The U.S.A. Comprehensive Public Camping Guide Volume 4 (Colorado, Montane, Wyoming)

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All rights reserved. Trail Ridge Road, which follows a path that Native Americans used for thousands of years, meanders through forests, above the tree line, and over the Continental Divide; it's the longest continuous paved road in the United States and an efficient way to explore the park's topographical range. But while driving may offer magnificent scale, nothing captures detail like a hike. So here are a few of the park's star attractions that are accessible either by car or by foot. Twenty-eight miles of the trail falls in Rocky Mountain, and there are shorter, family-friendly options that are easier to access.

Lulu City is a ghost town that in late was home to a population of and 10 working mines. Now a doable six-mile hike gets you to the spooky remains of a dream gone bust: several dilapidated log cabins, a few foundations, and ghosts of miners past. During the summer months, park rangers at Rocky Mountain join forces with the darkness and volunteer astronomers to walk visitors through what exactly is going on overhead. Art galleries and artisanal alcohol breweries, distilleries, and wineries are the twin pillars of the downtown scene.

Our hike takes us past Alberta Falls, a beautiful cascading waterfall that plunges through a glacial-cut canyon. We'll continue up to The Loch, a picturesque alpine lake before continuing to Andrews Tarn and a dramatic view of Andrews Glacier.

Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

This hike is an extraordinary day in one of the most stunning alpine cirques in the Continental United States. Following our hike we'll drive up and over Trail Ridge Road to the wilder, more wildlife-rich, west side of the Park. We'll set up camp at an established, private campground literally on the edge of the Park and get ready for a very tasty dinner prepared by your guide. At night you can enjoy a hot shower and then relax around the campfire with a glass of hot chocolate, tea, wine or beer alcoholic beverages not provided. We'll have a relaxing morning and a big breakfast before setting off for our day's destination - the Cache La Poudre River Valley.

This secluded valley is rich with wildlife and beautiful, vast meadows. We'll enjoy lunch on the edge of one of the meadows before hiking back to the trailhead. If time and energy allow, we can hike up to the flanks of Ute Mountain on the way back and enjoy a dramatic, bird's eye view of the valley we just explored.

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Another tasty dinner and campfire will top off this fantastic day! After leisurely breakfast we will make our way to the North Inlet Trailhead for a day of wildlife viewing and waterfall exploration. The trail skirts the edges of a wetland meadow, where sitings of moose and deer are common. The trail begins to gain elevation as we hike along North Inlet Creek. We will break for lunch at Cascade Falls, and listen to the rapid water flowing to the headwaters of the Colorado River.

Continuing further down the trail will bring more breathtaking views of mountain summits. With a full day of hiking, we will head back the way we came to our camp. Day 4 will be a very early start. We'll eat breakfast en route to the trailhead and begin hiking as early as possible to beat potential thunderstorms. Our destination today is Mount Chiquita 13, feet and if time, weather and energy allow Mount Ypsilon as well 13, feet.

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Elk and Big Horn Sheep are plentiful in these mountains. We'll reach Chapin Pass and then begin our ascent of Mount Chiquita. Today requires nothing more than hiking, but we are at elevation so going can be slow. We'll break often, and eat and drink plenty!

When we reach the summit of Mount Chiquita we'll assess the weather and our energy to decide whether to continue to Mount Ypsilon. We will start our last day with another wonderful breakfast and relaxing morning. After collecting our belongings and breaking down camp, we head back over the Continental Divide towards Estes Park. Along the way, we will stop to hike the Ute Trail. This is an enjoyable hike to conclude our trip as we hike above tree line the entire way. From the highpoint of the trail we are embraced with superb views of Long's Peak and yesterdays summit of Mt.

We will make our way back to Estes Park to conclude our tour. On our signature camping tours we hand pick wonderful campgrounds that put us right in the action for exceptional hiking and camping vacations. They may be national park, state park, or private campgrounds. They may vary by trip date depending on availability and seasonality. Basecamp trips include meals for the duration of the tours beginning with breakfast the first day through lunch the final day.

Meals are prepared by your guide s using fresh ingredients, exclusive Wildland recipes, and we adhere to all department of health outdoor cooking codes. What amenities do basecamp tours include? Camp comfortably, eat like royalty, and hike til your heart's content! You can expect as much as an hour of solitude at a time.

Please complete this form to request a reservation we also offer online registration in the Dates section of this trip page.

If there is availability and you would like us to register you immediately, please check the "Express Sign Up" box and provide the names and emails of your traveling companions. Your spot is not confirmed until you've paid your deposit and completed your registration profile. Feel free to call us at HIKE with any questions or to confirm availability over the phone.

Yellowstone National Park

A million wet blue acres, this watery paradise of glacial lakes and pine-scented air in north-eastern Minnesota boasts 1, miles of canoe routes. In the BWCA, days fill with paddling, fishing, and swimming; nights blanket you with layers and layers of stars while wolves howl and beaver tails splash the dark waters. In your sleeping bag on the still-warm ledge rock, occasionally you will be treated to meteor showers or an unforgettable show of northern lights. You can also connect to the history of this canoe country.

Some say the canoes in these Anishinaabe rock art images are traveling the Path of Souls.


When I lift my paddle in this country, sometimes I feel myself following. Kimberly Blaeser , the past Wisconsin poet laureate, is the author of Apprenticed to Justice.

Every U.S. National Park Ranked

From the El Camino del Cerro trailhead to the top of Wasson Peak via the Sweetwater trail — best done in cooler weather. To the indigenous people of the Sonoran desert, the saguaro is a sacred being.

The 22 best US national parks to escape the crowds, chosen by experts

Uniquely adapted to the rigors of the desert, the saguaro forests, alongside the palo verde and ironwood forests, with all the beings they shelter and sustain, form a single interlocked ecosystem of great diversity and tenacity. The fruit that the saguaro cactus bears is dependable even in drought years, so that humans and others owe their survival to the beneficence of the saguaro.

Saguaros bloom from April to June, but the radiance of the direct sun this time of year can paralyze one at midday. This dissuades a great many from coming to experience the great flowering of the desert forests. So we should become desert creatures of the dusk and the dawn. Start at the El Camino del Cerro trailhead. It is good to set out from the parking lot while there is still light from the sun behind the mountains. At the intersection of Thunderbird trail and Sweetwater trail, turn right on to Thunderbird.

The earth here is mostly chalky white volcanic ash that makes the trail visible under the moon. It is only a quarter-mile to a hilltop vantage point. This desert glows in green waves of energy. The saguaros are so tall that they are the first to catch the glow of the moon as it appears.

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The saguaro flowers shimmer iridescent white. In the moonlight the saguaros are entirely different beings; we all are transformed by the moonlight. If one is blessed, one may catch a glimpse of something wonderful perhaps from another dimension.

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The winds sway with them and then after midnight it may be the saguaros walk. Leslie Marmon Silko is the author of Ceremony and other books. This is where our 26th president spent his wilderness years as a rancher, hunter and naturalist, and this desolate stretch of ridges and bluffs is beyond ethereal. Buffalo graze in every direction giving meaning to the song Home on the Range.

The prairie dog villages are among the most impressive in the world. The gateway hamlet to the national park is Medora.