Summer Travel Quest #28

Take a (Night) Hike

From Los Angeles to the Finger Lakes in New York, these five guided walks reveal familiar landscapes in new ways
by Travis Marshall Posted Jun 17th 2014 11:43a.m.
Travis is a Los Angeles-based adventure-travel writer who gets his kicks island hopping tropical archipelagos, scuba diving with sharks and exploring the California backcountry.

This summer, go hiking under the light of the cosmos to see forests take on new personalities, watch unusual animals emerge from their daytime hiding spots and find unique perspectives on familiar landscapes.

Not sure where to start? We’ve put together this list of five awe-inspiring, guided night hikes from across the country.

INSIDER TIP

Part of the thrill of night hiking is enjoying the sights and sounds of nature under the cover of darkness, and simply turning on a flashlight for a few seconds can affect your night vision for hours. Instead of bringing or using a flashlight, trust that your eyes will adjust to the darkness. 

Griffith Park Night Hikes, Los Angeles

Los Angeles may look like a concrete jungle from street level, but a night hike high above the city makes it seem more like a galaxy of twinkling stars. The Sierra Club’s L.A. chapter offers guided group night hikes in Griffith Park every week, including a full moon hike each month.

Full Moon Suspension Bridge Hikes, Tallulah Gorge, North Georgia

Deep in the wild, rolling forests of North Georgia, explore the rim of picturesque Tallulah Gorge and cross a nail-biting suspension bridge high above the canyon floor under the cover of moonlight. At Tallulah Gorge State Park, a guided, 1.5-mile suspension bridge hike happens every month on the full moon.

Blacklight Scorpion Hunts, Usery Mountain Regional Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

In the Arizona desert, fearsome scorpions creep out at night to hunt, offering the perfect opportunity to witness one of their most unusual feats: Glowing in the dark under UV lights. Rangers at Usery Mountain Regional Park, just outside Scottsdale, lead night hikes to spot these luminescent creatures most Wednesday and Friday nights throughout the summer.

Hoodoos in the Moonlight, Bryce Canyon, Utah

At Utah’s Bryce Canyon, descend under the white light of the moon into the vast gardens of spooky hoodoo rock formations—the mammoth forests of sandstone spires that stretch across the canyon floor. Bryce Canyon National Park rangers lead full-moon hikes year round—no flashlights or headlamps allowed.

Crepuscular Walks, Finger Lakes, New York

Crepuscular creatures are those animals that appear only in the fleeting hours between day and night. At Letchworth State Park—the “Grand Canyon of the East” in New York’s idyllic Finger Lakes region—naturalist Doug Bassett leads “Crepuscular Walks” along the Lower Falls of the Genesee River to spot owls, frogs and bats as they emerge in the twilight. Hikes generally happen once a month, or by request for groups of three or more.

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Travis Marshall is a Los Angeles-based adventure-travel writer who gets his kicks island hopping tropical archipelagos, scuba diving with sharks and exploring the California backcountry.

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MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS

26) Taste Tupelo Honey

27) Watch a Movie in a Cemetery

28) Take a (Night) Hike

29) Descend into a Billionaire’s Wine Cellar

30) See Chuck Berry Perform

>> All 99 Summer Travel Quests

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Use the hashtag #99SummerQuests to share your own summer travels, and follow along with us at @MapQuest and Instagram.

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