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Andrew Todd

Web developer by weekday. Cyclist, hiker, and bookworm the rest of the time.

I arrived at the parking area around 6am on a Saturday and it was almost empty, so early is definitely better for weekend hikes. The trail was in great condition, even after rain the night before. Even in the heat of summer, this is a beautiful & not too long or overly strenuous hike, & any minor steepness you endure is well worth it for the views at the top.

East Palisades is a great local trail system - it's easy to quickly get away from it all & into the woods in a space that's big enough to actually feel like you're not in the city. In the winter (when the trees are bare) there can be a decent amount of traffic noise from nearby 285, but it's not too bad. There's a lot of diversity of terrain & scenery too - hills, flats, rivers, creeks, rock walls, & even a section of bamboo forest. When you need to take an hour or two for yourself in nature, head to East Palisades!

Flat Top is the slightly longer brother to neighboring Sharp Top, but the additional time spent on the trail is well worth it. It's not a terribly difficult hike, though not easy either. There are two trail options, the steeper (shorter) one begins down from the Peaks of Otter Lodge, the longer begins on the other side of the mountain across from the entrance to Fallingwater Cascades trail. Whichever you choose, there will be some great bouldering problems, photo opportunities, & of course great views & scrambling from 2 or 3 different vantage points at the top.

I hiked this a day or two after an ice storm - it was warm enough out for the hike, but the melting ice made the landscape super unique & fun. I love the variation in this trail from walking through the woods to climbing along the ridgeline. The views from the Tooth aren't bad either!

The Marbleyard is a place that never gets old - the time of year and the route you choose to ascend will ensure that your experience will be new every time. The Marbleyard is one of my all-time favorites - if you love scrambling, this is the place for you!

We backpacked the West Rim Trail from Lava Point to Angel's Landing over 2 days & 1 night. This area of the park is very quiet & remote, with a really neat alpine landscape at the higher elevations. Almost the entire trail provides stunning views, which makes it truly unforgettable. Depending on the time of year, don't count on being able to find water at the few springs, you may have to carry it all with you!

It can be difficult sometimes to find a hike off the main canyon in Zion that isn't overcrowded, but Hidden Canyon is that hike. There are some really nice views of Angel's Landing & the surrounding features from this trail, & the scrambling you get to do back in the actual canyon of Hidden Canyon is a lot of fun. This trail is also a great warm-up for Angel's Landing.

I did this loop in late spring & due to recent rains, the 7 or more creek crossings were flowing really well, which made it a trickier hike, but it was fun. Climbing back up to Clingman's Dome is a challenging hike, but well-worth it. Additionally, once you get away from Clingman's Dome & Andrew's Bald you'll most likely have a pretty quiet hike without many other people.

Yonah Mountain is a great balance of difficulty, length, & reward. The hike to the top is somewhat steep, but won't take too long, & the views at the top are really great! I appreciated how many different areas & spots to hang out there were once you make it to the top.

I found the Bear Hair Gap trail to be a really scenic & pretty trail. There aren't any sweeping views (though the Vogel overlook is pretty cool), but the creek crossings & not-too-challenging terrain makes this hike a worthwhile few hours!

My friends and I made this a 3-day, 2-night long weekend trip and had a great time. This route is fairly peaceful and secluded, and while you don't really get any amazing views until you arrive at the end (Clingman's Dome), it's a great time of quietly enjoying the forests and creeks. It is indeed a difficult hike, especially the last section after Jonas Creek, though this is also the best part of the trail with small waterfalls, rock faces jutting out along the trail, and beautiful pines. On a final note, when you're looking up campsites, #64, #70, & #71 are excellent options, just be sure to get your permits!

The Greenway is no doubt a relaxing place, but I also love that it provides a car-free commute option for me to ride my bike to and from work. At times (Saturday mornings when the weather is great) it can be a bit crowded, but even still the Greenway is my local go-to option for a little time spent outdoors.

My wife and I hiked this trail in early April, and with recent rainfall the creek/falls were beautiful. I've heard that this hike is very popular and can get crowded, but hiking on a Sunday morning at 9am was pretty quiet.