5 Best Hikes of 2018
If you’ve been wondering where to find the best hikes to take in the upcoming year, then you’re reading the right article. Below are my top 5 hikes to take in 2018. Happy hiking!
1 Angel’s Landing, UT.
At Zion National Park is Angel’s Landing. It is one of the most exciting, daring hikes I’ve done to date. It’s known as the Temple of Aeolus, and stands at 1,488 feet tall. The trail to Angels Landing is 2.4 miles. It starts at the Grotto drop off point. The trail follows the path of the Virgin River for some time, but then it slowly begins to gain elevation in sandy terrain. As the trail gets steeper, it leaves the river and becomes a paved walkway.
Next come a series of switchbacks that gradually ascend between Angel’s landing and Zion canyon. The switchbacks are called Walter’s Wiggles, and have a total of 21, steep switchbacks. These switchbacks are the last hurdle before you reach Scout Lookout. Once you’ve made it so Scout Lookout, now’s the time to decide if you want to continue on, or turn back.
Many people are unwilling to make the final summit to Angel’s Landing, and for a fair enough reason I may add. The last 1/2 mile of the trail is extremely strenuous and difficult. The route is along a steep, narrow ridge, filled with numerous sharp drop offs. There are support chains placed intermittently throughout the last part. Once you’ve reached the top, you can stand and lookout over Zion at 5,790 feet.
2 Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail, AZ.
In the middle of Coconino National Forest lies the hidden gem that is Fossil Creek. A beautiful, turquoise blue oasis. Waterfall trail is easily the most popular trail at Fossil Creek. The trail is only one mile along Fossil Creek, which leads to an incredible natural waterfall.
It opens into a huge swimming hole, that is consistently packed with crowds. They had so many people coming to this trail, that they had to input a permit system. The new system has helped to regulate the traffic coming in and out of the trail, which in turn will help to better protect Fossil Creek. The waterfall itself stands about 10 feet high, and has some of the best cliff jumping. Not to mention, there are so many different swimming holes, you could easily spend the day there.
3 Hermit Trail to Santa Maria Springs, AZ.
Santa Maria Springs trail at Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done. It pushed my body to its limit in the best way. Hermit Trail starts only a couple hundred feet from Hermit’s Rest, which is the last stop on the shuttle bus. The Hermit Trail then descends into the canyon with several steep switchbacks all the way down.
The elevation at the start of the trail was 6,440 feet, and by the time we reached Santa Maria Springs, we had descended to 4,880 feet. The Grand Canyon trails can get brutal during the summer months, so make sure to have enough water to stay hydrated. Hermit Trail goes all the way down to The Colorado River, but has several stops prior, and Santa Maria Springs is one of them. The entire hike roundtrip is 5 miles. The terrain is rocky and unpaved, and incredibly steep. But completing that hike gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment.
4 Cassidy Arch, UT.
This is the best hike at Capitol Reef National Park, UT, and one of my favorite hikes I’ve done. The arch is named after the famous Butch Cassidy. The trail is located in the middle of Capitol Reef, and can be reached through the Grand Wash, which is a pull off from the Scenic Drive.
The trail is a branch off of the larger Frying Pan Trail. About .2 miles in, you will come across the sign for Cassidy Arch. The trail then steadily ascends the rim of the canyon and offers some spectacular panoramic views. You gain about 670 feet in elevation, and the trail is 3.5 miles roundtrip. The hike is steep, and can be a challenge, but so worth it for the views of the arch, and of Capitol Reef.
5 Observation Point, UT.
This is a classic, well known trail in Zion National Park, and for good reason. At 6,521 feet in elevation atop Mount Baldy, Observation Point offers you one of the best viewpoints of the canyon in the entire park. You can see the entire end of Zion Canyon, and out past the park. The hike is steep, with stretches of level ground that goes through the beautiful Echo Canyon.
The breaks of level ground help along the way. With a total 8 miles hiked roundtrip, and a complete ascension of about 2,000 feet, this is not a trail for the beginning hiker. This is a strenuous hike, but if done at a steady pace, with regular breaks, and plenty of water and energy bars, can be a lot of fun and more than worth it for the views of the park, the Virgin River, and the accomplished feeling from completing that hike.
If you’re looking for a little extra adventure in the coming year, these are the top 5 best hikes I recommend taking in 2018, if you don’t have them scheduled already. These hikes provide the perfect amount of challenge and adventure, and are sure to give you the best feeling of accomplishment once completed. They’re hikes you’re sure to remember, and you’ll be planning your next hiking trip sooner than later!
That concludes part three in my get hiking seriese.
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