Let's explore the best of America. The birthplace of the national park. Home to grand expanses of wilderness and just about every ecosystem on Earth.
There's so much to do. Can we simply start with six?
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Maine
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is 740 miles of premier paddling—almost half of which is found in Maine. At 347 miles, Maine’s section of this iconic canoe trail is rife with adventure. Spot moose in the dense forest. Run whitewater. Ply serene lakes. Camp under the stars. Of particular note, the Rangeley Lakes section stands out with its big, protected waters; as does the exciting rapids of the Dead River (South Branch); and the Moose River through to Moosehead Lake. And the easternmost Section 13 offers an 80-mile journey that’s sure to challenge and excite experienced paddlers.
Channel Islands National Park, California
California is rich with outdoor adventure—narrowing it to just one experience is tough. So let’s get off-radar and travel to a national park that’s one of the least visited in the lower 48 yet within 60 miles of 18 million people. Accessed via ferry from Ventura Harbor, Channel Islands National Park holds the world’s largest collection of sea caves. Hence, it’s a kayaker’s paradise. Bring your own boat or book a memorable guided tour. After you’ve explored the rocky shoreline and dipped through the caverns—perhaps spotting dolphins, sea lions and raptors—you can hike the crisscrossing trails and even camp onsite. Wondering which island to check out first? Look to Santa Cruz Island, the first stop on the ferryboat from the mainland.
Kodiak Island, Alaska
Kodiak Island is your jumping-off point into adventure. Sure, quality hikes, kayaking and even craft beer abound—but the real reason to visit is to get up-close with the impressive Kodiak bears, one of Earth’s largest land carnivores. Bear-watching tours generally start with a floatplane or boat trip from Kodiak and will either search out bruins on the namesake island or across the strait in Katmai National Park for Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears. Expect to be within a stone’s throw of the bruins—so stay calm, bring your camera and leave the beef jerky at home.
The Maah Daah Hey Trail, North Dakota
We’re about to blow the lid off what’s been dubbed “North Dakota’s Best Kept Secret.” The 144-mile-long multiuse Maah Daah Hey Trail treats travelers to scenic, undulating topography, badlands, bison, horses and really big skies. It’s popular with hikers—but why not speed things up with a mountain bike ride along a leg, or the whole darn thing? You’ll find waterboxes and 11 marked campgrounds on the route, along with many viewpoints and historical sites and even a few river crossings to keep thing interesting.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
This might be the finest canoe destination in the Lower 48 states. Or more likely, one of the finest on the planet. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a staggering one-million-acre expanse of lakes, islands, waterways and forest. It offers some 1,200 miles of canoe routes, more than 2,000 backcountry campsites and a plethora of hiking trails to boot. Plus, it butts up against Quetico Provincial Park in Canada and Superior National Forest to the south—which means that even though a quarter-million canoeists come to the Boundary Waters annually, you’ll still find a private paradise within.
The Florida Trail, Florida
Extending a whopping 1,200 miles from near the Alabama border on the Florida Panhandle to the wildlife-rich Everglades, the Florida National Scenic Trail is a hiker’s paradise. This subtropical route is within an hour’s drive of most major cities in the state, and provides adventures ranging from a simple walk in the forest to an extreme multi-day backpacking route. In the Panhandle, trek the silver-sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore. In Central Florida, the trail passes through Ocala National Forest, dubbed “the heart of the Florida Trail.” Or embark on a real adventure in South Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve. The wildest section of the trail, your hike will likely see you hip-deep in water as you trudge through cypress groves, home to elusive ghost orchids and maybe even the Florida panther.
Of course—we can outfit you for any of these adventures. Peruse our catalogue HERE.
And enjoy the great outdoors, no matter where you roam!