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06/13/2011

Top 10 Summertime National Parks Hikes

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200410013-001This summer, why not kick off the flip flops and lace up some hiking shoes? Here in the U.S., we've got 84 million acres of stunning national parks just waiting and ready for you to explore. Not only are our nation's pristine parks an idyllic ecotourism destination - they're the ultimate in inexpensive activities!

If you're not familiar with the most sought-out trails, that's okay. Take a day or two to find your own favorite nooks, crannies and cliffs to call your own. Or, if you're eager to see what everyone is talking about, try one of these hot spot trails that are known for their nationwide popularity: 

  1. Arizona: Petrified Forest National Park
    Painted Desert Rim Trail (One mile round trip)
    This trail winds through the rim woodland and offers up various species of plants, animals and spectacular views.
  2. California: Yosemite National Park
    Wapama Falls (Five miles round trip)
    Taking you to the base of Wapama Falls, this trail passes two waterfalls and bounties of wildflowers.
  3. Colorado: Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Rim Rock Nature Trail (One mile round trip)

    A self-guided nature trail that's mostly flat and follows the canyon's rim. You'll catch excellent views of the Gunnison River.
  4. Florida: Canaveral National Seashore
    Turtle Mound Trail (.3 miles)
    Hike to the top of a 35-foot-high Native American Mound and choose one of two awesome views.
  5. Georgia: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
    General Bragg Trail (Five miles)
    Cehck out Georgia Regimental Monuments, Strahl's Brigade Tablet and General Bragg's Headquarters as you hike back through history.
  6. New Mexico: White Sands National Park
    Interdune Boardwalk (650 yards round trip)

    Easily accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, this walk offers vast views of wildflowers aplenty.
  7. South Dakota: Jewel Cave National Monument
    Canyons Trail (3.5 mile loop trail)
    You'll surely encounter limestone cliffs, ponderosa pine forests, deer, birds and bats on this trail.
  8. Texas: Big Bend National Park
    Dog Canyon Trail (4 miles round trip)
    Glimpse a narrow canyon cut between massive limestone layers on this medium-difficulty trail.
  9. Tennessee: Great Smokey Mountains
    Andrews Bald Trail (3.5 miles round trip)
    At 5,920 feet, Andrews Blad is the hightest in the Smokies. Enjoy breath-taking views of the southern mountains from the top.
  10. Maine: Acadia National Park
    Ocean Path Trail (4 miles round trip)
    Sand beaches and sea cliffs. Enough said, right?

Source: National Park Foundation

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