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It can be a bit overwhelming to decide where to camp when planning your first visit to Strathcona Park. Strathcona Park is home to about 268 camping spots spread across thirteen areas scattered throughout five core areas in the Park. Confused yet? Knowing where to camp in Strathcona Park to be closest to your objective will allow you to make the best use of your time when exploring the enormous park. Plus, it’s always good to know what’s available at each camping spot so you know what to bring and what you can leave at home.

Disclosure: This post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you buy one of these products or services. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Established in 1911, Strathcona Park is British Columbia’s oldest Provincial Park. It is home to rare animal species, dense old-growth forest, high alpine peaks and numerous large bodies of freshwater. It even extends all the way to Bedwell Sound on the west coast! Because Strathcona is so big (250,000 hectares of wilderness!) it can be helpful to break out Strathcona Park into five core areas: The Forbidden Plateau, Elk River, Bedwell Lakes, Ralph River and Buttle Lake. Clustered within these areas are many popular hiking routes that vary from casual one-kilometre strolls to intense, multi-day alpine treks that require sound backcountry experience.

We’ll run you through a brief description of each of these core areas, along with what sort of camping is available and the popular hiking routes nearby. Then, you can decide which ones you want to tick off your bucket list and get planning your next adventure!

The Forbidden Plateau

The Forbidden Plateau is one of the most popular areas to visit in Strathcona Park because of its ease of access into the alpine. Located adjacent to the popular Mount Washington Ski Resort, the Paradise Meadows trailhead is accessible via Strathcona/Mount Washington Parkway. This gives you a 1,041-metre head start on elevation. From the trailhead there are several easy walking trails that crisscross through beautiful wildflower-rich meadows and around pristine alpine lakes, before connecting up with more difficult alpine approach routes deeper in the Plateau.

Within the Forbidden Plateau there are three backcountry campgrounds and one designated backcountry group camping site. These campgrounds are at: Lake Helen MacKenzie (8.9 km loop), Kwai Lake (15.6 km loop), Circlet Lake (23 km) and Croteau Lake (14 km loop). Lake Helen MacKenzie is home to 10 tent pads, Kwai Lake to 15, Circlet to 20. All camping spots are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, but do require the purchase of a $10 per person per night permit which can be purchased online before your visit. The group site at Croteau Lake works a bit differently, as it is actually the first BC Parks backcountry group site! It was designed specifically for groups, and features a day-use yurt for socializing along with 12 tent pads. It must be booked online ahead of time (hint: be sure to enter group campground in the reservation type!). All campsites in the Plateau feature pit toilets, access to drinking water (a filter is recommended) and a bear cache for safe keeping of food.

The popular hikes in this area are:

Paradise Meadows
Mount Albert Edward
Mound Becher

Circlet Lake
Elk River

Elk River Trail is a beautiful hike on its own, and also the major access route to many of Strathcona’s prolific peaks. Expect to see glimpses of the surrounding peaks while hiking alongside the sound of the rushing Elk River. The Elk River area is home to two backcountry campsites that make excellent base camps when gearing up for many of the longer multi-day treks in their vicinity. The trailhead for the Elk River Trail is located off of Highway 28, in the northeastern area of the Park. From there, the first campsite is 6 km along the trail at Butterwort Creek, which features 10 campsites. The second campsite at Gravel Flats is roughly 10 km from the trailhead and is the last place to camp before Landslide Lake, where camping is not permitted. Outhouses and a bear cache are available at both sites. As backcountry camping sites, they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis but permits must be purchased ahead of time online at a cost of $10/person/night.

Popular hikes in the area include:

Mt. Colonel Foster
Kings Peak
Golden Hinde
Crown Mountain
Mount Judson
Tyee Mountain

The Elk River area
Bedwell Lakes

The Bedwell Lakes trail is a perfect introduction to backcountry alpine hiking in the area. The moderate hike into this area’s two large lakes (that are great for swimming!) is entirely doable for those looking to get into backcountry travel or families with kids. Within the area there are two lakeside campsites at Baby Bedwell (4 km from trailhead) and Big Bedwell (5 km from trailhead) Lakes. Each feature outhouses and food caches, along with 12 and 9 camping spots respectively. For those who want to adventure further into the backcountry, there are several day hikes accessible from these campsites. The most popular being the stunningly turquoise Cream Lake. Access to this southern region of the Park is via the Buttle Lake Parkway, on the very tip of Buttle Lake. As a backcountry area, the sites cannot be reserved ahead of time, however backcountry permits are required and can be purchased online ahead of time.

Popular hikes in the area include:

Della Falls
Mt. Tom Taylor
Cream Lake

Cream Lake
Ralph River

Ralph River Campground is an ideal base for exploring the Park with a bit more comfort at a central location. The campground can accommodate tents, vehicles and RVs, with camping spots dispersed throughout densely forested old-growth Douglas Fir adjacent to Buttle Lake. It is one of Strathcona’s front country campsites, which means some spots can be reserved ahead of time online. There are more amenities onsite than backcountry campsites, including washrooms and a water pump, and steel fire rings for a campfire (check for fire bans first!) at nearly every campsite. At Ralph River, there are 75 campsites, 20 of which are reservable and the rest available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The campsite is open from April 1- October 31. Camping sites start at $20/vehicle/site. If you are coming with a large group, it may be worthwhile to check out the Driftwood Bay Groupsite. It can accommodate up to 100 people and features a covered picnic area as well as wheelchair accessible pit toilets. Great swimming is available within walking distance from all Ralph River campsites, making it a great summer destination – especially with kids!

Popular Hikes nearby include:

Flower Ridge
Myra Falls
Augerpoint Traverse

Ralph River Campground
Buttle Lake

The last of Strathcona’s popular camping spots is their biggest: Buttle Lake Campground. It features 86 campsites, 50 of which are reservable and 36 of which are first-come, first-serve. Buttle Lake campground is next to a sandy lakefront beach- perfect for swimming after a long day exploring! Its central proximity makes it an excellent starting point for shorter, lower elevation hiking or for the various marine recreation activities available on Buttle Lake. Popular ones include: swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, exploring marine campsites on nearby islands, fishing and windsurfing. Buttle Lake Campground also welcomes vehicle and RV campers, and features washroom and water pump amenities. Campsites all have a steel fire ring so that visitors can enjoy a campfire (when fire bans are not in place!). For larger groups the new lakeside Karst Creek group campsite is a great option. It can accommodate up to 80 people, with room for RVs and features an adjacent boat launch! The campground is open from April 1- October 31, and reservations can be made online.

Buttle Lake Campground

We hope this gives you a head start on figuring out where to camp for your visit to Strathcona Park! There is a ton of area to cover- so we won’t be surprised if you end up visiting all of them as you keep being drawn back

The post Everything you need to know about Camping in Strathcona Park appeared first on 10Adventures.

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Bend, Oregon takes mountain biking seriously, and is considered the Best Mountain Bike Town in the U.S. Bend isn’t just a great place for expert riders, there are trails for every level of rider. Whether you are looking for flowy cross-country or technical, fast downhills, Bend has got the trail for you.

We love mountain biking in Oregon and have provided you with our pick of the 10 best mountain bike trails near Bend below.

(20.1km, 221m, 2.5-3.5h)

Our first trail is a little more than an hour and a half drive from Bend, but well worth the effort. The McKenzie River bike trail is considered by the experts to be the best single-track MTB trail in North America. The ride is thrilling and the scenery is great with rain forests and rock formations. This is high on the list of the best mountain biking near Bend for all riders.

(19.8km, 191m, 2.5-3.5h)

If you can’t choose your favorite terrain, Tiddlywinks may be the best mountain biking trail for you. It is more for experienced riders because some technical skills will be needed for the tabletop jumps and man-made berms, but it has a flowy downhill, a short climb and cross-country riding.

(5.7km, 129m, 0.5-1.5h)

This “A-Line” trail is famous in Bend for a great downhill ride. The Lower Whoops Trail is a popular MTB ride and you will not be alone. First, you climb a logging road so you can huck the berms and tabletops on your ride downhill. This is one of best MTB trails near Bend for all-day fun.

(21.9km, 151m, 3-4h)

Locals and visitors love Tyler’s Traverse because it requires more technical skill than is needed for a classic downhill run. You will have several flowy downhills, but Tyler’s Traverse offers some of the best mountain biking near Bend with many more rock gardens than any other trail. One of the classic mountain bike rides near Bend.

(12.4km, 321m, 2.5-3.5h)

There is a good reason Smith Rock State Park is popular for bikers and hikers. It has some of the best scenery of any mountain biking trail in Oregon, with the Crooked River and majestic granite cliffs along the trail. Because of its popularity, you will meet hikers on the way, but they won’t interfere with your great ride on this trail loop.

(10.0km, 205m, 0.5-1.5h)

If you are a beginner and want to hone your skills, Phil’s Trail is one of the best MTB trails near Bend for you. This is a one-way ride that requires a variety of skills, but most of the trail is a slow descent. You will encounter some fast sections as well as small rock gardens and one or two small jumps on this great mountain biking Oregon trail.

(30.8km, 230m, 4-5h)

If you take the whole Peterson Ridge Trail system, it’s a long ride, but the trails are in the form of a ladder so you can cut across and reduce the time. It’s also a good mountain biking trail near Bend for families who want to practice for XC riding.

(21.8km, 111m, 2.5-3.5h)

Another good ride near Bend, the Suttle Tie and Loop takes you around Suttle Lake through some beautiful scenery. This is a fun ride, and popular with beginners.

(8.6km, 184m, 1-1.5h)

A relatively empty trail as it is mostly uphill, Ben’s Trail is short and good practice for ascents. It does have some short downhill runs, and can be accessed from Phil’s Trail.

(10.1km, 4m, 1-1.5h)

This is a short ride that takes off from Phil’s Trailhead and offers some of the best mountain biking near Bend. You can add Kent’s Trail to Phil’s Trail. If you get tired of climbing, this is a fun descent.

The post Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails near Bend, Oregon appeared first on 10Adventures.

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Kananaskis Country, near Calgary, is fantastic to explore in winter, especially on snowshoes. Often accessed via Canmore, the Kananaskis Country has a wide range of snowshoe trails, from easy, family-friendly beginner trails to epic, full-day routes for experienced snowshoers.

The best snowshoeing trails in Kananaskis are accessed by either the Smith-Dorrien Trail or Highway 40. Expect great snowshoe trails that take you past frozen lakes and to beautiful mountain viewpoints on our Top 10 snowshoe trails in Kananaskis Country.

(7.0km, 680m, 4-6h)

The ascent to Rummel Ridge is a gradual worthwhile trail in the Kananaskis. The views from the summit are spectacular, with Mount Galatea right in front of you, and many colossal peaks of the Rockies in the distance. When you break out of the tree line you can see the Spray Lakes behind you.

(6.9km, 550m, 3-6h)

If you are looking for some spectacular mountain scenery then snowshoeing up to Commonwealth Ridge is a good choice. Even before you leave the tree line, you get an amazing view of The Fist and the scenery at the top is also worth the effort. The trip is very exciting because there is never a dull moment.

(8.9km, 350m, 3-5h)

Chester Lake classic snowshoe trail is popular with beginner snowshoers. Expect the parking lot to be crowded on this fun snowshoe located deep in Kananaskis Country.

(12.5km, 385m, 3-5h)

The snowshoeing path to Rummel Lake spends most of the route in the forest, but then ends at pretty Rummel Lake. Dark forest, quaint bridges over small streams and scenic views of Rummel Lake make this a popular snowshoe trail in Kananaskis.

(5.5km, 480m, 3-6h)

If you are looking for a shorter snowshoeing trip, then the ascent to Little Lougheed is a good one. It has several rock formations along the way that are worth seeing and, of course, the view of Spray Lake and its surrounding mountains is outstanding. The trail is challenging, though short, and is a good snowshoe trail for beginners.

(6.8km, 300m, 4-5h)

The snowshoe trail to Rawson Lake travels through thick pine forests and ends at this frozen mountain lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The huge granite wall called Sarrail Ridge that surrounds part of the lake is impressive beyond belief. It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular snowshoe trails in Kananaskis.

Almost like a casual stroll, this is a very popular family trail. You can usually do this trail in hiking boots unless it’s snowed recently. You will see Troll Falls frozen, which is really a magical sight, then continue on to the pretty Hay Meadow and views over Kananaskis River. This is one of the best snowshoe trails in Kananaskis for the whole family.

(13.0km, 485m, 3.5-5h)

Another great snowshoe trail in Kananaskis is trail up Galatea Creek to Lillian Lake. The closer you get to the lake, the deeper the snow gets. Lillian Lake is the destination for this short snowshoeing adventure because any further takes you into prime avalanche territory.

(7.8km, 150m, 3-4h)

Mount Burstall is in the background for this easy adventure, another one of the best snowshoe trails in Kananaskis. The path follows the same trail summer hikers take to Burstall Pass. There is dense forest along the way and you are rewarded with a view of the frozen Burstall Lakes. You will also see the majestic peak of Mount Robertson and have a chance to see its glacier.

(4.2km, 45m, 2h)

This is a great family snowshoe trail to Hogarth Lakes, with great views and easy terrain. The trail is relatively flat and there are amazing views of mountain peaks along the way.

The post Top 10 Snowshoes in Kananaskis Country appeared first on 10Adventures.

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If you love cross-country skiing but haven’t tried it in Banff National Park, you have a lot to look forward to. The best cross-country skiing trails in Banff National Park are spectacular, with many trails taking you through some of the most magnificent scenery in North America. You will travel through snow-covered pine forests, past frozen waterfalls and along the shores of frozen lakes, all the while surrounded by majestic peaks. We love cross-country skiing these great trails in Banff National Park every year.

(6.2km, 50m, 1-1.5h)

Fairview Loop is a short cross-country ski trail with spectacular views. It begins next to Chateau Lake Louise and goes all the way to a point along the Moraine Lake Road. Great views up at Mount Fairview and Saddleback along the way.

(4.0km, 0m, 0.5-1h)

This is one of the most spectacular cross-country skiing trails on earth for beginners. You ski across frozen Lake Louise and get spectacular views. If you like your XC skiing in Banff National Park with ups and downs, you can return through the woods. Otherwise, retrace your trail back across Lake Louise.

(19.1km, 178m, 3-4h)

Just above Canmore, on the Smith-Dorrien Trail, is the Goat Creek Trail, which connects Goat Creek to Banff Springs on a fantastic XC ski trail. This is a favorite cross-country trail for locals, with many xc skiers doing it at least once each season. If you’ve got a lot of energy, do the journey out and back, though most xc skiers arrange a shuttle one-way.

(20.0km, 140m, 2.5-4h)

A classic cross-country ski trail in Banff National Park, the Great Divide trail is located near Lake Louise. This ski trail keeps good snow throughout the winter, so is popular early and late in the season. The Great Divide XC ski trail goes along the old Lake Louise highway so you can see the Great Divide Monument and ski into Yoho National Park.

(15.4km, 170m, 3-5h)

If you are looking for a trail through the backcountry, the Cascade Valley is a good choice. You can go as far as the Stoney Bridge or stop at Cascade Bridge for a shorter trail. This is a popular cross-country ski trails, accessed from the Lake Minnewanka parking lot.

(13.3km, 190m, 2-3h)

Pipestone Loop is another popular cross-country ski trail in Banff National Park. This trail is part of a group of trails that starts by Lake Louise village. The loop is kept in good condition and passes along the Pipestone River, which enhances the thrill of this trail.

(17.4km, 360m, 3-4h)

If you are looking for a longer xc ski trail near Lake Louise, then check out this combination of the Tramline and Bow River loops. This XC ski trail takes you on a descent from Chateau Lake Louise to Lake Louise Village where you will find the Bow River section. You can enjoy the spectacular vistas before returning to the Chateau.

(15.6km, 250m, 3-5h)

Moraine Lake Road offers some of the best cross-country skiing in Banff National Park, and is very popular with xc skiers from nearby Calgary. Due to avalanche risk, you can’t ski all the way to Moraine Lake. The cross-country trail is well maintained throughout the winter, and typically has some of the best conditions.

(20.0km, 325m, 5h)

You must check the avalanche risk on Redearth Creek before starting. It is a popular trail even in summer for mountain bikes because it is the main route to Shadow Lake Lodge. The trail runs through forests before granting stunning views at Shadow Lake.

(4.7km, 29m, 1-1.5h)

If you are looking for the best cross-country skiing trails near Banff National for beginners, the Tunnel Mountain Trail network is a good choice. It is flat and runs through the Tunnel Mountain campground.

The post Top 10 XC Trails in Banff National Park appeared first on 10Adventures.

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Snowshoeing in Banff National Park is incredible, and the popularity is rapidly increasing. The best snowshoes in Banff National Park cover a variety of trails that range from easy strolls to challenging, all-day trips.

Snowshoeing in Banff opens a wonderland of frozen lakes and waterfalls and snow-covered forests that you have to see to believe. Some of the snowshoeing trails follow summer hiking trails that may be familiar to you. Here are 10 best snowshoe trails in Banff National Park, several of which are suitable for the whole family.

(19.6km, 869m, 6-10h)

Healy Pass is one beautiful meadow after another in summer, however in winter it is simply epic views of snow-covered peaks. The trail that takes you to Healy Pass is often packed hard which makes the snowshoeing easier. This is the best snowshoe trail in Banff National Park for intermediate and advanced snowshoers.

(11.3km, 635m, 3-6h)

Wilcox Pass is a relatively easy snowshoe trail on the border of the Athabasca Icefield. You get to see some of the highest mountains in Alberta as well as several glaciers along the way.

(22.2km, 707m, 6-8h)

This snowshoe near Lake Louise takes almost all the way to Skoki Lodge. If you can’t stay at Skoki Lodge, you can still enjoy the incredible scenery on the trail to Deception Pass. Starting from Lake Louise Ski Hill it is a long trail to Deception Pass, so it’s not suitable for beginners. This is a classic snowshoe trail in Banff National Park.

(3.3km, 40m, 1-2h)

Just outside the town of Banff, at Sunshine Ski Hill, is one of the best snowshoe trails for beginners. You’ll need to buy a lift ticket, but this Sunshine Meadows snowshoe has some of the best views in the Canadian Rockies.

(7.6km, 649m, 3-6h)

This is a great snowshoe trail for experienced snowshoers. You can see some of the giant crystals and fascinating rock formations on this trip, as well as great views to the Wapta Icefield while snowshoeing on the trail to Crystal Ridge.

(14.7km, 235m, 3-5h)

Paradise Valley is stunning in summer, but it is also a very good snowshoeing trail come winter. Located near Lake Louise, this trail is worth the effort in order to see the incredible mountain peaks that surround the valley. You will probably have the place to yourself midweek.

(2.3km, 45m, 1h)

The Peyto Lake Viewpoint is one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the Canadian Rockies. In Winter you can often hike to the first viewpoint, but snowshoes allow you to visit a second viewpoint. This is one of the classic winter trails in Banff National Park.

Taylor Lake, at the foot of Mount Bell, is a great destination for snowshoeing in Banff National Park. Nearby Panorama Meadows should be the main draw though, as the views here are spectacular.

(6.3km, 120m, 2-3h)

The ice in Johnston Canyon is the main reason this is one of the best snowshoe trails in Banff National Park. It’s not a long trail, but the scenery along the way make it worth the effort. You can usually do this trail with microspikes.

(4.0km, 5m, 1h)

The best time to enjoy Bow Lake is mid-week in the winter, where you will be the only person there. This is a great snowshoe trails in Banff National Park for beginners. You get all of the magnificent scenery you could want on a short snowshoeing trail.

The post Top 10 Snowshoes in Banff National Park appeared first on 10Adventures.

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10Adventures by 10a Editors - 1M ago

What are your essential pieces of hiking gear? With summer right around the corner, we’re starting to think about hiking, and gear is a regular topic of discussion here at 10Adventures HQ.

Whether it is a perfect piece of clothing, a favourite backpack, or great hiking poles, the best hiking gear is an intensely personal choice.

We asked some of the 10Adventures contributors to share their favourite pieces of hiking gear for this article. Below are some of the essential pieces of hiking gear you’ll find in our packs this summer.

Disclosure: This post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you buy one of these products or services. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Hiking Boots: Arc’teryx Bora2 Mid GTX

When we need waterproof protection and stable support, we reach for Arc’teryx’s innovative Bora2 boots. We reviewed them last autumn and were blown away, and they are a new addition to our list of our favourite hiking gear.

These boots combine the stability of a hiking boot with the nimbleness of an approach shoe, so they perform on all types of terrain – from rugged climbs to smooth trails. Plus, the Gore-Tex liner keeps your feet dry when navigating melting snowpack, rivers and mud (while still letting them breathe comfortably – better than a lot of hiking boots we’ve used).

One of the main reasons we love this boot is the Adaptive Fit liner, which is essentially a stretchy, moisture-wicking bootie with Gore-tex. It gives these boots a more adaptive and comfortable fit, dries much quicker, and offers more protection than other boots; it extends up past the top of the boot for a waterproof seal around your ankle. Unfortunately they don’t make a women’s version of the Bora2, however they do make the Bora GTX hiking boot for women. The Bora is essentially the same as the Bora2, only without a removable liner.

Trail Runners: Salomon SpeedCross 5

When we want to travel light or fast – or going for a trail run – we opt for the SpeedCross 5. These running shoes prioritize flexibility and grip over waterproofness, with a hefty rubber outsole and large lugs; even on soft and muddy terrain, our feet stay firmly planted for a sure step. They’re not the lightest running shoes thanks to the hefty sole, but they’re plenty breathable when working up a sweat, and plenty comfortable for long days on the trail.

Socks: Get Liners and use wool

Everybody here at HQ likes a different brand or style of sock, so we can’t recommend a single brand of sock. What is important is to find the right pair for your feet. Two tips about socks are that wool socks seem to cause fewer blisters and that many of us start the hiking season by wearing liner socks to reduce blisters.

Shorts: Gamma LT Shorts

The wonderful Gamma LT Shorts are essentially the Gamma LT pants converted into shorts, and one of our favorite pieces of hiking gear. They’re light and super comfortable, with stretchy breathable fabric that is abrasion-resistant and blocks out both wind and rain. They’ve got an assortment of zippered pockets for stashing items and snacks in, and even have a nice integrated belt that’s easy to adjust. We love ‘em and wear ‘em all summer long. There’s also a great women’s version of the Gamma LT shorts.

Merino Base layer: Icebreaker BODYFIT 150 Merino T-Shirt

Merino wool isn’t just for winter. We love Merino primarily because it doesn’t stink, while also able to breathe and help keep us cool when working up a sweat. If we’re on a backpacking trip, you’ll be sure to find a lot of Merino wool clothing on us!

The BODYFIT 150 t-shirt (also in men’s) is perfect for summer hiking. It wicks moisture away like a champ, breathes enough to keep you comfortable on warmer days, and has a soft, stretchy fit that moves with you.

Synthetic Base layer: Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Crew

If you want a bit more breathability, the Capilene Lightweight Crew is a popular choice here, and there is also a very popular women’s version. Made from recycled polyester, it’s Patagonia’s lightest and most versatile base layer, great for wearing on its own in warmer weather. Capilene layers are super soft and come with Polygiene to ward off the smell that usually accompanies polyester. Ultralight and reasonably priced, it dries impressively fast, making it a great choice for hot summer expeditions.

Show now as there is a great selection of sale items on Patagonia’s online store.

Midlayer: Patagonia R1 Fleece

When things get chilly – and they inevitably will in the mountains – we reach for Patagonia’s R1 fleece Hoody. While we honestly get more use of the R1 in winter, this is still an essential piece of hiking gear for us on days where it looks to be cool in the alpine.

We like the R1 more than bringing a fleece coat, as it keeps us warmer than a coat and the hoody is super useful on cold days. Not only is the R1 warm, but the Polartec Alpha Grid fabric is soft, comfy and stretchy, and has Polygiene to keep odors under control. The slim fit is athletic and flexible and we love the thumb holes. The weight is light enough for summer wear but still packs plenty of warmth for unexpected chills. Paired with a merino or synthetic base layer, you’ll be outfitted for both hot afternoons and cold nights.

Ultra-light Wind Shell: Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody

The Squamish Hoody may just be our single favorite piece of hiking gear. We bring this ultralight wind shell with us on every summer hike, and usually end up breaking it out most days. It’s not designed for wear in heavy prolonged rain, but the DWR coating will repel light mists and quick afternoon drizzles. As a wind shell, the Squamish Hoody performs like a champ, every time.

Other perks? It’s super light, weighing only 5 ounces for a large men’s, and packs down into its own chest pocket. The fabric is stretchy and it has the gusseted arms and articulated elbows needed to move with you as you climb, run and hike.

Hats: Arc’teryx Calvus or Outdoor Research SunRunner

Keeping the sun out of your eyes and off your neck can make the difference between a very uncomfortable and dangerous hike, and smooth sailing. We’re partial to the Arc’teryx Calvus cap, as it’s super lightweight, breathable and looks great. It’s become our go-to cap for in-town wear this spring.

If you prefer more comprehensive coverage against the sun, you might prefer a sun hat – like Outdoor Research’s Sun Runner. It’s essentially a ball cap – like the Calvus – so you can wear it around normally when you don’t need the extra protection. When you do, just snap the sun cape on and you’ve got coverage that wraps all the way around your neck and the sides of your face.

Daypack: Gregory Zulu 30

We’ve found the Gregory Zulu 30 to be a great pack: comfy, breathable and we really like the opening in this pack. The 30 is also the perfect size for summer day hikes (or even overnighters for ultralight hikers) and comes with all the features you need. It’s easily one of the best ventilating packs we’ve used, with a mesh back panel and suspension optimized to keep things cool and breezy. The internal frame and loadbearing straps also distribute weight comfortably.

There’s quite a few sleeves and pockets, and an included rain cover, which is a nice feature. This is definitely not an ultralight product, but if you carry a decent amount of gear on a day hike, you’ll appreciate the extra pockets and organizing options.

Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Poles

Hiking poles are an essential part of our hiking gear, and a good pair is totally worth the investment. The BD Alpine FLZ poles are all-season, lightweight poles that break down into three connected segments, that slide easily together and lock tight. They’re sturdy enough for 4-season use, but we especially love the light weight (1lb per pair) and packability in the summer. The newest model is now 30% stiffer, too, providing better support and durability on all terrain.

These are what some of us here at 10Adventures HQ think are the must-have pieces of gear for hiking each summer. What are your must-have pieces of gear for a hike in the summer? Share your favorites in the comments below.

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The Austrian Alps are known for scenic valleys and villages, sandwiched between stunning snow-capped peaks. These valleys often serve as points for jumping off onto endless activities all times of year.
One of our favourite places in Austria is Mayrhofen, a great mountain town in the Zillertal region of Austria. Mayrhofen is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Tyrol, whether for skiing in winter or a summer hiking holiday.

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While there are towns dotted towns dotted along the valley floor on the way to Mayrhofen, we love staying in Mayrhofen, and it is always our choice of where to be based. Mayrhofen is a quintessential Austrian mountain town with everything you need, from small BnB’s to a selection of upscale resorts and classic mountain hotels. There’s also incredible restaurants and a lot to do no matter what season you’re in Mayrhofen.

Ready to plan a trip to Mayrhofen this summer? Here’s what you need to know.

Panoramaweg Penken
Themenwanderung Bergmähderweg
What’s the Best Time to Visit Mayrhofen?

Mayrhofen is a great destination year-round; winter and early spring offer classic Alpine skiing and a growing ski touring scene. Summer and autumn in Mayrhofen are prime for hiking, mountain biking and swimming. You can expect typical Alps weather year-round, from highs around freezing in winter to 20-25C in summer. Summer is actually the wettest time of year, so be prepared with rain gear before heading out.

How to Get To Mayrhofen

By Car: Mayrhofen is less than hour’s drive from Innsbruck via A-12 and B169. Take the Inntal Autobahn until the exit for Zillertal, then follow B169 into town. It’s less than 2 hours for Munich (in good weather) via A8 to A-12 and then B169, and 2 hours from Salzburg via A-8.

By Bus or Train: Mayrhofen is served by the Zillertalbahn railway, which runs from Jenbach to Mayrhofen. To reach it from Innsbruck, Munich or Salzburzg, take the InterCity to Jenbach and change for the ZIllertalbahn connection to Mayrhofen.

By Plane: The closest airport to Mayrhofen is Innsbruck Airport, which has service to and from dozens of major European cities. And it’s only two hours from Salzburg or Munich Airport, which are also connected to all dozens of destinations throughout Europe and North America.

Getting Around Zillertal: If you have a car, you can drive between villages and to trailheads very easily. Mayrhofen itself is quite easy to get around on foot, however, and you can easily walk to many nearby trailheads. The Zillertalbahn can also shuttle you between villages. We recommend a car rental, but we do also enjoy the ease and efficiency of European transit.

Where to stay in Mayrhofen?

Mayrhofen is the most popular town in the Zillertal, and there’s tons of accommodations to choose from.

If you are itching for a truly upscale experience, there is the Hotel Edenlehen im Zillertal – a 4-star hotel with spacious-yet-cozy, bright rooms with classic mountain lodge appeal. It offers mountainside views, a fine restaurant with local and fresh cuisine tailormade from what’s available that time of year. It’s even got a sauna. If you’re looking for Zillertal’s most luxurious experience, this is it.

Another option is the Hotel Berghof Mayrhofen. Here you have chalet-style rooms and lodging complemented by a restaurant serving classic Austrian fare and beer garden. There’s also a spa and outdoor pool for summertime dips. It’s also only about a 10-minute walk from the nearest ski-lift.

For less strain on the pocket, look to Hotel Garni Montana. Relaxed rooms and apartments in a classic chalet, many with private balconies and a fine Austrian restaurant.

If you’re on a real budget, you can try the Landhotel Rauchenwalder; comfortable but casual rooms with mountain views, mere minutes from the trails and 13-minute walk from the Erlebnisbad Mayrhofen pools.

We have had great success in small, family run apartments in Mayrhofen, which we usually find on Booking.com.

Other scenic villages in Zillertall are Zell am Ziller, Aschau im Zillertal and Finkenberg, all just a few minutes from Mayrhofen. They don’t have all the amenities and food selections but have some great deals on hotel rooms. They’re also a bit quieter.

Plauener Hütte
Kleiner Gilfert
Where to Eat in Mayrhofen

Sampling the local cuisine is one of our favorite activities and Mayrhofen certainly doesn’t disappoint; in fact, it has some of the finest foods we’ve found in a mountain town.

For a true fine-dining Austrian experience, you should go to the Gasthof – Restaurant Neue Post, a traditional German-Austrian Gasthof serving up some of the best wiener schnitzel, venison and other classic German dishes in the Alps (though we imagine there is some stiff competition for that honor). They’ve got all the fine wines and German beers you could want, great, fast service and a classy, lively ambience. What more could you ask for?

If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, head over to Pana e Vino De Michele. They’ve got Italian style courses, delicious seafood (try the risotto!), wine and beer, and plenty of Gluten-Free and Vegan options for anyone who needs them. Might be a nice place to mix things up a little bit!

For cheap eats, try the Gasser Metzgerei: located at the bottom of the Penken ski lift, this joint serves a huge assortment of German, Austrian and European sausages, schnitzel, currywust, chicken, beer, fries – whatever you want. Who says food can’t be good, fast and cheap all at once?

Finally, if looking for some unpretentious and inexpensive food with fantastic views, swing by Wiesenhof while walking up to or down from the Wiesenhof. The views are spectacular, the food and beer delicious, and the service excellent – the perfect refresher after a long walk up the mountainside.

Hamberg
Friesenberghaus Olpererhütte
What to do in Mayrhofen

Hiking

Summer in Zillertal is a serene and beautiful time for exploring the many trails (552km of them) around the valley. Many hikes are made easier thanks to a ride on a gondola, which quickly takes you to the Alpine.

A hike in Zillertal might show you everything from rugged, exposed mountainside to alpine panoramas and green hills coated in wildflowers. You can see our Top Hikes in Zillertal here; most are a short drive from Mayrhofen and any of the other villages in the Zillertal.

If you want a short but exhilarating hike up to a great view, climb the Ahornspitze. You can take the lift most of the way up, but you then climb a steep-but-beautiful trail over 1100 meters to the top, with epic Alpine views the entire way. There’s also a place to break at the Edelweißhütte before tackling the last leg of the trip.

For a family-friendly hike, try Maxhutte – a short hike with great views, a cool and refreshing stream, great views and even the chance to play with goats.

Lastly, if you’d like a real challenge, tackle Friesenberghaus and Olpererhütte – steep exposed mountains and a gorgeous alpine lake make the challenge worth it.

Zittauer hütte
Ahornspitze

Other summer activities

One of Zillertal’s many attractions is swimming, either in the lakes or in the Erlebnisbad Mayrhofen . This pool and waterpark complex has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a few waterslides (one of them 101 meters long) and a spa. It’s a great way to cool off after hiking; spend a day relaxing by the pool or pampering yourself in the spa.

Zillertal has tons of tennis courts too – both outdoors and indoors, so you can play all year round. And if you want to play on a clay court? Tennisplatz Ried has you covered.

Ready for a real thrill? Paragliding is an exhilarating way to experience the splendor of the Alps – from above. Several companies – Stocky Air, Zillertale Flugschule and CloudBase in Rohrerg can hook you up with instructors and equipment to bring your airborne dreams to life.

Want the thrill of paragliding but feel like staying a bit closer to the ground? Try a high-ropes course, led by Mountain Sports Zillertal.

There’s also rafting and tubing, taking advantage of the valley’s many natural waterways and falls. Mountain Sports Zillertal and AktivZentrum Zillertal both lead guided rafting expeditions, can show you how to paddleboard, and rent out rafts and tubes for a leisurely glide down the river.

Fancy some skiing in summer, the nearby Hintertux resort has summer skiing, a nice change on a hot summer day!

View to Ahornspitze and Tristner
Berliner Hütte over Mörchnerscharte

Skiing in Winter

Zillertal is home to several ski resorts, with over 180 lifts and 530km of perfectly-groomed slopes. The valley is split into four main skiing areas: Hochzillertal / Hochfügen/Spieljoch, Zillertal Arena, Mayrhofner Bergbahnen and Gletscherwelt Zillertal 3000. You could spend an entire season exploring the slopes of the Zillertal Valley.

The closest slopes to Mayrhofen are Penken and Ahorn, which are open December through April. A one-day pass starts at 53.50 Euro; you can also purchase a ZillertalSuperskiPass, which gives you unlimited access to all lifts in the Zillertal for 2-21 days as you’d like.

What Else Do You Need to Know About Visiting Mayrhofen?
  • If you’re hiking, dress appropriately and bring lots of layer – even in summer. A pleasant sunny day in the Alps can turn stormy and inclement in minutes, and thunderstorms are common on summer afternoons.
  • English is fairly well-spoken in Mayrhofen, but it’s not universal. Practice a half-dozen phrases before you come, and you’ll have a great time.
  • When wandering on some trails and grasslands at lower elevations, you will likely come across goats and other livestock. Some goats are friendly enough to interact with but treat them respectfully and don’t harass them.
  • The tap water in the Alps is some of the best in the world – crystal-clear and fresh, straight from the peaks. Be sure to bring a water bottle or two to refill around town and skip the plastic bottled water.

The post Planning Your Trip to Mayrhofen, Austria appeared first on 10Adventures.

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Are you looking for a winter hike or snowshoe close to Denver or Boulder? Then you should consider Indian Peaks Wilderness Area for your next winter hike. Indian Peaks is a popular year-round outdoor recreation destination, and going there in winter usually means less traffic and more spectacular views.

Indian Peaks straddles the Continental Divide, with some of the most spectacular mountain peaks in the Rocky Mountains. With stunning, frozen alpine lakes and jagged peaks, Indian Peaks is a stunning daytrip in winter from Boulder.

Our list of the best snowshoes in Indian Peaks Wilderness includes easy snowshoe trips for the whole family or beginners to some of the beautiful lakes as well as challenging snowshoe trails into the higher elevations for the magnificent views. Many of these trips can be done as winter hikes when there hasn’t been recent snowfall. Here are the best snowshoe trails in Indian Peaks and the best winter hiking near Denver.

(11.0km, 139m, 3-4h)

You can hike or snowshoe to Brainard Lake through dense forest. When you arrive at the lake you will see towering peaks that are the Continental Divide and Indian Peaks. The Brainard Lake trail is on-leash, dog-friendly. This is one of the best hikes in winter near Boulder.

(16.7km, 285m, 4-6h)

The Lake Isabelle Trail is one of the best snowshoe trails in Indian Peaks. You arrive at the sparkling alpine lake and also see the Isabelle Glacier. This is a little-known trail and you may be alone for much of the way. Of course, that doesn’t include the abundant wildlife in the area.

(24.5km, 723m, 6+ h)

This is one of the challenging winter hikes in Indian Peaks. After passing the beautiful Cascade Falls, you reach Mirror Lake at the base of Lone Eagle Peak. The name is apt because the reflection of Lone Eagle Peak in the lake is considered one of the best sights in the Rockies. For advanced hikers, this is one of the best winter hikes near Denver.

(6.7km, 190m, 2-3h)

Beginning at the historic old mining town of Hessie Townsite, you can hike or snowshoe to Lost Lake or King Lake. This is one of the best snowshoe trails in Indian Peaks for beginners. It’s a relatively short trail without much climbing, but still gives the spectacular scenery you expect to see in the Rockies.

(9.8km, 345m, 4-5h)

Another of the best snowshoe trails in Indian Peaks, Lost Lake is a great day out. The mountain views are great, the lake is clear and shining and you may even learn about life in the mountains of the early miners in the region. With well-packed snow, it is one of the best snowshoe trails in Indian Peaks.

(3.6km, 141m, 2-3h)

If you are new to winter hiking or snowshoeing, Caribou Hill is a great place to start. It has all the Rocky Mountain scenery you want with not too much elevation. It is one of the winter hikes in Indian Peaks for beginner and advanced hikers, snowshoers and XC skiing.

(2.2km, 56m, 2-3h)

Take the family for a stroll in the forest on Dot Trail. It is one of the winter hikes in Indian Peaks for children with a short trail that leads to a scenic overlook of Indian Peaks. The trail is not crowded with serious trekkers, so you’ll have it almost to yourself.

(3.7km, 49m, 2-3h)

Another of the best snowshoe trails in Indian Peaks for beginners is the trail to Mud Lake. It is an easy afternoon hike, and you can pick your trail as there are several in the area that goes to the lake. Mud Lake Park is located off the Peak to Peak Hwy and the hike is through the forest to the lake and some beautiful scenery once you arrive at the lake.

(3.4km, 71m, 0.5-1h)

One of the shortest winter hikes in Indian Peaks is to Barker Reservoir. It is at the end of Boulder Canyon and near Nederland a charming mountain town. The scenery includes mountains and meadows.

(18.1km, 561m, 4-5h)

If you are looking for one of the best snowshoe trails in Indian Peaks, the Sourdough Trail is a good choice. You hike through Roosevelt National Forest with a gradual ascent. It may be a bit too rigorous for beginners.

The post Top 10 Snowshoe Trails and Winter Walks in Indian Peaks, Colorado appeared first on 10Adventures.

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“You have to get a Squamish” I had been told by several members of my family. Finally, one afternoon a package arrived. It was a Squamish Hoody. My sister called me later that day, and told me “I bought you a Squamish Hoody. I knew you weren’t going to buy one, and they are just so good!”. She was right, the Squamish Hoody has rarely left my pack since I received it.

Disclosure: This post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you buy one of these products or services. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Verdict

Lightweight, comfortable, packable and versatile, the Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody is the best ultralight wind/rain shells on the market – and one of our absolute favorite pieces of gear. It has a home in our pack all summer long and we use it almost every trip.

Squamish Hoody Black
Squamish Hoody Women's Dawn
Overview

The Squamish Hoody is a superlight, super-compressible windshell cut in Arc’teryx’s characteristic athletic style. Think of it as a simpler, lighter and significantly cheaper rendition of the Alpha FL designed for every 3-season wear, from hiking to climbing.

When to use

Anytime you need light layer separating from wind or light rain – but still need to move fast and stay cool. Throw it on when summiting a blustery peak in summer or to keep the breeze at bay cliffside on your next climb.

WEIGHT: 155g / 5.5oz – Men’s, 140g / 4.9 oz (Women’s)

Squamish Hoody Trail Blaze
Squamish Hoody Women's Iolite Hem Adjuster
Pros
  • Ultra-Light + Super Compressible. Roughly 5 ounces a piece and compressible into its own chest pocket, the Squamish is a lightweight and functional jacket that won’t weigh you down.
  • Ample Wind + Water Protection. This jacket is designed mainly as a wind shell, so that’s where it shines – but it holds up decently in light rain, too.
  • Fit, Form and Function. The perfect combo of trim-and-athletic and roomy-enough-for-layering, this jacket stays close but doesn’t restrict movement. It’s also got all the thoughtful design touches an intentional piece of gear needs, like a great hood and Velcro straps at the wrists to keep the elements out!
Cons
  • No hand pockets. Not a deal breaker in summer, but those are nice to have.
  • Not Good for Heavy Rain. While it holds up to light mists and sprinkles no problem, a better DWR coating wouldn’t hurt, either.
Squamish Hoody Women's Iolite Packed
Beautiful lake
Wind-Resistant Shell + Light Rain Protection

Our main motivation for carrying the Squamish Hoody in our pack is as a lightweight wind shell for warmer weather – late spring, summer, early autumn. It doesn’t disappoint.

Made from a thin 30D nylon, the Squamish provides the perfect balance of wind resistance and breathability. Those two qualities always necessitate a tradeoff to at least some extent; the more breathable the fabric is, the less effective it is at breaking the breeze, and vice versa. But done right, they can coexist- and Arc’teryx demonstrates that here.

Sure, this is the hardly the most wind resistant jacket we’ve worn. But it’s not supposed to be a thick wall so much as an extra defense for added comfort. Instead, it finds that balance and allows us to rock it comfortably in all kinds of weather without feeling exposed or overheating.

And it doesn’t even have any vents – not even pit zips. That hasn’t been a problem for most of the summer hikes we do, but we could see it getting hot on very humid days.

If it’s a chilly or windy day, the Squamish Hoody is the perfect jacket to keep us warm and protect us from the elements.

Athletic Fit, Versatile Function

The fit is classic Arc’teryx: athletic and cut for activity. But as its their regular fit, it’s still spacious enough to wear an insulating layer or two underneath if the temperature drops. Gusseted underarms and articulated elbows add to the range-of-motion and durability that the stretch fabric offers.

In terms of features and trimmings, the Squamish is more streamlined than many similar shells. The hood isn’t stowable, for example, and there are no hand pockets. It also lacks pit vents for dumping heat. We don’t particularly miss these things on 90% of our summer hikes, but we can see where they would come in handy on colder/hotter days and why some people (climbers) might want them.

Just remember what this jacket really is – an ultralight, minimalist shell for lightweight protection from wind and the occasional rain shower or mist during warmer months. It’s not meant for prolonged rain exposure or harsher season of the year.

Final Verdict

This is a piece of gear that everybody should have. If you’re looking for a light summer shell – get the Squamish Hoody. It’s one of the most comfortable and versatile pieces of gear we’ve used, and we never leave home without it during the summer months. It’ll keep you comfortable when winds start blowing and even shed a bit of water, too.

The post Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody Review appeared first on 10Adventures.

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A great mixture of protection and light weight, the Arc’teryx Incendo Vest is a great option for hikers or trail runners. This is a simple piece of gear you can keep in your pack as insurance against cold weather, or a great vest to wear for mountain runs where it gets cold in the alpine.

Disclosure: This post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you buy one of these products or services. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Overview

There are times where you need some warmth and some protection from the weather but can’t be slowed by a heavy jacket. In those cases, grab a lightweight, breathable running vest like the Arc’teryx Incendo Vest. The Incendo is a lightweight softshell vest, designed to provide protection from wind, moisture as well as light warmth on chilly runs. It reminds us of a Squamish hoody without sleeves or a hood.

Incendo Vest Beacon
Incendo Vest Black
When to use

On wet and chilly runs in summer or early shoulder seasons, or as added light warmth on a hike.

WEIGHT: 85g / 3oz

Incendo Vest Black Packed
Incendo Vest Black Security Pocket And Media Port
Pros
  • Lightweight and Packable. At 85 grams, the Incendo weighs practically nothing. As Arc’teryx shows on their site, it’s not much larger than a Clif Bar when packed.
  • Weather Resistant + Ultra Breathable. The nylon ripstop blocks wind effectively and rocks a DWR finish, but breathes like a champ too, with mesh side panels and no arms.
  • Versatile. Running, hiking, even mountain biking – this vest is solid piece of kit for almost activity. If you run hot, the Incendo Vest keeps the core warm while allowing moisture to vent easily as this is a vest.
Cons
  • Not Much Hi-Vis Marking. Seeing as how it is designed primarily for running, those could be life-saving when running on a road.
  • Small Zippers Pulls. This is mainly an issue when wearing gloves, but they can be difficult to grasp in those situations.
Weather Resistance + Breathability

The Incendo Vest is made from Arc’teryx Lumin fabric – a light, thin nylon ripstop. When we say light, we mean it; this thing weighs 85 grams / 3 ounces. It’s not really meant for “insulation” so much as a bit of warmth to break the wind on chilly day.

The fabric provides excellent wind resistance but is still amply breathable; Arc’teryx describes it as “balancing wind resistance with air permeable comfort”. And it’s been treated with a durable DWR coating, so water beads up and rolls right off.

They didn’t skimp on ventilation, either. The mesh side panels provide plenty, no matter how much of a sweat you work up. And Arc’teryx used what they call their Composite Mapping Technology, which is supposed to “strategically place each fabric” for best in breathability and protection. All we know is it is comfortable to run in, both on chilly and wet and warmer days.

And of course, since this is a vest, there are always two very large vents built right in – the armholes.

Versatility + Packability

The Incendo Vest is ultra-packable and versatile – just the way we like it. It packs down into its own pocket and takes up very, very little room in your bag; as we mentioned before, you can look at the product page on Arc’teryx.com and see how it how it compares in size to a Clif Bar – barely any larger. We love gear with a small footprint and love that we can throw it in almost any pocket.

Arc’teryx also stuck with the Incendo Jacket’s basic design for the vest. That means low-profile and minimalist. There’s a zippered media pocket where you can store your phone and run your headphones through a port. But that’s really it; simplicity is the name of the game here.

The hem is elasticized and adjusts with a drawcord to keep the heat in and the cold out on blustery days. The Arc’teryx logo is reflective, as are two small blazes on the back of the vest. This helps with visibility when running in the dark. If you run on the road a lot, you might more reflective elements for added visibility. If you stick to the trails like we mainly do, this is a non-issue.

Our only real complaint with this vest is the small zipper pulls. They’re fine with bare fingers, but if you’re wearing gloves – even a very light, thin pair of running gloves – they can be tough to grasp at.

Final Verdict

Another winner from Arc’teryx. The Incendo Vest is as good as we could a lightweight running/hiking vest to be. It’s super breathable, wind-resistant and water-repellent, and adds just the right touch of warmth on a chilly spring day or when the weather blows in on a summer hike. It’s a mainstay in our packs and we break it out quite frequently.

The post Arc’teryx Incendo Vest Review appeared first on 10Adventures.

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