A Hikers Top 10 Treks of the West

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  • 8/14/2019 A Hikers Top 10 Treks of the West


    A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The West

    A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The WestBy Steve Moreland

    When I set out to catalog my 10 favorite hikes of the western United

    States and Canada, I thought it would be a breeze. Oh yeah, I can

    think of my top 10 hikes in no time.

    Well, it was a breeze, in fact. In a matter of minutes, I had my top


    But the title of this article is A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The West.The hard part came in eliminating eight from the list. Its kind of like

    deciding which finger to cut off. No matter which one you choose, itspainful and youll be missing something thats a vital part of you.

    But thats what good authors are supposed to do right? Edit with thereader in mind.

    So Ill do my best.

    How did I decide which fingers to cut off? I considered things like

    fantastic scenery, uniqueness, opportunities to spot wildlife, anddistance to some extent. But this was far from a scientific exercise.

    The main factor was emotional which ones make my spirit soar? All

    of the hikes on this list did just that.

    A note on wildlife-spotting opportunities: On pretty much everytrail Ive hiked out west, Ive encountered the ubiquitous chipmunks,

    squirrels, ravens and other birds. On most of the trails, its possiblethat you will spot deer, moose, elk, pikas, and even bears.

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  • 8/14/2019 A Hikers Top 10 Treks of the West


    A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The West

    MY TOP 10 HIKES OF THE WEST(In no particular order)

    Garnet Canyon Trail

    Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Strenuous

    10 miles roundtrip 2300 elevation gain

    Views of Jackson Hole Exposed sections of trail on

    mountainside Boulder fields to hike through Beautiful stream at mile 5

    Observation Point Trail

    Zion National Park, Utah

    Very Strenuous 8 miles roundtrip

    2230 elevation gain Precipitous cliff edges

    Echo Canyon (2 miles in) isCreations Cathedral (If this

    isnt a spiritual experience foryou, you have to be dead

    inside). Gorgeous sandstone cliffs Magnificent view of Zion


    Beautiful spring flowers andautumn color

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  • 8/14/2019 A Hikers Top 10 Treks of the West


    A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The West

    Navajo / Queens Garden Loop

    Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah


    4 mile loop 580 elevation loss Steep descent on first part

    of trail from Sunset Point Deep canyon of Wall Street Gorgeous red sandstone Thousands of hoodoos

    (absolutely magnificent insnow)

    Iceberg Lake Trail

    Glacier National Park, Montana

    Moderate 1200 elevation gain

    9.6 miles roundtrip Beautiful hike through some

    forest and hillsides Iceberg Lakes mesmerizing

    turquoise color seems unreal

    Multnomah Falls / Wahkeena Falls Loop

    Columbia Gorge National Recreation Area, Oregon

    Strenuous 6.4-mile loop

    800 elevation gain (mostly inthe first mile)

    Gorgeous streams Several waterfalls Thick forest

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  • 8/14/2019 A Hikers Top 10 Treks of the West


    A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The West

    Crypt Lake Trail

    Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Very Strenuous 11.2 miles roundtrip 2300 elevation gain

    Must take boat to trail headand you must be back downby 5:00pm to catch the boat

    for the return trip. Hike through beautiful forest

    Rewarding gorgeous lake atthe end of the trail

    Small lakes on the way up Waterfalls Precarious trail on very steep

    talus slope, Tunnel to crawl through

    Chains for balance

    Little Wild Horse CanyonEmery County, Utah


    4 miles roundtrip Slight elevation gain Narrow slot canyon Fantastic patterns carved by

    water into the soft


    Changing colors, dependingon the time of day

    Countless photo ops May have to wade through

    water in some of the narrow


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  • 8/14/2019 A Hikers Top 10 Treks of the West


    A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The West

    Double O Arch TrailArches National Park, Utah


    5.2 miles roundtrip

    380 elevation gain Large rock fin to hike over

    (deep drop-offs) Steep rock face to negotiate

    (small indentions forfootholds)

    Water in small basin to

    negotiate, if its rainedrecently

    Several arches on this trail:Landscape Arch, Window

    Arch, Private Arch, Double OArch

    Geraldine Lakes TrailJasper National Park, Alberta

    Strenuous 6 miles roundtrip

    1000 elevation gain Beautiful lake Forests

    Large boulder field (about 1mile in length) to navigate

    using rock cairns to findyour way

    Gorgeous waterfall at theend of the trail

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  • 8/14/2019 A Hikers Top 10 Treks of the West


    A Hikers Top 10 Treks Of The West

    Sipapu Bridge/Kachina Bridge LoopNatural Bridges National Monument Strenuous 5.4 mile loop

    500 elevation loss Slick rock

    Switchbacks Steep stairs with handrails

    Massive natural bridges Sections into and out of the

    canyon are challenging, buta lot of fun


    Whether youre in tip-top physical shape or its been a long time since

    youve exercised, with a little determination, you can do any of thesetrails. I by no means, am a picture of fitness. I carry more weight

    than I should and I live in an area thats only 500 feet above sea level.

    Most of these trails are in the 6000 to 10,000 range and theres lessoxygen than Im used to, but I can do it. And I believe you can, too.Just go at your own pace and take a rest when you need it.


    Just writing about these places again, I can feel what its like to be inthe Great Outdoors. Besides my criteria of uniqueness, wildlife

    opportunities, etc., I think what I like the most about hiking is the

    sense of freedom.

    Humans were meant to be free. And hiking one of these great trails of

    western North America, you get a great sense of freedom like it was

    meant to be.

    Steve Moreland is a writer that travels to many interesting and diverse locations, mostly

    in the western United States and Canada. Steves passion is hiking, enjoying thewildlife and landscape in the different areas, and writing about them. In addition to

    being a professional course designer and instructor, Steve is President of The Mall

    Pages, LLC, a company that publishes a comprehensive guide to mall shopping in the

    Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area.

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