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Maggie Donohoo

Maggie is a Chicago-born creative and photographer. She has a passion for visual and creative storytelling, exploring wild landscapes, and interacting with unique individuals.

The Lake Blanche Trail is by far my absolute favorite hike in the Wasatch Mountains. The trail is about 6.6 miles round-trip, but the stellar panoramic view from the top makes it worth the effort. This hike is not for the faint of heart as the first 3 miles are entirely uphill, include narrow passes, and require you to do some basic scrambling. There is free parking at the trailhead, and a public restroom.

Donut Falls is a family-friendly, 3-mile, our-and-back hike. There is ample parking at the trailhead and public restrooms. The trail leads you through dense pine trees, across streams, and to the base of a spectacular feat of nature - a donut-shaped waterfall. I highly recommend you scramble up the rock face to see the opening. Please note, this hike gets quite crowded on the weekend and during the day.

The Little Dell Reservoir is an absolutely stellar, man-made lake suitable for fishing, kayaking, and escaping the populous city. The water is quite calm and the city does an outstanding job of keeping it clean. Please note, there is a $5 entrance fee.

This is hands-down the best viewpoint/hike in Hocking Hills State Park. The trail is short, well-marked, well-maintained and doable for all ages/skill levels. Old Man’s Cave is absolutely beautiful and features lush plant species against a warm rocky backdrop. I recommend you bring plenty of water and wear shoes with good tread as the dew from the waterfall can make the trail slippery at times.

This was a family-friendly, quick hike that leads to a nice waterfall. Beware the crowds on the weekend and in the summertime - we started out in the early morning and by the time we left there were hundreds of people. The trail was well-marked and well-maintained, but I would highly recommend that you wear proper shoes with a good grip as parts of the trail may be slippery. Stay safe and have fun!

The hike to Exit Glacier was well-marked, well-paved and boasts stunning landscapes. There are several options for shorter and easier routes along the base of the mountain. I highly recommend you wear shoes with good traction as the rocky surface can become a bit slippery, especially during the morning. As always, remain bear-aware by ensuring you have the proper safety gear, bring plenty of water and have fun!

Flattop Mountain is a fun, half-day hike for intermediate and experienced climbers. The trail starts out through some beautiful patches of trees and is a constant uphill climb for most of it. The last portion of the trail to the peak is rather technical, steep and I wouldn’t recommend you bring small children, especially in the off-season when the trail is covered by heavy snow. Overall, this is a fun way to escape the city and get an amazing view of the mountains and downtown Anchorage. I highly recommend you wear proper hiking boots or shoes and use poles to help maintain your stability on the mountain.

The hike to Toketee Falls is a fantastic destination for families, parents and friends. I visited in March when there was still over a foot of snowfall, which was absolutely stunning. The powdery whites, lush greens and icy blues made for a unique and photogenic landscape. The trail is well-paved and well-marked, however, if you want to see the waterfall up close you must hop a fence and scale a decent size wall. If you are physically able, not afraid of heights and within your comfort zone then I highly recommend you do this. The lake below is cool and beautiful, not to mention the interesting rock formations. Parking is free, first come first serve and the trail is around 1.6 miles roundtrip. As always, be sure to pack plenty of water, wear sunscreen and proper footwear, be safe and have fun!

This is perhaps my favorite hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. There is something for everyone from waterfalls, to spectacular views. I would highly recommend you do this hike early or late-afternoon as it is popular and can become overcrowded during the day. Also be sure to pack plenty of snacks, sunscreen and wear proper footwear. This is not a hike for the faint of heart, but a good challenge!

My family and I spent three days at the Elkmont Campground and this trail was conveniently located across the street. The trail is well-paved, almost completely flat, a good spot to fish and take a morning stroll. This is the perfect family-friendly trail with several cabins and historical sites to explore as you follow the river up. I recommend you wear water shoes as there are several spots to wade in the river, cool off and enjoy the day.

The Indiana Dunes State Park is a fantastic destination for families, parents and friends. There are not many beaches in the Midwest, so this is a true gem. The parking fee is $10, there are confessions and restrooms available and a small gift shop with any last minute beach necessities (sunscreen, sand toys, boogie boards). Beware, in the summertime the sand gets extremely hot and I mean HOT. Wear flip flops at all times and be safe!

I grew up in Illinois, a state that desperately lacks notable landscapes, National parks and hiking trails. Starved Rock is, therefore, quite the gem and offers the unique opportunity to escape city and suburban life for a weekend in nature. The Sandstone Point and Overlook Trail is great for families, offers some beautiful views and is well-marked and well-maintained. I would highly recommend oh visit in the early fall when the leaves are changing color, the weather is cooler and animals are still active. Remember to bring plenty of water and snacks, be safe and have fun!

The Bright Angel Trail is one of my favorite at the Grand Canyon. The trail begins near the Grand Canyon Village, right behind the Bright Angel Lodge. There are plenty of rest stops and areas to use the restroom or refill your water. I would recommend you do this trail in cooler weather as the ascent can be rather difficult in extreme heat. Keep in mind that for every hour you descend it takes about 2 to ascend - the views are just as good at mile marker 1.5 as they are at mile marker 3, so it is completely unnecessary to continue on into the canyon for a day hike. Otherwise, the Indian Garden Campground is the perfect place to spend the night, stargaze and relax before making the climb back up.

This was the first stop we made upon arriving to the Grand Canyon and it did not disappoint. The views from here are absolutely amazing, the edge is safeguarded and friendly for all ages, wheelchair accessible and there are food and souvenir options. This stop does get crowded - the watchtower gets backed up with people going up the stairs to the various lookouts. I recommend you check out another viewpoint if this one is backed up.

Horseshoe Bend was the perfect place to get out of our vehicle, stretch our legs and go for a short hike. Beware, the trail is well-marked, but sandy and insanely overcrowded. This trail might be difficult for those with physical limitations and is around 1.5 miles round trip. That being said, the view is absolutely stunning and there is plenty of space to venture off trail and take photos of landscapes. The cost is 5 dollars per person and the parking lot is currently being renovated, so there is a shuttle that drops/picks you up from the trail head. I do not recommend you go out of your way for this, but it is a fun stop if you are passing through.

Clingmans Dome boasts some of the best views of the Smoky Mountains, however, this is also an extremely crowded and popular trail. I would highly recommend you begin in the early morning and catch the sunrise or the early evening and catch the sunset. There will also be less people on the trail at these times, allowing for easier parking and a more enjoyable experience at the top. This trail is wheelchair and stroller friendly, well-paved and well-maintained, but very steep in some parts. Be sure to pack water and your camera and have fun!

Laurel Falls is a fun and easy hike for families, the elderly and those who want to see some decent views of the mountains and a waterfall. Beware, this hike is extremely crowded so I highly recommend you begin in the early morning or late afternoon. There is plenty of parking near the trailhead and the trail can be completed in about 60 minutes round-trip. It is also stroller friendly, well-marked and well-paved.

This is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. The hike down is rather steep, but well-paved and once you reach the bottom it’s as if you have entered the world of Avatar. The water is a clear, blue-green color, absolutely stunning and the photo opportunities are endless. The walkways can get a little crowded during peak season/hours, so I recommend you get there earlier in the day. There is also a limited number of admission passes sold each day, so try and purchase yours ahead of time. The paths are well-marked and you have the freedom to explore as you wish, choosing how far to go and which direction to explore.

This trail is the perfect choice for anyone wanting amazing views of Table Mountain and Cape Town. Beware, this hike is not for the faint of heart - it begins with several switchbacks, is continuously uphill and challenging. It is well-marked, well-kept and you have the freedom to turn around at any point and head back down. I recommend you bring plenty of water, wear good shoes and bring your camera.

This was an enjoyable, short hike with plenty of photo opportunities, encounters with wildlife (ostriches and baboons) and views of the coast. The beaches were pleasant and the trails were well-kept. I recommend you do this hike in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. There are a couple restaurants on-site, as well as, a gift shop and restrooms. The lighthouse is beautiful and easily accessible. Beware the baboons - they aren’t afraid of humans, will steal your things and will scratch or bite if they feel threatened.

This was a fairly easy and fun hike. The trail is well-paved, has a gradual incline, which becomes steeper as you go, and leads to several waterfalls and natural pools. I highly recommend you wear water-friendly clothing and jump in. The locals are kind, the pools aren’t too crowded and there are plenty of vendors selling delicious, fresh masala chai tea to warm up after.

This is my absolute favorite trail of all time! We began at Sunrise Point, hiked down to Tower Bridge, around the Fairyland Loop and back along the eastern part of the Rim Trail. The views are stunning - the red, pink, orange, yellow, white and green colors are incredible. This loop offers plenty of up close views of the hoodoos, several landmarks and landscapes. The trail does lack shade so be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen. I cannot recommend this trail enough. It is an absolute bucket-list must-do!

The Tower Bridge hike begins at Sunrise Point and took around a two hours round-trip. The hike down is currently muddy and narrow in some parts due to snowmelt. The path is otherwise well-paved, clearly marked and full of exciting twists and turns. The views are absolutely incredible, perhaps some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen!

The Bryce Canyon scenic drive is a fantastic way to see all the major sights, but beware the road is currently closed off beyond the natural bridge due to snowfall. The best sights are definitely the natural bridge and inspiration point. Bryce Canyon is a natural wonder, absolutely stunning and bursting with unique views and hikes. For those who are physically unable to descend into the canyon, have no fear of missing out - the scenic drive is amazing!