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Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park Trail?


What's your favorite hike in the National Park System?

What's your favorite trail in the National Park System? That can be a tough question. Some believe hiking the "Narrows" in Zion National Park is as good as it gets. Others might say a multi-day outing on the John Muir Trail through Yosemite National Park down to Devil's Postpile National Monument and on to Sequoia National Park and Mount Whitney is the best there is.

And then, of course, there's the Appalachian Trail, which you can take for more than 2,000 miles while passing through sections of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And there are water trails, as well.

So, what's the answer? What's your favorite trail in the National Park System? Is it a day hike, a long-weekend, or a multi-week trek?


I'll go with the Garden Wall in Glacier National Park.

If your ever in Maui, Hawaii try this one. I love the 12 mile Sliding sands trail to Halemalu cabin and up the switchbacks. If you do it you need to leave early in the day. I don't recommend an out and back on sliding sands as its too hard to go back up. Bring lunch, layered clothing, lots of water and suncreen for your neck/face unless you want to be a redneck. hiking at 8,500 feet can be a challenge so make sure you are up for the challenge. What you can do is park at the visitor center. When you finish the trail walk thru the parking lot cross the street and walk down the short trail to hiker pick up. Most times it shouldn't talk long to hitch a ride as it is a posted spot for pick ups and hitchhiking is legal here in Hawaii. Any questions feel free to let meknow as I used to lead this hike as a tour guide I did it 25 times or so. Enjoy!!

The Mist Trail in Yosemite. It's short, strenuous, and packed. It also features what may be the most perfect waterfall in the Western US in Vernal Fall. I think it also looks better when at moderate water levels - more like a flat curtain of water than a raging waterfall.

Other than that - maybe the Sky Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore.

I'd go so far as to classify the Half Dome cables, the Virgin River Narrows, and the route up Angels Landing as cross country.

Mountain biking on the Collier Ridge Loop in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area!

Trail Description from the park's website:

Beginning from the Bandy Creek Visitor Center the trail starts and finishes on the West Bandy Creek Road.
1.1 miles after leaving the Visitor Center the single track begins, turning left off West Bandy Creek Road. Look for and follow the marker posts.
The single track section features creek crossings, jumps, sandstone climbs and drops, short slalom sections through trees and fast downhill runs.
1.8 miles after leaving West Bandy Creek Road the trail splits offering riders the choice of a novice or advanced section.
If you are not an advanced rider continue straight to Hwy 297, turn right and ride single file near the white line. Look for the marker to turn right back onto the single track.
The advanced ride turns right coming immediately to a sandstone ledge with a steep drop. Beyond this the trail features numerous steep climbs and drops with some sharp turns and log crossings.
Once the two sections rejoin either continue west along Hwy 297 and take the West Bandy Trail (see below) or remain on the Collier Ridge Trail for another 2.3 miles back to the West Bandy Creek Road. Turn right and return to the Visitor Center.

Total novice ride is 8.0 miles with 3.6 miles of gravel/paved road and 4.4 miles of single track.

Total advanced ride is 7.7 miles with 2.2 miles of gravel road and 5.5 miles of single track.

The Congress Trail at Sequoia. Wonderland exists!

How about the Glacier Gorge trail system in Rocky Mountain National Park? It's one of my favorites. Beautiful lakes, stunning peaks, wildflowers and usually plenty of wildlife.

If you all don't mind, I would like to nominate another trail as special. This is the old Teddy Roosevelt trail into Rainbow Bridge. Roosevelt went there before visiting a park for a president was a photo op; he just wanted to see the Bridge. Finding the trail head is tricky. It is on the Navajo reservation. It is best to seek guidance before starting out trying to find it. There is a large carin at the trail head. We left our car there. I did it quite a few years ago and I seem to remember that it was an overnight in and an overnight out. Of course, the payoff is seeing Rainbow Bridge from the dry side, not having arrived in a boat. Take plenty of water as it was a desert trail that didn't provide a lot of water stops. The scenery in and out was gorgeous.

Rick Smith

On of my favorites is the relatively short hike up to the top of Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National will get your heart pounding pretty good and on a clear day (without forest fire smoke) the vistas are just amazing.

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