Amazing Hiking Trails You Have To See To Believe

Amazing Hiking Trails You Have To See To Believe


Exploring hiking trails is a great way to stretch those legs and get your blood pumping, or just get out and enjoy nature. It’s a great feeling when the cool wind touches your face and you can smell the fresh air. Here are a few of the world’s best hikes that are sure to take your breath away.

Amazing Hiking Trails for the Best Nature Hiking Experience

 

1. The West Maroon Pass

The West Maroon Pass | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
5 Epic Colorado Hiking Trails You Must See To Believe Photo by Susie Kellogg [Kelogg Show]

The West Maroon Pass is located in Colorado, with a 12.7 mile out and back hiking trail. It has a pass that brings you up to 12,480 feet of elevation. It’s under the Maroon Bell’s Peak which is said to be the most photographed peak in the United States. That alone speaks for itself.


BAFX Products – 2 Pack – Anti Shock Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles – 1 Pair, Blue, Royal Blue

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2. The Jewels Route

The Jewels Route | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
6 trails in the U.S. You Have to See to Believe Photo by Eds_Photos/Twenty20 [Adventure Sports Network]

This 48-mile trek is located in the western end of the Grand Canyon National Park. Ironically, Jewel’s route is said to have lighter crowds and boasts of turquoise Colorado River views and deep orange rocks.

3. Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
7 North American National Parks You Have To See To Believe Photo by Danielle Penny [Kaplan International]

The Yoho National Park is located in British Columbia, Canada. It offers beautiful large lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, and hiking trails. The Burgess Shale, a fossil bed, is also nestled in this park. It boasts the best collection of rare fossil remains of prehistoric marine animals.

4. The King’s Trail

The King’s Trail | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have To See To Believe
Self-guided Hiking on the King’s Trail Photo by Nature Travels

With a total of 275 miles through four national parks and a nature reserve, the King’s trail is said to take you about a month to finish. You will soak in some of the most beautiful landscapes in Sweden through this trail.

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Gold Armour 17Pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit Backpacking Gear & Hiking Outdoors Bug Out Bag Cooking Equipment Cookset | Lightweight, Compact, Durable Pot Pan Bowls (Orange)

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5. North Coyote Buttes and the Wave

North Coyote Buttes and the Wave | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
11 Stunning Arizona Hiking Spots You Need To See To Believe Photo by Hiking Feed

Just 3 hours away from Flagstaff, Arizona, North Coyote Buttes requires a permit if you want to hike through it. With just 20 permits being given daily, you’ll have to wait your turn. Reservations must be made 4 months in advance. However, it will surely be worth the wait because of the cross-bedded aeolian Jurassic Navajo Sandstone formation that’s such a unique experience in itself.

6. Red Rock Canyon State Park Trails

Red Rock Canyon State Park Trails | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
9 Amazing Oklahoma State Parks You MUST See Photo by Ok Travel Family

The Red Rock Canyon State Park trails offer 2 nature trails and 1 challenging hiking trail. It also shows the historic California trail. Although it is not a well-known state park, it is great for hiking for the whole family. The giant red boulders that wall the corridors are still very impressive.

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Legit Camping Double Hammock – Lightweight Parachute Portable Hammocks for Hiking, Travel, Backpacking, Beach, Yard Gear Includes Nylon Straps & Steel Carabiners

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7. The Natural Arches

The Natural Arches | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Natural Rock Arches in Arches National Park Photo by My Utah Parks

This Utah hiking trail is said to be the most popular haven for hikers. The main highlights of the Natural Arches in Utah are the 2,000-plus natural arches and red rock formations. This magnificent landscape stands in a 73,000-acre desert area. You can also enjoy the ancient rock art, which can be seen on a lot of these natural rock formations.

8. The Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

The Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Kalalau Trail Photo by Na Pali Kauai [Guide of US Hawaii]

The Kalalau Trail presents 11 miles of cliffs, valleys, mountains, rainforests, and waterfalls that will have even the most jaded backpacking enthusiast in awe. You will be climbing as high as 4,000 feet across valleys and cliffs, which can be covered in just one day.


Patella Knee Strap, Tomight [2 Pack] Reflective Knee Band with Compression Pad for Pain Relief Support for Hiking, Soccer, Basketball, Running, Jumpers Knee, Tennis, Tendonitis, Volleyball & Squats

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9. The Dragon’s Back Trail

The Dragon’s Back Trail | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Believe it, There’s Some Great Hiking HongKong Photo by Aida Ahmad [Star2]

Reaching as high up to 284 meters, the Dragon’s Back trail offers jaw-dropping views. It’s classified as a moderate to easy hike, which traverses along the ridges of Shek O Peak to Wan Cham San in Hong Kong. It has an estimated distance of 8.5 km full of ups and downs, with a wide view of the ocean. This trail, named for its resemblance to a flying dragon, was recognized as the best urban hike by Time Magazine way back in 2004.

10. St. Mark’s Summit

St. Mark’s Summit | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
St Mark’s Summit – Vancouver Hiking Trails Photo by Vancouverhiatus

Soak up the amazing view when standing on the mouth of Howe Sound. St. Mark’s Summit is a picture of peace and tranquility with the mountains of Vancouver Island as a backdrop. The view of the vast ocean with Anvil Island to the right and Bowen Island to the left is awe-inspiring. With a total distance of 11 km, St. Mark’s Summit is considered the easiest trail to tackle compared to its counterparts in the area.


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11. Ledges and Pine Grove Loops

Ledges and Pine Grove Loops | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Pine Grove & Forest Point Trails Photo by Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio has a figure-eight trail with a total distance of 4.1 miles. The beautiful scenery on Ledges and Pine Grove Loops is indescribable–you just have to experience it firsthand.

12. The Rocky Top Trail

The Rocky Top Trail | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Rocky Top / Thunderhead Mountain Photo by Hiking in the Smokys

The Rocky Top Trail can be found in an isolated valley called Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 13.9-mile round trip hike passes through extraordinary landmarks, taking special note of Spence Field. Once there, the scenic view of the three summits of Thunder Mountain will surely be worth the hike.

13. The Rumbling Bald Mountain

The Rumbling Bald Mountain | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have To See To Believe
Here is How to Explore the Rumbling Bald Mountain Photo by The Esmeralda

This hiking destination offers an array of terrain around the Rumbling Bald Mountain in North Carolina. Passing through oak forests and rocky paths, you will see colossal cliff faces before reaching the cave. You can also choose to head for Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge. The latter was the setting for the film “Last of the Mohicans.”

14. The Bunker Meadows Trail

The Bunker Meadows Trail | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Bunker Meadows Trail, Topsfield, MA Photo by Wellness

The Bunker Meadows Trail lies in Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, MA. With a total distance of 12 miles, this trail cuts through wetlands, meadows, and forests of the North Shore. Turtles, eastern bluebirds, and river otters are just among the many animals that you might come across while taking the trail.

15. The Inca Trail, Peru

The Inca Trail, Peru | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
The Inca Trail, Peru Photo by Machu Picchu Gateway by MachuPicchu.org

Hikers will certainly be in high spirits as they pass through dense clouds, rocky ruins, tunnels, enchanting mountains, and a subtropical jungle. The Inca Trail is one of the most popular among hikers around the world. The grand finale of this trail is when they get to see the “Lost City of the Incas.” There are other hiking trails so picturesque you won’t believe they exist; click here to see more.

16. The Trail to Cerro Castillo Glacier

The Trail to Cerro Castillo Glacier | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
A Day Hike in Cerro Castillo National Reserve: Laguna Cerro Castillo Photo by Curiosity Travels

Situated in Patagonia, the hike takes about a day to get to the glacier and back. Despite the steep trail, the panoramic view of the black rock, multicolored hills, and blue glacial lake is truly a sight to behold.

17. Awa Awaapuhi Trail

Awa Awaapuhi Trail | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Awa Awaapuhi Trail – A World Class Kauai Hike From Mountains to Sea Photo by Makana Charter and Tours

This is the famous trail on the Na Pali, considered a world-class trail in Kauai, Hawaii. The Awa Awaapuhi Trail offers some of the most unbelievable views and a one-of-a-kind terrain.

18. Padar Island Trails, Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Padar Island Trails, Komodo National Park, Indonesia | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Hiking Padar Island: The Most Stunning View in Komodo Photo by Lindsay [Frugal Frolicker]

The hiking trails of Padar Island Komodo National Park boast the most scenic beautiful views. You will enjoy 180 degrees of nature’s whites, blues, and greens as you reach the summit of the tallest peak on the island.

19. Blue Lakes Trail, Colorado

Blue Lakes Trail, Colorado | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Blue Lakes and Blue Lakes Pass Photo by Hiking & Walking

The Blue Lakes Trail can bring you as high up as 13, 000 ft with panoramic views of lakes and alpine meadows filled with wildflowers. There are a lot of beautiful Colorado hiking trails and the Blue Lakes trail is among the top destinations. To know more about this trail, click here.

20. The Redwood Creek Trail, California

The Redwood Creek Trail, California | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
The Redwood Creek Trail Photo by Red Wood Hikes

Located in the Redwood National Park, the Redwood Creek Trail features the largest trees in the world, with some reaching up to 300 feet high. The trail has a length of about 15.4 miles and can peak up to 500 feet.

21. Buckskin Gulch, Paria Canyon, Kanab, Utah

Buckskin Gulch, Paria Canyon, Kanab, Utah | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon Photo by Climb-Utah

This trail is the deepest and longest slot canyon in the southwestern part of the United States. Although considered to be a hard level trail, one will surely enjoy the view of sunlight peeking through the upper part of the rock walls. To see what else Buckskin Gulch has in store for you, click here.

22. The Snowman Trek, Bhutan

The Snowman Trek, Bhutan | Amazing Hiking Trails You Have to See to Believe
Snowman Trek Photo by Himalayan Expeditions

This is an advanced-level trail, but definitely worth the endeavor because of the spectacular views of the pristine landscape. For more details on this high altitude trek, click here.

 

Watch this video of hiking the Inca Trail by A Globe Well Travelled:

Make sure you put at least some, if not all, of these amazing hiking trails on your bucket list. There’s nothing more satisfying than soaking up some of the most beautiful sights that nature has to offer from dusk till dawn.

Have you taken your pick on which of these amazing hiking trails to explore next? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Up Next: How To Mark Trails Like A Pro

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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Last update on 2018-08-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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The Secret to Hiking in South America

The Secret to Hiking in South America


Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

Chewing coca leaves might not sound like the best idea in the world, but in Bolivia and Peru, it’s an art form. For centuries, these leaves have been boosting the energy of Andean farmers, laborers, and explorers; keeping them going through the hard times and the good. However, like any art form, there’s a trick to it.

It’s Not Cocaine

Before we get chewing, it’s worth pointing out that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the coca leaf. First, coca leaves are absolutely nothing like cocaine. Instead, they’re more like a shot of espresso, if the caffeine high lasted half the day. Your heart will get pounding, you might sweat a bit and suddenly feel the urge to climb a mountain. Your mouth may also go numb. That’s about it.

It’s Still Illegal Pretty Much Everywhere

Despite being widely consumed across much of the Andean region, coca leaves are illegal under international law. The United Nations, 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, prohibits the use of coca leaves for everything except scientific and medical purposes. However, this prohibition is ignored in Peru and Bolivia. Countries who have been lobbying for the leaf to be legalized internationally. Along with these two countries, possession of the leaf in small amounts for personal consumption is legal in Argentina and Colombia. The leaf is technically banned in Paraguay and Brazil, though enforcement against individuals with small amounts is unusual. Even so, respect for local laws should always come first.

While you’re in the Andes, why not try the region’s most awesome survival plant, the frailejon?

In virtually every other country on the face of the Earth, coca leaves are treated no differently than cocaine. While coca tea can be found on sale in commercial, neat little boxes in Peru and Bolivia, you’ll face possible arrest and drug trafficking charges if you try to take them to a country like the United States. There are more than enough horror stories of innocent travelers being treated like criminals in the U.S. for merely carrying coca tea, so don’t risk it. Only chew coca in the countries where it’s legal.

You Won’t Feel Much…At First

Many first-time coca chewers are disappointed after their first try, with the effects being mild at best. This is because, like many substances, coca leaves just don’t seem to give users much of a buzz until your system has gotten used to them. So if you’re not getting anything, try again in a few days. However, scientific evidence that proves coca leaves improve physical performance is shaky at best, leading many researchers to conclude the leaves don’t do much at all. This, of course, flies in the face of the experiences of generations of Andeans. Either way, don’t be surprised if you don’t find coca leaves anywhere near as stimulating as you may expect.

Not All Leaves are Equal

After sampling a few coca leaves, you might notice some massive variations in effectiveness. This is normal, and as a general rule of thumb, you can expect leaves to be pretty mediocre around tourist areas, such as Cuzco. Generally speaking, the best leaves are fresh, dark green, and flexible.

Check out Chewing Coca Leaves: The Secret to Hiking in South America at https://survivallife.com/chewing-coca-leaves-south-america/
Photo by Logga Wiggler

It Can Have Some Nasty Side Effects

On the flip side, if you chew coca leaves while hiking in South America, you might still experience some adverse side effects. Some of these include exacerbating asthma, worsening heart conditions, and raising blood pressure, while potentially impacting the sugar levels of people with diabetes. If you’re pregnant, stay away from cocoa, and even after giving birth, don’t chew coca leaves until long after you’ve finished breastfeeding.

While we’re on the topic of hapless tourists, my first experience of coca leaves was pretty unpleasant to watch. On a hiking trip in Peru, I watched a fellow gringo shovel a few handfuls of coca leaves into his mouth, and munch them like a koala. A few minutes later, he was outside, face covered in green goo, coughing up stems. Part of the problem comes down to the language barrier: you don’t chew coca leaves per se. Instead, your objective is to suck on the leaves, gumming them to draw out the alkaloids.

Speaking of surviving the Andes, check out this insane survival story of the passengers of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571.

Remove Stems

Once you’ve got some nice, pliable leaves, the first thing you’ll want to do is remove the stems. Do as locals do, and fold each leaf in half, peeling the bulk of the stem from the end. Try to get as much of the stem as possible, without breaking the leaf in two.

Having a Ball with the Catalyst

Now, select somewhere between 10-15 choice leaves. Pile them neatly, and add the catalyst. Traditionally, powdered limestone is used, though I’d strongly recommend against this. Limestone can strip the enamel off your teeth, and cause a real headache for both you and your dentist. Instead, opt for something gentler, like a bit of bicarb soda. Bicarb does a perfectly good job of activating the alkaloids, and won’t destroy your dentistry.

Once you’ve added a small amount of catalyst, roll the leaves up like a tiny little cigar. Fold the ends if needed, and keep the package nice and tight – again, without damaging the leaves. What you should be left with, is a little ball of leaves packed around a small amount of bicarb soda.

Be a Sucker, Not a Chewer

Finally, you’re ready to try your coca. Insert your little package of leaves into the corner of your mouth. Ideally, you want it lodged between your cheek and molars. Leave it there for a few hours, giving it a bit of a loll or gentle chew every so often. Throughout the day, expect your mouth to go numb and get filled with bitter flavor. It might not sound fun, but the boost of energy can be well worth it and may save your life in a survival situation. After a while, you might even start to enjoy the taste.

What do you think? If you’ve tried coca leaves for yourself, then we’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know in the comments below.

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8 Reasons To Go Guided When Overnight Hiking in New Zealand

8 Reasons To Go Guided When Overnight Hiking in New Zealand


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5 hikers in colourful gear walk a flat track along a valley surrounded by snowcapped hills.
Hiking up Siberia Valley in Mt Aspiring National Park

The team here at Active Adventures are an outdoorsy bunch. Every weekend you’ll find a handful of us out there in the hills, or on the rivers, getting stuck in to New Zealand in all its natural beauty. One of our favourite ways to spend a long weekend is by grabbing a backpack, packing a toothbrush, a cooker, a few meals, and a sleeping bag, and heading for one of the 950 huts dotted all over the country. Here we’ll talk about spending time in the backcountry on overnight ‘missions’ and offer some advice on how best to tackle the great New Zealand outdoors!

A backcountry hut sits in a basin next to a large alpine lake.
Angelus Hut on the edge of Lake Angelus in Nelson Lakes National Park

Background on New Zealand’s backcountry

As kiwis, we are lucky enough to have some of the best walking in the world, in our backyards. New Zealand has hundreds of trails, amongst vast mountains, rainforests, coastline, glacial valleys, and volcanoes. Even better than that, is that those trails, and (most of) the 950 huts that serve them, are maintained by the Department of Conservation, DoC. The huts started appearing in the 1800s, and were initially a network of shelters for hunters overnighting in the hills. Today they’ve become a big contributor to tourism in New Zealand, and a part of our national identity. For us the most unique thing about hiking in New Zealand is the variety of landscapes you can immerse yourself in. That’s why we love getting out there, because every time (and every hut!) is different.

A person lays back above a glacial valley enjoying the view.
Taking a moment for reflection on the stunning Milford Track

Few people who think of New Zealand do so without thinking of Milford Sound. It’s one of the things that put this country on the map, we don’t deny it. And it is absolutely stunning in its scale, and its untouched nature. The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks – walks of stunning natural beauty, maintained by DoC, and taking in the most impressive scenery in the country. But the Great Walks are not the only walks worth doing when you get here! There are quite literally hundreds of multiday walks here, and between us, we’ve probably knocked off most of them!

Learn More About Multiday Hikes

Why are we so addicted to getting out there?

We’d describe our love for multiday adventures in the hills as natural, and an essential part of growing up, and living in New Zealand. Being able to get away from traffic noise, light pollution, even cell reception, in a matter of minutes from home, is a special privilege, and not one we waste. There’s something primitive about arriving at a hut under your own steam, after a tough day, and being greeted by a log fire, smiles, and a cosy bunk. When you’re in a backcountry hut, sharing the experience, and stories, with others, you’re living in the moment; the last thing you’ll worry about is work, or bills. Instead you’ll be worrying about who’s taking up the most boot space around the fire, or who’s next in line at the sink to wash their dishes. It’s a special experience, and it’s made special, in part, by the sense of achievement, but so much more than this by those you share it with.

Two pairs of boots dry on a fence at the head of a valley.
Hiking Boots drying out at Siberia Hut in Mt Aspiring National Park.

And guess what! Aside from the warm fuzzy feeling that multiday hiking gives you, there’s also a whole heap of health benefits, and not all of them are physical! Maybe that’s why people say us kiwis are such a friendly bunch?!

Benefits of going guided

Over the years our guides have learned a few tricks when it comes to overnight hiking. And we know how valuable local knowledge is. When you’re on the trail you’ll want all sorts of information about the area you’re hiking in, its history, the plants, birds, even the elevation changes for each day – your guides can share that with you. And that kind of knowledge adds so much to an experience in the backcountry. They’ll also share a few secrets to having a successful trip, the kind of things you didn’t know you needed to know, or to pack. They’ll take you to the best viewpoints for the perfect photo, and tell you how to make your own pillow – no need to pack one. All you have to do is turn your sleeping bag stuff bag inside out, and fill it with your spare clothes. Now you can rest easy!

A group of hikers and their guide stand on a ridgeline.
Guide Andy, and his group of adventurers on Robert’s Ridge in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Our guides have comprehensive training in all sorts of areas, some of which we hope they’ll never need. They’re trained in outdoor first aid, efficient radio communications, and river crossing techniques, to name a few. And they’re also backed up by an awesome Operations Team here at Active HQ. The team is always just a phone call away, anytime day or night.

Two hikers on the trail, a river running beside, and a small aircraft flying overhead.
To hike in Siberia Valley you’ll need to catch a plane in!

Everyone’s number one priority in the outdoors is safety, especially on multiday hikes. Because of its separation from other large land masses, New Zealand gets some very interesting weather. Add that to the geography of the country, and particularly the South Island, with the Southern Alps dictating weather patterns as they do, and we end up with very changeable conditions. Our local guides have spent their lives amongst those conditions, and are always prepared for four seasons in one day. They’ll approach every hike with a plan A, a plan B, and often a plan C. Rivers can change course, or rise rapidly, groups can be super keen and want to hike further, or struggling, and need to do less, or rest more often. A guide is ready for anything, they’ve seen it all before, they’ll react calmly, and smoothly, and ensure you’re comfortable and safe.

Panoramic shot of glacial lake, icebergs floating, and a group sitting on the shore.
Icebergs floating in Crucible Lake in Mt Aspiring National Park. The kind of place you wouldn’t know to visit without a guide!

Our guides are also logistical magicians, and they work in pairs. You’ll hop off the bus for a hike from A, and the bus will pick you up at B just as you arrive off the trail, or back at civilisation from the hills. They’ll also give you some advice on the best way to ensure you get a comfy bed when you arrive at each hut – if it’s not pre booked. Your guides will carry the little extras, like bug repellent, hand sanitizer, and candles too. They’ve spent heaps of time in the hills, they know exactly what you need for a perfect trip. And to top it all off, they’re masters of the backcountry cooker! You’ll be fed delicious, nutritious meals after a day’s hiking, and wake up ready to go again.

 Why go guided recap

  1. Knowledge of flora, fauna, mountains, rivers, and viewpoints.
  2. Tricks of the trade e.g how to pack your bag, or make a pillow.
  3. Comprehensive safety training.
  4. Backed up by an Operations Team.
  5. Experience of the conditions – plan Bs+Cs in place.
  6. Logistics – arranging transport, organising beds, putting up tents.
  7. Providing the small things that are easily forgotten – bug repellent, hand sanitizer etc.
  8. Excellent cooks.

We’d advise…

So if you’re itching to head out into the hills, and see what the real New Zealand is all about, we reckon your best bet is to do so with a local guide. The best advice we can give you though, is to embrace the whole experience, trust in your guides, and keep in mind that it’s sharing these experiences that makes them special. Head for the hills willing to share your space, and your stories, because it’s the story that you’ll remember long after you’ve taken your boots off.

Check Out Our Guided Trips

Other relevant information:

Preparing for a Hiking Adventure: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer
“For me, this was the best experience I’ve ever had.”

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