Adventure Outdoors Magazine Summer 2016 - Page 94

Another must-visit park for its hiking trails is the Olympic National Park in Washington. The park offers self-guided hikes (as well as guided), and there are many different trails that range from easy to extreme. If you are interested in the self-guided hiking experience (which we recommend for the landscape), try the trails at Lake Crescent Lodge. There are a variety of trails within Lake Crescent, and many will have you trekking through the lowland forests, complete with dense overgrowth and trickling creeks. You will feel as though you stepped into a wonderland forest as the sun shines down on you through the thick trees. The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Colorado offers scenery that is unlike anything else in the United States. If you take an off-road vehicle, you won’t have to hike as far, but even when taking a regular vehicle and parking at the Point of No Return, the hike is less than a mile to Sand Pit and just over a mile to Castle Creek. The park is home to the tallest dune in America: Star Dune. It stands at an impressive height of 750 feet and takes approximately 4 ½ hours round trip to hike to. If you are thinking of traveling to the Great Sand Dunes during the summer, you may want to plan your hike early in the morning or later in the evening, as the 150 degree temperatures during the day are no picnic, not to mention the frequent thunderstorms. There is even such a thing as sand-surfing or sand-sledding, which you can do in the dunes. Rental equipment and guide services are available – which we highly recommend – as this is something you will want to take a crash course on. The Great Sand Dunes is definitely a park worth adding to your hiking trip, especially if you’re up for trying your hand at surfing the sand waves! 92 Summer 2016 Adventure Outdoors MOUNTAIN BIKING: OREGON, SOUTH CAROLINA & NEW YORK One of the top-rated biking and hiking trails in America is the McKenzie River Trail in Eugene, Oregon. The riding season for the MRT is June-October, so now is the perfect time to get up there. There are mountain resorts waiting for guests, but they fill up quickly in peak seasons, so be sure to call ahead if you are making your way to the area for a weekend excursion. The entire forest is old growth and the waters within are the brightest of blue, with rushing white rapids from the river nearby. Travel through the trail until you reach Tamolitch Pool, which is a topaz-colored basin in which the waterfall flows into. It is called a pool because the fall only flows a select few times a year, and the remaining months it stays completely dry. The water is so blue and so clear that the pool looks to be only a few feet in depth, but is in fact over 30 feet deep! Take a dip after your ride, it will feel amazing.