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  1. #1
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    Adventure trip ideas (CA, UT, CO, VA, NC or ???)

    I'm thinking about taking an adventure trip with a friend. It would be a quick trip, probably a long weekend towards the end of April or May. My friend doesn't mountain bike but I could possibly spend an extra day if I really want to get a ride in.

    A few options that we're considering are. I've done these before and put my concerns:

    1. Hike, camp, kayak Channel Islands (not sure if it's "epic" enough)

    2. Hike Zion (not sure how the crowds will be - especially on a weekend as I passed a lot of people when I hiked Angel's Landing before because it bottle necked quite a bit)

    3. Grand Canyon (a little tough to get to from the east coast for a long weekend)

    4. The Rockies (not sure if time wise is the best as the ski resorts are closed but I imagine there's still a lot of snow)

    5. Hike VA or paddle / surf in NC, camp on an uninhabited beach

    Anyway, any recommendations or things I should consider?

  2. #2
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    For a long weekend, I'm not sure I'd want something way out west unless it was super close to your destination airport so you could get in and get out. And that won't leave you many options.

    As much as I hate Vegas and the Vegas airport, Red Rock Canyon west of the city is super cool. Lots of stuff to do outdoors there (mtb or otherwise). That's one place where it's pretty easy to fly in and fly out pretty quick.

    You say you're coming from the east coast - where exactly? For me, I think that'd be the biggest factor of determining where to go, to keep travel time down. IME, 5hrs travel time to the destination is pretty good for a long weekend. Less is best, of course, and 8hrs is doable, but you have to make compromises (like driving overnight, dealing with lack of sleep, be willing to spend more time traveling than at the destination, that sort of thing).

  3. #3
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    I wouldn't travel out west for a long weekend, especially if you're planing an "adventure trip". I'd look for something closer to home base. I like the paddling/camping idea.

    And FYI, Zion seems to be getting worse by the year in terms of crowds, I'd avoid it like the plague to be perfectly honest. Not to mention the big entrance fee hike that's coming.
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  4. #4
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    I agree with the amount of travel time. Problem is I'm coming from the Raleigh/Durham area and my friend lives in San Diego. If I were just doing a solo trip, I can get to Pisgah, some good stuff in VA, and some amazing beaches in 3-4 hours. But we may push back the trip to see if we can get more time to do something fun.

    I do miss the national parks out west. That's good to know about Zion getting more and more crowded too

  5. #5
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    I did zion last year, and it was awesome. Middle of summer. We found free camping at an awesome park about 30 minutes away, and hiked around there as well.

    Yeah, there's people there. Didn't change us having a great time. Its a do-once kinda place, but totally worth doing!

  6. #6
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    In April and, hopefully, May, the major mountain areas near major airports will be snowed in. This includes Seattle, salt lake, Denver, Sacramento, Portland etc. If you're interested in great spring skiing, stay tuned and follow the snow pack reports. Otherwise, avoid the mountains in favor of some desert locations. As Harold said, Las Vegas is the only big airport with good adventures close by. Death Valley is great, but is a ways from Las Vegas and may be hot by April and May.

    This would be a good time of year to paddle the everglades or Okefenokee. Both are great paddling outside of the hot season.

    As for me, I'm hoping to be spring skiing the backcountry in Lassen and Crater Lake and other west coast locations in April and May.

    As for Zion, I drove through it in October leaving Gooseberry Mesa and going to the Cottonwood canyon road in Escalante grand staircase and I've never seen such incredible crowds. There wasn't even anyplace you could park within 10 miles of the park entrance!
    My mantra: Hike, Bike, Paddle, Ski

  7. #7
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    Adventure trip ideas (CA, UT, CO, VA, NC or ???)

    NC is awesome. Ive paddled and ridden there. Moab/grand junction would be great for riding, but not sure about paddling. The mountains of CO wont be cleared to ride that early.
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  8. #8
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I agree with the amount of travel time. Problem is I'm coming from the Raleigh/Durham area and my friend lives in San Diego. If I were just doing a solo trip, I can get to Pisgah, some good stuff in VA, and some amazing beaches in 3-4 hours. But we may push back the trip to see if we can get more time to do something fun.

    I do miss the national parks out west. That's good to know about Zion getting more and more crowded too
    Well, since one or both of you is going to be flying no matter what, proximity to major airports should be high on your list.

    Swamp paddling would definitely be a cool trip. A fair number of options outside the obvious Florida trips. Some places in GA and the Carolinas. Lots of stuff along the Gulf Coast, too. Hopefully you can find a spot during gator mating season so you can listen to bellowing gators while you try to sleep.

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  9. #9
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    As for Zion, I drove through it in October leaving Gooseberry Mesa and going to the Cottonwood canyon road in Escalante grand staircase and I've never seen such incredible crowds. There wasn't even anyplace you could park within 10 miles of the park entrance!
    In all fairness, zion has a crazy long distance from the entrance to anything worth checking out in the park. The entrance is very commercialized and basically a mall. You gotta skip all that and drive up. The crowds disappear, and you can park. Hike a couple miles and the shuttle bus takes you to all the cool stuff. It is about 10 miles away!

    Zion sort of has poor accessibility to the cool stuff, which is a bit of a saving grace if you're in reasonable shape and can hike.

    Just saying, if you can do it once, it's incredible.

  10. #10
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    Id push your time further towards summer like June and better yet early July if you are considering mountain areas.
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  11. #11
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    I just talked to my buddy and we're both on the same page that it'll be too much of a time crunch. But he may be making a trip out east so if that's the case, we'll probably do something in the mountains (possibly Pisgah) or the outer banks.

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