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That Adventurer by Hannah Kacary - 1M ago

8I’ve been talking about doing the Elfin Lakes trail since we moved to Vancouver. For one reason or another, it’s never quite happened. First I was intent on staying in the Elfin Lakes shelter. Then, on another weekend it was pouring with rain and 22km in the rain with no views isn’t that appealing even for someone as hiking obsessed as me. Then there was a bicycle accident that messed up my foot (which is still partly recovering) and getting stitches in my leg for something else.

But at the end of May, I said “screw it. I’m going this weekend whatever the weather!” Luckily for both Thom and I, the predicted rain held off and our return on Sunday morning was absolutely beautiful!

The hike to Elfin Lakes in spring was a reminder that just because it’s been hot in the city, it doesn’t mean it’s summer in the mountains.  There are still metres of snow up at Elfin in the spring and because of this, you need to take extra precautions and equipment. If you’re planning to hike to Elfin Lakes in the spring then here’s a guide to doing so.

About Elfin Lakes and where are Elfin Lakes?

Elfin Lakes are two small lakes surrounded by the beautiful alpine setting of Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish in British Columbia. 

The area around Elfin Lakes has always been popular with hikers and skiers and in the 1940s a local lodge, called the Diamond Head Chalet, was built. It no longer remains, but a park ranger up at the lakes was telling some children about it. And, there’s also a small amount of wood leftover from it by the warming hut in the campsite area. 

The lakes themselves aren’t the most impressive lakes out there, but they’re still pretty. The Elfin Lakes elevation is 1,600m, so it’s quite high! I personally think the main attraction is the view of the mountains you get once you reach the lakes. On the weekend we hiked to Elfin Lakes we hiked 4 hours through the snow and only saw about 5 people going the opposite direction to us. We really felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. 

If you’re visiting in spring, late autumn or winter it’s likely that your experience will be an Elfin Lakes snowshoe one! 

Getting to Elfin Lakes

Elfin Lakes is in the southern part of Garibaldi Provincial Park not too far away from downtown Squamish (so if you need last minute snacks get some there!).

Once you get to Squamish you’ll need to take the turnoff for Mamquam Road and you follow this uphill as it becomes a gravel road. There are signposts to Diamond Head which is where you’re going and you’ll need to take the left fork in the road when you get to it.

While it is possible to drive to the trailhead without a 4×4, I’d recommend a 4×4 to get to Elfin Lakes. 

The road is quite steep with lots of potholes and there are sections that are just lumps of gravel which doesn’t give your car much traction. In early spring the road gets very muddy so lower cars without 4×4 capabilities will struggle. There is another small parking lot 1km away from the main trailhead which is an option if you don’t want to push your car too much. We put Elvis (our camper van) at this parking lot and walked from there. 

The area surrounding the trailhead is very popular with mountain bikers so keep your wits about you and look out for them. 

It’s also a bit of a theft hotspot so remove any valuables from your car.

About the Elfin Lakes Hike

Here are some details about the difficulty and duration of the Elfin Lake hike.

Distance: 22km
6-7 hours
Elevation Gain: 992m

Elfin Lakes map

Here’s a map from the AllTrails app which I recommend getting for the Elfin Lakes, BC hike. It’s also a good idea to have a paper trail map with you too. 

Elfin Lakes trail report

We weren’t sure whether we’d need snowshoes to hike Elfin Lakes towards the end of May. It’d been sunny in Vancouver for what felt like months, and most the snow off the North Shore mountains had gone. However, a quick scout around the internet for the Elfin Lakes trail conditions (see below for finding up-to-date trail conditions for Elfin Lakes) told me we’d probably want them. I’m so glad we ended up renting them. It’d have been a miserable hike without them; especially with our heavy backpacks!  

Hiking to Red Heather Hut inside Red Heather hut

We parked at the lower down the car park and walked the 1km up to the official start of the trail. The trail begins by following some old logging roads and it’s a gentle uphill slope through the trees. We did see some bear poop as we hiked so make sure you take bear spray with you to be safer. 

Within the first 30 minutes or so you’ll get a viewpoint out onto the Howe Sound and Squamish Spit before coming to a waterfall which was in full flow when we hiked. We didn’t get to enjoy the view on the hike out as the clouds had rolled in but we enjoyed it on the way back the next day! 

It was around this time, about 2km in, that the snow started so we strapped on our snowshoes. We hiked out to Elfin Lakes in the afternoon so the snow was quite slushy and postholing would’ve been inevitable without snowshoes. 

After just over an hour’s hiking the Red Heather Hut appears. This shelter is used regularly in the winter by snowshoers and skier as a place to warm up. There’s also an outhouse here if you need a bathroom break.

We stuck our heads into the hut and found the fireplace was still warm. We imagine it was from earlier on in the day, or the day before as we know it had been raining a lot! There’s also a stove with some gas if you need a hot meal before continuing the hike. 

Red Heather Hut onwards

From Red Heather Hut the rest of the Elfin Lake trail gets much steeper. This is the part that people without snowshoes were mostly turning around at. The winter route is slightly different to the summer route so as to avoid avalanche areas.

You’ll hike pretty steeply up a slope before switching back towards the left and going around the back of another slope. This section had some parts which were awkward in snowshoes. The snow had melted by some tree branches meaning we had to step carefully over them, trying not to get our snowshoes caught, nor fall off the narrow path. 

After an hour or so going around the back of the slope, you’ll come out at the highest elevation point and get amazing views of the mountains. 

From here it’s pretty much all downhill! And better still, the clouds had parted revealing the most incredible mountain views just in time for sunset. 

The lakes were just beginning to thaw out and so there was a super cool, icy blue ring around the outside. It’d be cool to go back in summer and see what they look like then too!

Elfin Lakes camping

We arrived at Elfin Lakes roughly 4 hours after we set off (in the summer it’ll probably be a quicker hike!). First things first was to look for where to camp for the night. I’d thought there’d be a designated area for tent campers and there is, but only in the summer. At the end of May, the Elfin Lakes area was still too snowy and therefore the tent pads were buried under several metres of snow. 

The advantage of this was that we could pretty much camp anywhere. A few other people had already set up their tents by the smaller of the two lakes which is reserved for drinking water. Putting our tent here meant that through one door we had a great view of the lakes and the Park Ranger’s shelter and then on the other side we had beautiful mountain views. 

We’d camped on snow about a month earlier when we hiked up and camped near Mt Seymour. That had been a very cold night and so we weren’t thrilled about camping on snow again. We’d read that using an emergency shelter as an extra sleeping layer could help reflect warmth back and since I was carrying my 10 essentials we had one with us! We placed this on the bottom of our tent and crossed our fingers. 

Dinner was some ramen which fresh veg and eggs boiled at home while watching the sunset over the lakes and distant mountains. 

There were some bear hangs near the day-use shelter at the lakes but since the snow was so deep they were pretty much useless and the chances were that the bears were at a much lower elevation anyway. However, we did store our food inside the hut rather than our tent just in case. 

Elfin Lakes day-use hut

Overnight we both ended up getting too hot which was a pleasant change from the previous time. The air temperature was also warmer than it had been up Mt Seymour but I like to think the emergency shelter base helped a bit too.

I’m an early bird and woke at sunrise. I couldn’t resist taking a peek outside the tent and I’m so glad I did. There was no one else up, all was quiet by the Elfin Lakes cabin, and the sunrise was just coming over the mountains. It was beautiful.

The hike back was much more enjoyable than the day before since we could actually see the views now. We hiked back to the van in just under 3 hours with a big smile on my face from those views and time spent in the mountains!

What to pack for an Elfin Lakes overnight trip
  • Bug spray: When we got back down to the logging road the bugs were out in full force, I was very glad to have bug spray on us.
  • Sun cream: You’re going to want suncream no matter what season you hike in. This one is my favourite.
  • Bear spray: Ideally with a holster as it’s useless if you can’t get it out of your bag quickly!
  • Do you need snowshoes for Elfin Lakes in Squamish?: In late autumn, winter and spring it’s a good idea to take snowshoes. We rented ours from MEC
  • Lots of snacks & food
  • Plenty of warm layers & waterproofs
  • Good hiking boots or shoes
  • Camping gear: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat
  • Camera or phone
  • Sunglasses

Shop all my favourite adventure gear here. 

Things to know before hiking Elfin Lakes
  • Dogs at Elfin Lakes: No dogs allowed in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
  • Camping reservations: The Elfin Lake campground has 35 tent platforms, a day-use shelter a pit toilet facilities and bear hang facilities. You must reserve the Elfin Lakes campground in advance. It costs $10 per person per night plus a $6 reservation fee to camp at Elfin Lakes. 
  • Elfin Lakes shelter: The Elfin Lakes hut sleeps 33 people (11 double bunks, 12 single bunks), has 4 picnic tables, 2 propane hot plates, a wash sink, a propane heater, propane lights and pit toilet facilities. It’s booked months in advance in winter. Make Elfin Lakes cabin reservations here
  • Elfin Lakes trail map: The trail is well marked but it’s a good idea to take a trail map too. And if you plan to do any further hiking such as to Opal Cone, the Gargoyles or Mamquam Lake you should definitely take one. This Garibaldi Provincial Park trail map is good
  • Elfin Lakes weather & trail conditions: There are a few ways to check the Elfin Lakes conditions before you hike. I like to do a few of them to get a good idea before heading out. First, you can check the official trail reports for Garibaldi Provincial Park here. They’re not that regularly updated but it’s a good start. Then read the most recent reviews on AllTrails or VancouverTrails.com
  • Toilets: There’s an outhouse at the trailhead, Red Heather Hut, and at Elfin Lakes 
  • Water: You can get drinking water from the lower lake but it needs filtering and/or boiling.
  • Swimming in Elfin Lakes: You can swim in the top lake. The..
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I’ve got a lot of backpacking trips planned for this summer and for that I needed a good backpack that would fit in all my gear and be comfortable! Luckily I’ve now got a great backpack for all my overnight hiking needs. The all-new Vango Cascade backpack is great for multi-day hikes and it’s also affordable too. Take a look at this Vango backpack review.

About the Vango Cascade backpack

The Cascade range is a new Vango backpack which is both affordable and great for overnight hiking trips. It comes in both a 65: 75-litre size and 55:65 which a short back size. 

It’s recommended for both Duke of Edinburgh and Scouts expeditions.

Why I’m a fan of the Vango Cascade backpack

Here are the main reasons I love the Cascade backpack.

The different compartments

There are lots of useful different pockets and compartments in the Cascade backpack.

My favourite is the hydration compartment which means I can put my Platypus in the bag without it being squashed too much by everything else. There’s also a useful loop to attach the tube to and a hole in the bag to pass the tube out through. 

This Vango rucksack also opens from both the top and the bottom which means it’s easy to access your gear without having to empty the entire bag! 

On top of this, there’s the usual handy pockets in the side of the backpack and another at the top.

The comfy straps

The Cascade backpack has comfy straps on both your shoulders and the hip belt.

Sometimes hip belts dig in a little bit, especially if you’ve got a heavy pack but this one is super comfy! There’s a nice amount of padding on the belt and so even when my backpack is packed full it’s still comfortable around my hips.

And the shoulder straps are comfy too plus there’s AirMesh on the straps which stops them from getting too sweaty on a difficult hike! 

The safety features

Another great feature of the Vango Cascade backpack is the safety features.

There’s a sternum strap with an emergency whistle which is super loud (I’ve tested it!). There are also reflective points on the bag which help make sure you’re seen in low-light and poor weather. If there’s a section of a trail where you’ll have to walk along a road then this would be great for your own safety! 

    Vango Cascade specifications
    Weight 1.76kg
    Volume 75.0 lt
    Back System Fixed
    Rucksack Dimensions L30.0 x H81.0 x W31.0cm
    Year 2019

    Get the Vango Cascade backpack here

    The post Vango Backpack Review: Cascade 65:75 appeared first on That Adventurer.

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    I get through shoes and hiking boots pretty quickly. When I’m not hiking mountains I’m walking dogs around Vancouver and I rack up at least 20,000 steps every day. Whether I’m out walking dogs or mountains I prefer a lower boot, more of a hiking shoe, if you will. I’ve recently been trying out the Anatom Q1 Ballater Ultralight hiking shoe and I’m very impressed with the comfort and durability of it. If you’re looking for a new hiking shoe then be sure to check out this Anatom boots review.

    About the Anatom Q1 Ballater shoes

    The Anatom Q1 Ballater shoes are like luxury for your feet. They’re made from high-quality Italian leather and have a cushioned Vibram sole (something I now look for as I wear holes into my soles so quickly usually!). 

    They’re also super lightweight and give you a bit more freedom around the ankle thanks to the lower cut. I much prefer this but if you’re looking for something a bit higher there’s also more of a ‘boot style’ available

    And if that wasn’t enough, these shoes have a tri.aria waterproof/breathable membrane too. This is Anatom’s holistic approach to sustainable comfort and is at the core of their performance philosophy. The Tri.aria combines waterproofness, breathability and Care to create a highly comfortable shoe.

    Why I love these Anatom hiking shoes

    Having hiked on these with snowshoes and without I think it’s fair to say I’ve put them to to the test. Here’s why I love these Anatom hiking shoes so much. 

    They’ve got Vibram outsoles

    Vibram is a brand of outsole manufacturer, and they produce soles for different types of boots. You can find them on many brands nowadays. It’s something I look for as they seem to last a lot longer than non-vibram soles.

    Usually, I’ve got a hole in the bottom of my shoe within 6 months, but with my last pair of shoes with a Vibram sole the upper part of the shoe wore out completely (holes everywhere) before the sole even came close! 

    The fact that these boots came with Vibram soles was a big tick in my book! 

    Waterproof Leather

    These boots are also waterproof and made from leather which is proven to last a long time.

    The 2mm Italian Full Grain Waterproof Leather used in these shoes works a treat! Snowshoeing usually leaves you with pretty wet feet but these kept my feet feeling much drier than usual. 

    The shoes also come with a detailed guide on how to care for your footwear. This helps you keep the waterproofing strong for years to come. 

    Super comfy

    As mentioned above I much prefer shoes to hiking boots for the extra mobility and the fact that they’re lighter. 

    Thanks to the rugged sole and strong leather material these boots are rugged and you’re not going to feel rocks on the bottom of your feet. But at the same time, there’s less weight tiring out your feet as you hike. 

    They also feel very soft and there’s some nice cushioning around your ankle and on the tongue of the shoe which is a nice touch!

    Oh and with some Teko socks they’re even better! 


    For a shoe that holds up to rocky and uneven trails so well and is made of such strong material, you might not expect the Anatom Q1 Ballater shoes to be so light but they are! 

    I feel like I could go running in these and instead of feeling like I’m thumping along the trail, I feel more like I’m bouncing! 

    Shop the complete Anatom collection and get a lifetime guarantee here

    The post Anatom Boots review: Q1 Ballater ultralight shoe appeared first on That Adventurer.

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    Along with the Vango Latitude 400 sleeping bag I’ve also been testing the Vango F10 Aero 3 sleeping mat. This self-inflating sleeping mat is lightweight, packs up small and is super comfortable. Plus, it adds a nice layer of warmth which is great when you’re sleeping on snow as I have been recently! If you’re considering buying a Vango self inflating sleeping mat then be sure to check out this Vango F10 Aero 3 review!

    Vango F10 Aero 3 Review

    Over the last few months, I’ve managed to get outside a few times and put the F10 Aero 3 standard size self inflating mattress to the test. 

    On our first trip where we camped up at Mt Seymour to test out the new Vango gear, Thom used the sleeping mat as his sleeping bag wasn’t up to scratch for sleeping on snow. I’ve had the chance to use it while napping outside by Harrison Lake and again on a backpacking trip to Elfin Lakes. 

    I’m pleased to say it stands up to the test and is both extremely comfortable and seems to add a nice layer of warmth. 

    About the F10 Aero 3 sleeping mat

    The F10 Series Aero sleep mat uses lightweight material to provide insulation while remaining lightweight too. It weighs in at just 0.78kg so won’t add too much to your pack and has a warmth rating of 7. 

    It’s also got some great features like a non-slip print so that your sleeping bag isn’t just sliding up and down the mat. It also comes with a repair kit which is super handy for those just-in-case situations.

    Weight of the Aero 3 sleeping mat

    Whilst the Vango Latitude 400 is a bit bulkier (but great for the price and warmth provided), the F10 Aero 3 Vango sleeping mat is very lightweight especially when you compare it to others on the market for a similar price.

    Not only does this camping mattress weigh well under 1 kilogram, it also packs down to just 27.0 x 16 cm which makes it super easy to pack up. 

    The reason this Vango camping mat is so light is that Vango have removed some circular areas of low-pressure from the mat where your back and legs go. This means there’s less material and so there’s less weight!

    Inflating the F10 Aero sleep mat

    The F10 Aero 3 sleep mat is self-inflating and has a handy valve which locks and unlocks to make both set up and putting down quick and easy. I got a bit confused to start with and wondered how to use a self inflating mattress but got the hang of it pretty quick. Simply push down the valve to lock or unlock the air release! 

    I did find that to fully inflate this self inflating pad I needed to give it a quick few puffs of air but not many at all. 

    Packing away the sleeping mat is super easy too. Just release the valve, fold the mat in half vertically and roll it up.

    The bag that’s provided is big enough to fit the Vango mat in easily and has a drawstring closure too. This mat also comes with two big elastics to stop the mat from unrolling as you put it in the bag which is great since that can be a pain sometimes!

    Which size to go for?

    This Vango self inflating camping mat comes in three different sizes. There’s the short, compact and standard. I’ve been testing the standard size which is more of a full-size sleeping mat and is 183 cm long. 

    The short and compact sizes are great if you’re looking to shave even more weight off your total pack weight.

    Or there’s a more compact camping mat, the Aero Compact, which is 168 cm long and weighs 0.72kg and the Aero Short is 120cm long and weighs only 0.5kg! Ideal for any ultralight backpackers out there! 

    How much does this Vango self inflating mat cost?

    Depending on which size you get the Vango F10 Aero will cost between £50-£60 which is a great price for what you get. 


    If you’re looking for a sleeping pad that’s self inflating, lightweight and a great price then I’d highly recommend the Vango F10 Aero 3. Not only does it have great features such as the non-slip pads, but it’s easy to pack up and put away as well as great for keeping you warm! I can’t wait for the next adventure with this awesome self inflating camping mattress! 

    The post Vango F10 Aero 3 sleeping mat review appeared first on That Adventurer.

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    It’s my third summer in Vancouver, BC and boy, oh boy am I looking forward to it. It’s not even like the winter in Vancouver was that rainy this year! But Vancouver in the summer is something special. The city truly comes alive, everyone’s out of hibernation and the seawall is bustling with people skating, cycling, rollerblading and hanging out on the beach. The mountains begin to thaw out and those long summer days mean lots of hiking and exploring. It doesn’t get much better than summer in Vancouver! If you’re visiting Vancouver in summer, or are a local who’s just looking for new summer activities in Vancouver to do this year then be sure to check out this pretty extensive list of things to do in this summer in Vancouver! 

    Outdoor things to do in Vancouver in summer

    Looking for outdoors and fun things to do in Vancouver, Canada? Look no further! These fun outdoors activities include some adventure and activities that just take place outside. 

    Backpacking near Vancouver

    Dust off that camping gear and load up your backpack! Summer in Vancouver means getting outside and soaking up enough sun to last us through the winter. One of the best things to do in Vancouver, BC this summer is to go backpacking. We’re lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful mountains (with the closest only 30 minutes away!) so make sure you make the most of it! 

    Here are a few of my favourite backpacking trips near Vancouver (expect the list to grow!)

    Go car camping near Vancouver

    We love our van Elvis but you don’t need a van to go car camping. Just roll down those back seats and put your sleeping pad and bag on top! There are plenty of legal car camping spots near Vancouver and just across the border in Washington.

    If you’re wondering how to find them check out this post on how to find places to sleep for free in Canada and the US

    Go on a sunset hike

    Longer days mean it’s easier to get out hiking after work and getting outdoors has to be the among every locals’ favourite Vancouver activities.

    Pack some dinner and a headlamp (as well as your other 10 essentials) and you’re reading to catch an incredible sunset. The hike to St Mark’s Summit is great if you’re a pretty fast hiker. Otherwise, you can catch the sunset from Bowen Lookout which is quite possibly my favourite easy hike near Vancouver. 

    A sunset hike is also a pretty romantic thing to do in Vancouver too.

    Go on a day hike

    Why limit yourself to just sunset? One of my favourite activities in Vancouver is to go hiking and I’ve been rather impatiently waiting for the snow to melt for the last month or so now so that I can tackle some of the longer hikes on my (even longer) to-hike list!

    If you don’t yet have the gear to or aren’t keen on camping, then doing an all-day hike means you can still get some of the incredible views but go back to your comfy bed afterwards.

    Here are some of my favourite day hikes near Vancouver

    Catch the sunset on the beach

    Still wondering what to do in Vancouver, BC? This is one of the top free things to do in Vancouver! In fact, I’m just going to throw it out there and say it’s a must do in Vancouver. 

    Vancouver sunsets are often pretty spectacular and they’re even better when they’re watched on a sandy beach. I guess you could say that the beaches are one of the top attractions in Vancouver – you’ll see what I mean!

    Go to the drum circle

    Another great free thing to do in Vancouver in summer is to go to the drum circle. 

    The “Brahm’s Tams Drum Circle” has been getting together since 2006 every sunny Tuesday in English Bay around 6 pm. Third Beach is one of the main places to go in Vancouver on Tuesday evenings! 

    Meet at 3rd Beach in Stanley Park on Tuesday evenings and jam along with tons of other enthusiastic music-lovers. Simply bring yourself or any instrument that you desire.

    Swim in an outdoor pool

    How’s this for a cool thing to do in Vancouver? There are two great outdoor pools in downtown Vancouver. Both the Kitsilano Pool and Third Beach Pool outdoor pools open only in the summer months and have incredible views of the mountains and the sea. They’re heated too so if you’re not ready to brave the sea itself then this is a great alternative. 

    Go kayaking in Deep Cove

    Wondering where to go in Vancouver (& nearby) for kayaking? You could just kayak off English Bay but kayaking and Deep Cove go hand in hand. If you don’t have your own kayak or paddle board you can hire them from Deep Cove Kayak but be sure to book in advance because they book up very quickly. 

    We bought these kayaks last year for $100CAD and used them loads. They pack away pretty small (we store ours in our wardrobe) and are great if you plan to kayak a few times. 

    For some other great places to kayak near Vancouver see this post.

    Hire a paddle board

    Seeing Vancouver from the water is quite a unique experience and a fun way to see some of the top Vancouver attractions.  You can rent kayaks and paddle boards from Vancouver Water Adventures. They have a stand on English Bay and Kitsilano beaches or you can rent from their main location on Granville Island. 

    Learn to play Spikeball

    Spikeball, also known as Roundnet, is a sport that’s a little like volleyball only you don’t need to put up a net. 

    It’s played on a little round net-trampoline type thing which you bounce the ball of off rather than over.

    I’d never seen or heard of Spikeball before coming to Vancouver but you’re sure to see it being played on the beach.

    Go on a bike ride

    I ride my bike basically everyday rain, sun or snow. I think Vancouver is a great city for cycling thanks to all the cycle lanes and cycling is a much quicker way to tick off all those places to see in Vancouver on your list. 

    If you’re visiting Vancouver then you have to cycle around the Stanley Park section of the seawall (it is one of the top Vancouver tourist attractions after all!) or, if you’re local just grab your bike and cycle to the bar or beach instead of driving. 

    More great bike rides in Vancouver

    Watch movies outside

    The Evo Summer Series is back this summer! This means every Tuesday from July 2nd to August 30th you can catch a movie classic in the open air in Stanely Park, FOR FREE!

    This is one of the top things to do in Vancouver for free in summer.

    This year’s movies include Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sleepless in Seattle and Shrek. Full line up here

    Play beach volleyball

    I’d never played volleyball before we moved to Vancouver and now it’s not summer if I haven’t spent at least a few evenings out on the beach playing volleyball with friends. 

    There are lots of places you can play volleyball in Vancouver. There’s space for nets on Sunset Beach, English Bay Beach, Concord Park near Science World and loads over on Locarno-Jericho beaches! 

    Go to a drive-in cinema

    Did you know there’s a drive-in cinema near Vancouver? If you’re looking for things to do in Vancouver at night then add this one to the list and it’s also a good idea for things for couples to do in Vancouver too. 

    The Twilight drive-in cinema shows two films every week. In the summer it’s open 7 days a week and tickets cost $13.50. Take some snacks and tune in your radio! 

    Try climbing outside

    We’ve yet to try climbing outside but have been climbing in the gym. There are loads of places to climb outside and if you climb I’m sure you know about them already.

    If not, then maybe this year is the year to take a climbing course up in Squamish?

    Swim in a lake

    There are a lot of great lake hikes near Vancouver and summer means they’re finally thawed out from under the snow. Some great lakes near Vancouver for a dip include Mystery Lake, Cabin Lake and Brohm Lake (although there are plenty more!)

    Picnic whenever you get the chance

    Food tastes better when it’s eaten outside with friends. Head to the store and buy some snacks or make dinner at home and take it down to the beach. A personal quick picnic is a rotisserie chicken from the store with some salad and good bread! 

    Find a new park to hang out in

    One of my (many) favourite things about Vancouver is how green it is. There are SO many parks and they’re some of the top places to visit in Vancouver too!

    I live in the West End so tend to go to Stanley Park and Sunset Beach most of the time but sometimes I’ll break the habit and go to another beautiful park. Crab Park near Gastown has great views if you’re over that way and Queen Elizabeth Park is popular for a reason! 

    Take a road trip

    You know by now that I love a road trip! And, with our van Elvis, we’re always ready to go. These road trips to places to visit near Vancouver are perfect for a weekend to weeklong trips.

    Do yoga at the top of Grouse Mountain

    Be a real Vancouverite and do some yoga outdoors this summer. Grouse Mountain, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vancouver, has free 60-minute yoga classes led by YYOGA instructors, every Saturday morning from 10 – 11 am in July and August. If you’re really after a Saturday workout then do the Grouse Grind beforehand! 

    Attend free yoga on the beach

    And if you’re looking for more regular free yoga classes then check out Mat Collective who hold free yoga classes in Vancouver daily during summer. 

    Join the swimming club in Kitsilano

    For the past few years, I’ve been going to the Vancouver Open Water Swimming Association practice swim on Kitsilano Beach on Monday and Thursdays. It costs $5 per session and they have a 1.6km course in the sea. Lifeguards are on hand during these swims which always leave me feeling invigorated!

    Rent skates or a skateboard and hit the seawall

    I tried skateboarding for the first time last year and while I definitely feel a lot cooler than I look, I had a great time. We rented longboards from Flatspot Longboards and practised on quieter sections of the seawall and empty car parks before going around the seawall.

    You can also rent rollerskates or rollerblades if that’s more your thing. 

    Salsa dancing in Robson square

    Want to know how to dance? Learn how to salsa dance for free in Vancouver this summer with Sunday Salsa in Robson Square. It’s got to be one of the more unusual things to do in downtown Vancouver!

    This year Sunday salsa runs from July 7th to August 25th. Lessons run from 3 pm to 3.30 pm followed by social dancing and performances. 

    Vancouver festivals in summer

    There are a lot of Vancouver summer events, from food festivals to fireworks there are fun festivals in Vancouver every weekend! They’re great if you’re looking for things to do in Vancouver in the summer. Oh, and most of these festivals are free, so add them to your list of cheap things to do in Vancouver. 

    Car Free day

    Car Free Day happens every summer in Vancouver and celebrates the diverse neighbourhoods in the city. It’s an arts and culture festival where you can enjoy artists, performers and producers. There are currently car free days in the West End, Main Street, Commercial Drive and there are Kits Block Parties too. 

    Il Mercato Italian market

    Il Mercato Italian Market is the place to go if you love everything about Italy. The summer market takes place on June 14th and admission is free. There are more than 30 vendors selling olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta and more! Feast on great food while enjoying live music on a (hopefully) sunny afternoon.

    Vancouver Mural Fest

    Vancouver Mural Festival is the cities largest free annual public art celebration. It happens around Main Street and you can watch the murals being painted and enjoy some music and an arty vibe.

    You can see a map of the festival here

    Vancouver Folk Music Festival

    The Vancouver Folk Music Festival runs from July 19th-21st on Jericho Beach so you get great views and music! Even if you don’t know much folk music, it’s always enjoyable Tickets start at $47.

    Khatsahlano Party

    One of the biggest things to do for free in Vancouver is the big Khatsahlano Stree Party. This huge free music and arts festival on West 4th Avenue has several stages with over 50 top musical performances across 10 blocks from Burrard to MacDonald Street.

    There’s also plenty of food, giveaways and licensed beer gardens! This year’s street party is happening..

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    With every national park in America we visited, we tried to fit in a good hike. In some national parks, we managed to fit in more than one hike (like in Arches National Park). We did one big day hike in Redwood National Park and a couple of shorter walks to see some of the more famous big trees. If you’re looking for hikes in among the California Redwoods then check out the list below which includes easy hikes, moderate hikes and backpacking trails in Redwood National Park.

    Where is Redwood National Park located?

    If you’re wondering, like I was when we were driving through this part of the US, “where is the Redwood forest?” then there’s are multiple answers. There are some redwood forests near San Francisco, but the Redwood National Park area is in northern California along the coastline. It’s about 1.5 hour’s drive from the Oregon-California border. Roughly 6 hours from Redwood National Park to San Francisco and almost 7 hours from Portland in Oregon.

    Check out this guide to visiting Redwood National and Redwood State Parks

    Redwood National Park entrance fees

    Redwood National and State Parks are fee free with the exception of day use areas within the Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks. 

    Fern Canyon is within a day use area and requires paying a day use fee of $8 per car or showing a federal pass such as the America is Beautiful Parks Pass.

    While Redwood National Park is free, if you’re planning on visiting a few US National Parks over the course of a year then consider buying the “America is Beautiful National Parks Pass. It’s valid for a whole year and gets you entry into hundreds of National Parks, State Parks and historic and national monuments too. 

    Best Redwood National Park hikes

    Whether you’ve only got a few hours, or days, are an experienced hiker or just getting started, there’s a hike in Redwood National Park, California for you. One of my top recommendations for things to do in Redwood National Park is to go hiking so get out there and hit the Redwood National Park trails! 

    Redwood National Park maps

    You can see a complete list of the Redwood Park map here from the National Parks Service. 

    If you’re going hiking to find even more giant redwood trees you’ll need a Redwoods trail map as there’s limited signal within the park and the trails can be confusing. I recommend this one.

    If you’re doing a moderate hike or going backpacking, it’s strongly advised to take a proper trail map with you. While you can get a basic map from the Redwood National Park visitor centres they’re not very well detailed for longer hikers. I recommend the following to help you plan your Redwoods hikes:

    Things to consider going on Redwood hikes Best day hikes in Redwood National Park

    Technically these hikes are in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (with the exception of the Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Lost Man Creek Trails) which is slightly north of the area designated Redwood National Park. However, the state parks and national park in this area are often grouped together so the hikes will be referred to as being in Redwood National Park. 

    Easy day hiking in Redwood National Park

    These easy day hikes are a great way to experience hiking Redwood National Park if you’re short on time. 

    Circle Trail to Big Tree Wayside

    The Circle Trail is a great chance to see some of the giant redwood forest in Redwood National Park without having to go on a long hike. It’s great ‘bang for your buck’ which makes it one of the best Redwood hikes.

    The Big Tree in Redwood National Park or “Big Tree Wayside” as it’s better known, is one of the largest of the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park old-growth coast redwoods. This tree is thought to be around 1,500 years old and over 350 feet high!

    This is a great hike for kids in Redwood National Park and there is also parking and an accessible trail. 

    Distance: 0.2 miles
    30 minutes

    Revelation Trail

    This trail is one of the Redwood hiking trails specially made for the visually impaired and encourages you to engage all of your senses to experience the redwood forest in new ways. 

    On this trail, you can touch the rough bark of a redwood and compare it to the soft feel of a moss-covered fir or spruce. Listen to the sounds of the creek in the background as you walk, smell the sharp aroma of California bay and taste the tartness of redwood sorrel.

    If you’re travelling the Redwoods with kids this is one of the best trails in Redwood National Park for them as there’s plenty to keep them interested. 

    Distance: 0.3 miles
    30 minutes 

    from flickr by Kirt Edblom Fern Canyon Loop Trail

    The Fern Canyon trail offers different views to most of the other hikes in Redwood National Park. Here you’ll see some amazing ferns which cling to Fern Canyon’s shadowy 30-foot cliffs. They’re ancient species whose ancestry can be traced back 325 million years.

    Keep an eye out for velvety five-fingered ferns, dark green sword ferns, and delicate lady ferns.

    We joined this up with the James Irvine Trail but couldn’t quite access the canyon due to flooding and freeezing river water during our visit. Believe me, I tried! 

    Distance: 0.7 miles
    30 minutes – 1 hour
    Minimal, some trees to go under/over

    Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail

    The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail is within the area dedicated Redwood National Park. The walk takes you through old-growth redwood, Douglas-fir and tanoak.

    At the trailhead, you can pick up a leaflet which corresponds with marked posts along the trail and tells you about the historical significance along the way. 

    This is a great trail for the shoulder seasons as you’ll see rhododendrons and azaleas abound in springtime and vine and big maple leads during the fall.

    Distance: 1 mile 
    30 minutes – 1hour

    Moderate/Strenuous hikes in Redwood National Park

    These hikes are more difficult as they’re longe and tend to include a bit more elevation too. If you’re doing one of these hikes make sure you’ve packed plenty of snacks and layers as well as a trail map.

    James Irvine Trail

    The James Irvine Trail is one of the best redwood trails. This hike takes you alongside Godwood Creek and winds up and down through beautiful the beautiful redwood forests. At the end of this trail, you can add the Fern Canyon Loop trail and even visit Gold Bluffs Beach too. 

    We did this hike after it was recommended to us by the staff at the visitors’ centre and it was awesome. 

    Distance: 4.2 miles (10 miles to beach and back)
    3-5 hours

    Elk Prairie Trail

    This trail takes you through one of the most heavily populated Roosevelt Elk areas in the Redwood Parks. It gives you an excellent opportunity to do some wildlife spotting of the elk in their natural habitats. 

    As you walk, keep your eyes peeled for evidence of the elks who have rubbed their antlers on the trees as they pass. 

    Distance: 2.8 miles
    1-2 hours

    Lost Man Creek Trail (bikes allowed)

    On the Lost Man Creek trail in Redwood National Park you can’t fail but be amazed by the heights of these giant redwoods. Walk along an old logging road and wind through a stream valley before crossing a wide bridge to the other side of Lost Man Creek. From this section of the trail, you’ll see five-finger ferns, wild ginger and deer ferns growing and thriving beneath the redwood and tanoak trees. 

    There’s no obligation to finish the whole length of this trail, most people tend to walk for a few hours or so before turning back. It’s a very quiet and peaceful trail with not many hikers compared to some of the others on this list so it’s perfect if you’re looking to get away from it all. 

    Bikes are allowed on this trail which is a great way to do the trail at a quicker pace. But, if you’re hiking just be aware! 

    Distance: 20 miles
    10 hours

    Backpacking Redwood National Park

    Want to do some redwood national park backpacking? There are some great backcountry hikes in Redwood National Park on over 200 miles worth of trails! If you plan on backcountry camping then you’ll need to get a backcountry permit. They’re free and are issued in person 24 hours ahead of time from the Hiouchi or Kuchel visitor centres. Permits are limited and are issued on a first-come, first served basis.

    When planning your backcountry hike in the Redwoods, take a look at the backcountry trip planner to find out what redwood backcountry experiences are best for you. You’ll need to decide where you’re camping in order to get a permit. 

    You must stay in one of the 7 designated backcountry campsites and be aware that you’ll be camping in areas where mountain lions and bears are presents. 

    The Coastal Trail img from Redwoodhikes.com

    The Coastal Trail takes you along a coastal bluff where you’ll hear the sounds of gulls, sea lions and waves crashing on the beach. If you look out to sea you may spot a grey whale! And don’t forget to keep a lookout for crabs and starfish in the rock pools! This trail doesn’t take you through the redwood forest (although you’ll see it) but offers a different experience of sandy beaches and beautiful coastline along the 70 miles of trail. 

    The Coastal Tail is nearly continuous in the parks but has one area where you need to take the Highway 101 bridge over the Klamath River. 

    The sections with more details can be seen here.

    Distance: 70 miles
    3+ days

    Redwood Creek Trail

    The Redwood Creek trail is one of the most popular Redwood forest hikes in Redwood National Park. It’s 16 miles long so could be done with a long day hiking but is more enjoyable as an overnight backpacking trip.

    On the Redwood Creek Trail, you’ll follow the Redwood Creek through a valley lined with ferns and brushy trees before coming to a bridge into Tall Trees Grove at the end of the trail. Look for the massive Libby Tree at 368ft tall which was discovered by National Geographic in 1963 and is considered to be among the tallest trees in the world! 

    This site has a great description of the trail.

    Distance: 16 miles

    More US National Park hikes

    The post 9 Best hikes in Redwood National Park appeared first on That Adventurer.

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    During our 3-month road trip across the USA, one of the national parks we visited was Redwood National Park. I hadn’t realised beforehand quite how far it was away from major cities. This didn’t matter for us since we were road tripping and heading north up the California coast anyway, but if you’re planning on visiting Redwood National Park and State Parks then it requires a little bit more planning. Yes, you can see redwoods throughout the state of California, but a visit is something special. This area is definitely the best place to see redwoods in California. So, read this guide to Redwood National Park, California for everything you need to know if you’re planning on visiting Redwoods National Park. 

    There’s also a section at the end of the post about where to find other redwood forests if you’re staying in San Francisco.

    About Redwood National Park

    Redwood National Park is renowned for being home to some of the tallest trees in the world. But the park isn’t just about trees, there are also prairies, oak woodlands, rivers and around 40 miles of coastline.

    You can’t fail to be impressed by the size of the redwoods in both height and number but what’s more surprising (and saddening) is that it’s said only about 5% of the redwood forest, California remains. On a more positive note, the park leads the world in restoration efforts helping to keep the largest redwood trees growing and thriving! 

    About redwood trees

    Redwood trees are amazing. They’re believed to have been on earth since 240 million years and can grow to 300 ft (91m) or more! It’s easy to see why they’re often referred to as ‘giant redwoods’ in California. But it’s not only their height that is impressive, it’s also their age. Along the coast, you may see redwoods that have been living for over 2000 years! 

    Wondering “what is redwood?” It’s a subfamily of coniferous trees that grow commonly on the coast which is while you’ll find them along the northern California coast from Big Sur and there is also some redwood forest in Oregon.

    The coastal California redwoods only grow in the Pacific North West so you’ll have to visit this part of the world if you’re looking to see some! 

    Redwood National Park tree facts

    The oldest tree in Redwood National Park is believed to be somewhere between 1,900 – 2,200 years old! It’s named the Grizzly Giant and can be found in Mariposa Grove. 

    The tallest tree in the Redwood National Park is Hyperion. It’s a coast redwood and is  379.1 ft (115.55 m) tall! It was only recently discovered (2006) as it’s in a more remote part of the Redwood National Park, California. So while you might not find this one, you’ll still be amazed by the size of the other trees in the park!

    Important things to know about Redwood National Park
    • Technically, this area is made up of four parts: Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek State Park, Jedediah Smith State Park and Del Norte State Park. The four are called Redwood National and State Park but I’ll refer to as just Redwood State Park throughout. You may also see places refer to it as Redwood National Forest.
    • Make camping reservations for Redwood National Park! There aren’t any hotels or lodges inside Redwood National Park and remember to book campsites 3-4 months in advance too!
    • Pets are allowed on leash in certain parts of the park. 
    • There are no restaurants inside the park boundaries so take everything you’ll need for your day trip or overnight stay with you.
    sea of redwoods Where is Redwood National Park located?

    If you’re wondering, like I was when we were driving through this part of the US, “where is the Redwood forest?” then there’s are multiple answers. There are some redwood forests near San Francisco, but the Redwood National Park area is in northern California along the coastline. It’s about 1.5 hour’s drive from the Oregon-California border. Roughly 6 hours from Redwood National Park to San Francisco and almost 7 hours from Portland in Oregon.

    Redwood National Park map

    You can see a complete list of the Redwood Park map here from the National Parks Service. 

    If you’re going hiking to find even more giant redwood trees you’ll need a Redwoods trail map as there’s limited signal within the park and the trails can be confusing. I recommend this one.

    How to get to Redwood National Park

    As Redwood National Park is quite far away from any major cities, getting to Redwood National Park isn’t exactly the easiest undertaking. But, don’t let that put you off, especially if you’re planning a California road trip! 

    Getting there by car is easiest, and usually the cheapest. The other benefit of taking the car is that whichever direction you come from, you’re treated to amazing views along the coast and plenty of redwood roadside attractions too.

    If you are visiting California on vacation and need to rent a car, I highly recommend checking out RentalCars.com who make it super easy to compare prices so you get the best deal. 

    Closest airports to Redwood National Park

    The two main international airports near to Redwood National Park that you’re most likely to arrive at are Portland International and San Francisco International airports.

    The closest domestic airports to Redwood National Park are Crescent City Airport which is served by United Express Airlines and Eureka-Arcata airport served by Horizon Air. 

    If you have dates in mind then I recommend checking out Skyscanner.com to compare your cheap flights! Or, if you’ve yet to choose your dates then take a look at Dollar Flight Club, once signed up you can set your home airport(s) and then they’ll let you know when they find amazing deals on flights. The savings they find every day AMAZE me! Dollar Flight Club has also introduced deals for internal flights in the US so it’s even better now! 

    Driving directions from Portland to Redwood National Park

    The journey from Portland, Oregon to Redwood National Park is around 370 miles along the I -5. However, if you’ve got some time I strongly recommend driving along the Oregon Coast.

    It’s one part of our three-month American road trip that Thom and I talk about all the time. It was such a surprise and it’s incredibly beautiful! 

    San Francisco to Redwood National Park 

    If you’re wondering how far is Redwood Forest from San Francisco (assuming you’re talking about the national park), it’s about a 300-mile drive on highway 101. It’s slightly longer if you take the slower, but more picturesque highway 1 which goes directly along the coast. 

    Permits, passes and entrance fees for Redwood National Park

    Planning for a Redwoods National Park trip means you’ll have to think about the following fees, permits and passes.

    Entrance fees for Redwood National Park

    Redwood National and State Parks are fee free with the exception of day use areas within the Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks. 

    Fern Canyon is within a day use area and requires paying a day use fee of $8 per car or showing a federal pass such as the America is Beautiful Parks Pass.

    While Redwood National Park is free, if you’re planning on visiting a few US National Parks over the course of a year then consider buying the “America is Beautiful National Parks Pass. It’s valid for a whole year and gets you entry into hundreds of National Parks, State Parks and historic and national monuments too. 

    Redwood National Park camping fees

    If you want to stay in Redwood National Park then it’ll have to be in one of the Redwood National Park campgrounds. There aren’t any hotels or lodges inside the park. What you do have a choice of is whether to stay in a developed campground in Redwoods, CA or in a backcountry campsite. Camping within the park is one of the best ways to enjoy these beautiful northern California redwoods!

    There are four campgrounds in Redwood National Park: Jedediah Smith, Mill Creek, Elk Prairie and Gold Bluffs Beach.

    Camping in a campsite costs $35 per night. There are also some Redwood National Park cabins at the Jedediah Smith and Elk Prairie campgrounds. 

    You must reserve in advance (at least 3 months), especially in the summer as redwood forest camping is very popular!  

    You can learn more about the campsites in Redwood National Park here. 

    Backcountry permits for Redwood National Park

    There are more than 322km of backcountry trails and seven designated backcountry campsites and spending a night in the backcountry can be great fun if you’re well prepared! Backcountry exploration can lead to some of the best camping in Redwood National Park!

    For visitors to Redwoods National Park looking to stay overnight in the backcountry, you’ll need to get a backcountry permit. These are free and are issued in-person up to 24 hours in advance of your trip. 

    Take a look at the backcountry trip planner to decide what would work best for you and then head to the Hiouchi or Kuchel Red Wood National Park Visitor Centres to get your permit. Permits are limited and are issued on a first-come, first served basis.

    Top 5 things to do in Redwood National Park

    Add these top things to do in Redwood National Park to your Redwood travel itinerary!

    1. Take a scenic drive
    2. Go on one of the awesome Redwood National Park hikes 
    3. Hit the beach!
    4. Learn about the trees on the Lady Bird Johnson Grove interpretive trail
    5. Find the oldest redwood tree in Redwood National Park: The Grizzly Giant at around 2,000 years old!
    Where’s the drive-through tree in Redwood National Park?

    There isn’t a redwood drive in tree within the Redwood National Park boundaries. However, if you’re driving the California coastal road you’ll find plenty of strange roadside attractions like this In Klamath, less than an hour north of Redwood National Park, you’ll find the Klamath tour-thru tree and there’s also the Chandelier drive through tree south of the parks. 

    5 of the best Redwood hikes

    If you love hiking then be sure to check out these best hikes in Redwood National Park.

    • Damnation Creek
    • Trillium Falls
    • Coastal Trail – Last Chance Section from Crescent Beach Overlook to Damnation Creek Trail 
    • Fern Canyon loop trail
    • Tall Trees trail

    Where to stay near Redwood National Park

    With no Redwood National Park hotels inside the park itself, you’ll have to be prepared to stay a little outside in one of the cities near Redwood National Park. But don’t worry there are some great hotels near Redwood National Park.

    Hotels near Redwood National Park

    Whilst you won’t find a list of where to stay in Redwood National Park, these hotels and inns near Redwood National Park make great options. They’re in the town of Eureka which is less than 1 hour’s drive south of Redwood National Park. Here’s a selection of some of the best places to stay near Redwood National Park. 

    Camping near Redwood National Park

    There’s a lot more choice when it comes to campgrounds near Redwood National Park.

    We camped in our van in the small town of Klamath just north of Redwood National Park. The town is full of RV parks including Klamath River RV Park, Golden Bear RV Park, Blackberry RV Park and Redwood RV Park. 

    When you visit redwoods you can also stay south of Redwood National Park at Emerald Forest Cabins & RV Park, Azalea Glen Rv Park Campground and Sylvan Harbor RV Park & Cabins.

    Where to see Redwood forest near San Francisco

    If you’re looking for options for where to see redwoods in California that are closer to San Francisco, here are a few places. 

    Muir Woods National Monument

    If you’re looking for where to see redwoods near San Francisco then one of the most popular places is the Muir Woods National Monument. This is the best place to see redwoods near San Francisco if you’re short on time and don’t want to make a long drive. This park full of redwood trees near San Francisco gets very busy so go early in the morning. Parking can be an issue too. If you branch off from the main trail then things get a little quieter so I recommend doing that! 

    Big Basin Redwoods State Park

    Big Basin Redwoods State Park is just 65 miles (105km) south of San Francisco. It’s the oldest state park in California and has around 80 miles (128km) of trails that go through a coastal redwood forest. It also has a unique feature in that there are a number of waterfalls that can be found there. 

    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is just southeast of Big Basin and is a great option for a redwoods vacation from San Francisco. You can see some truly great redwoods here on the Redwood Grove trail which weaves through old-growth redwoods. There’s the option to take a guided walk most weekends too.

    Hendy Woods State Park

    In the middle of wine country in Mendocino County is Hendy Woods State Park. Being a bit further from the coast, you’ll likely notice that this park is a lot warmer and less foggy than the other California redwood parks. If wine tasting is part of your..

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    Yosemite National Park is on a lot of people’s bucket lists and with around 4 million visitors every year, it sure is a busy national park. We visited in mid-March during our three-month road trip across the USA and I was amazed by the beauty of it. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular place to visit. If you’re planning on visiting Yosemite National Park then be sure to check out this guide below for your trip to Yosemite. It includes the low-down on places to stay at Yosemite, the best things to do in Yosemite National Park and some of the best hikes in Yosemite, California too! 

    About Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite National Park is full of waterfalls, world-famous cliffs (think Half Dome and El Capitan), meadows and ancient giant sequoias. It’s an American icon and is a popular destination on many peoples’ California travel itineraries. It’s easily accessible from big cities such as San Francisco and so if you want to escape from city noise you can find a spot of quiet in the Yosemite Valley. 

    Where is Yosemite National Park located?

    Yosemite National Park is in the state of California. It’s towards the east of the state and not too far from the border with Nevada. It’s about 3.5 hours away from San Francisco, and just under 5 hours drive north of Los Angeles.

    Yosemite National Park map

    This map of Yosemite National Park (click to enlarge) shows the entire boundaries of the park which will help you with the basics of planning a Yosemite trip.

    You can see another Yosemite map here for the Yosemite Valley area which you’ll undoubtedly be visiting. 

    How to get to Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite National Park is a popular stop off on a California road trip and it’s a great place to add to your itinerary if you’re visiting Los Angeles or San Francisco.

    If you are visiting California on vacation and need to rent a car, I highly recommend checking out RentalCars.com who make it super easy to compare prices so you get the best deal. 

    Nearest international airp0rts to Yosemite

    The closest international airports to Yosemite National Park are

    • Fresno-Yosemite International (FAT) 64.8 miles
    • Merced Airport (MCE) 71.4 miles
    • Oakland International (OAK) 150.3 miles
    • San Francisco International (SFO) 169.2 miles
    • San José International (SJC) 187.5 miles

    If you have dates in mind then I recommend checking out Skyscanner.com to compare your cheap flights! Or, if you’ve yet to choose your dates then take a look at Dollar Flight Club, once signed up you can set your home airport(s) and then they’ll let you know when they find amazing deals on flights. The savings they find every day AMAZE me!

    Driving to Yosemite NP from San Francisco

    Getting to Yosemite National Park from San Francisco takes around 3-4 hours and the distance between San Francisco and Yosemite is about 167 miles / 269km.

    To get between the two you’ll most likely go via the I-580 eastbound and CA-120 east.

    Bear in mind traffic in the San Francisco area is pretty bad so try and leave early to avoid the worst of it! 

    If you need to rent a car, check out RentalCars.com who make it super easy to compare prices so you get the best deal. 

    Permits, passes and entrance fees to Yosemite National Park

    On your Yosemite trip, you’ll have to pay entrance fees to the park and perhaps further fees depending on what your plans are. 

    Entrance fees for Yosemite National Park 

    The Yosemite National Park entrance fee costs $35. This gives unlimited entry for 1 vehicle over the course of seven consecutive days. If you’re visiting by bike or on foot then a pass costs $20. 

    If you’re planning on visiting a few US National Parks over the course of a year then consider buying the “America is Beautiful National Parks Pass.

    You can also get an annual pass for Yosemite National Park which costs $55 and is great if you think you’ll be visiting the park more than twice in one year. 

    Yosemite camping fees

    Here’s a map of the campsites at Yosemite National Park. This doesn’t show each individual Yosemite campground, more the areas in which they are in. 

    Yosemite National Park camping gets super busy and booked up. It’s best to reserve in advance to guarantee a spot. 

    Campsites cost between $6 – $26. The cheapest camping in Yosemite is at Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley and is charged per person, per night. No RVs/trailers are allowed in this campsite. 

    If you’re interested in camping in Yosemite National Park you can find more information on the campsites in Yosemite National Park, check the official Yosemite website

    Wilderness permits for Yosemite

    If you plan on backpacking or making any other type of overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness you’ll need to get a wilderness permit. 

    You do not need a wilderness permit for day hikes with the exception of Half Dome (see below).

    Each trailhead has limited wilderness permits which protects the trails and stop them from getting too busy. It’s recommended you make a reservation so as not to be disappointed if you can’t hike the trail you hoped to.

    Making Yosemite reservations for wilderness camping costs $5 per confirmed reservation and $5 per person. 60% can be reserved ahead of time and the other 40% are offered as first come, first served and are available from 11 am the day before your hike as long as permits are available.

    See this page for getting a wilderness permit. 

    Permits for Half Dome

    There are different permits depending on whether you’re day hiking Half Dome or backpacking Half Dome.

    A maximum of 300 hikers is allowed each day (about 225-day hikers and 75 backpackers).

    All the information you need can be found with regards to these types of reservations for Yosemite can be found here – with the key points picked out below.

    Permits for day hiking Half Dome

    Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required every day of the week once the cables (used for helping you climb the rock) are up. The cables are normally up from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend in May and come down the day Columbus Day in October. However, this isn’t always the case, check the status here).

    A permit costs $20. $10 when you place your reservation and another $10 when you collect it. 

    Permits for backpacking Half Dome

    If you’re planning on breaking the hike up over two (or more) days then you’ll need to get a wilderness permit too. You should apply for the permit to hike Half Dome at the same time as applying for your wilderness permit (see above).

    Top 5 things to do in Yosemite National Park

    Want to know what to add to your Yosemite National Park itinerary? Here are a few ideas to get you started when it comes to what to do in Yosemite! 

    1. Hike Half Dome
    2. Explore the valley and meadows
    3. Watch the climbers on El Capitan (or join them!)
    4. Hike to the top of Yosemite Falls – these Yosemite waterfalls are huge and so impressive! 
    5. Take in the views from Glacier Point

    See more things to do in Yosemite National Park here

    Top 5 Yosemite hikes

    Love hiking? Be sure to look into doing at least one of these best hikes in Yosemite National Park. These Yosemite hiking trails are all spectacular. 

    Before you go, be sure to get a Yosemite National Park trail map. 

    • Half Dome
    • Yosemite Falls
    • The Mist Trail to Vernal Fall and Nevada Falls 
    • Glacier Point (either the 4 miler or shorter walk)
    • Sentinel Dome hike

    Yosemite Tours and day trips from San Francisco

    If you’re travelling solo and want to join a tour, or are just looking to make getting to and around Yosemite super easy, then check out these tours of Yosemite National Park.

    What’s nearby?

    There’s so much to do in and around Yosemite National Park. Here are a few of the places we visited near Yosemite National Park.

    Where to stay in Yosemite National Park

    Being such a popular place, there’s quite a lot of choice when it comes to the question of where to stay at Yosemite National Park including some great accommodation in Yosemite National Park itself. Below are some of the best places to stay in Yosemite National Park.

    Best hotels in Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite hotels and lodging in Yosemite National park include everything from simple tents to deluxe rooms at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. You’ll definitely need to book accommodation at Yosemite in advance, especially if you plan on staying in Yosemite . I’ve picked out some of the most renowned options for Yosemite hotels in the park here.  

    • Majestic Yosemite Hotel: The only AAA Four-Diamond hotel in Yosemite park with stunning views.
    • Valley Lodge, Yosemite: Perfect for families and ideally situated near Yosemite Falls – close to all of Yosemite’s most famous landmarks. One of the best Yosemite Valley hotels
    • Half Dome Village: The famed canvas tent cabins have been welcoming travellers to Yosemite since 1899, with spectacular views of Glacier Point and Half Dome.
    • High Sierra Camps: 5 camps along a loop trail so you can keep your backpack light, and enjoy tent cabins and meals at each camp.
    Hotels near Yosemite National Park

    If you’re looking for places to stay near Yosemite National Park then see the highly recommended ones below. They all get above 8 out 10 on booking.com

    • Miners Inn: The Miners Inn has an outdoor pool, hot tub and parking and rooms include a free breakfast
    • Tree Top Treasure: This beautiful chalet is within 40.6 km of Yosemite North Gateway and has free WiFi and a patio and BBQ. Has 3 bedrooms and sleeps 10
    • Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite: This lodge is just 3.2km away from Yosemite National Park and has great facilities incl. a spa
    • Sierra Sky Ranch: This budget-friendly accommodation includes breakfast, coffee and newspapers and rooms have mountain views

    Whilst expensive, there are also some Yosemite rental cabins and lodges available on Airbnb. If you’re travelling in a group and splitting the cost (or are more of a luxury traveller) then these may be a great option for you.

    Campground and RV Parks near Yosemite National Parks
    • High Sierra RV Park & Resort: Situated in Oakhurst near the National Park with its own swimming pool and waterfalls! High Sierra RV Park also has cabins available. 
    • Yosemite Pines RV: Has large pull-through sites for those big RVs and tent spots with everything in between! Is 22 miles from the park and also has yurts and Yosemite cabins too. 

    Other things to know before travelling to Yosemite National Park
    • Millions of people visit Yosemite from April – October and the park gets very busy. Add to that ongoing construction and you’ll get congestion. Be patient! 
    • From spring to autumn aim to arrive in the park before or after 9 am and 5 pm to enjoy some quiet
    • Plan ahead: make reservations for hotels, camping and backpacking
    • Keep wildlife wild: do not approach or feed animals.
    • Protect Yosemite’s bears: always practice proper food storage and follow speed limits.
    • Phone service is very limited and there’s little to no data connection even in Yosemite village
    More USA National Parks posts

    The post A guide to visiting Yosemite National..

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    One of the top things to do at Mt Rainier is to take a hike. Pretty much all the hikes will offer impressive views of Mt Rainier and other mountains nearby, lots of them are also covered in wildflowers at certain times throughout the year and there are numerous clear lakes near Mt Rainier too. If you’ plan to visit Mt Rainier National Park then make sure to make time for a Mt Rainier day hike. If you’re looking for something longer, Mt Rainier National Park makes a great backpacking destination! 

    Where is Mt Rainier National Park located?

    Mt Rainier National Park is in Washington State, USA. It’s around 138 miles north of Portland and the distance from Seattle to Mt Rainier is between 55-90 miles depending on which of the Mt Rainier entrances you arrive at. Because of its location, it’s possible to do a Mt Rainier day trip from Seattle without too much effort. 

    Mt Rainier National Park entrance fees

    The Mt Rainier entrance fee costs $30. This gives unlimited entry for 1 vehicle over the course of seven consecutive days. If you’re visiting by bike or on foot then a pass costs $15. 

    If you’re planning on visiting a few US National Parks over the course of a year then consider buying the “America is Beautiful National Parks Pass.

    You can also get an annual pass for Mt Rainier which costs $55 and is great if you think you’ll be visiting the park more than once that year. 

    Best Mt Rainier hikes 

    With over 400km of maintained trails which lead through peaceful old-growth forest, river valleys and high subalpine meadows. You can immerse yourselves in the Mt Rainier forest, lakes and streams while enjoying the scents of wildflowers and the sight of ancient glaciers.  

    Mt Rainier National Park maps

    You should always carry a Mt Rainier trail map with you when hiking. While the easier, shorter hikes are usually pretty busy and well-marked this isn’t always the case. The Mt Rainier Visitor Centre carrys basic trail maps but for moderate – strenuous hikes and especially backpacking, you should have your own trail map and a compass and know how to use it. 

    Things to consider before doing Mt Rainier National Park hikes
    • Always check the Mt Rainier conditions for the trail you plan to hike
    • ALWAYS follow Leave No Trace principles – pack it in, pack it out
    • Pets and bicycles are not permitted on any Mt Rainier trails 
    • Stick to the trails on day hikes for safety and also to avoid damaging fragile flowers
    • Trails get busy in Mt Rainier National Park so keep plans flexible as parking lots may be full for the hike you’re intending to do
    • Remember to take your 10 essentials
    • Take layers, including waterproofs, mountain weather changes quickly
    Best day hikes in Mt Rainier National Park

    Looking for day hikes near Mt Rainier? Here are some of the best Mt Rainier day hikes with incredible views inside Mt Rainier National Park. 

    Easy day hikes in Mt Rainier

    Whether you’re short on time, visiting Mt Rainier with kids, or just fancy taking it easy, these easy day hikes in Mt Rainier National Park provide incredible views without leaving you too out of breath! 

    Nisqually Vista Trail

    This is one of the more popular, easy trails to hike in Mt Rainier National Park. Here you can walk amongst the crowds in the Paradise Mt Rainier area. Depending on the time of year you visit you may see wildflowers and animals as well as impressive views of Mt Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier. 

    Distance: 1.9km (loop)
    45 mins -1 hour
    Elevation: Minimal

    Myrtle Falls viewpoint

    This is another good option for Paradise Mt Rainier hikes. This Paradise trail takes you to the beautiful Myrtle Falls whilst providing views of Mt Rainier along the way too. If you’re visiting in winter then it also makes a good snowshoeing trail and is a great hike for kids in Mt Rainier National Park. 

    Distance: 1.4km
    30 mins – 1 hour
    Elevation: Minimal

    High Lakes Loop trail

    The High Lakes Loop trail is good for all hiking abilities and is near Paradise Inn in Mt Rainier. The Faraway Rock overlook has very impressive views and on a clear day, you get beautiful reflections on the lake.

    Has a couple of steep inclines but nothing too strenuous.

    Distance: 4km (loop)
    1-2 hours
    Elevation: 157m

    Dege Peak via Sourdough Ridge nature trail

    This easy day hike in the Sunrise Mt Rainier area takes you through beautiful subalpine meadows with a gentle climb to a ridge top and Dege Peak. From the top, you’ll have amazing views of Mount Rainier, Glacier Peak and Mount Adams.

    When hiking this Mt Rainier trail make sure to stay on the trail so as to protect the fragile plants. 

    Distance: 5.5km
    2 hours

    Moderate to strenuous day hikes in Mt Rainier National Park

    If you’re a more experienced hiker looking to tackle a more difficult Mt Rainier hikes then take a look at these Mt Rainier hiking trails below.

    Pinnacle Peak trail

    The Pinnacle Peak is situated in the middle of the Tatoosh mountain range and has an elevation of 2,000m making it the second highest peak in the range.

    This trail begins with a gradual ascent which quickly becomes steep as you reach the 1,800m saddle and the end of the trail. Keep your eyes peeled for marmots as you hike!

    At the top, you’ll get a close-up view of Mt Rainier and the Paradise area of the park, Mt Adams and Mt St.Helens to the south and even Oregon’s Mt Hood on the horizon!

    As with all hikes, always check the current Mt Rainier trail conditions and wear hiking boots as there’s usually snow on this trail even in the summer

    Distance: 4km
    2 hours

    imf via flickr by nickay311 Burroughs Mountain loop trail

    The Burroughs Mountain loop trail is in the Sunrise area of Mt Rainier National Park. If you hike the trail in a clockwise direction you’ll pass Shadow Lake and then climb steeply to an overlook on the White River and Emmons Glacier. After this section of the trail, you’ll continue upwards to the wide, flat plateau of First Burroughs Mountain.

    This is one of those trails with incredible views pretty much the whole way along! 

    Distance: 7.5km
    2.5 hours

    Tolmie Peak trail

    This trail starts with driving 27km down a rough gravel road before reaching the trailhead. 

    You’ll start along Mowich Lake before heading into the forest and slightly downhill before climbing steeply uphill to Eunice Lake. From here it’s another steep climb up to Tolmie Peak Lookout where the view is well worth making the effort for. You’ll get one of the best views of Mt Rainier from Tolmie Peak Lookout! 

    Distance: 10.5km
    3 hours

    Paradise Glacier trail

    This out and back trail in Mt Rainier National Park is one of the quieter trails in Mt Rainier National Park making it a great choice if you want to escape the summer hiking crowds. Looking south from the top gives you views of Mt St Helens and Mt Adams on a clear day as well as numerous smaller peaks in every other direction.

    Distance: 6.4km
    2-3 hours

    Skyline trail, Mt Rainier img via flickr by Michael Matti

    The Skyline trail is a popular hiking trail in Mt Rainier National Park and is a loop which is often hiked in a clockwise direction. Along the trail you can enjoy subalpine wildflowers, a closer view of Mt Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier. On a clear day, you can also see Oregon’s Mt Hood!

    Distance: 9km
    4.5 hours

    Camp Muir Route via Skyline

    This day hike is quite a long one and it takes you to Camp Muir which is the main base camp for those doing the Mt Rainier summit trail.  This hike is only recommended for experienced hikers due to the length and elevation profile. 

    Distance: 15km
    4.5 hours

    Best Mt Rainier backpacking trails 

    There’s lots of backpacking to be done in Mt Rainier National Park but before you go, make sure you read up on the regulations regarding food storage and wilderness permits on the National Parks Service site. 

    Backcountry permits for Mt Rainier National Park

    If you wish to explore the backcountry hiking trails in Mt Rainier National Park and do some overnight Mt Rainier camping, you’ll need to get a wilderness permit. 

    It’s recommended that you make a reservation to get a wilderness permit which reserves you a specific wilderness camping site for the night. The permits available to reserve fill up quickly during summer. About 70% of permits are allocated for reservation and 30% are kept back for first-come, first-served customers. 

    Reservations open in March each year and The Wonderland Trail, in particular, is extremely busy. Because of this, reservation requests are usually not accepted after 1st April. 

    It costs $20 to make a reservation request and this is non-refundable whether you are successful or not at securing a Mt Rainier National Park backpacking permit

    You can find more information about wilderness permits for Mt Rainier here. 

    Backcountry hikes in Mt Rainier National Park

    Here are a few popular backcountry routes in Mt Rainier National Park for some inspiration.

    image via flickr by Barry Maas Wonderland trail

    The Wonderland Trail is 150kms long and encircles Mount Rainier. It’s a strenuous hike with lots of elevation changes through forests, valleys and high alpine and subalpine areas but it’s undoubtedly one of the best hikes around Mt Rainier and one of the best hikes in Mt Rainier National Park.

    You’ll need to apply for a permit to do this hike and permits go very quickly. It’s important to know your hiking skills and abilities when applying for a permit and before hiking this trail as you’ll need to book campsites in advance. 

    Hiking the Wonderland trail takes around 9 days. Each day will be full of incredible views making it well worth taking the time off to do this hike! 

    Find out more about hiking the Wonderland trail in Mt Rainier National Park

    Mt Rainier summit hike

    Climbing Mt Rainier is a once in a lifetime experience for experienced mountaineers with glacier and avalanche knowledge. Reaching the top of Mt Rainier on a summit climb is usually a four-day expedition that’ll push and challenge you as you climb over 2,700m to the summit of Mt Rainier.

    If you’re interested in doing a Mt Rainier summit hike but don’t have the knowledge to hike it solo then take a look at RMI guides who run expeditions and are great Mt Rainier guides.

    Mowich Lake to Mystic Lake

    The Mowich Lake to Mystic Lake trail is a 36.7km backpacking trail which takes you past Mowich and Mystic lakes and offers panoramic views of Mt Rainier and the Carbon Glacier. 

    It’s not an easy hike but it’s very rewarding and you’ll see the famous Spray Park, Mowich and You’ll see on this hike, the famous Spray Park, Mt. Rainier up close, lakes and more. 

    Along the way, you’ll cross a variety of terrain including the Carbon River suspension bridge which takes you over the lowest glacier in the U.S., The Carbon Glacier. Up you go again along the glacier to the beautiful meadows at Moraine Park. 

    More US National Park hikes

    The post The best Mt Rainier day hikes & backpacking trails appeared first on That Adventurer.

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