The Fat Ass Guide to Hiking: Yellowstone National Park (Fat Ass Guides Book 1)

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I parked my car, shouldered my pack, and left the pavement behind.

The Falcon and the Sparrow

Check out our national parks' best swimming holes. Remarkably, fewer of our fellow taxpayers have been enjoying America's national parks. But fewer visitors means more park for the rest of us. Where to begin? We polled national-park experts for their secret stashes, the places they go to escape the masses.

But there's just so much we can do.

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As John Muir wrote in his book Our National Parks , "To defrauded town toilers, parks in magazine articles are like pictures of bread to the hungry. I can write only hints to incite good wanderers to come to the feast. There's nothing like driving into Yosemite for the first time to see El Capitan and Half Dome shooting thousands of feet into the California sky from the valley floor.

But if you spend your whole day looking upward at those monuments to nature, you'll get a stiff neck. And you'll miss the crystalline lakes, golden eagles, black bears, and the park's signature thousand-foot waterfalls dotting more than miles of trails.

Under The Radar Trips For Every Kind of Spring Breaker

Cue John Denver. Innumerable climbing alternatives and over miles of hiking trails allow you plenty of opportunity to find a view to call your own. After that, it's roughly another mile to the less visited Fairchild 13, feet and another mile to the Mummy Range's even more remote Hagues Peak 13, feet. Built in of pine logs and native stone, this rustic resort is 15 miles south of Estes Park, near the park's south-eastern corner.

Paddle to the Erickson's Bay campsite grab a permit from the Ozette ranger station to overnight , on the lake's western shore, from either Ozette campground, on the north side of the lake 4. CRASH PAD: After exploring the wilder part of the coast, head to the cedar-shingled Kalaloch Lodge, at the southern end of the coastal strip, where 44 cabins sit atop a grassy bluff, 20 of them with ocean views.

Acadia National Park Photo: Corbis. Thank God for aristocracy. When John D. Rockefeller Jr. Now the park's multisport options draw more than two million visitors to this dramatic chunk of coastline every year. Bikers cruise the 45 miles of gravel carriage roads, kayakers explore the coves and islands, hikers scramble up 1,foot Cadillac Mountain, and climbers scale the oceanside Otter Cliffs while Atlantic breakers slap the rocks feet below.

One of the best stretches starts just south of the park in the town of Stonington and ends approximately 30 miles later on Mount Desert Island. Coastal Kayaking offers three-day trips, suitable for all levels of paddlers, with overnights on small islands. The Duck Harbor campground there is Acadia's only remote island camping, so reserve ahead for one of the five ocean-view lean-tos. Access Duck Harbor by kayak or via thedaily mail boat from Stonington, a minute ride. Everything about Denali is big. Home to some of North America's largest animals, including moose, caribou, and grizzly bears, the park could swallow up six Rhode Islands.

Then, of course, there's Mount McKinley, the capstone of the Alaska Range and the continent's tallest peak, at 20, feet. The mile gravel Park Road runs from the main entrance and is plied by hop-on, hop-off buses. Most private vehicles are not permitted past mile 15, though the strong-legged might consider tackling portions of it by bike.

Glacier national Park Photo: PhotoDisc. Before global warming renders it the "Park Formerly Known as Glacier," visit this northern Montana refuge to appreciate its plus miles of trails, lakes, dozens of glaciers, and hundreds of animal species, including bighorn sheep and gray wolves. The North and Middle forks of the Flathead River are magnets for both fly-fishermen looking to hook cutthroats and rainbows, and whitewater kayakers and rafters after thrills on Class III rapids with names like Jaws and Bone Crusher.


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The best route begins at Logan Pass, a popular trailhead off the park's main road, and runs for 33 miles to the remote Goat Haunt ranger station, near the Canadian border. From there, you can either hike ten miles around or take a minute boat ride across Waterton Lake to the Canadian town of Waterton. Photo: John McCormick.

It all starts with the water. Below, he walks us through his ideal Boise day: a bike-based quadrathlon via the Greenbelt, a mile path along the Boise River. Hop on your bike and cast for steelhead and trout 2 anywhere along the path as you pedal toward downtown. Backtrack 1. Try the Blood Orange Rustler and toss horseshoes in the courtyard. Photo: Christopher Kimmel.


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A minute drive to the east are the rugged, glaciated peaks of North Cascades National Park. On flat days, McEntee rides horses into the jungle or cruises a stand-up paddleboard along the Hanalei River. The 6,acre Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, including its spectacular mile hike to a secluded beach, sits just a few miles west. Living in a vacation hot spot means high prices and limited employment prospects.

It all feels so healthy. Photo: Petar Dopchev Photography. Hike, Bike, and Climb: Hartman Rocks , a few minutes from town, includes more than 8, acres of public land, including bike trails and climbing crags. Paddle: Less than two miles from downtown is Gunnison Whitewater Park. Photo: Bruce McCammon Photography. Woody Woodward wanted three things out of life, and he found them all in this city on the sunny, dry side of the Cascades, three and a half hours southeast of Portland. Mission accomplished.

Bend has grown from 14, residents to nearly 90, since Woodward arrived, and much else has changed, including housing costs. For this coming winter, Mount Bachelor, 22 miles southwest of town, is installing a high-speed quad to access acres of new ski and snowboard slopes, an expansion that will make the volcano the fifth-largest ski area in the U. These riches have drawn more than 70 outdoor-product companies to Bend, including Cairn, Hydro Flask, and Ruffwear.

Not bad for a once broke timber burg. That mile trail run around the icy Three Sisters peaks? The mountain helped start the ski-racing careers of brothers Zach and Reggie Crist, both U.

Climbing & Camping

Ski Team members and X Games ski-cross medalists. The irony, says Zach Crist, is that the better skiing and climbing and hiking can be found in any of the four other, wilder mountain ranges surrounding Ketchum—the Pioneers, the Boulders, the White Clouds, and the Sawtooths. That makes it the de facto gateway to the 1. Spend two hours paddling and portaging up to Rose Lake on the Canadian border.

Stop at the Trail Center Lodge for a malt—a post-paddle tradition—before driving back to town. Watch out for moose! Photo: Michael Deleon. We asked Wells how to make the most of each season. Hike through yellowing aspens on a 2. The tiny in-town ski area, Chapman Hill, stays open in the evenings, so kids and parents can shred after school.

Closer to downtown it mellows out. Photo: Michael Hanson. From the top of the foot Space Needle, you can watch sailboats drift on Lake Union and green and white ferries zigzag across Puget Sound. The local job market is strong, thanks in part to giants like Amazon and Microsoft.

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There are downsides, of course. And as you might have heard, it rains from time to time. Try your hand at salmon fishing or just enjoy the views. Head to the Seattle Art Museum to take in some downtown culture.