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Best Hikes, Itinerary and Planning Guide

Best Hikes, Itinerary and Planning Guide

Redwood National Park

Crater Lake National Park was at the top of Kristin’s bucket list for a long time. We started planning a visit, and decided to include Redwood National Park, since it’s relatively close. And we ended up enjoying Redwood more in many ways. Redwood is unique because it’s not just a national park – it also includes three California State Parks: Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek. Managed collectively, they’re known as “Redwood National and State Parks.” The primary mission of…

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Dark Hollow Falls and Rose River Loop Trail

Dark Hollow Falls and Rose River Loop Trail

Shenandoah National Park

Rose River in Shenandoah National Park has been on our to-do list for awhile. Several attempts in the past floundered due to laziness or something coming up at the last minute. We’d made it to Mathews Arm Campground for the weekend, so we took the opportunity to finally hike Rose River Loop. The hike is located off Skyline Drive in Shenandoah’s Central District, across from Big Meadows Campground. We decided to make a 5.1 mile loop that included Dark Hollow Falls.

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Mathews Arm Campground

Mathews Arm Campground

Shenandoah National Park

Over the years, we’ve been to Mathews Arm Campground many times. It’s the closest campground in Shenandoah National Park to our home in the DC suburbs. It had been about a year since we had camped there, so we wanted to stay there at least once before the weather cooled off. We considered the campground to be our home-away-from-home since we found it to be well-organized, quiet, and close to hiking trails.

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Backpacking Overall Run & Beecher Ridge Trails

Backpacking Overall Run & Beecher Ridge Trails

Shenandoah National Park

I had been wanting to check out Overall Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park for some time.  At 93 feet, Overall Run Falls is the highest waterfall in the park, but you don’t hear as much about it as other waterfalls like Dark Hollow Falls or White Oak Canyon.  So on a warm spring day, we went to see for ourselves.  We planned for a one-night backpacking trip to see the falls and make a lollipop loop with Overall Run and Heiskell Hollow Trail.  Our plans changed slightly during the hike, and we returned on Beecher Ridge Trail instead of Heiskell Hollow Trail, creating an 11.6 mi lollipop…

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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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Ringtail Loop & Signal Hill Trails

Ringtail Loop & Signal Hill Trails

Saguaro National Park

Choice is a good thing.  But with so many trails to choose from, researching ahead of time doesn’t always paint a clear picture of which trails are worth our time.  On our last day in the Tucson Mountain (west) district, we only had a half-day, since we planned to drive to Benson, AZ to begin a backpacking trip the following day.  With a limited amount of time, and only an inkling of which trail we wanted to do, we went…

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Wasson Peak via King Canyon Trail

Wasson Peak via King Canyon Trail

Saguaro National Park

On our first full day in the Tuscon Mountain (west) District of Saguaro National Park, we decided to do a day hike to Wasson Peak, the highest point in that district, at 4,687 feet.  When we left for the hike at 8:30 a.m., it was already HOT.  We wished we had left earlier.  But there was no turning back, since we were only there for a week.  Multiple trails go to Wasson Peak, but we chose to go via King Canyon…

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Our Favorite Spots and Visiting Tips

Our Favorite Spots and Visiting Tips

Acadia National Park

Our trip to Acadia was wonderful, and we wished we had more time there.  This post serves as our reflections looking back on Acadia – our favorite spots, things that we wished we did, tips for traveling to the park, or things we didn’t like.  It can also be used as a guide to the park, with links to more detailed posts if you want to dive in.  We’ll definitely revisit Acadia someday.  But there are a lot of other…

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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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Beech Cliff Trail & Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Beech Cliff Trail & Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Acadia National Park

The west side of Mt. Desert Island doesn’t have as many hikes as the east side, and overall the hikes didn’t interest us as much.  The one trail that we decided to do on the west side was Beech Cliff Trail.  It interested us because, like the Beehive on the east side, this trail features some unique obstacles.  In this case, multiple iron ladders.  So we woke up in Seawall Campground on our second to last day in Maine, and headed…

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