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Yosemite National Park is a massive, wild wonderland with endless possibilities for sight-seeing, scenic drives, hikes and more. Thundering waterfalls, jaw-dropping views, towering granite monoliths, glacial-sculpted cliffs and valleys, remote mountains and a wild, serene backcountry.  Yosemite encompasses breathtaking wonders at every turn. 

Make the most of your time by joining one of our expert guides for an unforgettable encounter with this iconic National Park. Here are our three favorite trails to get you started.

The Pohono Trail

The Pohono Trail offers some of the best panoramic vistas of the Park with views of El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, the Three Brothers and other iconic features of the west end of Yosemite Valley. This trail offers one of the most dramatic lookouts at Taft Point and a 365 view point from Sentinel Dome – the high point of the hike at 8,122 ft.

North Dome from Porcupine Creek

This trail starts on Tioga Road in the high country of Yosemite and brings us out to the North Rim of Yosemite Valley. This trail features stupendous views, pleasant forest walking and access to Yosemite’s only above water natural arch- Indian Rock.

Young Lakes via Dog Lake/ Glen Aulin

This hike brings us out of Tuolumne Meadows to reveal phenomenal views of the serrated peaks of the Cathedral Range. This trail passes Lembert Dome and explores Dog Lake before making the ascent to Young Lakes. This hike is the first day of our Portered Mt. Conness trip. When the trail is done as more than just a day hike, it opens the possibility of attempting Mt. Conness – the 7th highest peak in Yosemite!

Having a hard time choosing?

Don’t forget that our team of Adventure Consultants is always here for you whether you have questions about trip style, destinations, training, or what to expect. We’re sitting by the phone 7 days a week and would love nothing more than to talk trekking with you. Email hike@wildlandtrekking.com or call 800-715-4453 (HIKE) for more info

The post Massive Adventure: Yosemite National Park appeared first on Wild..

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Back again with another awesome Trip Leader Tuesday bio! We absolutely love our guides who dedicate their lives to showing people how to see sacred, wild places through their eyes. Our guides, who are passionate, professional, avid advocates for the land and keepers of the wild, are the main facilitators in making each trip an unforgettable one.

Adam Reimer is here to share with us his passion, background and knowledge to offer insight on what it is like to lead treks!

Give us some details about you.

I’ve been a guide with Wildland Trekking for a year and a half, and I’ve gotta say that I still have a hard time believing that this is really what I do for a living. I was born and raised in Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas. Right out of college I was hit with a wanderlust  and ended up in Northern California working with salmon in the Sacramento River.  I fell in love with the west and, after a few trips back and forth to Texas, the wind blew me out to Southern Utah. Being out in the desert, my background in fisheries was bound to dry up, so I thought I would try to find a job doing something I’ve always loved: hiking. Now I get to be an outdoor expert, a hiker, and a teacher all in one. In my free time, I like to fly fish, play Indiana Jones looking for Native American rock art with my daughter and otherwise just be outside.

What is your favorite Wildland Trekking trip? Any specific story or memory you can share?

Every new trip I do seems to be my favorite, but if I had to pick one, I would say the hike through Paria Canyon to Lee’s Ferry tops them all! I really enjoy the challenge of the hike, covering over 40 miles in 5 days, and the landscape gets grander and grander every day.  Navajo Sandstone walls climb either side of you from the beginning, you hike into the deepest and longest known slot canyon in the world, become disoriented within the towering walls of the Paria and then burst out into a literal crescendo of light and color at the very beginning of the Grand Canyon.

Where is one place in the world that you haven’t been to, but would like to go?

It depends on the day of the week! My list of places to go gets longer every day, but Madagascar is the dream trip for me.  Aside from all the incredible diversity of plant and wildlife found on this wonder of geographic isolation, it just happens to also have some once-in-a lifetime fly fishing potential.

Any advice or insight you’d like to share as an experienced trip leader for future hikers?

Listen to your guide. It’s a guide’s passion to bring folks out to experience the great outdoors in a safe and responsible manner, so maybe pay close attention to what they’ve got to say.

Give us an interesting fact.

There ‘ain’t no saguaro in Texas’! On a more serious note, since I hike in Zion National Park more than anywhere else, I’ll tell you a little about that.  In the early 20th century, very few people knew about Zion. In fact, at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair, Frederick Dellenbaugh was criticized for the paintings he showcased of this fantastic, whimsical, fairytale landscape. No one believed that such a place could possibly exist on Earth. His works, photographs, articles and reports helped usher in the designation of the place as a national monument and, eventually, the national park we know and love today!

The post Trip Leader Tuesday: Adam Reimer appeared first on Wild..

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As you walk across the spectacular landscape that is Joshua Tree National Park you can’t help but to be captivated by the impressive rock formations. Massive rock piles cover the park’s 800,000 acres. They’re arranged in such a way that it seems more like intentional art than natural erosion. These remarkable rock formations came to be in their present state over the course of millions of years.

How did colossal boulders end up at the top of tall rock towers?

Plate tectonics and volcanic activity are responsible for what we see today. Present day Joshua Tree sits on the edge of the North American Plate. Over 200 million years ago, the North American Plate collided with the Farallon Plate that sat under the Pacific Ocean. The denser Farallon Plate was forced under the North American Plate- a geological process called subduction. The friction from the subduction caused the surrounding underground rocks to melt and form magma plutons. These magma chambers eventually cooled underground into granitic rock. While still below the surface, the hardened rocks cracked as the result of pressure, plate movement and groundwater. Cracks formed both horizontally and vertically, creating rectangular pieces. Ground water then seeped into these cracks and turned the nearby rock into a soft clay which was eventually washed away.  These rectangular pieces rounded at the edges much like what would happen if you were to put an ice cube under running water. The result was individual spherical pieces of granite. Above ground, the top soil began to erode away. As the granitic rocks made their way to the surface, they settled into piles on top of each other creating the extraordinary rock towers we see today.

Chemical Activity Further Weathers the Rocks

As the cracked granite made its way closer to the surface, it continued to erode as the result of groundwater and acidic soil from decaying plants. Skull Rock- perhaps the most famous rock in the park- formed its deep eye sockets this way. While still below the surface, Skull Rock’s vulnerable edges eroded away. Soil and water sat in shallow pools around the rock’s “eye sockets” and changed the chemical compound of the granite, which eventually eroded away. By the time the rock came to the surface, it already resembled a human skull sealing its fate in its future name.

It’s Not Over Yet

Geological processes are continuing to transform Joshua Tree National Park and eventually more rock piles may reveal themselves. The north-west slope of Ryan Mountain is an excellent example of this. Here, you can see granite rock piles protruding out of the overlying soil- a metamorphic rock called pinto gneiss. As flash floods, wind, and other severe weather continue to carve away at Ryan Mountain, the granitic rock formations will eventually reveal themselves. More of Joshua Tree’s hidden treasures will be unearthed. 

The post Origins of a Mystery: Joshua Tree’s Rock Formations appeared first on Wild..

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Ready to visit one of our most iconic national parks? The enormity of the Grand Canyon is enjoyed by millions each year. From the North and South Rim overlooks, people ooh and aah at the cavernous trench, and standing among this congregation of on-lookers you too will be taken in by the impossibility of what lies before you. Your vacation time is precious. Where should your boots take you?

Want the perfect Instagram picture from the popular South rim? Ready to explore the more secluded North Rim? With approximately 1.2 million acres of backcountry, it is easy to feel overwhelmed planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.  Get started with our Guides’ Choice trails below.

South Kaibab

The South Kaibab descends the spine of spectacular Cedar Ridge and allows for BIG Grand Canyon views as the ridge drops off on both sides and in front of you. It is the trail to do if you’re looking for some of the best panoramas in the Grand Canyon. These panoramas and the moderate nature of the hiking make the South Kaibab Trail one of the most photographed trails in the country.

Grandview Trail

The well-named Grandview Trail takes us down a series of exciting switchbacks with seemingly endless views of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. The trail was built by one of Grand Canyon’s most famous miners, Pete Berry, in the late 1800’s to extract some of the richest copper ore in the world. Eventually when his mine failed, he turned to tourism for a living, taking guests down his amazing, hand-cobbled trail. We’ll descend down through geologic and cultural history, gazing into the depths of the Canyon and discussing the immense beauty and intrigue of this landscape.

Hermit Trail

Built by the Santa Fe Railroad as a route to Hermit Camp, the Hermit Trail leads us through fossil beds in the limestone and sandstone formations to Waldron Basin. From the high desert valley of Waldron, we will continue hiking along the top of the Red Wall with incredible views into a deep, seemingly bottomless canyon. One of the great highlights of this hike are the 260+ million year old reptile prints, complete with the swish of the creature’s tail, permanently etched into a slab of sandstone next to the trail. Our hike’s turnaround point is Dripping Springs, a desert spring that drips from the ceiling of a sandstone alcove, nourishing the desert with water.

The post Big Views, Big Days: Grand Canyon National Park appeared first on Wild..

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The National Park Service tells us that, “Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the highest national parks in the nation, with elevations from 7,860 feet to 14,259 feet. Sixty mountain peaks over 12,000 feet high result in world-renowned scenery. The Continental Divide runs north – south through the park, and marks a climatic division. Ancient glaciers carved the topography into an amazing range of ecological zones. What you see within short distances at Rocky is similar to the wider landscape changes seen on a drive from Denver to northern Alaska.”

Glacier Gorge

The Glacier Gorge trail takes you into one of the most stunning alpine cirques in the Continental United States. This diverse trail showcases pristine alpine lakes, glaciers, and mountain summits. Reaching Sky Pond, guests can look back to appreciate the range before them.

Chasm Lake

Hike through clusters of Columbine Wildflowers while approaching Chasm Lake, which sits at the base of Longs Peak, the tallest mountain in the park. Gaze upon the Diamond, and search for climbers on this world renown 1,800-foot vertical cliff face.  

Thunder, Eagle, and Box Lake- Wild Basin Region

For those that appreciate solitude, you can find it at Thunder Lake. After establishing a camp seven-miles into the wilderness, guests can enjoy a day hike to the immaculate Eagle and Box Lakes located just below the Continental Divide. Catch this area in a storm, and you’ll understand how it got its name!  If you’d love to sleep under the stars but aren’t interested in lugging around a huge pack, opt for our three-day portered trip to Thunder Lake.

The post Summer in the Rockies appeared first on Wild..

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Ready to Daydream?

Let’s chat about the Pacific Northwest, home to towering old-growth trees, stunning snow-capped strato volcanoes, and incredible marine life. Whether you prefer the dripping moss and ferns of its temperate rainforest, high alpine meadows scattered with wildflowers, or the rugged sea-stacks and tidal pools of the Pacific coast, this park has something for everyone.

Stay in comfort at a historic national park lodge and explore the varied environments of Olympic and Rainier National Parks, or venture out for something a bit more wild on a backpacking trip in Olympic National Park.  Ready to join a guided hike but need more help narrowing down your options? We’ve got you both covered. Check out our three favorite Olympic National Park trails to get you started.

Klahane Ridge Trail

The Klahane Ridge Trail is pure Olympic majesty. Glacier-capped mountains dominate the skyline to the south, while the deep blue waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the silhouetted mountains of Canada’s Vancouver Island cover the north. If the magnificent views aren’t enough, the wildflowers will captivate you—deep purple alpine lupines, bright red Castilleja, and many more explode in a symphony of color all summer long.

Shi Shi Beach Trail

Ancient sitka spruce trees, boardwalks through primeval forest, and rugged Washington beaches—could you ask for anything more? The trail to Point of Arches wanders through two miles of ancient coastal forest, complete with abundant berries for trailside snacking, before it reaches a short and steep descent to the beach. Once there, take in the dramatic sea-stacks, carved by waves pounding the cliffside for thousands of years. During the evening explore tidal pools rich with sea stars, anemones, and diverse marine life, with the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. Its hard to beat a campfire on the beach, and the Shi Shi Beach Trail will get you there.

Burroughs Mountain Trail

Want to get as close as possible to Mount Rainier? The Burroughs Mountain Trail starts at 6,400 feet, the highest elevation you can drive to. You’ll stroll past serene alpine lakes and delicate wildflowers, and the summit of Burroughs Mountain provides panoramic views of the Cascade range. All the while, Mount Rainier dominates the skyline—a massive volcano, draped in glaciers and clouds, feeding the torrential White River far below your trail.

Having a hard time choosing?

Don’t forget that our team of Adventure Consultants is always here for you whether you have questions about trip style, destinations, training, or what to expect. We’re sitting by the phone seven days a week and would love nothing more than to talk trekking with you.

Email hike@wildlandtrekking.com or call 800-715-4453 (HIKE) for more info!

The post Dreamy Hikes in Olympic National Park appeared first on Wild..

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Thinking about taking some time to unplug and unwind in the Smokies?  There are just under 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains and we’d love nothing more than to introduce you to some! In case you need more inspiration as you narrow down your trip options with us or are planning a self-guided excursion, here are three of our favorite trails.

Charlies Bunion

This is easily a favorite trail for many of our lodge-based guests and is great as a day hike too! From Newfound Gap parking area, follow the Appalachian Trail to stunning views at Charlies Bunion on this out-and-back, 8 mile hike. Trek through a rocky, mossy, high altitude dense spruce-fir forest where gnomes surely must hide. Along the way, you’ll visit a trail shelter and maybe even spot a thru-hiker or two! If Mother Nature is willing, the views at the Bunion can’t be beat and the 1640′ elevation gain ensures you get your heart pumping before you get there.

Shining Rock

Hike the Art Loeb Trail to the stunning, brilliant white, quartz-crusted Shining Rock Mountain.  Along the way catch breathtaking vistas from Black Balsam Knob and explore wildflower-covered, view-packed mountain balds. Follow the Art Loeb Trail on a Portered Shining Rock trip for an opportunity to enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains without the weight of a full backpack. In late summer you can eat blueberries all the way to camp.

Albright Grove Loop

This 6.7 mile loop trail takes you to one of the truly magical zones of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: magnificent old-growth forest. Albright Grove is a rare example of a virgin cove hardwood forest, as only 25% of the park is old-growth.  Albright Grove ranks among the jewels of the Great Smokies and is considered one of the best east of the Mississippi. Picnic under Carolina Silverbells, Hemlock, Beech, and Tulip trees spared from the logger’s ax a century ago. You can experience this amazing section of trail on our Ancient Appalachia Loop hike.

The post Unplug & Unwind in the Smokies appeared first on Wild..

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Back again with a Trip Leader Tuesday bio! We absolutely love our guides who dedicate their lives to showing people how to see sacred, wild places through their eyes. Our guides, who are passionate, professional, avid advocates for the land and keepers of the wild, are the main facilitators that help make each trip an unforgettable one.

Michael Wichman is here to share with us his passion and guiding knowledge to offer insight on what it is like to lead treks!

Give us some details about you.

I was born and raised in Tracy, CA, a small farming town about an hour east of San Francisco, and currently live in Flagstaff, my home of 15 years.  Although unaware of it while living in Tracy, the open space and beauty of the farming country of the San Joaquin Valley planted seeds for my love and appreciation of the Southwest.  My first trip below the rim was in October 2004, where 2 friends and I hiked the Thunder River Deer Creek loop, which we call the Wonders of the Grand Canyon.  I am passionate about all wild and scenic places and have a particular fondness for Grand Canyon, with a love of hiking, climbing, and paddling below its rims.  With a dedication to lifelong learning, I am an avid reader of all things associated with Grand Canyon.  While earning a B.A. in psychology from UCLA, I did one-on-one behavioral therapy with children with autism.  I also studied at Northern Arizona University, focusing on Environmental Science and Policy in the Southwest.

What is your favorite Wildland Trekking trip? Any specific story or memory you can share?

Wow! This is a tough question and nearly impossible to choose one trip from the many inspiring and transformative trips we offer.  My initial thought goes back to my first trip below the rim on a Wonders of the Grand Canyon trip, the Deer Creek Thunder River loop.  This trip is absolutely amazing, with the Throne Room, springs, waterfalls, and the mighty Colorado providing an unimaginable backdrop to the storyline we create.  The next trip that comes to mind is the Colorado River Traverse from the Tanner Trail to either New Hance or Grandview.  With most nights spent camping on pristine and often secluded beaches on the Colorado river, this trip of a lifetime is reminiscent of a being on a river trip.  Hilltop Ruin, Papago Wall, and the descent to Hance Beach are only a few of the highlights.  I recently returned from a work trip to Wyoming and Montana, which piqued my curiosity for the trips we offer up there.

Where is one place in the world that you haven’t been to, but would like to go?

Peru and Machu Picchu have been high on my list for years.  Ecuador and the Galapagos,  Iceland, and New Zealand have entered the picture too.  I am fascinated with Mayan culture and the Mayan Calendar, along with archeoastronomy, and would love to experience the world’s ancestral cultures.  Being able to do so right here at home in Flagstaff, Sedona, and Grand Canyon renders such a sense of beauty, blessing, and appreciation as well.

Any advice or insight you’d like to share as an experienced trip leader for future hikers?

Be in the present moment as often as possible.  The places we are fortunate to offer trips in create sacred space to foster this goal.  It is truly a pilgrimage of sorts when one walks to the river and in the footsteps of our ancestors.

Give us an interesting fact.

Visitors to Grand Canyon are often concerned about creepy crawly things like rattlesnakes.  However, the animal considered to be the most dangerous is the squirrel, because bites from these cute furry creatures lead to the most visits to the clinic.  Granted, a bite from a rattlesnake could be more deadly, in spite of approximately 80% of the bites being dry, or without venom.  The snake senses humans are not food and doesn’t want to ‘waste’ its venom on anything other than food.

And who is the likely victor in a rattlesnake squirrel encounter?  A squirrel!  A squirrel’s best defense against a rattlesnake is to pump blood into its tail, wave it vigorously, and create a warning beacon of infrared radiation.

The post Trip Leader Tuesday: Michael Wichman appeared first on Wild..

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With Utah housing five of our country’s National Parks, it can seem daunting which park to visit, let alone which hikes to venture out on.  Here are the top three hikes we suggest you take!  Pro-tip: aim to hike these gems during the fall or spring for optimal temperatures and trail conditions.
observation point

Look down on Angel’s Landing from 1,500 feet above the canyon floor. Observation Point is Zion’s premiere overlook hike, and has fewer crowds than the more popular Angels Landing. Our Zion, Bryce and Escalante tours are a great way to experience Observation Point’s spectacular views. 

Fairyland Loop

Bryce Canyon’s hidden gem get’s you away from the crowds on a fun, 8-mile loop through the world’s most incredible hoodoos. Enjoy the loop on our Best of Utah Basecamp Tour, or any of our Lodge Tours in Bryce Canyon National Park.  For an added wow factor, opt to hike this trail after a fresh snow has blanketed the rock formations.
Whiterocks Trail

Snow Canyon State Park is the mini-Zion that no one has ever heard of … yet. Sweeping top-down canyon views capture the entire Navajo sandstone layer to reveal Utah’s finest red-hewn slick rock. Hike the entire canyon top-to-bottom on our 3-day Zion Basecamp Tour.  Don’t forget to stop through Saint George, Utah post hike for some delicious local eats!

The post Top Trails of Southern Utah appeared first on Wild..

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Yellowstone National Park encompasses nearly 1,000 miles of trails, 466 miles of road, and 15+ miles of boardwalks all sitting atop a super volcano with 290 waterfalls, 67 species of mammal, and over 500 active geysers dotted throughout. That’s a ton of numbers! Overwhelmed thinking about how to see as much as possible on your hard earned vacation?

We’ve got you covered.

You’re always welcome to hit the trail with one of our certified, professional guides and leave all of the details to us. However, if you’re a plan-it-yourself kind of adventurer, here are a few of our favorite trails to get you started.

Bechler River Trail

Variety is what keeps the Bechler River Trail a timeless favorite of ours. The route winds through classic open meadows, old growth forests, and backcountry thermal features including soak-worthy hot springs. To add to the diversity, as you follow the trail along the Bechler River through the aspen covered Bechler Canyon, your eyes feast on waterfall after waterfall. These features are so prominent that the region is known as “cascade corner”.

Bunsen Peak 

The hike up Bunsen Peak is an unforgettable one! From the open flats of the trailhead, we will start hiking up through intermittent forest and meadow.  The path gives us excellent opportunities to view wildlife, birds, and seasonal wildflowers. As the trail continues uphill, views of the Gallatin Range and the surrounding valleys grow more and more spectacular. The final section of the 1,300 foot vertical gain brings us through scree and talus slopes, reminding us of Bunsen’s origin as a volcanic remnant.

Heart Lake Trail 

The trail to Heart Lake starts in a regenerated forest from the famous 1988 fires. From there, the path continues past a backcountry geyser basin and Heart Lake shimmers into view at the base of the towering Mt. Sheridan. Abundant wildlife is one of the biggest lures of this area. It is common to hear wolves and see Sandhill cranes fly overhead as the sun sets over the quiet lake.  

The post Yellowstone’s Top Trails appeared first on Wild..

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