15 EPIC HIKES FOR BLACK FRIDAY
BECAUSE IF YOU DO GO SHOPPING THIS IS WHAT YOU'LL END UP WISHING YOU WERE DOING INSTEAD
As many of you know (whether you're Stateside or not) Thanksgiving is the time of year when we can all stuff our faces full of sweet and savory deliciousness. And all of that glorious pie.
FUN FACT: If you didn’t know, America's lovely Northern neighbor also celebrates this fabulous holiday. The only difference is in Canada they celebrate the month before, in October. Surprise, surprise, turkey and stuffing for all!
The end of November is also the time of year that on the day after Thanksgiving (also known as ‘Black Friday’) a switch is flipped in millions of Americans and they go completely MENTAL trying to snag some 24-hour deal on material goods (usually electronics).
TINY RANT: It’s 2017 people, the internet exists, and lucky for all of us many retailers start their ‘Black Friday’ deals in advance of the actual day. So take a chill pill.
This year I have an even better idea for all of you. Get out of that food coma by boycotting the shopping and heading outdoors for some epic views. Not only will you be much happier, you'll avoid the dreaded buyer’s remorse. Plus, doesn't it feel fabulous knowing those extra two slices of pie are totally justified?
There are tons of bargains on Black Friday but a free, stellar view of that Redwood tree isn’t one of them.
Whether you live in the US or Canada (or are just visiting) here are 15 hikes to get you out and moving this holiday season.
Joffre Lake Provincial Park, Pemberton, British Columbia
(suggestion by Laura from 'She Who Wanders')
Have you ever seen photos of lakes in the mountains that maybe look like someone tipped a can of Kool-Aid into it? Thinking to yourself "oh, that's a filter if I ever saw one!" Well I'm here to tell you to hold your tongue before you say that because these lakes do exist. Nestled in the mountains, an hour north of Whistler, BC to be exact. Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a must if you want to have your mind blow after each turn. While the switchback might have your calves screaming to stop, push on & you'll be rewarded with 2 absolutely magical glacial lakes (the first is just 10 mins from the parking lot if you don't have the time) & a little further onwards even a campsite so you can wake up to this view & have it all to yourself for a few hours.
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta
(suggestion by Jillian from ‘Travel and Tenacity’)
The hiking in Banff is simply beautiful. As a girl born and raised in Alaska I wasn't sure if I would be impressed, but honestly it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! One of the best parts is the fact there is a hike for everyone! With varying levels of difficulty, from easy to challenging. During our time in Banff we saw such a wide range of ages hiking from small children up to grandparents. The views of the lakes and the mountains are some of the most unreal views you will ever see. A favorite area is around Moraine Lake (pictured) because nowhere else will you see water so bright blue. Lake Louise is also beautiful, but the water is more silver. A good thing to note is the earlier in the day you get to each place the better chance you have of actually getting in to the parks (you don’t want to be turned away due to full capacity).
Redwood National and State Parks, California
(suggestion by Kristin from ‘Reckless Roaming’)
No matter your interests, exploring the Redwood National and State Parks by foot is an experience that everyone can enjoy! Walking among these ancient giants is sure to make your jaw drop, but that isn't all the redwoods have to offer. The coastal trails, riverside walks, tide pools, and lush Fern canyon are just a few ways the famous park proves there's more to this place than just the Redwoods.
Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
(suggestion by Umiko from ‘Two Worlds Treasures’)
Hike the Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas, the second largest canyon in the country. This park's most popular trail (which is less than 3 miles each way and moderately difficult) leads to the iconic 300 foot tall Lighthouse Rock formation, the most famous formation in the entire state park. Amongst the red rock you'll see a mixture of small bushes and cacti - and keep your eye out for horses and cyclists!
Mont Royal in Montréal, Quebec
(suggestion by Daniel & Ana from ‘Color My Path’)
On your next visit to Montréal if you are looking for an escape for a few hours (and some good nature time) Mont Royal has got you covered! The most well known viewpoint in Montréal can be visited any time of year, giving you various types of gorgeous scenery. The wide paths and stairs make the climb moderate and enjoyable for everyone. And with the amount of different paths you can experience multiple areas and views, including breathtaking view of downtown and the St. Lawrence River from the Belvedere (main lookout), Beaver Lake (where you can take some time to rest and appreciate the park), or the highest point in the city, the cross at the top of Mont Royal!
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York
(suggestion by Wandy from ‘Wandy Sosa Photography’)
If you want to pack enough highlights of four hikes into one four-hour loop then head to Minnewaska State Park Preserve. It's probably the worst-kept secret in the Hudson River Valley but when you look at the photo it's easy to see why. Located in Ulster County, this park has over 22,000 acres of wild forest, and is also well known for its blue-water lake, the " Minnewaska Lake", where many families gather for summer picnics and a swimming. The trails allow cycling, and can cater to your hiking needs (whether you prefer a leisurely stroll around the lake, or a day-long extravaganza trekking to multiple vistas).
Angel’s Rest in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Less than 45-minutes from downtown Portland is the perfect day trip hike unmatched by any other spot this close to Portland. The Angel’s Rest Trail features one of the most expansive views of the Columbia River Gorge and it’s just under a 2.5-mile trek to the top. After climbing up 1,450 feet you’ll come out onto an exposed bluff featuring a breathtaking 270-degree view overlooking the Columbia River. Angel's Rest also gives you stunning vantages of Beacon Rock, Silver Star Mountain and many other landmarks along the gorge. Not only that, as you make your way up to the top you’ll also pass two waterfalls, Coopey Falls and Upper Coopey Falls, which is a triple bonus situation! If you can’t get enough of the views, once you get back in your car it’s just a short 3.5 mile drive down the Historic Highway to the famous Multnomah Falls!
TIP TO NOTE:
Due to the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge in November 2017 many of the hikes along the Oregon side are still not open. You can find out which hikes are currently open to the public through the link below.
Wire Pass Slot Canyon, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, Utah
Wire Pass is a secret treasure located off of a winding, unmarked, dirt road. Located in Antelope Canyon, many people completely pass by this amazing place - which is perfect because this means you most likely will get it all to yourself! Hiking up can almost be underwhelming but after a mile of wondering, “Are we at the right place?,” the slot canyon almost appears out of nowhere! The echoing red walls, historic Petroglyphs, and even wildlife will take your breath away as each new horizon is better than the last.
Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah
(suggestions by Courtney from ‘Courtney Amburg Training’)
Angles Landing in Zion Park is one of the park's most famous hikes and has the most stunning view you may ever see! A slow incline starts the hike but soon leads to winding staircase. Just when you think you have reached the top… you haven’t! The trek of the hike runs along the spine of the mountain with nothing but a metal chain shielding and grounding you from the edge of a cliff! Don't worry, it's all worth it. At the top, at over 1500 feet above the canyon floor is the view you have been waiting for - a green canyon floor against red mountain cliffs, coupled with the sharp blue sky!
Waterfall hikes at Wells Gray Provincial Park, Clearwater, British Columbia
(suggestion by Traveler and Storyteller, Alix Mahe)
Waterfall lovers, this park is for you! Located in British Columbia’s interior just outside Clearwater, Wells Gray Provincial Park has a series of stunning waterfalls you won’t want to miss. While there are 39 named waterfalls in the park, my four favourite ones can be accessed off the main road with easy hikes ranging from 5 to 45 minutes (one-way) that can all be done over the course of a day. Driving north on Clearwater Valley Road, you’ll want to turn off at the signs for Spahats Falls, Moul Falls, Dawson Falls and Helmcken Falls - each impressive in their own right.
Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio
(suggestion by Heather at ‘Ohio Girl Travels’)
Located in southeastern Ohio in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Hocking Hills State Park is a nature enthusiasts dream. With 2,356 acres of breathtaking natural landscapes, the park boasts deep hemlock shaded gorges, recessed sandstone caves, towering sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and dozens of flora and fauna species. As one of the most visited parks in the Midwest, the tranquil setting and natural beauty of Ohio’s Hocking Hills will lure you to visit again and again!
Yosemite National Park, California
(suggestion by Janelle from ‘Destination Dame')
Yosemite National Park has some of most beautiful, rugged views in all of the US's parks. A few of the view points you'll get in Yosemite include Taft Point, Glacier Point, Half Dome, and Nevada Falls. While it's definitely a highly trafficked park if you time it just right, and wake up early enough you may get lucky enough to have one of these places all to yourself. However, keep in mind that some of these require permits to access so be sure to do your research! Overall, Yosemite is one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring national parks you will probably ever visit. Even having visited multiple times I still seem to find something new, each and every time.
Stawamus Chief hike, Garibaldi Provincial Park, Brackendale, British Columbia
(suggestion by Greta from ‘Greta’s Travels’)
Stawamus Chief is one of North America's largest granite monoliths, located on the famous Sea to Sky Highway that connects Vancouver to Whistler. The Chief is divided into three distinct peaks which you can hike. The First Peak is the most popular and has the best views over the Howe Sound (a network of fjords). Despite it being advertised as a "moderate" hike online we found it considerably more challenging than expected. The closer you will get to the peak the less defined the path will become, but don't worry, there isn't a risk getting lost as there are plently of other hikers sharing the same adventure. Round trip the hike is about 4km and can take about 2-4 hours due to how steep some sections can get. If you're feeling particularly active after hiking to the First Peak you can also hike over to the Second and Third Peaks!
Horseshoe Bend, Colorado River, Page, Arizona
(suggestion by Ashley from ‘Travel Drifter’)
Just outside of Page, Arizona is one of the most photographed spots on the Colorado River, known as Horseshoe Bend. Its unique shape draws in hikers from all over the world, and the best part about it (especially for the non-hikers) is it's easily accessible via car. Unlike many of the other national and state parks, Horseshoe Bend does not have an entrance fee and it is only a mere .5 mile walk from the parking lot to the ledge. It's arguably one of the best free attractions in the Southwest that you can explore at your leisure. Whether you spend 10 minutes here or an hour, Horseshoe Bend is a can't-miss destination!
Pinnacles National Park, Salinas Valley, California
(suggestion by Amanda from 'Two Blue Passports')
Pinnacles is one of the countries newest national parks, located just about 2 hours southeast of San Francisco, California. The park features massive rock structures that were formed from erupted volcanos over 20 million years ago! It's also home to endangered condors, native to California, and birds you must see. I recommend spending at least a day hiking the Tunnel Train, Juniper Canyon and the High Peaks Trail. If you're able to visit in the Spring, you may be lucky enough to see gorgeous wildflowers along the way.
Pinnacles National Park, Salinas Valley, California, USA (photos by Amanda at TBP)
**Big thank you to all of the lovely contributors. Without them this post would not have been possible!**
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