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Reader Participation Day: What Epic Treks in the National Parks Are on Your To-Do List?


Is 2010 the year you finally get around to hiking the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier National Park? Eunice Lake reflecting Mount Rainier photo by QT Luong, used with permission.

Fall is here in the Rockies, and winter won't be far behind. For many that means outdoor adventures are being shunted to the back burner. But it also means there's lots of time to plan next year's epic adventures in the National Park System. So what treks are you mulling?

A friend and I are going through books and magazines, surfing the Internet, and generally brainstorming to settle on an epic adventure for next summer or fall. And by "epic" I mean something more than just a three- or four-day backpacking trip or rafting journey.

We're talking "trip-of-a-lifetime" here, or at least something you don't bite off every year. For some that could mean finally signing up for that climb to the top of the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park, or summiting Mount Rainier, or hiking the entire 93-mile-long Wonderland Trail in Rainier in one fell swoop. For others it could mean taking a few months off to hike the Appalachian or Pacific Crest trails. Or it might mean finally getting around to paddling about Voyageurs National Park.

So what say you, fellow travelers? What epic trips do you hope to checkoff before you check out?


Having done Half Dome, my next Yosemite trek will be from the Tioga Road over to the top of El Capitan and then on to the top of Yosemite Falls and down into Yosemite Village. I also plan to hike the Mist Trail up to the base of Nevada Falls to get a picture of the afternoon 400 ft rainbow that spans the falls. I thought I had it once before, but my shutter jammed on my old film camera.

I would also like to get back to Glacier NP and hike up to the Ptarmigan tunnel from Many Glacier.

Wow! I think you intimidated everybody by your prowess. Way out of my league. My biggest hike to date is S Kaibab trail to Phantom Ranch, followed by Bright Angel trail back up (separate days). As an arthritis sufferer, 125 degrees wipes out the arthritis, at least temporarily! I was sad to go back to the rim where it was only 90.
I want to hike rim to rim, but am not sure I can get family and friends to go for it.
Also on my list is Sliding Sands trail at Haleakala, going from 10,000 feet to sea level in a few hours.
But #1 on my list is Macchu Picchu. I know it is not in the US, but it can certainly be epic.

Kevin, prowess? What prowess? Just looking for some good times with hopes of staving off Father Time.

I did think up another epic -- circumnavigating Yellowstone Lake by canoe. It's a tempting proposal, one that likely could be done in less than two weeks.

But really, I was merely hoping of sparking folks' imaginations...with the possibility that someone might come up with an intriguing trek to add to my to-do list;-)

So c'mon folks, let loose with those dreams!!

1. Hike to McGonnagal Pass in Denali National Park when the weather allows extended views of the big Mountain.
2. A two week plus journey by Dory through the Grand Canyon with daily opportunities for extended hikes.
3. Biking the entire park road in Denali Park on a midsummer evening when the buses were all resting.
4. Getting temporarily lost in the backcountry of Canyonlands National park.
5. Just to sit and ponder at Gettysburg.

Now we're talking....!

Getting temporarily lost in the backcountry of Canyonlands National park.

Oh ya, have that one on the list (and now will ponder it once more :-))

Have already started collecting maps, field & trail guides, histories & fiction stories etc. for a winters mulling, pondering and planning a
Sierra High Route mosey meander.

"...adventure without regard to prudence, profit, self-improvement,
learning or any other serious thing" -Aldo Leopold-

Years ago I did a section of the Appalachian Trail, starting from the awesome Mt. Katahdin. I'd like to do another epic hike in my lifetime, but this time starting from Georgia. And I want to do it soon - I don't know about Father Time, but I do know that gravity's got us, and there's not a thing we can do about it! :))

"Trip of a lifetime"? How about the fellow who spent 17 years hiking all 16,500 miles of the eleven National Scenic trails:

These are way out of my league anymore, but I'd like to suggest a couple more manageable epic treks at Olympic. There's the entire Bailey Range-Mount Olympus traverse, stating at Soleduc and finishing at Hoh rainforest. For a different sort of challenge, try hiking the entire wild coast from Kalaloch to Shi-Shi. Native Americans could probably be hired to ferry the tidal river crossings.

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