never seen anything like it again the world over, it's a beautiful day in this pristine playground known as New Zealand.
This hike is one of my top three contenders for 'best single day hike in the world'. Zion is already such a profoundly striking national park tucked in Springdale, Utah and the chance to tackle the famed Narrows hike on the Virgin River, completes an epic visit.
Be sure to check the weather reports for possible flash flooding and make sure that you have a lot of water, snacks for fuel and layers for when you start to get cold in the slot canyon shadows. I'd encourage you to make reservations for shoe and trekking pole rentals with the Zion Adventure Company.
Once you're in their office you're greeted warmly with information, maps, instructional videos and all you need to know, before heading in.
You'll be hiking on the Colorado Plateau and almost entirely IN the river. The walls are vertical and sheer, and different shades of red and orange in color. Water levels change from season to...
The Flatbreen hike in Norway, is officially in the running for 'the best single day hike in the world', in my book. You'll gain 3,100 feet in elevation on the way up these stunning, glaciated valleys and mountain passes.
Depending on your pace and the weather, you're looking at a five to six hour experience, roundtrip. This is no walk in the park, it is truly an all-day challenge that leaves you breathless (and inspired). Note from the photograph that even in July, you could run into long stretches of snow; meaning sturdy, waterproof footwear and extra layers (rain jacket, etc.) are always a good idea.
A great place to start the day is in the small
dairy farming community at the foot of Jostedalsbreen Glacier ( the largest glacier on the European mainland). Here, you have the chance to hit the Norwegian Glacier Museum for a fascinating, hands-on look at glaciology and its impact on...
You'll have never seen a place more green. Hundreds of shades of it, with waterfalls and babbling brooks. Gleninchaquin is something out of a dream and it's the beautiful reality in Southwestern Ireland.
This family owned park is a long narrow coombe valley on the North West side of the Beara Peninsula, that Peggy and Donal Corkery oversee, just outside of Kenmare.
Entrance fees are five euros for adults, three for students and free for young children. There's hiking, sheep shearing, fishing, and outdoor educational opportunities.
I'd encourage you to think about spending a full day out at the park, tackling the trail called 'The Boundaries Hike'. It's a six to seven hour roundtrip hike and is for experienced hikers (since there's scrambling involved and not many trail markers). The route will follow the boundaries of Gleninchaquin Park which are defined by the high ridges of the...
This is your view from the top of the Diamond Lake Hike, that starts about 12 km outside of the town of Wanaka. The views are so beautiful from the summit that it's near impossible to ever head back down the mountain.
The track starts from the carpark and follows an old road to Diamond Lake. The track then climbs to a viewing platform above the lake and it's a great spot for a water/snack break and some photos. From here there you'll have two options. 1) The first is a lower level circuit that takes in the Lake Wanaka viewpoint, with great views of both the lake and its Islands.
2) The second option from the Diamond Lake viewing platform (many walkers do them both) is the upper level circuit that winds its way to the top of 775-meter Rocky Mountain. At the top you'll be rewarded with views that include the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring.
If you do the longer, second option, your...
When you're staying in Cape Town, be sure to get out to Hout Bay on the Cape Peninsula to witness a sunset, that I'm convinced is the most beautiful one I've ever seen.
I love the Chapman's Peak Hotel in Hout Bay and even if you're staying in Cape Town, it can be a great place to drive to, to park your rental car and take off on your hike or bike ride up the gloriously winding Chapman's Peak Drive. Bring those headlamps or bike lights since you're sticking around for sunset! Then on your return back to Hout Bay, have dinner and some local South African Pinotage on the deck of of the hotel's restaurant.
Chapman's Peak is the name of a mountain on the western side of the peninsula, about 15 kilometres south of Cape Town and
Chapman's Peak Drive will literally leave you amazed while it hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain from Hout Bay to Noordhoek. In the 1920's this was seen as a...
This is the view that you'll be treated to while climbing to the summit of Lion's Head in Cape Town, South Africa.
The ever-stunning Table Mountain is just to the left of this perspective and as you head up the climb, you'll soon be facing Robben Island in the distance with all of Cape Town down below.
Strict management by city authorities has kept development of housing off the higher ground of Signal Hill, leaving the great open spaces and hiking trails protected.
The Lion's Head hiking trail is 8 miles in roundtrip length and takes about three to four hours to complete (depending on your pace). Since it's a winding path which travels around the mountain, you have the unique opportunity to view every side of Cape Town, from above.
If you happen to be in town during the full moon, be sure to start hiking mid afternoon and bring your headlamp and a packed dinner. You'll meet many a...
The Upper Falls Trail hike is a great day trip in Yosemite during the quieter months of spring, fall and early or really late winter (when the heat, crowds and mosquitoes are gone).
The distance is 7.6 miles (12 km) round trip from the Lower Yosemite Falls trailhead or 9.4 miles (15 km) if you includeYosemite Point. The trip can take six to eight hours.
This photo was taken in February and the frozen ice and snow pack at the base of the falls was a special treat.
Your elevation gain would be 2,600 feet (790 meters) to the top of Yosemite Falls and 2,969 feet (890 meters) to Yosemite Point.
It's a significant workout and you'll need to have plenty of water and snacks to fuel you on this panoramic hike. Charge those camera batteries!
I love the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana, near the Limpopo River and the opportunity to witness the 25,000 hectares reserve by bicycle or foot, are things that rarely happen on a safari.
You can arrange morning and late afternoon walks with one of their phenomenal rangers and still stay in the comfort of camp in the evenings, or you can opt to head out on 3 or 4 day adventures on foot while camping. Either way, you'll soon be among the elephants, giraffes and other beautiful animals in their element.
There's an absolute hidden gem of a hike in Yosemite Naitonal park that anyone that loves a good winter snowshoe hike, should do.
Round trip, it's a 7 mile out and back trek from Badger Pass to the inspirational Dewey Point; that is perched just over 7,000 feet on the south rim. It's hard to find a more glorious view in all of California. The joy of having only a few fellow adventurers up there with you in winter, it truly a treasure.
During my recent visit, the packed snow meant that I didn't even wear my snowshoes the majority of the time and instead just had on my trail running shoes. You can rent shoes at the Badger Pass recreation center, if you don't have your own.
Get out there and soak up the wild magic.
If you're looking for the best way to experience the largest urban park in the United States; lace up those shoes and head out for a long walk or jog through the magical Golden Gate Park of San Francisco.
There are so many trails to choose from that there isn't enough room to explain. Just know that you have endless ways to soak up this majestic park by foot.
My favorite route includes hitting the path from the Nopa area (the Northern Panhandle) and following the dirt jogging path along John F. Kennedy drive past the Conservatory of Flowers, De Young Museum, frisbee golf course and finishing up near Spreckels Lake (just before the buffaloes).
See SF at her best on the trails of Golden Gate Park.
Lake Matheson is a magical little spot near Fox Glacier and a great place to get a walk in at sunset before enjoying dinner and some local wine at the Matheson Cafe. On a clear day, the reflection in the lake proudly displays all the reasons to be in love with the Westland National Park region of New Zealand, while Mount Tasman and Mount Cook rise above the rugged mountains. This is glacier country at its best.
Due to the setting of the lake within the dense rainforest, the lack of wind leaves Lake Matheson's surface calm and still. The reflection photo opportunities have made this lake the most photographed body of water in New Zealand (and that is saying something).
The walk around the lake takes about an hour and a half and you have three viewing platforms for exceptional perspectives, along the way.
Hit the trail just before sunset and have a glass of Otago Pinot Noir at the cafe,...
There are 144 islands in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand and Urupukapuka (the largest of them all) aims to please.
Check out the island's website to help plan your day on the island and know that it's a fabulous, full-day experience of a boat ride and serious day hike to and from either Paihia or Russell.
All of the hikes finish with time on the hidden beach pictured here, before heading up your final hill to get back to the docks to catch you ferry back to the mainland.
This hiking trip will knock your socks off. From fjords to valleys, boats and quaint villages, the hiking will leave you breathless and inspired during this 6 day Casual Inn trip.
The country and the locals are rugged, adventurous, proud and warm. Norway is any adventurer's dream playground and seeing it by foot is the perfect way to soak it all up.
This 10 day 'tramping' (that's Kiwi for 'hiking') trip on the South Island of New Zealand is hard to beat. This will be your first hike of many, that connect you to a land so beautiful that it's impossible to ever leave.
Kura Tawhiti is a collection of sacred limestone outcroppings once used by the local Maoris to navigate across the island. You'll take hundreds of pictures, trying to capture just how magical this place really is, before you head toward the cozy wilderness lodge that will be your home the first two nights: Arthur's Pass.
This is the trip of a lifetime, there's no better way to describe it. Beginning in the dynamic and colorful city of Cape Town and finishing at the very height of the beautiful animal viewing experience with the staff at Londolozi Private Game reserve in Sabi Sand, this trip is designed to give you the South African safari that others don't usually have the chance to do.
Most traditional safari trips rarely rarely involve physical movement or active travel. You'll have continuous hours of sitting in open-aired vehicles, studying the beautiful animals, but not have the chance to hike or bike. During the 11-day Backroads South Africa and Botswana Multisport trip, you'll have a chance to road bike, mountain bike and hike your way through different game reserves with Backroads Trip Leaders and the local wilderness guides and rangers and it's phenomenal.
Private chartered on trip flights...
Endless trails, towering sequoias, soaring vertical cliffs and the grand, glacier carved valleys leaves everyone speechless in this legendary park.
During the Backroads Walking and Hiking Yosemite trip, you'll stay with us at the Tenaya Lodge, Awhanee Hotel and the Evergreen Lodge by night and hike the trails to breathtaking vistas by day.
Welcome to Northern California's Desolation Wilderness, the perfect place to hike near South Lake Tahoe. Lake Aloha is a well deserved and divine place to take a dip, after having tackled the climb up from Echo Lake.
I'd suggest parking your car at the Echo Lake parking lot and make sure you have everything you'll need for a 12 + mile hike.
From the parking lot, you'll cross the small dam (leaving the boat dock behind you) and then turn left at the trailhead and start your hike up and along Lower and then Upper Echo Lake, along the Tahoe Rim Trail. Eventually that turns in to the Pacific Coast Trail that will take you along Tamarack Lake and then the quick jaunt to the Lake of the Woods. From there, you'll have some uphill climbing and scrambling over some serious boulders to head up the endless and enchanting Lake Aloha.
Because you've worked so hard to get there, you'll find yourself...
You'll love the views you'll have of the EBMUD Watershed while you're hiking or mountain biking along Nimitz Way in both Wildcat Canyon Regional Park and Tilden Regional Park. The views really open up once you're in the area considered the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the East Bay Skyline National Trail and I'd encourage you to grab one of the printed maps at every trailhead you'll find through the park, that is next to a parking lot.
If you park in the Inspiration Point parking lot, you'll end up exiting the lot and turning right on the Nimitz Trail. It's a lovely, rolling, paved path that turns into the East Bay Skyline trail. Depending on how far you'd like to go and if you want an out and back hike or you'd like to create a loop, is up to you. With map in hand you can easily descend by taking a left off the Nimitz Way at several different points like Laurel Canyon, Wildcat Peak Trail...
Even on a cold, gray day in winter, this state park is something to be celebrated. The last time I was this impressed with a six mile hike I was in the diverse and mind blowing geographical landscape known as the South Island of New Zealand. Smith Rock State Park is stunning and the Misery Ridge Trail is not to be missed.
Once you've paid your five dollar day usage fee in the main parking lot, park and head over to the overlook. From there, you'll follow the switch-back dirt path down to the river. Cross the bridge and immediately turn right and then up, following signs marked 'most difficult'.
The initial climb is tough, but once you're at the top, it's smooth sailing from there. Views of climbers and the surrounding area will impress. You'll soon see the famous Monkey Face and not wonder how it got its name (its wonderfully obvious). As you keep descending, you meet up with the Mesa...
This is a hike that, on a day when the weather is cooperating, is a transformative experience (it's just that beautiful). I lucked out when my arrival to the John Dellenback Dune Trailhead coincided with the break in the rain and clouds I'd seen all morning. It's easy to miss the turn off, so be sure to be looking for the single brown sign that reads: Dellenback Dune Trailhead that is located 10 miles south of Reedsport and 16 miles north of Coos Bay.
Once you've parked, follow the hiking trail signs that lead you through a lush, green conifer forest. You might even spot a few slow moving newts along the path, so watch your step. Soon the sand comes in to view and you head toward the ridge line to be able to see your 2.7 mile path out to end of the beach. If the weather has been clear, the walk through the sand can feel a lot longer. Since it'd been raining overnight and all morning,...
On a recent road trip hiking and biking my way through Oregon, I fell hard for the entirely car-free, 17 miles of paved biking/walking trail just outside of Cottage Grove, called the River Row Trail. Pine forests, roaring rivers, Dorena Lake, it was all so peaceful and all so stunning. The treat of the bicycle ride was the chance to follow the half-dozen historic covered bridges along the route. A great place to begin and end is Cottage Grove, and since the trail is one path that runs from point A to point B, it's the perfect thirty mile ride out and back, that's almost entirely flat riding. Celebrate all the green that you witnessed and argue over your favorite covered bridge post-ride, at the Axe and Fiddle pub in town when you're done. Cheers!