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Plaikni Falls & Pinnacles Trails

Plaikni Falls & Pinnacles Trails

Crater Lake National Park

Pinnacles Road runs through the southeast part of Crater Lake National Park. This road was once the eastern entrance to the park, but has fallen into disuse. Along the road are a couple of must-see attractions: Plaikni Falls and the Pinnacles. Plaikni Falls Trail, a 2.0 mile hike dotted with wildflowers, ends at a waterfall. Pinnacles Trail is a unique 0.8 mile hike that features pumice spires, remnants from the area’s volcanic past. We had just finished hiking Mount Scott,…

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Boundary Springs Trail

Boundary Springs Trail

Crater Lake National Park

The average July rainfall in Crater Lake National Park is around one inch, the lowest of the year. So, it was just our luck that it was raining on our first few days in the park. We wanted to go backpacking in the northwestern section of the park (on Bald Crater Loop), but the rain and threat of thunderstorms put a stop to that. Instead, we decided on a 5.4 mile out-and-back dayhike to Boundary Springs. Boundary Springs Trail is…

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Lyons Ranch Trail

Lyons Ranch Trail

Redwood National Park

Towering redwood trees. That’s what you think of when you come to Redwood National & State Parks. Our first hike in the park though? It would feature no redwoods. Lyons Ranch, a National Historic Site, has an easy 4.5 mile loop trail and features wide open prairies, dramatic views, and historic structures. You can see more than just trees at Redwood N&SP. Lyons Ranch Trail is in a remote section of the park called Bald Hills, near the park’s southeast…

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Garwood Trail

Garwood Trail

Saguaro National Park

Our intention was to visit as much of Saguaro National Park as we could.  Crisscrossing desert trails in the northwest corner of the Rincon Mountain (east) District are known as the Cactus Forest.  We wanted to hike somewhere up there, so we reserved a full day for it.  Our initial plan was to do a longer loop, but we were exhausted after backpacking to Manning Camp, so we decided on a shorter hike.  A ranger at the Rincon Visitor Center recommended a 4.0 mile out-and-back on Garwood Trail…

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Saguaro National Park

As a teacher, I’m always ready for a vacation by the time spring break rolls around. Since it’s only a week, we usually plan on a park that we can really explore in that time frame. In 2017, we ditched a chilly, windy April in DC for a week in Tucson. It felt pretty good as we left the airport and felt the arid climate for the first time. We headed to Gilbert Ray Campground to check in for our…

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Schoodic Institute & Sundew Trail

Schoodic Institute & Sundew Trail

Acadia National Park

Sadly, our time on Mt. Desert Island had come to an end.  We’d explored, hiked, eaten, and enjoyed ourselves immensely on the island.  But we weren’t finished with Acadia yet.  There are three districts in the park, and we had visited two of them.  The last one, Schoodic Peninsula, awaited us.  Schoodic is the only part of Acadia located on the US mainland.  From the eastern coast of Mt. Desert Island, you can actually see Schoodic. One way to get…

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Thunder Gulch Trail

Thunder Gulch Trail

Acadia National Park

This trail wasn’t even on our radar when we arrived on Isle au Haut. Why not? Simply because it’s not on any maps, so we didn’t know about it. I did find it on a USGS topo map, but it’s not on any published park maps. The trail is maintained occasionally, but it’s off the beaten path and takes time to get to. The trail is 1.8 miles out-and-back from the trailhead, but it takes 2.4 miles along an unpaved…

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Ocean Path & Beehive Trails

Ocean Path & Beehive Trails

Acadia National Park

There are a lot of trails in Acadia. Since we were only there for 10 days, we wouldn’t have time to hike them all. For our first “major” hike, we decided to combine two very different hikes into a single trip – Ocean Path & The Beehive. You could easily do the hikes individually, but we wanted more of a challenge. The hikes are on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island, only 6 miles from Bar Harbor. Ocean Path…

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