Adventure Outdoors Magazine Summer 2016 - Page 96

A moderate trail worth exploring is the Deep Step Trail in Sumter National Forest, South Carolina. The Deep Step Trail is part of the Forks Areas Trail System, and it is comprised of several hardcore loops and turns that will send you flying down to the bottom in no time at all. It is a steep climb to the summit, but it is also the shortest trail of the system, at only 5 miles long. This length, along with the options to follow different lines, makes Deep Step an ideal trail for beginners, as well as more experienced riders. If you enjoy Deep Step, the next challenge would be the Great Wall Trail (within the same Forks Area), which is about 3 miles longer than Deep Step, and more difficult to maneuver in certain areas. If you are looking for an upstate trail that is friendly during the summer season, then make your way to the Finger Lakes Trail of New York. You will want to travel to Letchworth State Park for the FLT Branch that is open to biking during the summer, as most of the Finger Lakes Trail is closed to bikes. The season for bikes opens on the first of June, unless the grounds are dry enough to open earlier. The trail will start at the Hogsback Overlook parking lot and move inland, where it will follow closely the deepest part of the lower gorge – don’t look down! There are outstanding views from the side-trails that lead to small overlooks, and the pathway eventually leads to a “long decline.” The entire trail has been rated as difficult, and at just under 22 miles of pure flirtation with the plunging gorges and cliffs, we can see why. Don’t relax your muscles here; you are going to want to stay on top of things, literally. CANYONEERING: UTAH, ARIZONA & OREGON You will need a canyoneering permit to partake in this activity, but permits are relatively easy to obtain (you can apply online), and/or you can utilize a guide-service, which is recommended for beginners. Some portions of parks, depending on the individual laws, may require that you are accompanied by a guide no matter what level of expertise you claim. We suggest taking a guide for the most rewarding overall experience, as they will be able to show you the ins and outs of the systems, and provide vital information on your journey. LETCHWORTH State Park 94 Summer 2016 Adventure Outdoors If you are absolutely fascinated by rock-climbing and canyoneering, you should add Zion National Park in Utah to your list of places. The Zion National Park is the perfect place, the true mecca, for canyoneering enthusiasts. This outdoor sport combines running, climbing, swimming, scrambling, hiking, and more, so your limits are tested and your problem-solving skills are sharpened. At Zion, you will utilize it all to conquer the Narrows, the tightest section of the Zion Canyon.