Grand Teton National Park Easy Hiking Tips and Trips 

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No matter what your fitness level, there are many hikes to be enjoyed in Grand Teton National Park. Best of all, you do not have to be a mountain climber to enjoy the beautiful vistas, canyons, and waterfalls in the park.

Be Prepared
Weather can and does change rapidly in the mountains. Take along extra clothing when hiking into the higher elevations, wear sunscreen, and take plenty of water and high energy snacks. If you are planning a long hike, start in the morning and keep your eye on the time. You do not want to be caught on the trail after dark.

Be Bear Aware

You will notice these signs everywhere in the park. Take them seriously. At certain times of the year, some trails may be closed due to increased bear activity. Park rangers put on bear safety presentations which you should also consider attending.

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Whenever you are hiking in the park always take along bear spray, know how to use it, have it immediately available, and talk or make noise while you hike. Never hike alone.

Lakeshore Trail Hike at Colter Bay, Jackson Lake

This flat, 2.0 mile loop trail follows the shoreline along a peninsula in Colter Bay. You will enjoy beautiful views of Mount Moran across Jackson Lake and reflections in Colter Bay. The trail begins on a paved service road near the boat docks at the Colter Bay Marina.

Heron Pond and Swan Lake Hike

If you enjoy waterfowl, wildlife, and water lily covered ponds, this hike is for you. Look for trumpeter swans, beaver, moose, and bears. This relatively flat hike starts at Colter Bay Village and is a 3.0 mile loop.

Willow Flats Shuttle or Loop Hike

When snow still covers the mountain trails in the spring, the Willow Flats area west of Jackson Lake will be snow free and ready for hiking. The willows and marshes are prime habitat for a variety of wildlife. Look for moose, sandhill cranes, beaver, bears, and other wildlife. The area is, as the name suggests, flat and it can get rather warm trekking through the flats and open meadows due to the lack of shade trees so you may want to choose a cooler day for this hike.

The shuttle hike is 4.9 miles. You can start the shuttle hike from either the Colter Bay coral or at the small parking lot on the south side of Jackson Lake Lodge. For the shuttle, you will need to park your car at either end and get a ride back to the trailhead. The loop trail is 8.3 miles starting at the Jackson Lake Lodge trailhead. The shuttle and first part of the loop trail are actually an abandoned dirt service road.

String Lake Hike

Nestled between Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake, what String Lake lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. This relatively flat 3.4 mile loop hike is wheelchair accessible for approximately 0.3 miles and we maneuvered a sturdy stroller through the entire hike with an occasional lift by Mom and Dad. You’ll enjoy beautiful mountain views reflecting in a placid lake, footbridges, and streams. Begin your hike at the String Lake Trailhead parking lot by turning west at the North Jenny Lake Junction turnoff from Teton Park Road.

Taggart Lake Hike

This 4.0 mile loop hike. Park your car at the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking lot (off Teton Park Road) and follow the path to your right (north). You will soon be crossing the footbridge over Taggart Creek, the perfect spot for your first picture. I can not exactly call this hike easy as it is a gradual uphill climb to Taggart Lake. You may need to make a few pit stops to catch your breath but continue on. You will be rewarded with splendid views of the Grand Teton over the lake. Once you cross the footbridge at the outlet of the lake there is a little bit more of a climb but the rest is all downhill. Be sure to turn around to catch the view overlooking Taggart Lake.

Jenny Lake Hike

Some consider Jenny Lake to be the most picturesque lake in the park, and it is gorgeous. This 7.7 mile loop takes you all the way around the shoreline of Jenny Lake. Start your hike by parking in either the String Lake Trailhead parking lot or the parking lot at the South Jenny Lake Junction off of Teton Park Road. I recommend starting at the String Lake Trailhead in the morning. This way you will be arriving at the south end of Jenny Lake around lunch time where you can grab a bite to eat, enjoy the visitor center, and use the facilities before completing your hike. A worthy side trip while on this hike is the loop up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock

If you are not up for the 7.7 mile loop around Jenny Lake, take the boat from the South Jenny Lake parking lot. The boat departs approximately every 15 minutes and is a beautiful ride across the lake. Once you disembark, it is only a 0.2 mile hike to Hidden Falls and another 0.4 miles on to Inspiration Point where you’ll enjoy sweeping vistas of Jenny Lake and the valley below. This is a gradual but simple climb on a well traveled trail. If you are afraid of heights, you may not be able to complete the last section of trail up to Inspiration Point as the trail is on the side of a rock wall although the drop-off is not as high as it seems. Looking out over the valley makes you feel like you are way up in the air. There is a very nice lookout point just before this last bit of trail so you can still enjoy the view from up here.

Cascade Canyon Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock

The Cascade Canyon hike continues on past Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The is the perfect opportunity to get into the back country with mountains soaring above you on either side. After leaving Inspiration Point, the trail climbs steeply for about a mile but once you get past this it becomes a gradual climb through the meadows of the canyon. You will hear and see crystal clear Cascade Creek roaring through the canyon to Hidden Falls below. The trail is 9.8 miles round trip if you go all the way to the junction with the Lake Solitude and Paintbrush Canyon trails. If you are planning to take the boat back across Jenny Lake on your return be sure to check the last departure time before you leave. If you miss the boat you can follow the Jenny Lake Trail and additional 2.1 miles back to the parking lot. Due to the higher elevation of this climb and lingering snow, the best months to complete the hike are July and August. Check with a park ranger for trail conditions.

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This is by no means an all inclusive list of easy to moderate trails within Grand Teton National Park. There are many more and several of the above trails have off-shoot loops taking you to an additional lake or hidden mountain treasure. If you love to hike, buy yourself a book on the trails in the park. Most hiking books have graded the trails according to difficulty level so all can enjoy the splendor of Grand Teton National Park.

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Article by Casey & Ruby

Sedona boasts over 100 hikes through magnificent red rocks, famous overlooks, mystical vortexes, and flowing streams.

This once quiet community has become one of the most popular destinations in the country for outdoor enthusiasts. Sedona was named #5 Best places to Hike in North America. In fact, Arizona claimed two of the top ten spots on the list (go AZ!).

One of the main draws to Sedona is the accessibility of the surrounding wilderness. Many of the hiking trails can be accessed by passenger cars and are short in length.

In this post, I have found the 5 most popular Sedona hikes under 5 miles for a quick and easy way to explore one of the nations top hiking destinations! Enjoy.

*Note: Some of Sedona’s trails require a Red Rock Pass ($5 per day or $15 per week). The nice part about the fee is that all the money goes to protecting the landscape.

Map: Here is a great Map of the area. As you can see, many of the more popular trails are located on Highway 179 or Highway 89A.


         Time: 2 hrs.

         Elevation Change: + 250 ft.

         Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

This hike is a fan favorite for many reasons. First, the trailhead is located right off Highway 179 which makes the trailhead easy to get to. Also, it’s a loop hike that takes you around some of the most prominent rock features in Sedona. The loop, which is just under 4.5 miles, offers stunning views of Bell Rock, Castle Rock, and Courthouse Butte. Beginning at the Bell Rock pathway (see picture above) take the wide, popular trail clockwise until you junction with Courthouse Butte Trail. Continue on the Courthouse Butte Trail which will meander through a dry wash and gradually ascends and levels off to a fairly nice flat hike. The loop will first send you around Bell Rock (the one that looks like a bell 😉 ) and then over towards Courthouse Butte. There are other trails that connect to Courthouse Butte Loop such as Llama Trail but the path is well marked. When in doubt, follow the large cairns which help navigate your way.


                 Time: 1.5 hours

                 Elevation change: +400 ft.

                  Difficulty: Moderate

Devils Bridge is the largest, and most famous, natural sandstone bridge in the area. From the trailhead hikers will stroll gradually uphill on an old jeep road until you reach a fork in the road at around 3/4 of a mile. The trail to the left takes you directly under the arch (which is quite a sight to behold) and the trail to the right takes you on a steep path towards the top of the arch. I recommend doing both, however, the trek to the top of the arch is not very kid friendly. Once you’ve ventured your way up the steep trail to the top your lack of breath will match the “breathtaking” views of the red rock country. For those who are a bit more adventurous, take a stroll across the arch but please use a little common sense!


                    Time: 1.5 hours

                     Elevation change: +200 ft.

                     Difficulty: East

Fay Canyon is a well known and popular destination for casual viewers and hikers alike. Many people come to Fay Canyon for a glimpse of the natural arch that’s located about half a mile up the trail. However, if you aren’t looking for the arch it is easy to glance right at it and not realize what you’ve seen. Watch the rock wall to the north (right side) of the trail and you can’t miss it. The trail leads to a short, steep, and un-maintained trail that takes you directly to the arch.

After you’ve located the arch, I recommend that you continue forward. There is a small, hidden canyon that offers nice views of the surrounding cliffs. The trail follows an old jeep road and eventually turns into a single track footpath. It ends at a red Supai sandstone cliff where you can see evidence of some ancient Native American dwellings. Enjoy your time, respect your surroundings, and return the way you came.


                      Time: 2 hours

                        Elevation change: +600 ft.

                        Difficulty: Difficult

If spectacular views and a vigorous workout appeals to you than this is your hike! This hike may be one of the most popular hike in Sedona so get to the trailhead early and expect to share the trail with many other hikers. Use this Map to locate the trail.

More of a rock climb than a hike, this trail is unshaded and steep and difficult in places. Follow the basket cairns across the wash and up the moderate slope toward the spires. At 0.25 mile, the trail emerges on a broad ledge with nice views. Then, it ascends steeply over bald rock and in a shallow cleft with a few toeholds notched into the rock to help on the steeper places.


                      Time: 1.5 hours

                         Elevation change: +400 ft.

                         Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 1.5 hours

Elevation change: +400 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail offers spectacular views of the red rock country. Doe Mountain Trail is a popular hike, and for good reason. The trail not only provides tons of scenery for little sweat, but the trailhead is easily accessible as well.

From the ample parking lot at its trailhead, the Doe Mountain Trail switchbacks directly up the north side of this low, flat-topped Mesa. As you climb, you’ll want to take time out to enjoy the excellent views of the surrounding countryside. A layer of erosion resistant cap rock has given Doe Mountain its classic mesa shape and provides hikers with a great platform from which enjoy the panoramic view.

From this 400 foot high perspective, you can see a number of the Sedona Red Rocks Country’s more prominent landmarks . You’ll see Bear, Maroon, and Wilson mountains, Loy, Boynton, and Secret Canyons, Chimney Rock, and the Cockscomb to name a few. Sedona is visible to the east and off to the south, Munds Mountain and Sycamore Pass mark the location of Sycamore Canyon and the Verde Valley.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, for your Spring Breake Vacation?

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park offers a wide variety of natural resources including 3.2 miles of secluded, white sand beaches with majestic dunes over 25 feet tall. Three rare coastal dune lakes provide excellent freshwater fishing. Although boats are not allowed, fishing from the shoreline yields bass, bream, panfish, and catfish.

Lakes, pristine beaches, old-growth long leaf pines, sand pine scrub, and a variety of wetlands offer a bird-watching and hiking paradise. Visitors may bike, walk, or enjoy a quick ride to the beach on the tram service to swim, fish, sunbathe, or beachcomb.

A full-facility campground features a swimming pool, tennis courts, and shuffleboard courts. Furnished bungalows are available for weekly stays. A camp store offers a variety of camping items, as well as snacks and drinks. Located in Santa Rosa Beach on the West end of Scenic 30A.

Throughout the year, there are ranger-led interpretive programs with topics that include fishing in the surf, freshwater fishing, beachcombing and learning about burning. Other guided tours offer wildlife discussions on sea turtles, alligators, sharks, butterflies, the Choctawhatchee Beach mouse, shore birds and birds of prey. Check ranger activities for program details.

The park’s options of tent and RV sites, cabins and bungalows make this a perfect destination for family-friendly year-round vacations. A tram carries guests to the beach, but visitors can also walk or ride bikes along the paved path to the shore. There are 13 miles of hiking trails for those wishing to explore the 1,640-acre park.

Guided tours like the beachcombing interpretive walk are fun for the whole family. Head to the beach where the rangers teach you what to look for there. You can discover the difference between sea beans and egg casings or the type of shells you find scattered along the shoreline. Other interpretive programs are guided walks where rangers take a group out to look at flora and fauna or visit the various ecosystems at the park.

Another interpretive offering features sea turtles. A hands-on turtle program on the beach demonstrates the various turtle crawls. To recreate the actions of a nesting sea turtle, children crawl around obstacles as she would to get to a safe and protected spot to lay her eggs.

There are also puppet shows, mainly for children but adults enjoy them as well.

Breakfast with a ranger provides biscuits and gravy, eggs, pancakes, orange juice and coffee for $4. While visitors eat breakfast, a ranger answers questions about the park and park life. The entrance fee is waived for this event.

Topsail was recently selected as one of the top campgrounds in the country providing tours and events. Although the summer is a busy time with lots of activities, there is always something happening a Topsail.

For a schedule of events, contact the park at (850) 267-8330.

Cool Things to See in Big Bend National Park

Article Contributer James Stafford

Big Bend National Park in West Texas’s Chihuahuan Desert exceeds 800,000 acres. To put that into perspective, the park is bigger than Rhode Island. Big Bend boasts breathtaking desert landscapes, hundreds of bird species, dozens of reptile species, buildings dating back to the 1800s, artifacts dating back 9,000 years, and animal fossils dating back to the Cretaceous Period. The park also includes these  exciting features.

The Window Trail

The Window Trail is a path leading to a V-shaped canyon called the Window, a perfect vantage point for sunset-viewing. The hike towards the Window is downhill all the way; the hike away from the Window is especially strenuous. The backdrop is one-of-a-kind, though, and the desert peaks magnificent to behold.

 Boquillas Canyon Rapids 

Boquillas Canyon offers a whitewater rapids expedition you’ll never forget. It‘s a 33 mile-long trip down the Rio Grande, and includes two nights of camping out beneath a canyon rising 1,200 feet. The experience is mystical.

 Langford Hot Springs

Sitting in Langford Hot Springs, situated adjacent the Rio Grande, is like sitting in a hot tub, but even more refreshing. The waters of these springs are about 105 degrees Fahrenheit; the springs were formed by volcanic activity.

 Emory Peak 

Emory Peak is the highest point of the Chisos Mountains, a mountain range completely contained within Big Bend National Park. And you can scale Emory Peak via the Emory Peak Trail. No climbing gear is necessary, but you should be cautious the whole way up. You should also watch out for mountain lions.

Castolon Historic District

The adobe buildings of the Castolon Historic District give guests a taste of an earlier era. This section of the park was once home to a U.S. Army camp and to an encampment for Mexican refugees during the Mexican Revolution. The Castolon Visitor Center houses exhibitions related to both camps.

Chisos Mountains Lodge

If you’re looking to spend the night inside Big Bend but aren’t quite up to roughing it, the Chisos Mountains Lodge provides luxurious accommodations. The only lodge inside the park, it’s open all year long, and lets you stay in either a room or a cottage. And because Chisos Mountains Lodge is perched at an elevation of 5,400 feet, every room offers views that seem to stretch on forever.

Old Ore Road

Old Ore Road is 26 miles of unpaved scenic glory. This road served as a transport route for mining companies at the start of the twentieth century. Motorized vehicles have long since replaced the mules, however. Be sure your camera’s ready to go: Old Ore Road provides countless terrific shots of the mighty Chisos.

Sam Nail Ranch

Big Bend was once home to many a homesteader; the land resembled a John Wayne movie. One of those brave and hearty settlers was Sam Nail. Nail arrived in 1909, amassed 15,000 acres in the ensuing years, and departed in 1946. Today Nail’s former ranch is a place to sit beneath a willow or a walnut tree, admire the hummingbirds, and reflect upon the beauty of it all.
 The Colima Warbler

The Colima warbler is a mostly brown or gray bird , about 4.5 or 5 inches in length, with a yellowish-orange tail and white circles surrounding its eyes. The male Colima warbler also has a splash of orange atop its head. This bird nests on the ground, and is native to an area that extends from central Mexico to southwestern Texas. Each year between April and September, however, the Colima warbler can be found in the Chisos Mountains, and nowhere else in the world.

The Stars

Big Bend is far from city lights and sources of air pollution. As a result, the starfields visible from the park are stunning: The stars are vivid, sharp, and shaped like diamonds.



Things You Can’t Miss on Your First Visit to Bryce Canyon

Words truly do not describe the views you will encounter in Bryce Canyon National Park. Overlook this land of “hoodoos”, or pillars of rock, that fill the canyon and ignite your imagination. Stop at the many viewpoints to get the best shot, or go on a hike to experience the magnitude of this amazing place.What You Need to Know

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Utah’s high desert, making the temperatures a little colder at night and during the shoulder seasons than you may have been expecting. Days can still get very hot, so be sure to hike with plenty of water.

This Park is relatively small, but it has some incredible trails and viewpoints. During the summer, there is one parking spot for every four cars that enter the park, often making the popular spots hard to get into with your car. Consider taking the free park shuttle to minimize crowding and congestion, and to ensure that you will be able to stop and see everything on your list of things to do.

Getting Here

From Salt Lake City, travel south on I-15 for about 200 miles to UT-20 E, exit 95. Drive east on UT-20 for about 20 miles until you reach US-89 and take a right to travel south. Drive south on US-89 for 10 miles until you reach Panguitch. From Panguitch, take a left onto UT-12 heading east for 13 miles to reach the turnoff for the main entrance to Bryce Canyon, or UT-63.

Inspiration Point has the “iconic” view of Bryce Canyon that you are looking for. From this viewpoint, you are perched high above the many levels of hoodoos that fill the canyon to the brim. Gawk at the layers of red and white rock that have been eroded away, and have fun finding unique shapes and characters among the formations.

What You Need to Know

Inspiration Point actually consists of three viewpoints, each one gaining elevation and providing a more spectacular view. You do not need to do all three if you are not able to or feeling up to it….a great photo op awaits you at any of the three areas. I recommend hiking all the way to the top if you can.

Getting Here

From the Visitor Center, drive approximately 1.5 miles to the turn off for Inspiration Point. Take a left, and then another left soon after to reach the viewpoint.

Queens Garden Trail

Descend into the canyon to reach a hoodoo that has a striking resemblance to Queen Victoria. Hiking among the rock formations provides an added appreciation to your experience of Bryce Caynon. 

What You Need to Know

The Queen’s Garden Trail is a great trail to start with, as it is the easiest way to descend into the canyon. Don’t be deceived by the word “easy” though because you will still encounter some drastic changes in elevation. Some areas of the trail have a steep drop-off as well, so be sure to keep a close eye on your kids during those sections.

This trail is 1.8 miles round trip, but I suggest connecting it with the Navajo Loop as detailed below.

Getting Here

The Queen’s Garden Trail begins at Sunrise Point, which is located about 0.5 miles from the Visitor Center. Take a left toward the viewpoint and follow the road as it curves. You will need to park and walk a short distance to reach Sunrise Point and the beginning of the trail.

Bryce Point

One thing that I love about Bryce Canyon is how the landscape will provide you a drastically different view from each viewpoint. Bryce Point is about 200 feet higher in elevation than Inspiration Point which gives you a more birds-eye view of the hoodoos.

What You Need to Know

A short hike is required to get to the viewpoint from the parking area.

Getting Here

From the Visitor Center, drive about 1.5 miles to the turn-off for Bryce Point/Inspiration Point. From the turn-off, follow the road for 2 miles, keeping left as it veers toward the canyon rim. At the end of this road is the Bryce Point view area.

 Mossy Cave Trail


This trail is a hidden gem and provides a different view of what Bryce Canyon has to offer. Follow along a sparkling river to reach a cave of dripping water. Continue a little further along the trail to find a gorgeous waterfall. 

What You Need to Know

The Mossy Cave is cool, but the waterfall stole the show. This trail is very family friendly and a beautiful addition to your trip to Bryce. Be aware that the waterfall does not flow all year, only from May-October.

This trail is 0.8 miles round trip.

Getting Here

Instead of turning onto the main road of Bryce Canyon National Park, stay on Highway 12 heading toward the town of Tropic for 4 miles. A small parking area for the Mossy Cave Trail will be on your right.

Sunset Point

Although this viewpoint is called Sunset Point, it is beautiful any time of day! Stop here to see the slopes of the gorgeous multi-colored canyon with the hoodoos sticking out like they don’t belong.

What You Need to Know

See if you can spot Thor’s Hammer, a favorite formation in Bryce Canyon.

Getting Here

Just over a mile from the Visitor Center, take a left at the turn-off toward Sunset Point and follow to the parking area.

Night Hike / Full Moon Hike

If you want a completely different experience in Bryce, try a night hike or hike by the full moon. The night sky is truly phenomenal, especially paired with the mystical feeling of the hoodoos.

What You Need to Know

Ranger-guided night hikes are provided. If you are wanting to hike without a guide, be sure to pick a trail that you are familiar with, bring a headlamp or flashlight, wear sturdy shoes, and take a map just in case! I also suggest carrying an emergency blanket, a basic first aid kit, and plenty of food and water in case something should happen.

7. Sunrise Point

Sunrise Point has always been a favorite of mine because of its varying landscape. The hoodoos are beautiful, and I like the “sand dunes” surrounding them and the greenery growing in the crevices. Every view is different, but this viewpoint will allow you to single out some of your  hoodoos and enjoy them on a more individual basis.

Getting Here

From the Visitor Center, drive about 0.5 miles from the Visitor Center. Take a left toward the viewpoint and follow the road as it curves. You will need to park and walk a short distance to reach Sunrise Point.

Rim Trail

 The Rim Trail connects many of the viewpoints and hiking trailheads throughout the main section of Bryce, so chances are you are traveling on it without realizing it. From Fairyland Point to Bryce Point, this trail provides outstanding views of the canyon and provides an amazing photo op everywhere you turn.

What You Need to Know

The Rim Trail is 11 miles long and can be hiked the whole way, but I suggest picking a few points to travel between using this trail to enjoy some gorgeous canyon views. A popular part of the trail is from Sunrise to Sunset Points, which is approximately 1 mile round trip. This section of the trail is fairly flat and paved. Depending on how far you want to go, choose your spot and just start walking. Great views are guaranteed!

Getting Here

Entry points vary, but this trail can be accessed from many of the major viewpoints along the rim.

Fairyland Point


This area along the rim of Bryce Canyon is unique and less-traveled. A river runs through the red rock and down to the canyon floor below. Not many hoodoos dot the landscape from here, so this area provides a different look of the canyon and the surrounding area.

What You Need to Know

Fairyland Point is located outside of the fee area of Bryce National Park and is also a starting point for the Rim Trail.

Getting Here

From Highway 12, turn south onto Highway 63 toward Bryce Canyon. Drive for 3 miles, passing the park entrance sign and then taking a left onto the Fairyland Point road. Stay on this road for 1 mile until reaching the parking area.

Navajo Loop Trail

The Navajo Loop is one the favorite hikes in Bryce Canyon and is thevtop recommendation for a hike to do on your first trip….or second…or third. Walk through the slot canyon called Wall Street and enjoy the rock cliffs that surround you. Travel among the hoodoos and enjoy sweeping views of the canyon. This trail just may be the highlight of your trip!

What You Need to Know

Although the trail guide suggests hiking this trail clockwise, You can actually go counter-clockwise and hitting Wall Street at the beginning of the hike. Hikers have found that by going this way, it seem to avoid hiking with the crowds (which is always a plus). The descent into the canyon can be steep making your ascent fairly strenuous. Take your time and drink plenty of water as you are hiking up out of the canyon.

This trail is 1.3 miles round trip. I suggest taking the Navajo/Queen’s Garden Loop to cover some ground while you are down among the hoodoos. To do this, start at Sunset Point and take the trail heading right to descend into Wall Street. Follow the trail around and toward the Queen’s Garden, exiting at Sunrise Point and then walking the Rim Trail back to the Sunset Point parking area. If hiking this loop, the trail is 2.9 miles round trip.

Getting Here

Just over a mile from the Visitor Center, take a left at the turn-off toward Sunset Point and follow to the parking area.