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

9 Longest Hiking Trails in the World You Must Visit

There’s just something about long trails. Beyond the mileage and the physical component, distance trails require a different type of commitment and mindset—almost a lifestyle. And worldwide, the planet’s long trails also provide an intimate glimpse of some of the most fascinating and far-flung places on earth. From the Alps to the Appalachians, here are a few of the longest hiking trails on the planet. (And be sure to read up on how to prepare for a long distance hike if you plan to travel to th

How to Hike with a Dog: 6 Tips for Hikers to Keep in Mind

Dogs are almost always up for an adventure – and they can be the best hiking buddies for many outdoor adventurers. Most pups love nothing better than exploring a scent-laden trail – and expanding their horizons. Besides just burning energy, a hike can be an enriching way to spend time bonding with your dog and to practice training. Best of all, dogs almost never complain. Before hitting the trail with your four-legged adventure sidekick, there are a few things to consider to be sure your dog st

How to Clean a Tent After Camping in It

Sometimes, adventures get messy – and even the toughest gear needs a little freshening up. Plus, cleaning off the grit and grime that gathers on your tent after time outdoors will extend both the longevity and weather-resistance of your outdoor abode. You don’t want to jeopardize the quality of your best tent. Not to mention, it’s always measurably better for morale to begin a backcountry campout with a clean tent. Below we answer all the questions on how to clean your tent thoroughly and how of

The 5 Best Beaches for Camping Like a Castaway in 2021

Discovering a private stretch of beach is like stumbling on a slice of paradise. And, one of the best ways to seek out your own swath of shoreline is with a beach camping trip. Offering a chance to spy migrating marine creatures, catch epic sunrises, and fall asleep to the sound of the tide, a beach campout makes for an idyllic getaway any time of year. In the south, ocean temperatures are still warm enough for swimming well into the fall, and beaches situated along the Atlantic Flyway offer the

10 Tips for Staying Warm in Your Tent in Cold Weather

Being cold conspicuously changes the dynamic of a camping trip. Sometimes you can plan ahead for chilly temperatures, but other times, extreme weather can creep up on you, especially on longer expeditions. Fortunately, there are ways to stay warm in your tent, despite the icy weather. Here are just a few handy hacks to help make frigid nights in the backcountry a little more comfortable. First things first, just like with any other outdoor adventure, get an idea of what you’re getting into on y

Night Hiking 101: How to Hike in the Dark

Hitting the trail after sunset might seem counterintuitive, but there are plenty of reasons to take a moonlit trek. A night hike can be a uniquely engaging sensory experience, making even the most familiar trail feel like a novel exploration. And, hiking beneath starry skies provides plenty of opportunities to admire the cosmos and perfect your night photography skills. In the wilderness, there’s also a good chance you will encounter nocturnal or crepuscular critters, like dive-bombing bats, bro
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