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Thursday, March 27, 2014

National Geographic Names America's 100 Best Adventures

Get out your bucket list because you're going to need to add a few things. NationalGeographic.com has this interesting feature listing 100 of America's top adventures. The list includes several Utah classics, including The Narrows in Zion, canyoneering in Grand Staircase-Escalante and kayaking Lake Powell. The magazine shows amazing photos of each adventure, of course.

Also on the list are many adventures in nearby national parks including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier.

Here are excerpts:

Paddle Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah
The lake’s green-water tentacles extend from the main 185-mile (300-kilometer) watercourse into 96 side canyons, where kayakers can paddle free of tides, waves, currents, and motorboats. A reverential hush inevitably descends upon a group of kayakers when they proceed into slots of Navajo sandstone towering 500 feet (150 meters) overhead that constrict to barely the length of a paddle.

Backpack the Hayduke Trail, Utah
It’s only fitting that an 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) trail that began as a semisecret underground project be named after (Edware) Abbey’s folk hero. The Hayduke Trail was founded by hikers Joe Mitchell and Mike Coronella, who wanted to go out on a long, Abbey-esque trek that celebrated the land. They set a route that spans the Colorado’s Plateau’s must-see list of postcard landscapes, starting in Arches National Park (where Abbey worked), heading through Canyonlands National Park, down into Capitol Reef National Park, across the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, into Bryce Canyon National Park and the Grand Canyon, and finally ending up in Zion National Park.

Canyoneer Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah
The deep, tangled canyons of southern Utah are a remote and unforgiving country with the ever present danger of flash floods, extreme temperatures, lightning storms, and waist-high quicksand. In other words, perfect habitat for canyoneers, who know that the area’s unbroken wildness and otherworldly wind- and water-sculpted chasms are precisely what make it so appealing. Many canyons still remain unnamed, making true exploration a possibility.

Hike the Zion Narrows, Utah
If any place has the power to inspire awe, it’s the Zion Narrows, southern Utah’s premier hike in Zion National Park. For 16 miles (26 kilometers), the canyon winds voluptuously through the crimson sandstone, in some spots stretching 2,000 feet (610 meters) high and narrowing to 20 feet (6 meters).

Backcountry Ski Teton Pass, Wyoming
When it comes to terrain, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort claims some of the best on the planet—famed chutes like Corbet’s Couloir and backcountry gates that access stuff straight out of ski movies are the norm here. But the resort is, after all, still a resort. To take it to the next level, head to Teton Pass, where a quick hike from the apex of Wyoming Highway 22/Idaho 33 (which runs between Wilson, Wyoming, and Victor, Idaho) will reward you with myriad adventurous backcountry lines and practically guaranteed powder.

Hike Yellowstone’s Wild Southwest, Wyoming
It’s a mighty high claim to call one backpacking trip in our archetypal national park the best, but it’s hard to top this traverse of the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. Factor in a hot soak or two with a hike beside burbling hot springs, steaming fumaroles, streaming waterfalls, a grand finale at the park’s signature attraction and you’ve got plenty to back up the boast.

Climb the Grand Teton, Wyoming
Lording over the surrounding Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem at 13,770 feet (4,197 meters), the elegant Grand Teton demands to be summited. Lucky there are countless routes up the iconic peak for climbers of all abilities. In fact, it’s the ideal technical peak for everyone from alpinists looking for new challenges to average folks who just want to be guided to the top.

Kayak Lake Yellowstone, Wyoming
Located about as far from any roadway as it’s possible to get in the lower 48, the Thorofare region of Yellowstone is the most remote and spectacular feature of America’s first national park. It’s here that the Yellowstone River feeds into Yellowstone Lake through a reedy delta of interwoven canals, forming an American version of Africa’s Okavango Delta. All the key players are on hand: bison, grizzlies, wolves, elk, moose, bald eagles, ospreys, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, and cutthroat trout.

Row Down the Grand Canyon, Arizona
The most stunning river in the nation demands an American original: the human-powered wooden dory. Stern, graceful, and guaranteed to deliver a visceral, feel-the-river-in-your-bones thrill, the dory has been a canyon icon since John Wesley Powell captained a proto-version down the Colorado River in 1869.

Backpack Glacier National Park, Montana
With its sheer peaks, wildflowers, alpine lakes filled with trout, grizzly bears, and, of course, glaciers, Glacier National Park is the ideal place to lose yourself for days. The park typifies the Rocky Mountain experience and yet has cathedrals of loose-rock mountains and yearlong snowfields that make it unlike anywhere else on the planet...

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