Built by the WPA in 1939, the Horseshoe Lodge has been renovated as an earth-friendly eco-lodge. Book one of the nature-themed rooms, then go out and explore the 17,000 acres of San Isabel National Forest or the Pueblo Mountain Park.
Wintertime at the Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana is the stuff of Christmas carols. Sleigh rides, dreaming by the fire, feasting with loved ones, and 85km of Nordic ski trails.
Ok, maybe that last one isn't a song. Yet.
Snowshoers can enjoy a separate 30km of trails all to themselves. Come on a full moon for a guest favorite snowshoeing tour....
What better cure for the wintertime blues than a place that calls itself the Sunshine State? Try cycling the Pinellas Trail: 47 miles of car-free, paved bikeway connecting northern and southern Florida. Start out in Tarpon Springs, and at your own pace head south to inviting destinations like “Honeymoon Island” and “Clearwater.” Conclude your trip in downtown St. Petersburg, a fresh and festive city overlooking Tampa Bay.
For a weekend trip, plan your halfway point in Downtown Clearwater and lodge at the Residence Inn or Gangelhoff’s Summerside Inn. Dining options from sushi (Chiang Mai Thai and Sushi Bar) to Mexican (Los Mayas Mexican Restaurant) are available around every corner.
Malibu has as many great trails as it has billionaires on Carbon Beach.
The hike around the King Gillette Ranch offers broad meadows surrounding the razor blade tycoon's mansion, a steep climb up to a knoll with views of Malibu Creek and raptors circling below your perch. Awesome enough to get your teen dancing on the trail. Find info at: www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=670
Restrooms , visitor center and ice cream not far from trail's end
Sent from my iPhone
|Type||Prairie, Woods, Suburban|
|Lodging||mixed (note: the writer chose to do the route in sections.)|
|Duration||Walker's Choice. Epic, or just a day trip.|
“But it is so flat” is the usual response that I get when I suggest walking in the Midwest. The response is even more incredulous when I suggest that there is great hiking to be found within the Chicagoland area. No one believes that there are any decent hiking trails close to such a major city. But there are!
|Location||Gasparilla Island, Florida|
|Distance||14 miles, walking and biking, plus strolls to good food|
|Highlights||Beaches, shells, great food, jumping manta rays, and family time|
|Duration||Three days, two nights, or keep walking 'round and 'round.|
Ever walked on a beach and wanted to keep on walking? No turning around to retrace your steps? On an island, you can do it. And on Florida’s pristine Gasparilla Island, you can do it on gorgeous white sand, stop to snorkel in crystal clear gulf waters, sort through
obscenely big piles of shells for prime specimens, watch marine biologists document sea turtle nests, and catch glimpses of leaping manta rays, dolphins, and giant tarpon. Once you make it to the island’s town of Boca Grande, you can shop at hip boutiques, eat real cuisine, not to mention home-made ice cream, and stay in a roomy ol’ downtown inn.
|Day 1||Chicago to Carbondale, via Amtrak|
|Day 2||Carbondale to Golconda|
|Day 3||Golconda to Paducah, KY|
|Day 4||Paducah, to Cairo & back to Chicago|
Most people think of the Land of Lincoln as Chicago plus pancake-flat prairie, but Southern Illinois is completely different. Just a trainride from Chicago, (with bikes on board) is a loop that reveals the area's unique history and culture.
|Location||Mt. Hood, Oregon|
|Distance||All depends on how many times you want to walk up and down the snowfield!|
Mid-summer skiing, fantastic WPA Lodge.
|Duration||As long as you want to make it.|
Father Junipero Serra designed the California Missions to be “A day’s walk apart.” That's about 800 miles of walking- most of them are 30-40 miles apart. That said, for a weekend, there’s a great route you can walk or bike from Mission Santa Barbara to Mission San Buenaventura in Ventura, stopping at inns or B&B’s (or the Four Seasons!) along the way. Biking, you can do it in a day. Below are almost all the resources you might need to figure out your own adventure.
|Type||Great Base Lodge|
|Distance||Walker's Choice: 10 plus miles of trails|
|Highlights||Sun, Sand, Marsh, Food, Drink, Life. Bill Sargent plumbed his big toe into the wet sand and pulled out a Moon Snail, round and glistening. All morning long that toe had been a snail-seeking missile, unerringly locating the strangely lovely mollusks hidden well below the tide line on Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA.|
Bill Sargent, a naturalist, author, and consultant to the NOVA Science series, had agreed to take a nature walk with me at low tide on an early fall morning. In a few hours I received a better education than in any biology textbook. For example, did you know that the Horseshoe Crab has nine eyes, including in its tail?
|Type||Lodge to Lodge|
|Mode||Cross-country skis, shoeshoes|
|Highlights||True wilderness, animal tracks, blazingly bright stars, good home cooking.|
This was not in the plan.
We have just pulled into a snow-covered parking lot in the woods 11 miles outside of Greenville, Maine. It’s time to unload the car, slap on our skis, and take off on a four-day ski adventure through the wilderness. This is a remote part of Maine my wife and I love; I took her on her first wild canoe trip not far from here, produced a bottle of champagne and a diamond ring beside a lake devoid of buildings or people, and while she now probably regrets this, she said yes. This is our first trip to such hallowed ground with our two boys. The plan is to ski a few hours to a heated lodge run by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), where they will feed us fabulous meals and provide us with a heated private cabin for the night, while someone snowmobiles in our luggage so we don’t have to. Then tomorrow we’ll ski to another lodge, stay an extra day doing nothing there, and ski back to our car on day four.
|Location||Black Hills of South Dakota|
|Type||Wild Wild West|
|Difficulty||Epic on Foot, Moderate on a Bike|
|Highlights||Being the first to report on this trip for WeekendWalk, for which we might even pay you!|
We can't wait for spring to come so we can check out the George S. Mickelson Trail in the Black Mining Hills of Dakota.It goes though 109 Miles of the best of South Dakota, from Edgemont to Deadwood. On a bike it's relatively easy to go fully inn to inn. On foot, however, you may find yourself occasionally sleeping under twinkling stars between evenings you walk into town and book a room in the local saloon and check in only to find Gideon's Bible.
|TYPE:||Rural by the River|
|LODGING:||Inns, Hotels, B&Bs|
|DISTANCE:||50+ miles a day|
|HIGHLIGHTS:||History history history, and the wide Mississippi.
When most people think of traveling across America they envision going from salt to salt--Atlantic to Pacific or vice versa. But America's newest cross-country cycling route is neither of those. The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) follows the river as closely as is practical from its pristine headwaters at Itasca State Park in Minnesota, to the southernmost point in Lousiana, on the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you travel down from the Big Woods to the Big Easy, or up from Cajun country to the land of the Cheeseheads doesn't make much difference: the Mississippi is the big muddy heart of the heartland, and any trip along it is bound to be memorable.
|Location||The White Mountains of New Hampshire|
|Type||Snowshoes up and down mountains.|
|Distance||16-25 miles; 5 to 8 miles daily|
|Duration||2-4 days depending on route|
|Difficulty||Strenuous; snowshowing is always aerobic.|
|Highlights||Incredible views of the mountains in winter. Crisp air. Sore calves, well earned dinners.|
“The technical term is glissade,” said Erica Marcus with a smile. “That’s what you probably want to call it when you get back home.”
My friends and I took to the new word with alacrity, trying it out and rolling it around on our tongues with approval as Ms Marcus bade us farewell and disappeared around the corner in front of us.
|Location||Fairfield County, CT., and a little bit of NY|
|Distance||Just under 30 miles, (or 20 miles if you take the train partway)|
|Duration||Three Days, two nights|
|Difficulty||Easy to moderate (second day was 14 miles)|
|Highlights||Small towns, historic inns, great food and drink|
It's easy to travel inn to inn along Fairfield County's trails and mainstreets. This walk, from the Silvermine Tavern in Norwalk, to Ridgefield's Stonehenge Inn crosses into New York state for a stretch. Though it was late fall when Anne Lutz Fernandez (author of the recently published book Carjacked, The Culture of the Automobile and its Effect on our Lives) trekked the twenty-something miles from inn to inn and back, this is an ideal walk for (almost) any season. And it's a cinch to hop on the train if you only want to walk in one direction.
|Location||Mackenzie River Oregon|
|Type||Walking, National Forest|
|Lodging||Mixed. Primitive shelter, Luxurious Inn|
|Difficulty||Strenuous. 20 mile days, but with a layover.|
|Highlights||Incredible scenery, and a great rustic inn and the end.|
Editor's Note: This report comes from our new friend John Aebi-Magee, who regularly puts in fifteen to twenty miles a day. It appeared previously at his site, Walking Inn to Inn, and he has kindly given us permission to republish it. A multiple award-winning environmental entrepreneur, John is the moving force behind the Sustainability Store, Earth Care Paper, Ultralight Living, and Wool Revolution. Please visit them. --PS
|Location||Saranac Lake, New York|
|Type||Lake, Mountain, River,|
|Distance||30 miles, give or take, depending on your propensity to zizag.|
|Highlights||Mid-summer in the Adirondacks.|
|Difficulty||easy, with the exception of the rapids at the end, which can be skipped or portaged.|
We paddled out onto Middle Saranac Lake on a breezy summer afternoon with no other plan than to revisit the scene of some happy voyages I had undertaken during the writing of my first book, The Adirondacks: A History of America's First Wilderness, and to fill in a few blanks in our personal map of the park. The route we had in mind was part of the magnificent Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which officially opened in 2005. It’s kind of like an Appalachian Trail for paddlers, linking rivers and lakes from the middle of New York State to the top of Maine, but we had no intention of going even a tenth that far. We were just out for a leisurely paddle, mixing a night or two of camping with a couple of days in town.
|Type||Great Urban Baselodge|
|Duration||How Long Have You Got?|
|Difficulty||Depends on how well you handle your liquor.|
|Highlights||Live music all night long|
I’m a city girl at heart, for whom walking will probably always remain largely a practical act, a way of getting there, spiritual in the sense that it delivers me to the houses of food and drink that are my temples. Austin, Texas has a lot of these places of worship, so when my husband suggested we spend a few days there, there was much rejoicing.
|Location||Orcas Island, Washington State|
|Highlights||Whales, Walks, Paddles and Hikes|
|Distance||About 10 miles|
|Duration||Around 4 hours|
|Highlights||Unbeatable views of the Pacific|
From San Francisco, you can walk over the bridge...to the Marin Headlands and Fort Cronkhite. An intersecting series of trails afford some of the most beautiful views you will ever encounter. For a while you’ll be able to see San Francisco—on a clear day it glints white in the sun. After a while the city disappears. Except for other hikers, you’ll be alone with your companion, the sea, the sky, and occasional glimpses of wildlife.
|Type||Inn to Inn Walking or Cycling|
|Distance||roughly 24 miles|
|Duration||Three days/two nights|
|Highlights||Historic sights, backyard gardens, great beer, great food|
In recent years, a non-profit group called the PATH Foundation has been carving out trails for walkers and bikers around Atlanta, and one of those starts right down the street from the Martin Luther King Center and continues 18 miles east all the way to Stone Mountain, a massive granite dome emblazoned with icons of the Confederacy that nod to a past the progressive city would rather forget (and these days often does).
Check out the cover of this month's issue of Westways Magazine. That's our founder, Jamie Stringfellow, on the cover, with her story about walking from Hermosa Beach to Malibu. For Westways Magazine, Jamie walked 34 miles from Hermosa to Malibu. There’s a shorter walking adventure you might like and an invitation to share your best Southern California tips in our Plan a Trip section. Click here to read Jamie's article in PDF format (warning: it's a big file and takes a minute to load the entire article) You can also view the article on the Westeways site at www.aaa.com/westways. A note about that link: Before you can view the WestWays Magazine site, you have to enter your zip code into the AAA.com site. If you enter a zip code, such as 90210, that falls in the circulation area, you'll see the article. If you enter a zip code outside the WestWays distribution area, the AAA national office directs you to the corresponding regional site.
|Duration||2 days/1 night|
|Highlights||ood, lodging, Legacy Trail, architecture, flowers|
I’d guess most people wouldn’t think of Boise, Idaho as a “green” town; yet it’s known as the City of Trees. This has always amused the heck out of this East Coast girl. Trees? Well, sure, I thought: There are a few that have been trucked in over the years.
At least, that’s how I considered the matter before spending two days walking the town. Though Boise is Idaho’s capital, and its largest city, getting around its downtown core is more like strolling a small town. Each neighborhood brings its own delights. And surprise – who knew there were so many flowering trees?
|Duration||3 days/2 nights|
|Highlights||Great food, great bed|
We were nervous and excited at the same time. When my little family of four stepped away from our car to begin our three-day walk across the big city of Dallas with nothing but our backpacks of clothes, we felt like...well, pioneers.
We’d driven in from our home in Shreveport and left our car at SMU, but I bet even a full-time Dallas resident might feel the same trepidation, stepping off the DART train at the Mockingbird station and setting off without even one horsepower of locomotion.
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