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Elsie Vanderveer

There is this one life to live wildly.

This is one of the more challenging trail routes in middle Tennessee. Not saying too much when compared to western states but I found it to be a great loop for a glute burning trail run. Fair amount of people and dogs even on a weekday so get there early for a cooler, less populated go of it. Trail crosses several paved roads and horse trails so pay attention to the red markers. I added a few "inspiration points" into my loop to get closer to 5 miles. Adding the connector trail adds some more mileage too for those looking for a slightly longer option. Beautiful in the fall! No major view points but the colors and peaceful nature on the trail are worth exploring. Should also note this trail is naturally a loop. Description above notes a connector but that is inaccurate. It's not an out-and-back but a loop around the park. Good news for those not wanting to see the same thing twice.

This is a perfect route for trail running with some nice moderate inclines-- not too challenging but enough to get that push uphill feeling. It's a beautiful location on the edge of the lake and everyone I meet on the trail is incredibly nice and all smiles-- which I feel says a lot about a location and the energy of people it attracts. Great for dogs-- mine likes to take a quick dip at a trail offshoot near the end of the loop.

Went in October. Beautiful fall weather and color change. To be clear this is a low elevation change trail, not so much of a hike. Flat, soft terrain with some roots and rocks. My gps clocked 4 miles even though the trail is labeled as 5. Follow the white markers on the trees for guidance as it intersects several other trails in the park. Great for my trail run.

A great moderate level trip with very few people. We only saw people hiking up the day we were leaving (though going midweek might have had something to do with that). Crystal clear water up past Maud lake. Definitely recommend the views up Red Rock and a compass. A lot of the areas we explored over the three days required reliance on compass direction back to our packs. Not a whole lot of wildlife except birds, hawks, and chipmunks. Rained one night and froze the other so be prepared for some funky storm systems over the pass (weather the night before we left predicted sunny skies the whole time). Trip taken late Sept. 2016

Caught the sunrise at the top. Absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite parks with great reflective water. Snow on top year round. Get there early as the trail gets crowded even by 8:40am.

This is one of the best hikes I've been on. Between the two glaciers, and view of five mountains (I was fortunate enough to have a clear day), and the mesmerizing expanse of mt hood I highly recommend it. Continue up the ridge line until an elevation of 8900ft. Worth the extra burn to get that close to the mountain. Trail is a bit of choose your own adventure. I went up elk cove, which I later learned was closed from a flood in 2006. The best hike route is the hardest-- the near vertical ridge line all the way up the side. Choose the inner mountain switch backs on the way down to save the knees. Poles suggested for hike down. Mad respect to low clearance vehicles who can make it through the sand ditch half way up the road. I didn't go into 4wheel drive but came close.

4th of July fave. Pack a floating cooler and fill your Yeti. Fun in the summer sun.

Great hill to trail run with quick climb. Bunkers are a bit creepy if you let your imagination run wild. Great views on clear days.

North star is a great resort on the backside. Front gets too crowded with new/ intermediate skiers. Best on the backside on pow days where all the Bay Area peeps can't handle the cold and leave the fresh layers for the non-faint of heart.

Seconding comment about not realizing the immense beauty until you're at the base looking up. But definitely work your way up-- two steps up one slide down at a time. The views from the top peak over the dune valley are amazing. The juxtaposing sand dunes against snow capped mountains are breath taking. Soft sand. Warm rays. And a cool creek to splash in after summit. Bring a beer to crack at the top and double check for sand critters that like to crawl into your pack or socks-- though some even climb shoeless.

Great arch, perfect for napping if you start and arrive after Noon. You'll come back with dirty, sandy trail runners and a thirst to crack climb in the Klondike Bluffs. Also find a reprieve from all the tourists who love to block a true view of the arch.

Needed a dip and chill after a long day of hiking and exploring. This was the perfect place to lizard out before the sunset. Tip: no tree cover along the parking route; perfect time to warm the solar shower Parking further is a challenge except in the late afternoon. People wind up parking all the way down to the end of the street. Go later and see freed up spaces of those who depart earlier.

Great exposure to many many arches in one hike. Diverse landscape, lots of wildlife, and fun scrambling to catch different angles of the arch (respectfully of course on slide rock only). Bring extra water and sun block. Tip- just before the drop into Double O arch there is a light color slab on the left. Scramble up for an expansive view into the garden and angle into the arch. Great meditation seat.

Great viewpoint to the canyon valley. Best done as part of Devils garden loop. Lots of wildlife and fairly accessible.

Overall the loop portion was ok at best. A great moderate hike best done in the morning for the right light exposure. My first time on Devils loop was the afternoon and the sun shadowed most of the arches' beauty. Best done as part of the greater loop as a sum of many parts so to speak. Watch out for those tourists!

You can tell it's the place Boy Scouts go when they're angsty teens with a can of spray paint. For that I find it endearing in the nostalgic, country rural girl at heart. But maybe not worth turning off the interstate for. Once you pass the bridge in the park it's the circle lot on the left hand side.

Great rock climbing and bouldering; easy walking trails. Tons of wildlife especially in the morning. Got there at 7 for a light coffee stroll and meditation. To climb you need a permit, which can be obtained for free online via the park website. Great spot right on the edge of the city.

Beautiful landscape with many options for prairie land walks. I opted for the Scenic Overlook Trail through the Bison Windmill Pasture to Prairie Fire to Davis with some off-route stops at some lakes and abandoned buildings. Lots of wildlife, majestic bison, and powerful clouds. Bring a light sweater for the Kansas breeze and a peaceful heart. Park is open 24/7/365, which was convenient for my early morning start before the crowds. Over 40 miles of trails. Hiking. Fishing. Picnicking. And frolicking like an 1800s prairie child.

Normally I'm all down for checking out touristy things because I often surprise myself with what I find. Having just come off an extensive road trip I was excited about the springs. However, as interesting as this hike and spring water splash was, I cannot hid my disappointment. It was overly crowded and the bathhouses (the ones that were open) all closed by early afternoon. Emphasize-- you cannot simply "dip" into the springs. You have to go to a bathhouse. Go with your elderly grandparents/ parents who would enjoy confined and roofed in spring experiences rather than jumping in a rock hole in nature.

Beautiful country and wild flowers in the spring! Stunning yellow, red, green and blue contrasts.

Caught the sunset here. Stunning lighting!

Highly recommend. Need 4WD especially when raining. Best views before sunrise and at sunset. Part of national park pass.

I am in love with the Valley of Fire thanks to an impromptu visit to elephant rock. It's an easy walk from the first parking lot and there is so much to explore in the park. Note: not part of the national park system so you will need to pay a self-pay fee of $5 UNLESS you go after hours (sunset or sunrise) when the boxes are locked. Great as part of cross country drive from the Colorado river/ Hoover Dam to The Grand Staircase/ Escalante National Park. Author recommends sunrise. I found sunset with a backlit and lower up-angle to be my favorite time and angle. So much to photograph. Could be a half day trip or several days of exploration.

Recommended over Arizona hot springs. Beautiful and serene. Gets very crowded. Recommend as part of a larger kayak run rather than hike. Easy hike.