Friday, March 6, 2015

6 Amazing Hikes That We’ve Road Tripped To

It’s no secret that we have some amazing hiking trails along the west coast, but sometimes it’s great to get out and explore hiking trails in other states/provinces.

While road tripping, we often work a hike or two into our trips. It’s a great excuse for us to get out of the car, and get our legs moving. I also find this to be one of the best ways to explore different destinations.

Here’s our favourite hiking trails that we’ve road tripped to:

1.  Mt St Helens

For those who don’t know, Mt St Helens is a dormant volcano located in Washington state. In 1980 the volcano grew such a large gas bubble that, instead of blowing its top like most volcanos, the whole side of the mountain blew off.

Mt St Helens is one of my favourite hikes that we’ve done. We stopped here after spending 2 weeks road tripping across Canada.

This is an 8 hour hike that’s considered difficult. Like many of our road trip adventures, we made some amazing memories while on the trail, sadly though, they were all because we were ill prepared for such a hike. We actually started our hike quite late, and ended up losing sunlight 2 hours before we got off the mountain. We had to hike down into the volcanic forest in the dark, fairly exhausted and mega sunburnt.

Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing hike, and I would highly recommend this hike to everyone, just make sure you come prepared.

2. Zion National Park – Angles Landing

This is my favourite way to explore a national park. We arrived at the park first thing in the morning, and made our way up the trail. This is a 6 hour, intermediate hike that towers 1500 meters above the park grounds. What a way to explore the park. You really can’t beat a view like this.

This was an awesome trail, lots of people, and the last bit of the trail offers a bit of a challenge for those adventurous people; just don’t look down until you reach the top.

3. Arches National Park – Delicate Arch

Mark this on your road trip bucket list. Arches National Park is stunning! We arrived first thing in the morning after driving 20 hours from Vancouver, BC. We spent a bit of time exploring the park before making our way up the trail to the Delicate Arch. This is a 2 hour moderate trail, but with the summer heat beating town on you, it can be a little challenging.

This was a stunning hike solely for the surrounding view of the park. You also get so close to the Delicate Arch that you can actually stand under it for pictures. We spend the day up here, and even watched a bit of the sunset.

Sadly, we didn’t allot enough time in the park for exploring. We were hoping to make it over to Devil’s Garden as well on this trip, but ran out of time and had to make our way down to Zion National Park.

4. Grinnell Lake – Glacier National Park, MT

We road tripped to Glacier National Park after seeing it on the list of must see places before they disappear. This is of course due to most of the glacier melting away, it’s sad to see.

While in the park, we figured we’d hit up one of the hiking trails. We didn’t have enough time to make it up Grinnell Glacier, so we settled for Grinnell Lake trail.  The Grinnell Lake trail is a 3 hour moderate hike that offers spectacular views of the melting glaciers in the northern part of Glacier National Park, and it’s really a great way of appreciating the beauty of the park.

Glacier National Park of course comes with bear warnings, so make sure you go hiking prepared.

5. Wedgemount Lake – Whistler, BC

This is hands down my favourite hike. It’s a fairly challenging trail, but the views at the top are well worth the effort. This is a 12 hour hike that’s considered difficult (and for good reason).

There’s a lot of uphill climbing, and this trail is popular for camp/hikers. I was struggling on this trail with my mini backpack full of water and food. We passed many people on the trail hiking with full camp gear on their back. Once we reached the summit of Wedgemount Lake, I quickly learned why people did this hike. It’s so worth the views. You don’t get these kind of lake views from the easy trails.

6. Black Tusk/Garibaldi Lake – Whistler, BC

We seem to spend a lot of time up in Whistler during the summer months. It’s only a short 3 hour drive for us, but believes me, after doing a 12 hour hike, that “short drive” can’t end fast enough.

Black Tusk is another 12 hour, difficult hike that rewards you with stunning scenery of Whistler and the surrounding mountains. The trail starts off on the Garibaldi Lake trail, 3 hours of moderate switchbacks, before leading into the beautiful Tailor Meadows. It’s a short flat walk through the blooming meadows before reaching the base of the Black Tusk. This is a very challenging/steep climb to the top of the mountain. But from the top you get panorama views of Garibaldi Lake, Whistler village behind you, and surrounding mountains.

On the way down, we chose to stop at Garibaldi Lake for a very chilly dip in the lake before finishing our 12 hour hike.

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