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AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
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33 Pent Rd, Weston, CT 06883, USA
One of Fairfield County's best-kept secrets is the Devil's Den Nature Preserve in the tiny town of Weston, Connecticut, a nature lover's dream with over 20 miles of trails winding through interesting rock ledges, bubbling streams, scenic marshes,...
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North Rim, AZ 86052, USA
If you know your flight path is going to go over the Grand Canyon, get a window seat. Even from thirty-some-thousand feet above, the chasms within chasms stretch on to the horizon...
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Yosemite National Park, 1 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
Although a very popular hike in the Yosemite Valley, the hike past Vernal Falls up the mist trail to Nevada Falls is magical in the Springtime. Personally, I think this is the best spot to stop and have lunch. However, Be sure to check the signs...
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1199D Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach NSW 2108, Australia
If you need a break from lounging on the lovely northern beaches, cruising up to Barrenjoey in Palm Beach will bring you to this absolute gem. The hiking trails are plentiful and the view from the top is incredible. With sweeping views in all...
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Pohara 7183, New Zealand
There aren't too many hikes in the world that start with a ride on a water taxi, but that's how our hike on the Abel Tasman Trail began. We boarded our Sea Shuttle taxi off the beach in Kaiteriteri at 9:15am. Our taxi took us past a tiny island...
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Dragon's Back, Shek O, Hong Kong
On this day, we discovered there's way more to Hong Kong than high-end shopping and dining. I'll never forget these views and the sense of tranquility we found up here. We also spent some time at the lovely little Shek O beach, which you'll find...
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Diablo Lake, Washington 98283, USA
In the summer, take at least a couple of days to drive the North Cascades Loop — four hundred miles of alpine splendor just to the northeast of Seattle, just south of the Canadian border. At Diablo Lake, pull off the highway and check out the...
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915 Maunawili Rd, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Visible from anywhere in Kailua-Kaneohe are the three peaks of Mount Olomana. The majestic peaks are named after a mythical Hawaiian warrior and offers more than spectacular views from all angles. To reach your destination from Honolulu you take...
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Roys Peak, Otago 9381, New Zealand
The guidebooks say this is a difficult trek but well worth it. After a huffing and puffing trek to the top of Roy’s Peak, I would most certainly like to concur. 11k in approximately 4-5 hours, a decent level of fitness is most needed for this...
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Mt Moran, Wyoming 83414, USA
9 mile loop trail with beautiful views, and 1 sole backcountry camping site on the point of a small peninsula in Jackson Lake.
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15 Entrance Rd, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
I’m not sure at what age humans develop the skill to stand still and appreciate scenery, but based on a scientific survey of kids who live in my house, it’s not age seven. (On a trip to the Canadian Rockies, as my wife and I snapped photos of the...
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45500 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
One of my favorite campgrounds in Big Sur is the big open meadow at Andrew Molera State Park. It's great for large groups and it's one of the best bases for hiking and surfing in the area. More than 20 miles of trails run throughout the park's...
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Utah, USA
As its biblical name implies, Zion National Park has the appeal of a place out of time. Established on November 19, 1919, the canyon and its surrounding landscape feel like a natural temple, full of arches, hoodoos, and imposing walls, some of...
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Pali Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
This used to be the old highway to get from the leeward to the windward side of the island. It was literally built into the side of a mountain and was barely hanging on. It’s now been replaced with a proper 4 lane highway complete with a tunnel,...
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Jiuzhaigou, Aba, Sichuan, China, 623400
Jiuzhaigou Valley (or Jiuzhaigou National Park) is located in Sichuan, China. It is one of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is the longest hiking experience I've ever had - it took me two days to finish every part of the park! However, I...
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52801 California State Route 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
After five hours in the car, I was more than happy to hop out and hike the 1.4 miles out to Pfeiffer Burns State Park and get the prize of a beautiful waterfall. The water's color is an unreal sea blue/green that I have never seen before. The best...
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Beijing, China
The Great Wall of China runs more than 21,000 kilometers (over 13,000 miles), not as one continuous wall but rather as fortified wall sections. Some of the sections date back more than 2,500 years, though only 8.2 percent of the existing wall is...
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Adelaide Parklands Terminal Richmond Rd, Keswick SA 5035, Australia
The two-night journey traverses 1,851 miles from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory. As the train traces the route taken by 19th-century Afghan camel drivers, Platinum Service travelers have the opportunity to...
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From the bi-level dome car, Gold-Leaf Service passengers take in panoramic views of snowcapped mountains, Fraser Canyon, and the Thompson River as they make their way from Vancouver, B.C., to Banff, Alberta. The three-night excursion includes...
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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—yet it's the beautiful reality in Southwest Ireland. This family-owned park, overseen by Donal and...
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Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
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...
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Florida, USA
This is your view from the top of the Diamond Lake Hike, which starts about 12 kilometers outside of the town of Wanaka. The views are so beautiful from the summit that it's nearly impossible to ever head back down the mountain. The track starts...
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Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA
Golden Gate Park was formed out of an expanse of sand dunes to the west of the city in the nineteenth century—a history that is still discernible in the rolling topography of much of the park’s more than 1,000 acres. Over 13 million...
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Lake Matheson, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Lake Matheson is a magical little spot near Fox Glacier. It's a great place to take a walk 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...
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Urupukapuka Island, Northland, New Zealand
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, which will be a fabulous and full day that includes a...
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Castle Hill 7580, New Zealand
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, all of which connect you to a land so beautiful that it's impossible to ever leave. Kura Tawhiti is a...
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California, USA
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort...
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Lake Aloha, California, USA
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...
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Terrebonne, OR 97760, USA
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 landscape known as the South Island of New Zealand.) Smith Rock State...
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US-101, North Bend, OR 97459, USA
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 a break in the rain and clouds I'd seen all...
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Row River Trail, Dorena, OR 97434, USA
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...
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Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Brace yourself for the physical pull you'll feel as you approach the dramatic, 7.5 mile long glacier named Franz Josef, in Westland National Park in New Zealand. Together with the nearby 12 mile long Fox Glacier, you'll be astounded by this unique...
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53000 East Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR 97019, USA
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Multnomah Falls is a gorgeous sight located about 45 minutes by car outside of Portland, Oregon, on the Columbia River Gorge. Several hikes of differing degrees of difficulty offer vantage points to view the falls. The sound of the rushing water...
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Hard to definitely pinpoint on a map, the Wave is a gorgeous rock formation near the Arizona and Utah part of the Coyote Buttes, in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Don't rush off there expecting to just show up and visit, as this...
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Chihuahua, Mexico
As someone born and raised in Austin, Texas I was shocked that West Texas had so much to offer and that I had not visited sooner. The small, but cowboy chic, Terlingua Ghost Town just outside the National Park made a great place for brunch before...
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Kebler Pass, Colorado 81230, USA
My girlfriend and I were celebrating the day of her birth with a lovely off road adventure. Once at the top, we decided to hike at the peak of Kebler Pass while witnessing Aspen trees as wide as truck tires. The towering forest, mingling with...
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Maroon-Snowmass Trail, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
Aspen is a playground for the active traveler. No matter how many times I visit, I always set aside time to bike to Maroon Bells. Rent a bike from the Hub, a cycling store in town, and be sure to bring a water bottle and even some snacks for...
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Proxy Falls, Oregon 97413, USA
Proxy Falls is a lush waterfall located in central Oregon. An easy trail meanders through old lava fields and rhododendron. The main attraction here is obviously the falls. It's wispy cascade gives a fairytale look to it. Another, less impressive...
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Milford Track, Fiordland National Park 9679, New Zealand
Steve from Trips and Tramps makes a great tour guide through the Milford Track. The guided half-day hike, an easy seven miles on a well-groomed trail, was just a tease—given the time, the full four-day, 33-mile track would be well worth it. We...
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Dynjandi, Iceland
Twenty kilometers east of Hrafnseyri, at the point where Route 60 weaves around the northeastern corner of Arnarfjörður, the impressive Dynjandi waterfall plunges over a 100m-high clifftop into the fjord at Dynjandisvogur inlet, forming a...
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Isle of Skye, Duntulm, Portree IV51 9UF, UK
At the very northern tip of the Isle of Skye, which is an island off of the upper north western shore of Scotland, are the ruins of Duntulm Castle. To get there, you have to drive for several hours on narrow dirt roads, but the sense of remoteness...
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Gorge Rd, Nitmiluk NT 0852, Australia
Most visitors to Australia have heard of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, but few realize that neighboring Nitmiluk National Park, four hours south of Darwin, is actually more spectacular. During the wet season, from November to...
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Tasiilaq, Greenland
Ammassalik Island is in the fjords of eastern Greenland - one of the most stunning and harsh places I've ever been to. This spot was at the end of an 8-hour grueling hike where we were led before our guide realized that our campsite was actually...
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77300 Fontainebleau, France
A quick 40-minute train ride from the Gare de Lyon in central Paris takes you to one of the best day trips out of the city: a forest preserve surrounding a palace that dates back nine centuries. The Forêt de Fontainebleau offers a hundred square...
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Kutuzov embankment, 2, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
It's so easy to take the hydrofoil from its dock near the Hermitage museum to visit Peterhof Palace about 20 minutes north of St. Petersburg. The Grand Palace, surrounding buildings and gardens, is sometimes referred to as the "Russian...
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41700 Cheverny, France
We were in the Loire Valley for the wedding of friends, and the one day when there were no real festivities, we planned to bike from Blois (where we were staying) to Chateau de Cheverny. It had been some time since I'd biked a long distance, let...
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Freyr 12, 5540 Hastière, Belgium
With hundreds of castles and chateaux in Belgium, open to the public, it's hard to know which ones to visit. The castle of Freÿr, in Wallonia, is a great place to start. This grand building has remained in the same family for 20 generations and...
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Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo is a sweet little slice of heaven, and a paradise you'll have all to your own, should you visit outside the high season. The glacial waters running out of the Southern Alps are every bit as mesmerizing as they are refreshing - which is...
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Oljato-Monument Valley, UT 84536, USA
Nuzzled up against the Arizona border about 100 miles west of Four Corners are some 30 square miles of the most iconic scenery in the American West. Monument Valley is one of those places that you’ll recognize as soon as you see...
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California, USA
Their branches wind all funky-like skyward and do not provide any shade from the stunning sun. The Joshua Tree and namesake of the National Park, line the hiking trails prevalent throughout the park. The Keys View trail is the shortest at just a...
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Ruby Beach, Washington 98331, USA
Just before the 101 veers inland after winding its way up the coast of Washington's Olympic Peninsula, a smallish spur road leads down to Ruby Beach, an immense expanse of sand broken by dramatic rock outcrops and the tangled remains of cedar and...
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Lake Tekapo, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand
Even on a cloudy day, Lake Tekapo's brilliant shades of blue are caused by "rock flour" - finely ground particles of rock from the glaciers at the head of the lake and suspended in the melt water. The treeline is comprised of Monterey Pines which...
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Mount John, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand
Thanks to very little light pollution, especially in the remote corners of the South Island, gazing up at a clear night sky in New Zealand will leave you breathless and stunned. In the Southern Alps in the Mackenzie Basin near Lake Tekapo, the...
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Borrego Springs, CA 92004, USA
Borrego Springs is a nationally designated "dark sky" community. Because there is hardly any light pollution, this is one of the best places in the country for star gazing. The sunset and sunrise colors here are gorgeous- this image was taken at...
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Yulara NT 0872, Australia
The Sounds of Silence tour at Ayers Rock Resort begins at sunset, when the iconic rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta glow fiery red. Take a short walk through the dunes to a panoramic viewpoint, then dine outdoors on Aussie fare, including...
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Abisko Turist Station, 981 07 Abisko, Sweden
Around me was utter silence even though dozens of people were above and below me. Nearby towering mountains were coated in snow. Unnerving and eerie in one sense yet utterly humbling. The chairlift I was riding in had to be stopped for every...
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Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
When they say Big Sur, the "big" cannot be underscored enough. The Big Sur coastline area of California might be among my favorite places on earth. It doesn't matter what time of day, season of the year, or type of weather--it always has some...
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Sycamore Canyon Rd, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
The ocean views throughout the drive on Highway 1 through Big Sur are so spectacular that it's easy to forget to get out of the car. But there are lots of essential stops along the drive. Chefs from L.A. make pilgrimages to eat the wood-fired...
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Maria Island, Tasmania 7190, Australia
A national park off the east coast of Tasmania, Maria Island offers an unparalleled combination of wildlife, scenery, and history. The Maria Island Walk is the only outfitter that leads trips across the island and offers tent cabins and gourmet...
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1 Nelly Bay Road, Magnetic Island QLD 4819, Australia
The sound of the ocean's waves lapping the shore greets you when you wake up at Base Backpackers Magnetic Island. As if that's not enough, this Australian hostel is located on Magnetic Island National Park, just a short ferry ride from Townsville,...
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90/3 Sridonchai Rd, T.Changklan, A. Muang,, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
If you know me at all you know that I'm not much of a backpacker. Don't get me wrong - I love hiking, camping, trekking, and the outdoors more than most people. What I don't dig is sitting around ramshackle guesthouses with 20-something tourists...