While visiting North Cascades National Park, I found that this is one of the most recommended hikes if you are willing to endure 13 miles of rough gravel road to get to the trailhead.
The Washington Trails Association says "At Cascade Pass, the wow factor far exceeds the “ow” factor – perhaps no other trail in the state delivers as much reward for the effort."
I can vouch that the rewards are high and, while there is still some effort required in this 7-mile out-and-back trek, it's easier than the just-as-rewarding Maple Pass Loop I did two days earlier.
Today, Linda set up a lounge chair by the Skagit River and read to her heart's content, while I headed out to do the Maple Pass Loop Trail on the eastern boundary of North Cascades National Park.
Technically, this fantastic trail with incredible mountain views is in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, but we made it part of our visit to North Cascades.
We were lucky to have perfect weather on our first visit to North Cascades National Park. This post includes some photos from overlooks and viewpoints, and details from a wonderful hike on the Blue Lake Trail.
Today we returned to the area of the hike we did yesterday, and we joined our friends John & Pam for a little off-trail hiking in the colorful rocks of Valley of Fire State Park. There are few restrictions on where you can hike, and we took advantage of the opportunity.
The plan was to hike the first two thirds of the loop hike we did yesterday and then return via a different route. Well, we did that, but not quite in the order we intended.
We went through two small slot canyons, encountered a nesting hummingbird, and enjoyed views of multi-colored rocks in every direction. Another gorgeous day in Valley of Fire State Park.
In Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, there are relatively few designated trails. However, there are also very few restrictions on where you can hike.
Today, with some hints and tips we picked up online, we took on the challenge of creating our own two-mile loop through some of the most colorful rocks you will see anywhere.
This is a popular hike in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. There is a parking area with great views of the colorful valley to the north, and then you can get more of those views on this short, easy hike.
In addition, you can hike through a little canyon to an overlook of the red rock Fire Canyon. The roundtrip is about a mile and three quarters.
The White Domes Loop Trail is a popular hike of a little over a mile. The trailhead is located at the end of the White Domes Road that begins at the Visitors Center at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
The trail descends into a canyon and then continues in a wash through a short slot canyon before climbing back up to the parking area.
This is a 1.2-mile roundtrip hike to one of the iconic landmarks in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
If you love amazing landscapes of multi-colored rocks, this one is not to be missed.
We started today with a short, easy hike (.7 miles roundtrip) in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
A "tank" is a depression in the rocks that holds water after a rain, and "Mouse" was a Southern Paiute that camped near such a tank here in Valley of Fire.
But the highlights of this hike, besides the beauty of the red rocks all around, are the many panels of petroglyphs.
Today, the plan was to do a three-mile hike among the Joshua Trees here in the Mojave National Preserve.
As I've mentioned before, though there is over 1.6 million acres in the park, there are very few designated trails. This one happens to be one of the more popular ones, and it is said to have the highest concentration of Joshua Trees in the world, more than even Joshua Tree National Park.
While exploring Mojave National Preserve, we made a brief stop at Kelso Dunes. We didn't do any hiking as we've done a few other more prominent dunes before (Great Sand Dunes National Park & White Sands National Monument), but we did take some photos to share.
The Rings Loop Hike is a one-mile hike located near the Hole-In-The-Wall Visitors Center and Campground in the Mojave National Preserve.
The Preserve is located in southeastern California on the border with Nevada's southern tip between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It contains 1.6 million acres of protected land and varying landscapes.
This hike is a short, popular hike for anyone that gets off the pavement enough to check out the Hole-In-The-Wall area of the park. The rings in the walls of the short slot canyon section provide the hike with its name.
After our morning hike - Rings Loop Trail - in the Hole-In-The-Wall area, we ventured out to a different area of the Mojave National Preserve.
The Preserve is huge and has so many different types of terrains and attractions. However, the number of developed trails is pretty small considering its 1.6 million acres.
One of those is the Lava Tube.
The Dripping Springs Natural Area is a popular recreational area in the recently established Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. It's located east of Las Cruces, New Mexico in the western foothills of the Organ Mountains.
In addition to the natural beauty, there are historical structures and hiking trails. The goal today was to visit all the points of interest and hike all of the trails. Mission accomplished.
The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was established in 2014 and consists of four sections in southern New Mexico near Las Cruces - the Organ Mountains, the Desert Peaks, the Portrillo Mountains, and the Doña Ana Mountains.
Today, we hiked what some call the most scenic trail in the Organ Mountains - the Pine Tree Loop.