Category Archives: Canyon

Tonto National Monument

Tonto National Monument
Location: Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
Length of visit: 1 hour
Major draws: Ruins, scenic views
Strenuosity: 3 out of 10
Cost/Fees: $5 per adult or free with America the Beautiful pass
Additional considerations: Steep but short hike to ruins
Description: Not far east of Phoenix is this beautiful cliff dwelling ruin, which makes for a great half day trip and scenic drive past Roosevelt, Apache, and Canyon Lakes.

Hanakapi’ai Falls

Hanakapi’ai Falls
Location: northwestern Kauai, Hawaii
Length of visit: half day
Major draws: 300-foot waterfall
Strenuosity: 9 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Multiple waist-deep stream crossings, flash floods, trail slippery when wet (all the time)
Description: This trail follows the treacherous Kalalau Trail for the first 2 miles then heads up the soggy valley an additional 2 strenuous miles to reach the impressive falls. It is incredibly difficult to photograph due to the spray at its base, so be sure your equipment is waterproof.

 

Kalalau Valley

Kalalau Valley
Location: northwestern Kauai, Hawaii
Length of visit: multiple nights
Major draws: Uninhabited beach, scenic views, birding
Strenuosity: 10 out of 10
Cost/Fees: $20 per person per night
Additional considerations: Permits limited to 60 people per night and they sell out months in advance, feral goats but no chickens
Description: The trail to Kalalau is hell, but the place itself is paradise—the most beautiful place in all the Hawaiian Islands. Two nights is the minimum amount of time we would recommend staying.

Napali Coast State Wilderness Park

Kalalau Trail—Napali Coast State Wilderness Park
Location: northwestern Kauai, Hawaii
Length of visit: multiple days
Major draws: Scenic views, uninhabited coastline
Strenuosity: 10 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Sheer cliffs, trail slippery when wet (all the time)
Description: The only access to the idyllic Kalalau Valley is via this 11-mile one-way treacherous trail along the stunningly beautiful Napali Coast. Several deep stream crossings and deep mud require shoes or sandals that can get wet and not destroy your feet as you ascend and descend each of the numerous valleys.

Waimea Canyon State Park

Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke’e State Park
Location: western Kauai, Hawaii
Length of visit: half day
Major draws: Scenic views, waterfalls, hiking, birding
Strenuosity: 5 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Feral goats on trail, trail slippery when wet (which is all the time)
Description: The “Grand Canyon of Hawaii” is 3,600-feet deep and very colorful. Many trails crisscross these two state parks, including the one we took to the top of 800-foot Waipo’o Falls.

 

Big South Fork National River

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Location: Kentucky-Tennessee border
Length of visit: half day to multiple days
Major draws: Natural bridges, waterfalls, brand new film
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Ask for subtitles to understand regional accents in film, river paddling only when water is high enough
Description: We enjoyed our 2-mile hike to Twin Arches and look forward to returning to this park to explore its other trails and waterways.

Bluestone National Scenic River

Bluestone National Scenic River
Location: Lerona, West Virginia
Length of visit: 2 hours
Major draws: No roads, canyon, hiking
Strenuosity: 2 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Fee to use ski lift at Pipestem Resort State Park
Description: An 8-mile long trail runs along the banks of the Bluestone River between Bluestone State Park and Pipestem Resort State Park (where a ski lift runs from the rim to river bottom).

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Location: south of Cleveland, Ohio
Length of visit: 2 hours to full day
Major draws: Waterfalls, train rides, bike paths
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Slippery trails, dozens of entrances to different sections
Description: Spread out north-south following the route of the historic Ohio & Erie Canalway, we love hiking in this wooded section of wild Ohio. See Wondon’s blog for more ideas of places to visit beyond Blue Hen Falls.

Delaware Water Gap

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Location: Pennsylvania-New Jersey border
Length of visit: 2 hours to full day
Major draws: Waterfalls, floating river
Strenuosity: 3 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Visitor centers open seasonally
Description: We enjoyed hiking to two waterfalls that feed into the Delaware River that forms the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Quechee Gorge State Park

Quechee Gorge State Park
Location: Woodstock, Vermont
Length of visit: 1 hour
Major draws: Scenic views, trail
Strenuosity: 2 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Heavily trafficked bridge
Description: Just outside the town where you find Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is this interesting canyon worth getting out of your car to take a look on the way to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.