thousand island lake

Moon Muir Trek: Day One Trail Report

Moon’s Senior Cartographer Kat Bennett, her husband Landis, and their friends Chris and Jim are on a three-week backpacking trek to explore the John Muir Trail. Kat is providing periodic trail updates so you can follow along on the journey.

The view from Sunset Point. Photo © Judy Jewell.

Planning Your Time in Bryce Canyon National Park

In Bryce Canyon, a geologic fairyland of rock spires rises beneath the high cliffs of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. This intricate maze, eroded from soft limestone, now glows with warm shades of red, orange, pink, yellow, and cream. The best things to do in the park are take in the visitors center exhibits, enjoy the viewpoints along the scenic drive, and spend time hiking.

No California 7e - Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Photo © Juliegrondin/Dreamstime.

Hiking the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Bishop is a great jumping-off point for travelers to explore the little visited Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Located in a section of the Inyo National Forest in the White Mountains. this is where the world’s oldest trees reside. Three hiking trails begin right outside the Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitors Center.

Hole 'n the Rock. Photo © Judy Jewell.

Family-Friendly Fun in Moab, Utah

It’s fair to say that Moab doesn’t tempt travelers with a lot of traditional tourism establishments, but all you have to do is raise your eyes to the horizon. The locale is so striking that you’ll want to get outdoors and explore, and the astonishing sights of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks are just minutes from town. But there’s nothing wrong with just enjoying the enthusiastic vibe of the town.

The Virgin River cuts through Zion Canyon. Photo © Judy Jewell.

Planning Your Time in Zion National Park

Zion is a magnificent park with stunning, soaring scenery. The geology here is all about rocks and water; even rainy days can be memorable as waterfalls plunge from nearly every crevice in the cliffs above. To explore, it’s always worth spending part of a day hiking with a park ranger. The highlight for most visitors is winding through the canyon on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon. Photo © Judy Jewell.

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon National Park

From elevations of about 8,000 feet near the visitors center, Bryce Canyon National Park’s scenic drive gradually winds 1,100 feet higher to Rainbow Point. On a clear day, you can enjoy vistas of more than 100 miles from many of the viewpoints. Visitors wishing to see all of the viewpoints should take a walk on the Rim Trail.

View from Granite Point Trail at Point Lobos. Photo © Ken Wolter/123rf.

Visit Carmel’s Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is filled with ragged cliffs, hidden coves, rich marine ecosystems, lovely meadows, and dense pine and cypress forests. Hiking trails crisscross the reserve, the most spectacular of which hug the coastline. Point Lobos might be even more famous for what lies beneath the water than above it; underwater protected areas are home to a diverse marine ecosystem that includes 70-foot high kelp forests.

View from the Nounou Trail. Photo © Christopher Thomas, licensed CC-BY 2.0.

Hiking Nounou Mountain, Kaua‘i’s Sleeping Giant

The Nounou Mountain Trails comprise three trails. They are all inland in the mountains above Wailua and zigzag over Nounou Ridge, the Sleeping Giant. Many feel the nearly four-mile round-trip Nounou Mountain East Trail is the prettiest of the three, while the Kuamo‘o-Nounou Trail is about two miles one way and is tough, but suitable for a fit family. Lastly, the Nounou Mountain West Trail is 1.5 miles and one hour each way, and a little shorter and less steep than the east-side trail.