Friends of the Smokies Announces 2020 Classic Hikes of the Smokies Schedule

Monday, December 30, 2019

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The Friends of the Smokies has just announced the schedule for their Classic Hikes of the Smokies series in 2020. The year-long series will include 10 hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this upcoming year, and will feature interpretation of the trail, history, and park projects supported by Friends of the Smokies. Moreover, these hikes will help support restoration and rehabilitation of some of the park's most impacted trails through the Trails Forever program.

Please note that pre-registration is required to participate. Here's a rundown of the hikes included in this year's series:

March 10 - Elkmont Loop

April 14 - Porters Creek to Fern Falls

May 12 - Chimney Tops

June 9 - Sugarland Mountain

July 14 - Catalooche Divide Trail

August 11 - Boogerman Loop

September 8 - A.T. to Mt. Cammerer

October 13 - Andrews Bald

November 10 - Lost Cove Loop (includes a visit to the Shuckstack Fire Tower)

December 8 - Smokemont Loop

For more information, and to register, please click here.


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Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park
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USDA Forest Service surpasses goals and breaks records in 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

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The USDA Forest Service recently announced that 2019 was a historic year for America’s national forests and grasslands.

“In 2019, through Shared Stewardship agreements we forged new partnerships and built on existing ones to better collaborate and share decision space with states, partners and tribes,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “We also opened hundreds of thousands of acres of national forests to visitor access and sold more timber in this year than we have in any of the past 21 years, providing a sustainable flow of forest products and supporting rural economies.”

Creating healthy, productive forests and supporting rural economies

The Forest Service surpassed expectations and sold nearly 3.3 billion board feet of timber in 2019—75 million board feet more than the 20-year high set in 2018. The agency also improved forest conditions and reduced wildfire risk on over 4 million acres through timber harvest, removing hazardous fuels like dead and downed trees, and combating disease, insect and invasive species infestations.

Timber harvest volume from projects under the Good Neighbor Authority, more than tripled in 2019 from 22 to 89 million board feet. This authority allows the Forest Service to enter into agreements with state forestry agencies to perform restoration work to improve health and productivity on national forests and grasslands. To date, projects under this authority have taken place in 38 states.

Sharing stewardship responsibilities and being better neighbors

So far, 12 states and the Western Governors Association have signed on to work alongside the Forest Service to set landscape-scale goals, as well as share resources and expertise. These Shared Stewardship agreements allow the Forest Service to better work with partners to address challenges such as wildfire, insect and disease infestations and improve forest and watershed conditions while adapting to user needs. Participating states include Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

The Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership, a combined effort of the Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, treated 100,000 acres in 2019 to improve forest health where public and private lands meet and to protect nearby communities from wildfire.

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the National Forest Foundation and the Forest Service partnered to set up a $4 million grant program to improve watersheds and reduce wildfire risk.

The Forest Service launched a community-based prototype wildfire risk mapping tool in Washington State. This tool is the first of its kind and allows local, state and federal agencies to fight fire where it matters most and to build fire-adapted communities more strategically and collaboratively. A nationwide map based on the prototype will be available in 2020.

Increasing access and improving recreation experiences

More than 5.2 million hours of work were logged in 2019 as part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, a private-public partnership that engages more than 25,000 returning veterans and young Americans each year to strengthen America’s infrastructure and boost local economies. Participants helped to plant trees, reduce wildfire risk and improve forest conditions through vegetation management and hazardous fuels reduction projects, valued at $128 million.

Nearly 560,000 acres of national forests and grasslands were opened for access in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation as part of their “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” initiative.

Access and recreation opportunities were improved through the National Forest and Grasslands Explorer and Digital pass applications. The Explorer app lets visitors know where to find points of interest on national forests and grasslands and how best to explore them. The Digital Pass app was developed in cooperation with to make purchasing day passes easier by selling them online.

“2019 was a banner year for us,” added Chief Christiansen. “Next year, we will continue to build on these successes to improve conditions on America’s national forests and grasslands to ensure they are healthier, more resilient and more productive.” “We will keep building on the partnerships that make these successes possible and commit to increasing access to better connect people to their natural resources, so these national treasures endure for generations to come.”

For more information about the Forest Service visit

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Last-minute gift idea - a virtual stocking stuffer

Monday, December 23, 2019

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Believe it or not, though Christmas is now only two days away, you still have time to order last-minute stocking stuffers from Amazon. If you're looking for one last gift for that happy hiker in your life, there's still plenty of time to download the Kindle e-book version of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is a great gift idea for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information on the book, and to purchase, please click here.

Thank you very much, and hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

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White Sands Re-designated as a National Park

Saturday, December 21, 2019

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On Friday, December 20, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which includes a provision that re-designates White Sands National Monument as White Sands National Park, making it the 62nd designated national park in the National Park System.

“Our staff are very excited for White Sands to be recognized as a national park and to reintroduce ourselves to the American public,” said White Sands National Park Superintendent Marie Sauter. “We are so appreciative of our partners, local communities, and congressional leaders who made this achievement possible and look forward to continued success working together.”

White Sands National Monument was established on January 18, 1933, by President Herbert Hoover to preserve, “the white sands and additional features of scenic, scientific, and educational interest.” Today’s re-designation recognizes the added significance of the park for its natural and cultural resources. In addition to containing the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, including gypsum hearthmounds found nowhere else on earth, the park is home to the globe’s largest collection of Ice-Age fossilized footprints and tells more than 10,000 years of human presence, all while providing memorable recreational opportunities.

Just so happens that my wife and I visited the park back in April. Here are a few photos from that visit.

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Tennessee State Parks Kick off New Year with First Day Hikes

Friday, December 20, 2019

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Tennessee State Parks will once again sponsor free, guided hikes to kick-off the New Year. Each state park will host its own special hike during the first few days of the New Year.

The First Hikes begin on December 31st, New Year's Eve, at Rocky Fork, Radnor Lake and Paris Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, which will host midnight hikes. The First Hikes will continue throughout New Year’s Day with morning, afternoon and evening hikes.

“Our First Hikes have been very popular and we are excited to continue this series in the New Year,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said. “The First Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.”

From Reelfoot to Henry Horton to Roan Mountain and every state park in between, the 2020 First Hikes are designed for all ages and abilities. Some hikes will be approximately one mile in length and tailored for novice hikers, while others are lengthier and geared toward more experienced hikers. For a more in-depth look into planned First Hikes in your area, please click here.

The Tennessee State Parks’ First Hikes of 2020 are part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.

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Smokies Hosts Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Thursday, December 19, 2019

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a Holiday Homecoming at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on Saturday, December 21, 2019. Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to experience a traditional Appalachian Christmas through hands-on crafts and activities from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and an old-time musical jam session from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

"Holiday Homecoming is about getting together, enjoying community, and reflecting on a shared past," said Park Ranger Michael Smith. “We welcome everyone to join us for this special annual event.”

The visitor center will be decorated for the holiday season, including an exhibit on Christmas in the mountains. Hot apple cider and cookies will be served on the porch with a fire in the fireplace.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is located on Newfound Gap Road, two miles north of Cherokee, NC. For more information call the visitor center at 828-497-1904. All activities are free and open to the public. Generous support of this event is provided by the Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains Association

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North Carolina’s State Parks to Host First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

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North Carolina’s New Year’s Day tradition of outdoor family adventure, exercise and exploring nature continues in 2020 with First Day Hikes throughout the state parks system. More than 45 guided hikes are scheduled for New Year’s Day, featuring educational programs led by park rangers along the way. All state parks will be open on the holiday.

In North Carolina, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago. Eno River’s first day hike alone draws more than 800 visitors.

“For decades, First Day Hikes have served our citizens and out-of-state guests with a great start to the year,” said Dwayne Patterson, state parks director. “After some lazy days with our families, our parks offer a chance to put our electronics down, get moving, get some fresh air, and set good intentions for the year—all while in the most beautiful places in our state.”

Each state park and recreation area brings something unique to First Day Hikes. Learn about beavers on a hike at Lake Norman, meet the world’s oldest longleaf pine at Weymouth Woods, or hike along the Pamlico River and watch wintering waterfowl at Goose Creek. Follow up a strenuous hike at rugged Gorges State Park with hot chocolate and cookies, or take a 5.2 mile hike to Chestnut Knob at South Mountains.

As an added bonus, visitors involved with the North Carolina State Parks 100-Mile Challenge – to walk, hike, paddle, cycle or otherwise explore 100 miles in the state parks – can add First Day Hikes mileage to their totals. First Day Hikes are also a great time to get started on your own New Year’s resolutions with the 100-mile challenge or Passport challenge!

Nationally, the First Day Hikes program is promoted by America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors, with more than 400 hikes scheduled in state parks across the country. A complete list of First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found at

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Hiking books make great last-minute gifts!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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Christmas is just one week away. The good news is that you still have time to order last-minute gifts from Amazon and have them delivered to your home in time for Christmas - and you won't have to fight the crowds or the traffic! To help with last-minute gift ideas, I wanted to let you know that the paperback version of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, is still available at 50% off the regular price. You can purchase the book on Amazon right now for only $9.95 (regular price is $18.95).

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is a great stocking stuffer for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information on the book, and to purchase, please click here.

Thank you very much!

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Smokies Hosts Annual Festival of Christmas Past Program

Friday, December 13, 2019

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration this Saturday, December 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center.

The festival will include mountain music, traditional shape note singing, mountain craft demonstrations, carolers, and a living history walk. Visitors are encouraged to take part in mountain traditions including hands-on activities and make-and-take crafts. Hot apple cider will be served throughout the day. Park volunteers and staff have created a new, immersive experience where visitors are invited to journey through holiday traditions over the last 100 years. Creative displays and exhibits can be found throughout the visitor center representing several decades of Christmas toys, decorations, and pastimes. These displays will be on exhibit throughout the holiday season from December 12 to January 5, 2020.

“This year we wanted to connect our visitors to Christmas through the decades with the creative vision and talent of our staff, volunteers, and local decorators Barry Phillips and Tracie Story,” said North District Resource Education Supervisor Stephanie Sutton. “The Festival of Christmas Past allows us to pause and remember some of these valuable holiday traditions.”

As part of the event, the popular ‘Christmas Memories Walk’ will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. Costumed interpreters will bring the history of the Smokies to life as they shed light on significant moments leading to the park’s establishment. The park invites all to experience the spirit of the season in the mountains during this year’s Festival of Christmas Past. This event, sponsored by the Friends of the Smokies, is free to the public.

Program Schedule:

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Traditional Shape Note Singing
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon Music by Boogertown Gap
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Music by the Lost Mill String Band
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Smoky Mountain Historical Society
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Christmas Memories Walk
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Music by Mike and Kathy Gwinn

Sugarlands Visitor Center is located on Newfound Gap Road, two miles south of Gatlinburg, TN. For more information, call the visitor center at 865-436-1291.

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Winter Activities in Rocky Mountain National Park

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Summer isn't the only time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. Winter is also an absolutely wonderful time to enjoy the scenic beauty of the park. The park, as well as the area surrounding it, offers many outstanding outdoor opportunities, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, downhill skiing, wildlife watching, dog sled rides, fat biking, ice fishing and even hiking. Even if you don’t own your own equipment there are many outfitters in Estes Park and Grand Lake that will rent everything you’ll need to enjoy your adventures.

Winter in the Rockies can typically last from November through April. The lower elevations along the eastern slope of Rocky Mountain National Park are usually free of deep snow. However, at higher elevations, arctic conditions prevail. Sudden blizzards, high winds, and deep snowpack are common in these areas of the park. The west side of the park usually experiences more snow, less wind and clear cold days during this time period. Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are usually at their best in January, February, and March. Unpredictable weather alternates between warm and cold, wet and dry conditions during April.

Based on the latest ten years of precipitation data, Estes Park (7522 feet) receives approximately 34 inches of snow each year, while Grand Lake (8369 feet) receives roughly 147 inches annually.

Visitors to the park should make note that the upper portion of Trail Ridge Road is closed during the winter. Depending on weather, the road usually closes for the season around mid-October or early-November, and reopens by Memorial Day Weekend. During the winter season, weather permitting, Trail Ridge Road is normally open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park, and to the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side. For the latest information on closures you can call the Trail Ridge Road Status Line at 970-586-1222, or visit the park website.

The following are a few of the winter adventures you can enjoy in and around the national park:

Snowshoeing – is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the park and surrounding areas during the winter. Basically, if you can hike, you can snowshoe! Within the park you can join a ranger-led snowshoe excursion. Several outings are offered throughout the winter. Participants will learn techniques to traverse various terrain as they explore the natural world of subalpine forests. No previous experience is needed for these programs. Outside of the park are several other areas you can explore. On the west side you may want to note that 70% of Grand County is public land. Therefore, snowshoers will have access to hundreds of miles of trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Never Summer Wilderness, Arapaho National Forest, Arapaho National Recreation Area, Byers Peak Wilderness, Vasquez Peak Wilderness, Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest, Winter Park and Fraser Valley areas. You can find additional information on these areas, as well as equipment rental outfitters and various Nordic centers by clicking here. For information on equipment outfitters and snowshoeing opportunities in the Estes Park area, please click here.

Cross-country Skiing – is another popular winter sport in and around the park. On the west side of the park, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers offer the "Ski the Wilderness in Winter" program each winter. Cross-country skiers also have access to trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Never Summer Wilderness, Arapaho National Forest, Arapaho National Recreation Area, Byers Peak Wilderness, Vasquez Peak Wilderness, Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest, Winter Park and Fraser Valley areas. You can find additional information about these areas, as well as equipment rental outfitters and various Nordic centers by clicking here.

Although the terrain and the amount snow on the west side of the park make for better cross-country skiing, the Estes Park area also offers many cross-country skiing opportunities as well. For additional information on these opportunities, as well as equipment rental outfitters on the east side of the park, please click here.

Hiking – Depending on the amount of snow on the ground, visitors can also enjoy hiking in the park, especially on the east side. Destinations such as Cub Lake, Chasm Falls, Deer Mountain, The Pool, Gem Lake and Upper Beaver Meadows are all great choices during the winter. For more information about these hiking destinations in winter, please click here.

Sledding - Hidden Valley is the one place in Rocky Mountain National Park where sledding is allowed. Please note that no tows are provided, and you must provide your own plastic sled, saucer, or tube (if you don't bring your own they can be rented in Estes Park at most outdoor shops). This gentle hill is at the bottom of the bunny slope of the former Hidden Valley Ski Area. On most weekends there's an attendant here. A warming room is also available. Winter winds can scour the area, causing conditions to vary, so you should call the park Information Office at 970-586-1206 for the latest information.

Wildlife Watching - Many park roads are usually open during the winter, which provide access for viewing park wildlife. Winter is an especially good time to look for elk, mule deer, moose, and other large mammals. Visitors should look for moose along the Colorado River on the park's west side. Elk and mule deer are most active at dusk and dawn, and are usually seen in meadow areas. Look for bighorn sheep along the Highway 34/Fall River corridor on the park's east side. Coyotes may be seen any time of day. Members of the Jay family, including Steller's jays, gray jays, Clark's nutcrackers, and the iridescent, long-tailed black-billed magpies are commonly seen in the winter as well.

Other Outdoor Activities – in addition to the winter activities already mentioned above, the Grand Lake area offers several other winter adventures, including downhill skiing, dog sled rides, fat biking, ice fishing, ice skating, sledding and snowmobiling, among many other options. You can click here for a full list of winter activities.

Before venturing into the park during the winter months be sure you’re properly prepared for cold and snowy conditions. Be sure to layer up with insulating, waterproof clothing, wear sunglasses, use sunscreen, carry water and carry a good topographical trail map.

Other info:

For the latest information on weather conditions, please click here.

* Current Bear Lake Snow Conditions

* Overall Trail Conditions

* Colorado Avalanche Information

If you do plan to visit Rocky Mountain this winter, or anytime of the year, please note that our hiking website also offers a wide variety of accommodation listings and other things to do to help with all your vacation planning.

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ATC Submits Brief to Supreme Court Providing Perspective on Upcoming Case

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

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On December 9, 2019, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) submitted a brief to the Supreme Court providing its unique and historically based perspective on Cowpasture River Reservation Association, et al. v. United States Forest Service, an important case involving the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). This brief highlights the importance of preserving the cooperative management system, which maintains and conserves the Trail. Confirmed by the National Trail System Act of 1968 (NTSA), this system is essential for protecting not only the Trail itself, but also the realm of surrounding lands, environments and hiking experiences that have characterized the A.T. for nearly a century.

In this case, the Court will determine whether the U.S. Forest Service — or any land management agency aside from the National Park Service — can issue Mineral Leasing Act permits for pipelines to cross the A.T. Regardless of the final ruling, the ATC urges the Court to make a decision that ensures the cooperative management system remains intact, and that pipelines and other infrastructure are permitted in a way that preserves the A.T. realm. The ATC’s primary concern is the protection and enhancement of the Trail.

The A.T. cooperative management system is comprised of individual governmental agencies, Trail Maintaining Clubs, communities along the Trail and the Conservancy itself all united by a common purpose: to use their areas of expertise to ensure that the A.T. is protected for future generations. It is imperative that all members of this system are able to work together to achieve this goal.

To read the full brief provided to the Supreme Court, click here.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the Cowpasture decision in early 2020. The ATC will continue to inform its members, volunteers and A.T. lovers worldwide whenever there are important updates.

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National Park Service seeks public input to increase access to national park lands

Saturday, December 7, 2019

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The National Park Service (NPS) today announced it is seeking the public’s assistance to develop a list of national park lands that would benefit from new or increased access routes. This effort advances the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (S.47), which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in March 2019.

“Increasing the public’s awareness and access to the more than 85 million acres managed by the National Park Service is one of our top priorities,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela. “We’re looking forward to working with the public, partners, and stakeholders to identify areas with no or restricted access to national park areas and collaborate with landowners to establish avenues for public enjoyment of these lands.”

Section 4105 of the Dingell Act instructs the NPS and other federal land management agencies to develop a priority list of lands with no or restricted public access that meet a set requirements and considerations. In the coming months, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also seek the public’s input to nominate lands within their jurisdictions under similar criteria.

NPS’s final priority list will be posted online by March 12, 2020, and updated biennially thereafter for 10 years.

Share Your Recommendations

Public comments will be accepted through January 4, 2020, via the NPS’s Planning, Environmental and Public Comments website at,

* Nominated lands must meet the following requirements and considerations:

* Must be managed by the NPS.

* Must be at least 640 contiguous acres.

* Must have significantly restricted or no public access.

* Potential for public access and the likelihood of resolving the absence of, or restriction to public access, are among other criteria for consideration.

For example, if a sizable parcel of NPS land is completely surrounded by privately owned land with no or restricted public access, the NPS may consider adding this to the priority list and begin working with states, local governments, nonprofit organizations and/or property owners to acquire land or other means of access to the NPS land, ensuring its long-term protection.

Recommendations must include the following information:

* Location of the land or parcel.

* Total acreage of the land or parcel.

* Description or narrative about the land’s restricted or complete lack of access.

* Any additional information the NPS should consider when determining if the land should be on the NPS’s priority list.

For additional information and a full list of required criteria for consideration as specified by the Dingell Act, visit

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The Top 5 Reasons to Visit Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, December 5, 2019

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Rising more than 7000 feet above Jackson Hole, the high peaks of Grand Teton National Park provide one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. Although many people seem to treat it as an afterthought, only visiting the park as a side trip while visiting its more famous neighbor to the north, more time and focus should be given to this stunning landscape. Within its 310,000 acres the majestic mountains of the Teton Range are home to a wide variety of wildlife, eight peaks that top out above 12,000 feet, more than 100 alpine and backcountry lakes, and more than 240 miles of trails that provide intimate access to all of this incredibly beautiful scenery. The following are among some of the top reasons why you should pay a visit to this amazing park:

1) Cascade Canyon

The Cascade Canyon Trail is widely touted as one of the best hikes in the entire National Park System. In addition to the stunning views of 12,928-foot Mt. Owen, the trail visits Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The route is also known for the wide variety of wildlife that is frequently seen, especially bears and moose.

2) Lake Views

Lying along the eastern base of the Teton Range is a series of glacially-carved lakes. Rising sharply above their western shores, the views of the rugged mountains are stunning and dramatic. From the shores of Jackson, Leigh, Jenny, Phelps, Bradley and Taggart Lakes, hikers will enjoy some of the most striking views in the park.

3) Wildlife

Although Yellowstone rightfully receives a lot of attention for its wildlife viewing opportunities, the Grand Tetons are also known for its diversity of wildlife. The rugged mountains provide habitat to a wide variety of wildlife, including black bears, grizzly bears, elk, bison, bighorn sheep, moose, pronghorn, wolves, fox, lynx, bobcats and mountain lions. There are also more than 300 species of birds, including trumpeter swans, ospreys and bald eagles. A drive along Moose-Wilson Road is a popular way of spotting mega fauna such as bears and moose. However, hikes such as Amphitheater Lake, Hermitage Point, Moose Ponds and the Emma Matilda Lake Loop are all great choices for possibly seeing wildlife in the backcountry.

4) Photography

The abrupt rise of the Tetons from the valley floor arguably makes them one of the most photogenic mountain ranges in the world. As a result, professional and amateur photographers alike will enjoy a multitude of photo opportunities around the park. Some of the best spots for getting that perfect shot include Mormon Row, Oxbow Bend, Schwabacher’s Landing, as well as the Snake River Overlook, which was made famous by Ansel Adams' 1942 photograph. Of course all of the backcountry locations mentioned above will also provide outstanding photo opportunities.

5) Snake River Float Trip

The Snake River meanders along the sage brush flats below the Teton Range, and provides park visitors with the unique opportunity of enjoying the majestic mountain scenery from a raft. Although outfitters offer trips throughout the day, I highly recommend the morning trips, as the mountains typically look their finest when bathed in the glow of early morning sunshine. Morning is also the best time to view wildlife along the river banks, including bald eagles.

With more than 240 miles of trails meandering throughout the park, hiking is the absolute best way to see Grand Teton National Park. In addition to the hikes listed above, the park offers a variety of other outstanding hikes. If you do plan to visit Grand Teton this year, please note that our hiking website also offers a wide variety of accommodation listings as well as other things to do to help with all your vacation planning.

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“History of hiking” is now 50% off!

Monday, December 2, 2019

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Reminder: through Christmas, the paperback version of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, is available at 50% off the regular price. Hiking enthusiasts can purchase the book on Amazon right now for only $9.95 (regular price is $18.95).

Additionally, the Kindle e-book version of my book will be sold for just $4.99 through Cyber Weekend. This special price will be offered for one week only, from November 27th through December 3rd.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is an outstanding gift idea for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information on the book, and to purchase, please click here.

Thank you very much!

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Smokies To Close Park Roads This Afternoon Ahead of Storm

Sunday, December 1, 2019

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In anticipation of a significant snowstorm forecasted for East Tennessee tonight through tomorrow night, the Great Smoky Mountains has just announced several road closures in a series of Tweets:
US Hwy 441/Newfound Gap Rd from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC will close this evening at 5:00 PM due to significant winter weather.
Foothills Parkway East at Cosby will be closing at 4 pm today due to approaching significant winter weather event.
Foothills Parkway West from Walland to Wears Valley (New Section) will be closing at 4 pm today due to approaching significant winter weather event.
Here's the latest Winter Storm Warning forecast from the National Weather Service:

.A storm system will produce widespread precipitation across the southern Appalachians Tonight through Monday night. Temperatures will be cold enough to produce significant snowfall over the higher elevations, especially in places above 3000 feet. In addition to snow, winds are expected to remain breezy in the mountains which will lead to hazardous driving conditions.


* WHAT...Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 9 inches. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph.

* WHERE...Far east Tennessee Mountains.

* WHEN...From 7 PM this evening to 7 AM EST Tuesday.

* IMPACTS...Travel will be hazardous due to the falling snow and windy conditions. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning and evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Blowing snow will cause reduced visibilites and drifting of snow. Cold temperatures and strong winds will cause wind chill temperatures to drop into the teens to single digits.
To stay on top of all road closures in the Smokies, please visit their Twitter page:

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