On The Trail – Reid’s Top Running/Hiking Trails
I don’t know that I really believe in New Year’s Resolutions but I do enjoy taking the time to plan out where I want to be in the upcoming year. Do I want to be in my usual routine or do I want to be in the desert, the mountains, or the jungle? I like to think about where I’ve been and set new goals. One of the most wonderful things about the internet is using it to plan adventures. What trails have like-minded people done and where have they been? This is my time to give back, I’ve compiled a list of trails that I’ve run or hiked over the years and really enjoyed. These are not necessarily the hardest, longest, or most adventurous. Some of them may even be crowded – but they are my favorites. I hope you enjoy them too. 2016- Where will you be?
Distance: 26.4 Miles
Location: Aspen, CO
Highlights: This is an incredibly beautiful alpine trail that climbs over four 12,000′ passes. I have never seen more wildflowers in one place and the alpine lakes and coniferous forests are a must see.
Lowlights: Because of the altitude, there is a short season between when the snow is clear in the spring and when the snow begins to fall in the autumn. And there are even fewer days that you won’t experience lightning as you visit the peaks.
Tip: Bring a water filter to save on weight. There are enough streams to keep you hydrated all day.
2. Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim
Distance: Between 41 and 48 miles depending on which trails you take. You will experience close to 20,000 feet of elevation change and close to 70 degrees difference between the rim and the bottom.
Location: 3 ½ hours from Phoenix, AZ to the South Rim
Highlights: Peeling away the amazing layers of one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Standing at the South Rim there is no way to comprehend just how big it is. As you descend, you start to understand just what it is you were looking at. If you go late enough in the spring or early enough in the fall, there will be spigots with potable water. Save on weight.
Lowlights: Getting stuck behind a mule train.
Distance: 5 miles out and back with 1,500′ of climbing steep steps and bolts with chains to keep you safe in the most exposed areas.
Location: Zion National Park (2 ½ hours from Las Vegas)
Highlights: Amazing views of the Zion Valley. 1,500 drop offs on both sides of the trail, thrilling exposure.
Lowlights: Scary exposure. Do not attempt this hike is you have a fear of heights. Also, the crowds can be overwhelming but I felt they were well worth it. There is no doubt you will experience logjams throughout the day, just be patient. Not everyone is as comfortable with the exposure as you are.
Location: Na Pali Coast, Kauai, HI
Distance: 22 miles round trip
Highlights: Where else can you get tropical rainforest without mosquitoes, poisonous spiders, or snakes?
Lowlights: There are inherent dangers along the way. There is one section that is very exposed and can be slippery, especially if it is wet. Also, there are a number of stream crossings that swell in the heavy Hawaiian rains and can strand hikers for days.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Highlights: This trail winds in and out of the shadows of the monolithic Fisher Towers and opens up to the canyons toward Moab. You will most likely be able to stop and watch climbers scale the red sandstone walls.
Lowlights: It is the desert- it gets very hot in the summer.
6. Long’s Peak
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Distance: 12.5 miles (don’t let this distance fool you)
Highlights: A beautiful summit rewards any hiker/runner willing to test themselves with this 14,259′ mountain.
Lowlights: This is a true mountain with big mountain concerns including lightning, rockfall, exposed ledges, and can snow any day of the year. The only reason this isn’t considered climbing is because you don’t need any technical gear. On the weekends in the summer you will also experience crowds and may have to wait in line at narrow sections.