Malee Baker Oot

Malee is a freelance writer, outdoor enthusiast, and overzealous amateur photographer. She currently lives just outside Washington, DC with her sassy coonhound Baby Ruth.

Paddle, Hike, or Drive To These 6 Sites for Adirondacks Camping in New York

Designated as “Forever Wild,” New York’s Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. A collage of forests, sprawling wetlands, serpentine rivers, and high peaks, the park was protected in 1892 – and today, encompasses more than 6 million acres, including 1 million acres of wilderness. The mammoth park is dappled with more than 300 lakes and ponds, and perforated by nearly 6,000 miles of rivers and streams. On dry land, the protected area is traversed b

Pitch Your Tent at These 10 Rad West Coast BLM Camping Spots

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages more than 245 acres of public land across the United States – nearly 12 percent of the entire country. While some land under the agency’s purview is dedicated to managing natural resources like ores and timber, the BLM also oversees more than 35 million acres of what they call “National Conservation Lands.” That includes national monuments, wilderness areas, and national scenic trails. Most of these National Conservation Lands are in the West and focu

The 8 Hardest Mountain Biking Trails in the US, From Moab To Tahoe

From the red rock deserts of the Southwest to the leafy summits of the Blue Ridge Mountains, America’s most striking natural features have also inspired some of the country’s most extreme mountain biking trails. Studded with bone-rattling rock gardens, technical stretches of slickrock, adrenaline-charged drops, and ledges to inspire vertigo, these rides are not for beginners – or the faint of heart. With routes across 20 different states rated as Epics by the International Mountain Biking Assoc

The 6 Best Great Smoky Mountains Waterfalls and Swimming Holes

Shared by North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is anchored by one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth. As a peak-rippled portion of the extensive Appalachian chain, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to a staggering array of flora and fauna scattered between pine, spruce, and fir forests, among others. And they’re all fed by generous rainfall. In fact, the Smokies have the highest annual rainfall in the southeastern United States, with higher elevations receiving

5 Backpacking Trips for Beginners Ready to Explore

Ready to make the leap from casual hiker to full-on backpacker? The Blue Ridge is full of accessible escapes that are just remote enough for first forays into backcountry overnights. From spruce groves in the mountains to isolated wetlands near the coast, here are a handful of beginner-friendly destinations with easy-to-follow routes and minimal elevation change. Spread over the flanks of Spruce Mountain, a knob-studded ridgeline in West Virginia’s branch of the Allegheny Mountains, the Spruce

Celebrate a Return to Travel with These 15 Iconic Hikes • Mindful Escapes

After a year of hunkering down, borders are opening and travelers are ready to rediscover the world. These 15 iconic hikes, detailed by travel writer Malee Baker Oot, offer a chance to celebrate the world from a new perspective. The planet is crisscrossed with epic trails, from the Alps to the Andes. There are snowy summit trips for fleet-footed peak-baggers, long and leisurely rambles for wildlife lovers, and everything in between. While the options are almost infinite, here are a few epic hik

The 8 Best Ski Resorts on the East Coast

The East doesn’t lack for mountains — or formidable winters. Still, east of the Mississippi River, massive mountain chains — like northern New York’s Adirondacks, Vermont’s Green Mountains, and the Alleghenies in Pennsylvania and West Virginia — have been drawing skiers for nearly a century, since the days slopes were serviced only with rope tows and solely reliant on the natural powder provided by Mother Nature.

These Are the 10 Biggest Ski Resorts in the World

For skiers, these places are the stuff of dreams. Winter wonderlands with infinite alpine acreage, where snowfall is a sure thing, and skiers have limitless opportunities to carve fresh tracks in untouched powder. Beyond the sheer size, the planet’s biggest ski resorts are also nestled into some of the most spectacular mountain chains on earth – the Alps, the Dolomites, and the Rockies. Of course, these life-list getaways also have been plenty of après ski amenities – meaning serious pampering i

Where to Go For an Epic VanLife Ski Trip

If Instagram is a way measure to the cultural zeitgeist, the #VanLife movement has been having a moment. A significant number of Americans are embracing a semi-nomadic lifestyle — at least temporarily, and hitting the road to seek out life-list destinations, under-the-radar spots, and outdoor adventures. Of course, there are perks to road-tripping in a van or RV — you can travel on a budget, with the freedom and flexibility to spend extra time in jaw-dropping locations and bring pets along on t

The Best Dive Spots in the U.S. During the Winter Months

Winter may not seem like an ideal time for a subaquatic adventure, but throughout the United States, there are diving destinations that are especially spectacular during the winter. From inland locations to wildlife-rich springs, to warm coastal waters, there are winter destinations for divers of all skill levels scattered throughout the United States. And for beginners considering a trip, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), the world’s largest organization of divers and ocean

5 Best Hikes for Fall to Enjoy the Burst of Autumn Colors

America’s national parks are especially spectacular in the fall. Summer crowds have thinned at many parks, and the cooler weather is ideal for hiking. And, as the days get shorter and temperatures drop, forests from the Rockies to the Great Smoky Mountains burst into a spectacular collage of color, in preparation for winter. Here are just a few of the best hikes for fall so you can admire the dazzling seasonal transition in America’s national parks. At the end of the summer, the beefy ungulates

The 6 Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking and Beyond

Hikes are always better with a dog. And, some pups are even willing to carry their own load, whether it is water and snacks for a day hike or food and bedding for a multi-day adventure. While not every pup is up for hauling a stash on a hike, fortunately, there are plenty of dogs who are up for the challenge – and for outdoorsy hounds, there are a variety of backpacks that offer a blend of durability and comfort. Planning a hike with your dog? Here are the best dog backpacks for you next hiking
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