25 Outdoor Bloggers Reveal Their Most Epic Outdoor Adventure Travels from 2018

25 Outdoor Bloggers Reveal Their Most Epic Outdoor Adventure Travels from 2018 |  If you are looking for some inspiration for your future outdoor adventure goals and travels, check out this list from 25 outdoor bloggers personal favorite outdoor adventures in 2018. | shedreamsofalpine.com

I may be a little biased, but I think Outdoor Bloggers can give really excellent insight into awesome outdoor adventure travel. As outdoor bloggers, we have stepped into the realm of not only going on great adventures, but also testing and trying new areas and trails so that we can share the adventures with our readers. Most outdoor bloggers live and breathe outdoor adventure. Whether its being weekend warriors or doing this full time, we live to get outside.

I reached out to some of my fellow outdoor blogging friends to see if they’d be interested in sharing their top outdoor adventures from 2018, and I hope that it inspires you as you plan your 2019 outdoor adventures. The post below is broken out into 2 main sections: Adventures in the United States and International Adventures.

And if you have a favorite adventure of your own from 2018, please feel free to share it below in the comments! The more inspiration, the better, in my opinion.


Best Outdoor Travel Adventures in the United States

1. backpacking the trans-catalina trail, california

The Trans-Catalina trail

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Allison (Myself), of She Dreams of Alpine.

About the Adventure:

This year I had the opportunity to finally hike the Trans-Catalina Trail on Santa Catalina Island in California. It’s one of the most unique backpacking trails I’ve had the pleasure of hiking and one of my favorite trips from 2018.

You start your hike in the town of Avalon and trek 39 miles across the length of the island, camping along the coast and hiking the island’s rugged terrain. At the end of your hike, you’ll find yourself at another small island town, Two Harbors, where you can wait for your return ferry in style, cold beers and food in hand as a reward for the challenging yet beautiful coastal Catalina Island hike.

Depending on your skill level or your desired pace, you can hike the trail in 3 to 5 days, and while the trail has over 8,300 feet of total elevation gain, you will be rewarded with beautiful weather and views of the ocean in all directions. You’ll find solitude on the trail, but you are never too far from the comforts of home due to the trails proximity to its island towns. If you are lucky, you might just run into one of the islands free roaming bison on the trail as well.

So if you're looking for a trail that is challenging but beautiful, "mountainous" but near the ocean, isolated feeling but still very close to civilization, then this is the perfect trail for you! It is one of a kind, and one you aren't likely to forget, from the boat ride over to the island, to the hilly sea-side views. In fact, this would be a great trail to go do solo, particularly if you were looking to hike your first solo-backpacking trip.

About the Blogger: Welcome and I’m so glad you’ve stumbled onto this epic post featuring some of the best outdoor bloggers (many whom are my friends) epic 2018 outdoor adventures. I’m your go-to gal for everything backpacking and rock climbing, and if you want to learn more about me, and my outdoor adventure story, go here!



2. Backpacking to Ediza Lake, California

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This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Paulina Dao, of Little Grunts.

About the Adventure:

Ediza Lake in the Eastern Sierra is a highly coveted backpacking permit to acquire in the summer months. This trail touches the PCT and the JMT from before ending with beautiful views of the famed Minarets in the Sierra range.

Our trip was at the tail-end of the backpacking season, close to the Reds Meadow closure date. Our trailhead ended up being closed, so we started our trip at Starkweather Lake with a bit of morning bushwhacking to join the Pacific Crest Trail. Once on the PCT, head towards signs indicating Shadow Lake. After Shadow Lake, follow signs towards Ediza Lake. Shoulder season can be hit or miss, and with this trip, we lucked out with some snow. Great company, good food and board games made up for the lack of scenic views.

I would repeat this trip the way it was in a heartbeat. Retrace your steps to head back to the car. Total mileage for this trip is approximately 16 miles, out and back from Starkweather Lake. Elevation gain is about 2500 feet.

About the Blogger:

Paulina Dao is the founder and primary voice behind the blog Little Grunts. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



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3. hiking mount elbert (14er), colorado

Outdoor blogger, Mara Kuhn, shares her favorite 20188 outdoor adventure of summiting Mount Elbert in Colorado.

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Mara Kuhn, of Right Kind of Lost.

About the Adventure:

I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. For every three steps I took, I had to stop and stand – just to breath. I had never felt the weakening effects of altitude before. I knew to look for all the signs of altitude sickness, but as a flatlander I just never realized the lack of oxygen to my muscles was going to slow me down this much. But I had a goal and a mad determination to make it to the summit of Mount Elbert – the highest mountain in the Rocky Mountains at 14,439. 

I hiked the South Elbert Trail, which is shorter than the main route to the summit. The trail is about 5 miles one way and climbs 4,100 feet. And for a girl from Arkansas, that was the most elevation gain I had ever undertook by far. As the created of Right Kind Of Lost adventure travel blog, I mainly focus on trails and public lands in my home state. But a few years back, I made it a life goal to hike to 14,000 feet. 

Half way up, at about 12,000 feet, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make my goal. When I got to 14,200 I tried to give up once again, telling myself, “technically my goal was to hike to 14,000 feet and I had surpassed that.”

But after sitting among the scree and breathing, I pushed upward and made the summit, crushing my goal of bagging a 14er. 

About the Blogger:

Mara Kuhn is the primary voice behind the adventure blog, Right Kind of Lost, and is passionate about writing about trails and public lands in her home state of Arkansas. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



4. Climbing the Grand Teton, Wyoming

Climbing the Grand Teton for Big City Mountaineers

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Meg Atteberry, of Fox in the Forest.

About the Adventure:

This year was filled with growth and Big City Mountaineer’s Summit for Someone program stands out as my favorite adventure. I was asked to join the trip as working media. In order to make the most out of the experience, I fully participated in fundraising. The next thing I knew, I was on my way to climb the Grand Teton as a part of the Summit for Someone team.

As I pulled up to the trailhead, I introduced myself to the other climbers (all strangers and all men). They were to be my family for the next four days as we tackled over 7,000 vertical feet of grueling backpacking, and roped climbing to make it to the top.

I was nervous. Not only was I on assignment, but I had never multi-pitch climbed, much less in the high alpine. After a training day, our team of six set out at 3 am for the summit of the Grand Teton.

The sun rose over the Tetons casting glorious shades of pink across the sky. Before we knew it, we were roped in and ready to climb. After a few moves the ice quickly covered the entire route. I couldn’t gain traction and I quickly lost feeling in my hands from the cold. Panic welled up inside me, I don’t think I can do this.

Then I thought about why I chose to go on this climb. My mission was to inspire the future generations to get out there and tackle their fears. I stood tall that day, pushing past fear led to a discovery of a new passion for alpine climbing. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

About the Blogger:

Meg is a full-time freelance content writer, adventure photographer, and blogger at Fox in the Forest. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


5. backpacking 1000 island lake, california

backpacking 1000 island lake

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Lexie Gritlefeld, of Weekend Roamer.

About the Adventure:

Despite having been to Thousand Island Lake on a backpacking trip before, this past trip was special. My boyfriend, Jordan, had never been on a backpacking trip and this was my chance to show him the ropes. We parked the car at Agnew Meadows (outside of the Town of Mammoth Lakes) and began the 7.75 mile moderate trek up to meet the John Muir Trail. The trail also crosses the Pacific Crest Trail and we saw groups of hikers, mostly men, coming from each and every direction.

About a mile in, you enter the stunning Ansel Adams Wilderness. We encountered a little bit of smoky conditions and our then-sea level lungs fought their way over the mountain pass and down into Thousand Island Lake. I jumped into the lake and screamed because it was that cold. A passing hiker said, “I heard you scream and thought that the only excuse for it out here would be if someone jumped in that ice, cold lake.”

That evening, we watched from our Thermarest pads as the moon and stars danced across the sky. If you haven’t seen the stars at night from above 10,000 ft, it’s a treat and you should add it to your bucket list. The next morning, we started on our trek down the 2,500 ft elevation that we had gained back to Agnew Meadows. A natural athlete, Jordan handled the trip extremely well and I’m excited to see what adventures 2019 brings us in the back country.

About the Blogger:

Lexie Gritlefeld is an adventure writer, marketing guru, and environmental advocate. After recently relocating to the Eastern Sierra, Lexie is on a mission to show the world that the outdoors is a place welcome for all to explore. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



6. solo backpacking Goat Lake Loop, Washington

backpacking the Goat Lake Loop

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Amanda Phillips, of Every Two Pines.

About the Adventure:

In 2018 I went on many backpacking trips that were spectacular, crossing off goals, reaching wilderness areas and learning more about myself in the process. Completing the Goat Lake Loop in the Goat Rocks Wilderness as a solo backpacking trip stands above the rest as my absolute favorite adventure of 2018.

Though the scenery was sublime, what makes it stand out is that it was my first solo backpacking trip. I was concerned leading up to the route about if I would be able to carry the weight, if I would be too lonely or wouldn’t sleep a wink due to fear. In the end, I learned the joy that comes from solitude. I pushed my limits and reveled in moving at my own pace, whether that meant rising at dawn for a sunrise, hurrying through dew-soaked meadows or sitting beside Goat Lake for an hour watching a mountain goat maneuver a steep cirque.

The rolling hillsides had turned the gorgeous reds, oranges and greens of fall, so lush they looked like velvet. I stood beside a lake I had only ever seen covered in ice, where it reflected the light making a perfect mirror image of the surrounding peaks only to climb high above it and watch it turn into a sparkling jade jewel. It was a lovely reminder of all the reasons I love to backpack, to see beautiful things but also to challenge and connect with myself.

Goat Lake Loop and Hawkeye Point: 14 miles, 3000’ elevation gain

About the Blogger:

Amanda Phillips writes at Every Two Pines and loves to spend time in Washington’s wilderness. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


7. thru-hiking the wonderland trail, washington

the wonderland trail, washington

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Nancy East, of Hope and Feather Travels.

About the Adventure:

The aptly named Wonderland Trail is a rigorous, 93-mile trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier, one of the most iconic mountains in the continental United States (elevation 14,411).   My husband and I had the great fortune of taking a “parent sabbatical” to thru hike it over the course of nine days in September, after securing a walk-up permit.

Glaciers, sub-alpine meadows, lush temperate rainforests, tranquil lakes, canyons, and wildlife, such as black bears and frisky marmots, compete with the backdrop of the mountain every step of the way.  Our hike turned out to be quite rainy, as per the norm in the Pacific Northwest. No matter though, because this sacred time together, along with the eye candy we witnessed at every turn, was more than enough to qualify it as some of the best time we’ve ever spent together in nearly 20 years of marriage.

As magnificent as the scenery on the Wonderland Trail trail is, it’s not a hike I’d recommend for newbie backpackers.  A virtual roller coaster, if the trail isn’t ascending, it’s descending, often steeply in many places. The total elevation gain and loss throughout the trail is a formidable 23,000 feet. The consolation for your achy feet and joints at the end of the day is one of the eighteen designated campsites along the trail, each providing a unique environment to reflect on your day.

Put it on your bucket list of trails, and see for yourself why the Wonderland Trail is indeed wondrous!

About the Blogger:

Nancy is a small animal veterinarian and the voice behind Hope and Feather Travels. Her blog centers around unique planning guides for hiking trails such as the Wonderland Trail, as well as a strong focus on outdoor education topics, inspired by her work with her county’s search and rescue team in western North Carolina. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



8. Backpacking the East Inlet Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Backpacking the East Inlet Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Mallory Moskowitz, of Your Adventure Coach.

About the Adventure:

The East Inlet Trail is one of the shortest, but also one of the most beautiful backpacking trips I’ve been on by far. First, the nitty gritties: The East Inlet trail stretches 6.7 miles one-way from Grand Lake, CO into the wilderness of the Park, but the trail continues on, unmarked, up to the lakes above.  

There are only 7 individual campsites along the trail, so if you’re planning on camping out they must be reserved ahead of time through the park service (which is a whole other adventure in and of itself! But still totally worth it.)

Most people only come to this trail to see Adam’s Falls. Yes, it is a beautiful raging waterfall for most of the year, but it’s also less than a mile away from a parking lot in the national park. So that first mile is almost always over crowded, but that’s the cool thing – you only have to walk a mile to get past the crowds. The trail only continues to get more beautiful and more secluded the further you hike in.

My husband and I stayed at the Upper East Inlet campsite, but it’s definitely worth it to go to the end of trail and check out Lake Verna. This was one of my favorite trips because I haven’t been to too many places that are that accessible – a quick, easy drive from Grand Lake, then a short (but steep) 6.5 mile hike in – and yet feel like you are way out there in the wilderness!

About the Blogger:

Mallory is the owner over at Your Adventure Coach and spends most of her time hiking and camping in the summers, and cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winters in the Colorado Rockies. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


9. road-tripping through idaho

road-tripping through idaho

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Chris Denu, of The Bold Nomad.

About the Adventure:

One of the first things I tell people who have never been to Idaho is, “You’ve got to go!”  This especially holds true if you love the great outdoors.  So, when I was invited to a friend’s wedding in Idaho, I was like, “Oh heck yes!”

After the wedding there were a few spots on my Idaho list that I had in mind.  One being Craters of the Moon National Monument.  If there is something you should know about Idaho, it’s that the terrain you’ll find there is varied from flat desert to snow-capped peaks.  Craters of the Moon is just another example of Idaho’s amazing landscape.  Here I found Lava Fields, Lava Tubes, Cinder Cones, and other ancient remnants of a fiery and explosive geologic history.

Being a self-labeled ‘peak bagger’, I couldn’t help but go after Borah Peak while in Idaho.  Borah is Idaho’s tallest peak, at 12, 667’.  Though not as high as my more familiar Colorado Peaks, Borah is no joke!  From the Trailhead it is over 5,000 feet in elevation gain, and it’s famous ‘chicken out ridge’ requires some Class 3 scrambling. Being it was early June I knew snow would still be an issue on my summit attempt, and it was.  I made the correct decision to turn around short of the summit, as I was on a ridge that dropped away steeply to either side and was made of hard packed ice and snow. 

In short, Idaho is an outdoor lover’s dream!

About the Blogger:

Chris is an adventure seeking, van living nomad, who thrives on pushing the boundaries of physical outdoor feats. You can find a link to his outdoor blog and adventures above!


Related Adventures:


10. Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon, idaho

Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon, idaho

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Annie Lawson, of Strategic Wandering.

About the Adventure:

Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon is a coveted permit for boaters all over the US.  This river is heavily regulated and the result is one of the most wild and pristine sections of river in the States.  I have never seen water this clear!  You can watch the salmon swim under your boat and see them jump up waterfalls.

This river also absolutely rips.  For the Middle Fork, they gauge the river level by feet high, not cubic flow.  We pulled our permit for the week of the Fourth of July (and made sure to rig our boat with a Flag). By then the water levels had dropped to about 3 feet which reduces the class 4 and 5 rapids (when the river is running at 6 feet) to 3s and 4s.  Pretty much everything could be done, read, and run by an experienced boater, but hey, scouting is half the fun!

There are some super fun and unique rapids on this river that were challenging even at the lower water.  But the hot springs are what really steal the show on this trip! You are guaranteed one campsite with a hot springs on your 100 mile trip and there are several you can pull off and enjoy during the day.  The section is a little over 100 miles and we did it in 6 days, so even at low water the river is really moving and you drop a lot of elevation from the start to the finish.  Put your names in the lottery because the Middle Fork of the Salmon is a must-boat!

About the Blogger:

Annie is a lover of all things outside and writer of Strategic Wandering.  This summer, She was able to raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon on a private trip with her fellow boating friends and it was incredible. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


11. hiking the narrows in zion national park, utah

Hiking the narrows in zion national park, utah

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Leigh Wilson, of Campfires & Concierges.

About the Adventure:

My favorite adventure of 2018 was a dayhike up the Zion Narrows in Zion National Park. Zion is one of my favorite parks in the U.S. but it’s gotten so crowded in recent years, that it’s not as enjoyable as it once was. However, I learned on this trip that there are far fewer crowds in Winter. In February, Travel Mindset hosted an Instameet with the St. George tourism office, and several bloggers came out for a day of hiking through the Virgin River.

The Zion Narrows can be hiked two ways. As an overnight, or “top down” 16-mile hike one way through the river. Or, as an “out and back” from the Temple of Sinawava in Zion National Park. We chose the out and back approach for a long day hike. With drysuits and canyoneering boots rented from Zion Adventure Company, we set off for a day of adventure.

Although it was a holiday weekend, and there were many people enjoying the park, there were not many visitors wading through frigid waters that day, so we quickly left the crowds behind as we started our hike. The beauty of the “out and back” approach is that many of us lingered, snapping photos, and there was no set stopping point or timeline. The proper clothing kept us toasty all day, as we enjoyed the beautiful canyon carved by the Virgin River. This was my favorite adventure of 2018 because I fell in love with Zion all over again.

About the Blogger:

Leigh is an Illinois native living in Tucson, Arizona, who blogs at Campfires And Concierges. She and her dog Bailey are busy exploring the hidden corners of Arizona for her first guide book, Arizona Day Trips by Theme, coming Spring 2020. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



12. bikepacking in north carolina

Bikepacking in north carolina

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Katie Lee, of The Real Katie Lee.

About the Adventure:

I have been reflecting back on 2018 for about a week now and it has been so amazing to re-read and re-live adventures and trials from this last year. At the beginning of the year I deemed 2018 “The Year of The Bike”. I purchased my first mountain bike and vowed to make this year all about biking in many different ways.

One of those ways included adventuring out for my first solo bikepacking adventure. I purposefully chose to make this a solo adventure due to my insecurities as a new mountain biker. Being alone meant I could call the shots, struggle and maybe even fail without any real or perceived pressure from another person. I chose a route via RideWithGPS,  that was close to home, in a relatively populated area with a number of bail out points.

Bikepacking is something I had been looking forward to doing and I wanted to make sure I set myself up for success. The route was mountainous and beautiful and difficult.  Despite some minor setbacks, I enjoyed myself immensely in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina and having been itching to get back out since!

About the Blogger:

Katie Lee is an Emergency Veterinarian, ambassador for Women Who Hike and aspiring writer. She started her blog last year to add to the voices of women in the outdoors and be an encouraging voice to any woman interested in adventuring in the outdoors. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



13. climbing mount shasta, california

Climbing Mount Shasta

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Jeff Hester, of SoCal Hiker.

About the Adventure:

Every year at the SoCal Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge Finishers Party we have an exercise where we ask people to write down their big adventure goals for the year ahead and clip it on our “prayer flag”. My goal? Climbing Mount Shasta.

We had driven past it many times, driving between our apartment in Berkeley and our home in Bend, Oregon. Every time, I’d look at that massive volcanic mountain and imagine what it would be like to stand atop it. Writing down that goal was the first step towards turning that dream into a reality.

Soon after, a few of my adventure buddies expressed the same interest, and we started planning our trip. The goal was to hike the popular Avalanche Gulch route – 12 miles and over 7,000 vertical feet of climbing. We snow camped at Helen Lake, and woke early the next morning for an alpine start up the gulch.

The route requires some technical skills, such as proper use of crampons and ice axe, self-arrest and glissading. I had already taken winter mountaineering classes and exercised those skills on several other climbs in Southern California, but this would be my biggest technical snow climb.

At 14,179’ you don’t simply climb Mount Shasta. You attempt it. The weather, your body, your team and a myriad of other variables can conspire against you and make turning around the only tenable option. We were fortunate. It was windy, but all four members of our team summited and made it safely back down the mountain. We were even able to glissade down a total of 2,000 vertical feet!

Now when I drive my Mount Shasta, I think “what’s next?!”

About the Blogger:

Jeff Hester is the primary voice and author of SoCal Hiker. He create guides for the best hiking trails throughout Southern California--and occasionally beyond. You can find a link to his outdoor blog and adventures above!



14. visiting Toquerville Falls, utah

Visiting Toquerville Falls

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Arika Bauer, of Zion Adventure Photog.

About the Adventure:

Living in Southern Utah in the hot summer months, its top priority for our family adventures to include some sort of water, be it a lake, river or stream, to play in and Toquerville Falls definitely fits the bill. Toquerville Falls is one of those amazing off the beaten path gems that desert dreams are made of. A waterfall oasis in the middle of nowhere with a swimming hole and lots of exploring.

To get to Toquerville Falls you will need a high clearance vehicle with 4 wheel drive for the notoriously bad 5.8-mile dirt road. Do not try to drive this road in anything less. You will get stuck.

This summer my husband and I took our three kids camping at Toquerville Falls for the first time. Situated on BLM land there are not marked campsites and camping is on a first come first serve basis.

From the moment that we pulled up, the beautiful waterfalls were calling out to be played in. My kiddos were in heaven! Camping in July in Southern Utah is HOT so before crawling into the tent for the night we headed down to the creek and doused our PJ's in water.

In the morning we put on our swimsuits and took our breakfast down to the waterfalls. I can't imagine a better spot to eat cereal. After breakfast, we hiked down to the lower waterfall and played there for the remainder of the day. I wish we could have stayed another day or two and so did the kiddos.

About the Blogger:

Arika is a Utah local with a passion for helping outdoor lovers get outside, have fun, and enjoy Zion and Southern Utah to its fullest. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



15. visiting Shawnee National Forest in Illinois

Visiting Shawnee National Forest in Illinois

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Jessica Tejera, of The Walking Mermaid.

About the Adventure:

Oh 2018 was an amazing year. I feel like I say that about every year but who else can agree that we are always learning new things and pushing our limits more as each year passes. This year I decided to make a trip to several places around the Southeast of the USA and I have to admit that two of these really captured my heart. The one I am going to talk about is my Autumn trip to Shawnee National Forest in Illinois.

On the last weekend of October my mom and I decided to do a mother-daughter trip to Shawnee National Forest. We set up camp and Redbud Campground and headed out to hike across Bell Smith Springs recreational area. Our first hike led us to the Devil’s Backbone. This spot is absolutely beautiful with the clear spring water and the rock formations. We then headed off to the Natural Bridge, Boulder Falls, and then back to camp.

The next day we packed up after breakfast and headed out to north of Shawnee National Forest to explore Garden of the Gods. We took the Observation Trail which is a shorter route so we can save on time. The entire area was breathtaking and the history was unremarkable. Afterwards we headed off to Jackson Falls to enjoy our last hike before heading back home. I would highly recommend adding this location to your Illinois bucket-list.

About the Blogger:

Jessica is a wife, mom, animal lover, blogger, photographer, content creator, adventure enthusiast, and lover of the world. She aim to promote an eco-friendly, conscious, and sustainable lifestyle through her adventures and hopes to inspire those around her. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


Related Adventures:


16. solo hiking the John Muir Trail, California

Solo-hiking the JMT.

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Emma Massick, of Pepper Hikes.

About the Adventure:

When I was around 10 years old, my family went on a summer vacation to Yosemite, and I fell in love. Surrounded by powerful waterfalls and tall mountain faces towering higher than I could imagine, I felt that I was truly at home. I read about the John Muir Trail (JMT) and I thought to myself, “I’m gonna do that when I’m a grown up!”

Fast forward to early this year. I was a new college graduate, looking for a job when I was reminded of my childhood dream. I said to myself, “Well, I’m a grown-up now so I suppose it’s time to do this thing!” I applied for a trail permit as soon as the lottery process opened up and was so excited when that coveted email came through confirming my permit!

I left from Happy Isles during the final week of July, Yosemite was being ravaged by fires and I was nervous that I would not be allowed to leave from the valley. As fate would have it, the valley closed the day after I arrived, and did not reopen until the day I returned to my ash and sap covered car.

I spent a period of 19 days hiking 250 miles in the beautiful California wilderness. Although I was on a ‘solo’ hike, I met many wonderful people and had an amazing time learning about how much I could push myself if I really needed to. I’m not going to lie and say that every bit of it was wonderful, there were tears and frustration and sleepless nights, I would not trade it for anything. I kept a journal each day on my blog at Pepper Hikes, and I love answering questions for those who are curious or want to start planning their own JMT trip!

About the Blogger:

Emma, aka ‘Pepper’ loves camping, hiking, and anything to do with being outside. She is the voice and primary author of her blog Pepper Hikes. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



17. climbing the petit grepon, colorado

climbing the petit grepon

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor bloggers, Matt Swartz and Amanda Winther, of The Van Project.

About the Adventure:

For an enthusiastic rock climber, few things inspire excitement like the Cathedral Spires in Rocky Mountain National Park. When I first saw these pinnacles jutting 1000 feet into the sky, I envisioned myself perched high on the massively exposed formations, but my lack of experience in the alpine cast a shadow of doubt. Could I achieve this goal?

September, 2016: my partner Amanda and I finally had the experience (and confidence) to attempt the most popular spire, the Petit Grepon, via an 8-pitch 5.8 grade III route. The 4.5 mile approach started at the Glacier Gorge trailhead at 9,420 feet and climbed 1780 feet to the Sky Pond, where we headed off-trail for another .5 miles to the base of the tower. We bivied at the Sky Pond although some people do the whole thing (approach hike, climb, and descent) in one, long day. The next day, high winds and threatening clouds chased us off the route.

Almost two years later, we finally made our way back for another attempt on the South Face of the Petit, this time as a party of three with an unfavorable forecast. But we got lucky. We climbed efficiently as a team, managing the ropes and navigating the route, and the weather held. After eight hours of climbing, we stood on the summit platform, an oblong terrace only a little larger than a refrigerator turned on its side.

Reflecting on this climb, we realized that the main reason we loved the Petit, in addition to the spectacular scenery and incredible exposure was the challenge of the alpine environment. Success in the high country is never a guarantee: no matter how strong or capable you are, you can still fail. The mountains favor persistence and most of all, patience.

About the Blogger:

Matt Swartz and his partner Amanda Winther moved into a campervan full time in 2017 to pursue adventure and self-discovery. They share tales of their adventures at The Van Project. You can find a link to their outdoor blog and adventures above!



18. Backcountry parol in denali national park, alaska

IMG_7372.jpg

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Riley Hays, of Riley’s Roves.

About the Adventure:

When Denali National Park is your backyard, choosing a favorite trip can be difficult. However, in 2018, one trip stands out above the rest. 

As a park ranger, I had the opportunity to go on a backcountry patrol. Another ranger and I chose an area of the park and searched for evidence of humans, social trails, trash, and other disturbances. In addition to solidifying a wonderful friendship with my colleague (and previous roommate), we also formed a new one with a backpacker from New Zealand who was thrilled to see other people after days of solitude. We quizzed him on what to do if he encountered wildlife and assured him that caribou were not as dangerous as he thought. We talked for hours about our love of the outdoors and his job as a guide in New Zealand, comparing it to our own as rangers.

The landscape was absolutely incredible from glaciers to braided rivers and snow-capped peaks (even in July). Despite being in Alaska, it was around eighty degrees Fahrenheit, one of the hottest days of the year. In order to survive such sweltering temperatures, we laid on a glacier and ate our lunch, relaxing under the sun that would not set. We watched as chunks of ice fell into the rushing river below, thankful that we weren’t in the office on such a gorgeous day. When we hiked out, Denali (North America's tallest peak) was in full view. 

I’ve never gone on a backcountry trip in Denali that wasn’t memorable, but this one will always be special. I’ll never forget forming a new bond with a Kiwi, my co-worker, and the place I'm lucky enough to call home.

About the Blogger:

Riley Hays grew up in Florida near outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities that established her love for the outdoors. She is currently a Park Ranger at Denali National Park in Alaska. Additionally, she visits national parks as often as she can and writes about her travels on her own blog. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


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Best International Outdoor Adventure Travel of 2018

19. Solo hiking & Camping in Norway

Solo hiking & Camping in Norway

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Ioanna , of A Woman Afoot.

About the Adventure:

This past July I was fortunate to spend a whole month in Norway. It was not my first time there, but this time it included long-term hiking and wild camping. It is hard to find words which would describe how beautiful my backpacking trip in Norway was. I have realized that I fell in love with that land and that I want to walk more through its majestic mountains and fjords.

What is so unique in Norway? It’s not just about the stunning natural landscape – although it’s probably one of the primary reasons. It’s a collection of multiple factors – natural beauty, safety, good trails, a fantastic web of mountain shelters… all of that creates the perfect destination for all adventure lovers – especially for women hiking and camping by themselves.

Norway is filled with wide open spaces or mountainous terrain, with lakes, rivers or patches of woods. I want to see far and wide – and the rocky mountains of Norway are precisely what I love so much. Additionally, similarly to other Nordic countries, Norway has the right to roam. Which means I could wild camp basically anywhere as long as I behaved responsibly and followed some basic decency rules. The land's abundance of water meant I didn't have to carry much of it and I could take coffee breaks by beautiful alpine streams. On my hike from Dale (near Bergen) to Voss and then on to Sogn og Fjorden I fell head over head in love with this place!

About the Blogger:

Ioanna, aka A Woman Afoot, is a 42 year old woman who loves to rom solo through the mountains. You can read more about her solo Norway adventure and more about why Norway is a fantastic destination for female solo hikers in the link above.


20. Backcountry skiing in Kyrgyzstan

Backcountry skiing in Kyrgyzstan

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Angela Crampton, of Angela Travels.

About the Adventure:

Skiing can take you all over the world. As long as there are mountains and snow, you can ski. My favorite trip of 2018 included flying half-way around the world to Kyrgyzstan to explore culture while getting some backcountry ski turns in.

My favorite part of the trip wasn't the skiing but the people. In a country that has had many hardships, it is hard to know what to expect. It's refreshing to know that generally locals are kind and want us to enjoy their country, going out of their ways to by hospitable.

Visiting the Tian Shan mountains exceeded my expectations with high elevation and decent snow. Staying a traditional yurt had me connecting to the culture more than I could have expected. If you get a chance to go to Krygyzstan any time of the year, I encourage you to explore the outdoors, meet the locals, and sample the delicious food.

About the Blogger:

Angela skis, hikes, and climbs in the PNW and travels for outdoor adventures. When she's not outside, she's drinking microbrews, writing for Angela Travels, or knitting. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


21. Kayaking the Chief Whitecap Waterway, Canada

Kayaking the Chief Whitecap Waterway

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Laura Friesen, of An Ordinary Existence.

About the Adventure:

I’m Laura, the blogger behind An Ordinary Existence. When I’m not out adventuring with my partner and/or my dog, you can usually find me online researching our next outdoor undertaking. Which is how we ended up kayaking a 100 km section of Canada’s Great Trail, known as the Chief Whitecap Waterway. At 24,000 kilometers, the Great Trail is the longest recreational trail in the world – snaking its way across the country via wilderness trails, urban paths, roadways, and waterways. When it was completed last year, I knew I wanted to start chipping away at as many sections as possible and started studying the trail map. I thought it was awesome that they included paddling routes and since the Chief Whitecap Waterway is basically in my backyard, it was the perfect place to start.

Kayaking the CWW certainly isn’t the most epic adventure. It follows a meandering section of the South Saskatchewan River over which there are no rapids, no tricky navigation hazards, and no grueling portages. Aside from having to occasionally float your boat over barely-submerged sandbars and dealing with sore bottoms from long hours in the cockpit, this trip is pretty low key. And yet, it ended up being my favorite adventure of 2018. We spent three days floating with the current, paddling against headwinds, and camping along miles of deserted sandy riverbank. It was just challenging enough to feel like an adventure but also a great way to relax, recharge, and see a place I thought I knew from an entirely new perspective.

About the Blogger:

Laura is the primary voice and author behind An Ordinary Existence. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


22. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Jem, of That Kiwi Hiker.

About the Adventure:

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand’s most famous hike, for a good reason. Not many other places allow you to hike up the Devil’s staircase, past Mount Doom, scramble down mountainsides, awe at the natural emerald lakes, traverse the inside of a crater and end up in a forest.

This hike is varied and never dull. Be prepared to tackle tussocks, bare terrain, forest and shingle. You will also need to be relatively fit. At just under 20km (12.5 miles) be prepared for a full days hike in alpine conditions, even in the summer months. If you want to avoid the crowds, Autumn is the best time to go as this is the country’s most popular hike and gets very busy. The weather this time of year is much milder than winter and not as searing as summer.

This was my favorite adventure of 2018 as I went with my 12 year old son. He spent the entire day in wonder, absolutely chuffed to be ‘inside a real cloud!’. The emerald lakes were a definite highlight, the bright hues of the lakes are a breathtakingly beautiful contrast to the barren surroundings. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing cemented his love of hiking (or tamping as we call it here) and we have made plans to make our way through all 9 of NZ’s Great Walks, starting with the Waikaremoana Great Walk in January. The hiking bug lives on!

About the Blogger:

Jem is the primary voice and author at That Kiwi Hiker, you will find her most likely up in the bush somewhere in New Zealand. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



23. The Huchuy Qosqo Trek with the Quechua Women of Peru

The Huchuy Qosqo Trek with the Quechua Women of Peru

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Marinel de Jesus, of Brown Gal Trekker.

About the Adventure:

The Huchuy Qosqo Trek takes you deep into the Andes mountains without the typical crowd that you find on the classic Inca Trail.  It’s a trek that allows you to see Andes in a different light – barren, lake-filled landscapes with a backdrop of the snowcapped Andes peaks, and ruins to experience right next to your campsite. Because of its lack of tourism still, you may be the only one at the campsite indulging in the views of the Andes. 

The trek can be done in two days, starting in the town of Tauca and ending in Lamay, both places are located in the Sacred Valley of Peru. The highest point reaches 14,500 feet which makes it a challenging hike for those who are not acclimated to high altitude.

Any outfitter in Cusco can offer a tourist the Huchuy Qosqo trek but what I love about this trek which I did in October of 2018 is this:  Our all women group from U.S. was led by Quechua women and porters.  The inclusion of the Quechua women in the trekking tourism industry is a new phenomenon in the Andes of Cusco region for the purpose of attaining equity and overcoming sexism in the trekking tourism industry.  The trek is one that is now offered on a regular basis with a local trekking agency that supports the mission of my enterprise, Peak Explorations. 

As a hiker, you can now trek the off the beaten paths of the Andes while making a major difference in the trekking tourism industry.   This proves that trekking can go beyond just hiking.  It can be a means to make a change in our world; hence, it’s my favorite adventure for 2018.

About the Blogger:

Marinel de Jesus is the writer behind the media platform, Brown Gal Trekker, which focuses on her treks all over the world and promotes diversity and women empowerment in the outdoor/travel space. An ex-prosecutor, she founded Peak Explorations, LLC, a social enterprise that advocates for the inclusion of women and indigenous communities in the trekking tourism industry. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!


24. Backpacking to Garibaldi Lake, Canada

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This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Kaelee Butner, of Seattle Bred.

About the Adventure:

My favorite trip of 2018 was a backpacking trip I planned to Garibaldi Provincial Park in Canada. Almost everyone on Instagram will recognize the view from Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park, but not everyone knows the rules and regulations of how you visit this beautiful area.

Panorama Ridge is a 20-mile round trip hike if you attempt to do it all in one day. Some people do this, but it’s not ideal when you have people new to hiking like my group did. We planned a leisurely two-night stay in Garibaldi Provincial Park to complete this hike. Camping is only allowed at the Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows, and Helm Creek Campgrounds and all three require permits year-round.

You may see photos on Instagram of people camping on Panorama ridge, but this is illegal, please do not copy these photos! We acquired permits for the Garibaldi Lake Campground three months before visiting in August. The process was painless, and it definitely wasn’t a nightmare like other permit experiences. All of the campgrounds in Garibaldi Provincial Park come equipped with pit and/or composting toilets and methods to store your food away from bears and rodents. Garibaldi Lake had large bear shelters where you could cook, store, and eat your food.

The hike from the Rubble Creek Trailhead to Garibaldi Lake is in the forest and doesn’t offer much in the way of views. Once you start hiking from Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge, you will hike through some beautiful alpine meadows and get glimpses of Garibaldi Lake throughout the hike. There is a steep final push to Panorama Ridge, but it’s entirely worth it for the epic view!

About the Blogger:

Kaelee Butner was born and raised in Seattle, Wa. As a child, her dad would force her to come along on all of his fishing trips. As a result, her and outdoor activities didn't exactly get along at first. Slowly, she learned more about hiking and backpacking and decided to give this nature thing another chance. Now (much to the dismay of her boyfriend) you can find her adventuring on Washington trails almost every weekend. You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



25. backpacking in banff national park, canada

Backpacking in Banff National Park, canada

This outdoor adventure is brought to you by outdoor blogger, Emma Harris, of Trailheads and Trailmix.

About the Adventure:

Banff National Park may be the most iconic location that Canada has to offer. When people think of Banff, they picture impossibly blue lakes, towering mountains, and crowds of people wherever you turn. This past summer, I got to see a different side of the park - the backcountry of Banff’s wilderness. Four days in July on the trail from Sunshine Meadows to Redearth Creek, with Healy Pass in the middle.

We started the trip at the Sunshine Village ski lodge, following the easy incline in to the Banff backcountry. We soon lost cell service and the noise of other hikers - it was just me, my co-guide, and 5 teenagers learning to be outdoor leaders themselves. We were fortunate to be out in the early heat of summer before wildfire smoke clouded the Rockies.

With tough trail conditions, we didn’t make our planned campsite on night two, opting instead for trailside camping at Egypt Lake. The view of the full moon rising over the Pharaoh Peaks made me stop in my tracks. The fields of wildflowers coming up and over Healy Pass that same morning took my breath away and made me forget about the heavy 80 litre pack I was carrying.

The most spectacular part of that trip? Being able to explore Banff’s beautiful wilderness without people in the way. It was like a whole other park - the impossibly blue lakes and towering mountains still prevailed, but we had escaped the crowds. Four days on the trail showed me what our parks are meant to be - a place where wilderness reigns.

About the Blogger:

Emma Harris is an outdoor educator currently living in Darwell, Alberta, Canada. She is the owner of Trailheads and Trail Mix, a hiking blog dedicated to reflection and introspection on the trail. When she’s not teaching, you can find her hiking, snowshoeing, or canoeing in Alberta or Ontario! You can find a link to her outdoor blog and adventures above!



Did you take an epic adventure in 2018 you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below! 

Cheers,

Allison - She Dreams of Alpine

 
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