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Sara SheehyExplorer

Writer | Nomad

The top of Lookout Mountain has nice views, but the views get even better as you drop down the sides and stop to wander on the side trails. Lots of hummingbirds. Drive carefully around the masses of bikers, and keep an eye out for longboarders who are hard to see and don't appear to have any regard for cars or bikers.

This popular trail has great views of Red Rocks, Hogback, and the Morrison Slide. Saw a fair amount of people on a weekday evening. Also came across a snoozing rattlesnake on the trail.

The Cypress Tree tunnels is impressive. The Marconi station at the end has a cool history, too.

I visited Chimney Rock in mid-April. The wildflowers weren't as impressive as I found at Tomales Point, but there were plenty to see. There have been cliff fissures at Chimney Rock so there are signs everywhere warning hikers to stay on the main trail. On the hike back to my car I noticed elephant seals on the beach at the Lifeboat Station. I detoured down that trail and found a pile of baby elephant seals playing and basking in the sunshine. A fence separates you from the beach, and signs warn to give the seals space. There is also a short hike from the same trailhead as Chimney Rock that leads to a large beach full of elephant seals in the spring months. The view isn't as close as the seals at Lifeboat Station, but there are many more of them.

This beach is great for dogs with a nice, gentle surf and a wide beach.

I hiked to Alamere Falls on a bluebird Saturday which followed a rainy Friday. It was the perfect storm for the most crowded trail I've ever experienced. I arrived at 8AM, which I'd recommend for anyone going on the weekend. The hike in was relatively quiet, and the falls had a dozen or so people already at them. I thought that was busy, but it was nothing compared to the hundreds of people I passed on the hike back out. The hike is pretty, and the falls are beautiful, but head to this one either on an early morning or a week day.

Watch for whales in the spring! The rangers at the lighthouse shared that whales far from shore are typically humpbacks, and whales close to shore are typically gray whales. Great photo opportunities around the lighthouse.

This hike is a beauty! I got there right after sunrise and there were only three other cars in the lot. The tule elk were active and, though cautious, not too interested in me. The trail is easy to follow even once it becomes "unmaintained." I hiked on a beautiful, cloud-free Sunday and on the hike back to my car I passed an endless stream of hikers. I'm glad I got there early! My hike in was relatively quiet, with only the occasional hiker around. The parking lot, and road into the lot, were packed. I saw enough runners to assume this is a great trail for running.

This hike is worth the stop to acquire a permit and the drive to the trailhead. The hike meanders through enormous downed trees (some hollowed out to walk through) and, as mentioned above, is rarely busy. I enjoyed the hike through the forest even more than the tall trees stand itself.

Fiery Furnace makes for a fantastic adventure in Arches. There are also ranger-led tours of Fiery Furnace everyday from spring to fall. You need to either reserve a space well in advance or try and snag a last minute ticket at the ranger station if someone cancels.

I love camping at the spot called "The Wedding Tree" at the top of the hill on Gros Ventre Road. Amazing views!

An iconic New England day hike.

Beautiful falls which are often uncrowded. The water level varies through the year so there are times when the falls run light.



There is also an Appalachian Mountain Club hut nearby (reservations at outdoors.org) which is great for a family adventure.



Lake Bled is a spectacular place. In addition to the Castle mentioned above (which is a worthy hike - the views are stunning!) swing by the Villa Bled, which was the summer residence of Yugoslavian President Tito, and ask nicely at the front desk to see the ballroom with Tito's revolutionary murals. After completing the loop swing by the Park Restaurant to eat one Lake Bled's famous Bled Cream Cake. Lake Bled is also home to the Slovenian national and Olympic rowing team, and you may see them out on the waters.

The GTM Reserve is wild and beautiful. The hiking is varied and the natural dunes a stunning entrance to the beach. Look for sharks teeth on the beach. When I was there it was quiet - we saw only a few others. We also saw a rattlesnake who was uninterested in us, though we gave him a wide berth.