So you have a free Saturday, three-day weekend, week in the summer, or lifelong goal to hike somewhere beautiful in another country.  This section will give you an overview of various regions in California, the Western U.S., and several international areas that can help you pinpoint where exactly you should go!

CALFORNIA

Region:  Lake Tahoe

  • Close to Sacramento and San Francisco
  • Tons of day hikes of all lengths
  • Many places to stay and great food in the region
  • Fantastic views of one of the U.S. finest lakes
  • Skiing, snowboarding, shoeshoeing, cross country options everywhere
  • Tahoe Rim Trail (165 mile) long distance trail

 

Region: Yosemite National Park

  • World-class views everywhere
  • Family friendly
  • Massive waterfalls
  • Classic valley hikes
  • Challenging high country hikes
  • Considered by many to be the finest National Park in the U.S.
  • Start of world-famous John Muir Trail

 

Region:  Eastern Sierras

  • Access to nearly all the biggest peaks in California
  • Amazing fall color
  • A jagged slice of California you didn’t know existed
  • Quaint towns on Highway 395 like Bishop, Lone Pine, and June Lake
  • A photographers paradise
  • The high country of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
  • Highest trailheads on the West Coast
  • Visiting enormous Death Valley National Park
  • Mt Whitney, The Lower 48’s highest peak
  • Driving through Yosemite’s backdoor, Tioga Pass, the highest pass on the West Coast

 

Region: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

  • Much fewer people than Yosemite
  • Big trees, forests, and trailheads galore
  • Access to the High Sierra Trail, Rae Lakes Loop, and the John Muir Trail
  • Some of the most remote areas in California

 

Region: North of Tahoe

  • Shasta is perfect training for bigger peaks
  • Lassen National Park’s great views, and hot springs
  • Remote forests, access to beautiful lakes away way away from California’s cities

 

Western U.S. and Canada

Region: American Southwest

  • Grand Canyon’s short, medium, long hikes and incredible sunrises and sunsets
  • Bryce National Park’s (N.P.) memorable hoodoos
  • Zion N.P.’s great hikes like Angel’s Landing and the Narrows
  • Arches N.P.’s infamous giant arches
  • Photographer’s hotspots The Wave and Horseshoe Bend
  • A classic road trip with an option of visiting Vegas

Region:  Colorado Rockies

  • 55 14ers, or 14,000 foot peaks
  • World-famous mountain towns like Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge
  • Best mountain views in the country
  • Outdoor culture is ever-present
  • Awesome skiing and snowboarding
  • Mountain biking and rafting

Region:  Oregon and Washington

  • Gorgeous glaciated peaks
  • Tons of options close to cities like Portland, Seattle, and Bend
  • Waterfalls galore in Colombia River Gorge
  • Rainier and Mt. Hood provide a chance to test technical skills
  • Northern Cascades offers green, wildflower-filled hikes

 

Region: Canadian Rockies

  • Jasper and Banff National Parks are absolutely spectacular
  • Bluer than blue glacier lakes
  • Wide open spaces, way less people
  • A taste of simple, clean, peaceful Canada
  • Glacier National Park on the border of Montana and Alberta

International

Region:  South American Andes

  • Biggest peaks outside of the Himalayas
  • World-class trekking at reasonable prices
  • Welcoming Latin hubs like Cusco, Quito, Bogota, and Santiago
  • Perfectly shaped volcanoes which pierce the heavens
  • Llamas, vicunas, alpacas, guanacos
  • Indigenous markets, Andean music
  • Wonders like Machu Picchu, Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Shorter flights to the U.S.

Region:  South American Patagonia

  • Glaciers, penguins, and rugged terrain
  • As close to Antarctica as it gets
  • Treks that will blow your mind
  • Torres del Paine National Park

 

Region:  European Alps

  • Jagged peaks in super modern countries
  • Lovely towns in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia
  • Classic hikes near iconic peaks like Mount Blanc, the Matterhorn, and the Dolomites
  • Easy access by rail from major European hubs
  • Hiking culture that is unrivaled
  • Mountain huts to lodge in all throughout
  • Castles and history around every bend

 

Region:  Eastern European Carpathians and Offshoots

  • Beautiful mountains with a fraction of the crowds of the Alps
  • A different mini-range for each country
  • Slovakia, Romania, and Poland have loads of fantastic hikes
  • Get off the beaten track in Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Bulgaria
  • Meet Zeus in Mt. Olympus National Park

 

Region: New Zealand

  • World famous tracks like Milford, Kepler, Routeburn, and Abel Tasman
  • Well-marked trails and peaks of all distances
  • Tremendous camping and outdoor culture
  • 70 million sheep and 4 million people..it’s remote
  • Getting out on the water in jaw-dropping Fiorland National Park
  • Mount Cook’s Glaciers and spectacular day hikes
  • Fun cities of Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland
  • Hiking on permanent glaciers
  • The South Island…Rent or buy your own ride to drive around this outdoor paradise

 

Region: Himalayas

  • Roof of the entire world
  • Trekking to Everest Basecamp, the Annapurna Circuit
  • Visit monasteries to speak with enlightened monks
  • Kathmandu, Nepal, gateway to the trekking heaven
  • Bhutan…a hidden kingdom untouched by modern life
  • Treasures of Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh in Northern India
  • Pakistan’s moonlike Karakoram leading up to K2
  • Tasty food from China and India