Welcome to April, all! I'm not sure about the rest of the nation, but we are indeed experiencing the "showers" of the expected April/May equation here in Michigan. While I'd rather see rays of sun than pouring rain, I'm quite pleased that the snow is no longer mounting. And to celebrate, there's nothing more I'd rather do than find a lesser-traveled trail for a full day of exploration.
Says Austin-Lehman Adventures tour operator Director, Dan Austin, "While it is estimated that fewer than 10 percent of national park visitors venture more than a mile from their vehicle, many popular trails still resemble a freeway at rush hour."
Want to steal some alone time with Mother Nature? Try one of these little-known favorite trails on the western half of the states... and then keep the secret to yourself!
Grand Canyon NP - South Kaibab Trail
Avoid the more crowded Bright Angel Trail; hike the South Kaibab Trail, the only trail in the park that so dramatically holds true to a ridgeline descent thus offering the best views.
Yosemite NP - Pohono Trail (Taft Point)
This trail leads to the top of Sentinel Dome, where you can scramble up to enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Yellowstone NP – Bunsen Peak Trail
A gradual 1,300-foot climb up Bunsen Peak provides a panoramic view of the Blacktail Plateau, Swan Lake Flats, Gallatin Mountain Range, and the Yellowstone River Valley.
Bryce Canyon NP - Fairyland Loop Trail
This great, less-crowded trail takes you through spectacular hoodoos and scenery along the rim and into the canyon. It’s a challenging eight-mile route with many elevation changes.
Zion NP – Kolob Canyon - Taylor Creek Trail
Kolob Canyon, in the isolated northwestern section of Zion, offers a pleasant five-mile RT hike up an enchanting "finger" canyon that ends at the dramatic Double Arch Alcove.
Yellowstone NP – Wapiti Lake Trail to South Rim Trail
This trail follows Lily Pad and Clear Lake Trails to the spectacular South Rim Trail traversing a remote thermal area before emerging onto the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and a breathtaking view of 308-foot Lower Falls.
Grand Teton NP – Death Canyon
Death Canyon is a magnificent vertical-walled canyon with some of the oldest rock in the Teton Range. Hike to the patrol cabin for a wonderful 7.5 mile RT streamside jaunt.
Crater Lake NP – Mount Scott Trail
According to Trails.com, “If Crater Lake is the scenic highlight of Oregon; the Mount Scott Trail is the ultimate hike in Crater Lake National Park.”
North Cascades NP – Easy Pass Trail
The Easy Pass area of this trail is believed to be one of the most superb places in the North Cascades dominated by extensive meadows with rare larch trees, crowned by glacial peaks.
Kenai Fjords NP – Harding Ice Field Trail
Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breathtaking view of an endless expanse of glaciers and ice.
Info on guided tours can be found on http://www.austinlehman.com/