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Hike the Wild Azalea National Recreation Trail. What Is It? Central Louisiana’s Wild Azalea National Recreation Trail, located in the southwest of Alexandria, travels the length of a marathon (26.2 miles). You could hike the whole thing in a day or spend three days backpacking through this rich, biodiverse region. Even though the Bayou State…

See the related National Geographic magazine “Empire of Rock” feature story, 3-D cave tour, and 3:30-minute video from the July 2014 edition. This expedition was supported with a grant from the National Geographic Expeditions Council. I’m teetering on a precarious stack of limestone “Jenga” blocks on a huge spire in Enshi Grand Canyon in southern China. None…

Slither, crawl, and climb on the Wild Cave Tour. What Is It? With more than 400 miles of explored area, Mammoth Cave National Park boasts one of the world’s longest cave systems. The Park Service offers an array of tours varying in length and focus so you can pick the best ones for your needs.…

Find solitude with a backpacking trip in a hidden Iowa wilderness.             What Is It? The nearly thousand-acre Coon Creek Wildlife Management Area offers hikers, backpackers, and nature lovers a largely untouched, rarely visited spot to explore. Spend a day or the weekend bushwhacking off-trail or wandering the dirt paths and roads that snake through…

Hike the Crown Jewel of Indiana’s State Park System What Is It? This series of 11-day hikes allows you to delve into the deep canyons, sandstone cliffs, and serene hemlock groves of stunning Turkey Run State Park. The trails are short, but don’t be fooled—most are rugged and challenging. Definitely don’t miss Trail 3, a…

On June 16, 1971, Bill Briggs stood alone atop Wyoming’s 13,770-foot Grand Teton, one of the most iconic peaks in North America. He surveyed his surroundings, saw a storm gathering in the distance, and quickly clicked into his 210-centimeter fiberglass K2 skis. Then, he skied off the summit and into history. Four hours later, when…

The journey planned is rarely the journey taken. The Nobody’s River expedition team had no idea how true this would be as they prepared to leave for a two-month expedition in Mongolia and Russia. Today, the team released the trailer to their film that documents their journey along the Amur River, one of the few remaining free-flowing…

Climb and hike in one of Illinois’ most pristine places. What Is It? Combining climbing and hiking is the preeminent way to explore this hilly, 4,055-acre oasis hidden amidst the largely flat Corn Belt. Rock climbers can score great sandstone, top-roped routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.13 at Shelter 1 Bluff and the Devil’s Standtable…

Every adventure needs trust. There must be faith in yourself, your partners, the environment, or the experience and not just for safety, but also value. You must deem the exploration important, either immediately or at some nostalgic point in the future. Belief in the experience is what makes it come alive. These thoughts are subconsciously…

Climb, float, and soak among the serrated peaks of south-central Idaho. What Is It? A varied weekend full of high-adrenaline adventure starts with a quick boat ride across Redfish Lake. This shuttle ushers you to some of the best hiking and climbing in the state. After a short trek up the glacially sculpted Redfish Canyon,…