Horseback Riding in the U.S: 10 Best Trails

Grab your lasso because it’s time to head out on the trail, American cowboy style. From the giant canyons of Arizona and Utah to the rolling hills and meadows of Vermont and Northern California, witness the diverse countryside and mountain ranges of the US on 10 of the most popular horseback riding trails. As day turns to evening on the horizon, saddle up and ride out into the sunset like an old-fashioned cowboy from the Wild West.

10. Arizona

Like John Wayne and Burt Lancaster, the heroes of your favorite Westerns, saddle up and head out into the sunset on a sturdy, reliable quarter horse for a gallop into the Wild West. With expert horse handlers as your guide, get ready for an unforgettable ride into the Canyon de Chelly of Arizona, the largest sandstone canyon in the US. Crossing over bubbling streams and past small forests and olive trees along the trail, you’ll reach Spider Rock, an 800-foot sandstone spire that will make you feel like a dwarf. Riders of all levels can gear up at Totsonii Ranch, a Navajo-themed horseback-riding outfit headed by top Western-style horse experts. With decades of experience in horse handling and knowledge of the canyon trails, you’ll be in good hands while you explore the dramatic canyons of Arizona.

9. Vermont

At the Icelandic Horse Farm in Waitsfield, Vermont, you’ll get the chance to ride an Icelandic Horse, a breed known for its sturdiness, stable footing, and pleasant temperament. That way, even the novice rider can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Mad River Valley, an ideal spot for countryside gallops. A popular spot for winter sports and mountain trekking, the valley is as peaceful or thrilling as you want it. On horseback, you can gallop through the grassy meadow or walk through the picturesque landscape of the Green Mountains. The horse farm is open year-round, so you have the option of experiencing the fresh greenery of springtime, the warm lazy days of summer, or the brilliant foliage and crisp air of autumn. After a day of trail riding, head to their Mad River Inn, an 1860s era Victorian estate situated at the horse farm.

8. Utah

Head to Utah for an exploration of the jagged rock spires and otherworldly rock formations of Bryce Canyon National Park, a favorite spot for cross-country horseback riding adventures. Follow expert cowboy guides as they take you through canyons that have evolved over thousands of years. In this rugged terrain, let the sure-footed, hardworking quarter horse do all the work while you discover the fascinating natural wonders of Utah. Using Bryce Canyon Lodge as your base, the trail starts at Sunrise Point and leads into the vast canyon on a 2-hour ride. While a cowboy leads the way, you’ll get the lowdown on the history and geology of this magnificent canyon. Once you reach the floor of the canyon, the trail loops around to take you back up the rim for unforgettable views of Bristle Cone Pines Trees and the haunting Wall of Windows.

7. Alaska

For even more rugged and exotic trail rides, head to Seward, Alaska, where local guides from Bardy’s Trail Rides will take you on treks through forests and rivers surrounded by snow-capped peaks that fill the horizon. You’ll even get the chance to gallop along a rocky deserted Alaskan beach. Considered to be one of Alaska’s wild frontiers, get lost in a world of pristine fresh air, the cleanest water in the country, and a variety of wildlife like nesting bald eagles and migrating whale sightings. You’ll also discover the old town of Seward that took quite a beating in the great earthquake of 1964. Then, the trail leads to the shore of the bay lined with wildflowers, a lovely setting for a seaside stroll on horseback. Because of the rough terrain, this region of Alaska is only accessible by horseback, making Seward a perfect spot for an afternoon trail ride.

6. North Carolina

With 80 miles of equestrian trails that wind through ancient woodlands of the Appalachians, Asheville, North Carolina is a horseback-riding wonderland filled with afternoon trail rides through some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes. Along the way, trail guides will take you on a tour of the Biltmore’s magnificent 250-room French Renaissance-style chateau, a rare architectural marvel situated in the heart of the Appalachian countryside. Even better, splurge on one of their luxury suites at the Biltmore Estate, a grand, swanky base camp for rest and relaxation in between glorious days of cross-country mountain trail rides. For the more serious equestrian, head to the nearby Equestrian Center for a special riding excursion to the West Range, a section of the Appalachians known for its mountain vistas, waterfalls, and beautiful rivers.

5. Colorado

Saddle up on a reliable, smooth-gaited horse and head out into the mountains of the San Juan National Forest just outside of the Old West town of Durango, Colorado. A favorite trail ride in the region gives riders a chance to explore the sub-alpine forest that winds through mountain paths carpeted with wildflowers. Then, the trail leads to a spot high above the timberline where you can witness the vast horizon all the way to New Mexico. For the more experienced rider, a five-hour trek to the Hermosa Cliffs is a spectacular trail that leads to elevated parks, old-growth Alpine forests, and incredible vistas of nearby Needles, La Plata mountain range, and Electra Lake. The ride starts at Elbert Creek and ascends 1,000 feet in elevation, making you feel on top of the world.

4. California

Follow in the tradition of 19th century Native Americans and pioneering ranchers who lived in the fertile countryside of Napa Valley, California. Saddle up at Triple Creek Horse Outfit and let experienced trail guides take you through the lovely golden meadows and past lush vineyards of Northern California wine country. One of the most thrilling trails is the one leading to the summit of Bald Mountain where on a clear day, you can see San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in a breathtaking panorama. The area also has horse riding trails throughout Jack London State Historic Park in Sonoma’s famed Valley of the Moon. With some of the finest riding trails in the world, brace yourself for an incredible ride through massive redwoods, oak woodlands, and the rolling hills of vast vineyards.

3. Kentucky

With its world-famous Kentucky Derby and long tradition of horse breeding and training, Kentucky is a great place to discover the Bluegrass Region near Lexington. At Big Red Stables in Harrodsburg, Derby fans and serious equestrians can saddle up on a revered Tennessee walking horse, a breed known for its unique four-beat running walk, one of the smoothest gaits, as well as its calm disposition and elegant appearance. At this family farm, a one hour drive from Lexington, get ready to explore the trails passing through verdant, expansive grasslands, surrounding forests, and fertile horse country dotted with old-fashioned red barns and stables. There are also excellent riding trails in Kentucky’s Appalachians, including the Mary Ingle Trail system in Yatesville Lake State Park, which surrounds a 2,300-acre mountain reservoir and contains 20 miles of scenic trails.

2. Arkansas

Surrounded by three lakes, two rivers, and old-growth pine forests, Buffalo River National Park in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is full of scenic trails perfect for an afternoon ride through the countryside. Before heading out on the trail, saddle up with horse ranchers at Rockin Z Ranch, a horse stable and inn nestled in the heart of the Northwest Ozark Mountains. The ranch offers visitors comfortable accommodations and warm hospitality at their large log cabins plus guided trail rides through 780-acres of wooded hills. They also have ranch-raised horses, which are ideal for beginners because of their obedient and calm demeanor. Also close by is Withrow Springs State Park, also in the Ozarks, an incredible place to explore the great natural wonders of Arkansas on horseback. And if you really want to up the ante on childhood fantasies, sleep in a tree house floating atop tree canopies at Treehouse Cottages.

1. Hawaii

From the Big Island of Hawaii, head to Na’alapa Stables for a horseback riding adventure through the lush, verdant landscape of Kahua Ranch, a working cattle and sheep ranch with 12,000 acres perfect for open-range riding against the breathtaking backdrop of North Kohala. The nearby Waipi’o Valley also has excellent trails through lush tropical rainforests, pristine freshwater streams, and magnificent waterfalls. The stables also provide riders with well-trained and sturdy-footed Waipi’o breed Hawaiin horses, so riders of any level can enjoy the spectacular scenery with ease and comfort. Meaning “land of curving water,” Waipi’o Valley is an enchanting emerald landscape that rivals the paradise of Eden. In Hawaii, horse lovers have the chance of a lifetime to combine their love of riding with amazing natural wonders of the Big Island.

The World’s Absolute Best Tennis Hotels

Tennis lovers unite! All over the world, there is a multitude of amazing hotels and resorts that are catering to the player in all of us. Whether you are a serious tennis player, looking to watch the pros in action or just getting started; there is a tennis hotel for you. From the south coast of Antigua to the Swiss Alps to the charming state of South Carolina, these hotels are loaded with amenities, fabulous dining choices, luxury rooms and of course, the best in tennis instruction. Discover the World’s Top Tennis Hotels where we promise you will improve your play.

12. Carlisle Bay, Antigua

On the south coast of Antigua overlooking the sparkling blue waters and rain, forested hills sit a family-friendly hotel that is perfect for the tennis lovers. The bedroom suites are enough to visit this hotel alone, with their chic furniture and split-level designs. As for dining here, guests have their choice of four different restaurants, all serving locally sourced ingredients.

But it is tennis for the whole family that really stands out at Carlisle Bay. With nine well-maintained tennis courts, including four that are floodlit for night play; you won’t have any problems working on your skills. Rackets and balls are provided on a complimentary basis, as well as the hotel runs complimentary clinics throughout the week. If you are looking for more professional instruction there are instructors on hand for group or private lessons. It’s hard to beat the setting as you practice amongst tropical flowers and the bright shining sun.

Via Carlisle Bay

11. The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, Arizona

This 1,300 acre Arizona resort is surrounded by an outcrop of 12-million-year-old granite and is set just north of Phoenix. It has been ranked as one of the top tennis resorts in all of America by TENNIS magazine and it certainly does not disappoint. The Boulders features exceptional service and first-class facilities including four premier hard courts, three cushioned courts, and one classic clay court. Private lessons and clinics are offered on a daily basis and expect to dramatically improve your skill here.

While off the court guests will enjoy the four crystal blue pools, two world-class golf courses and a 33,000 square foot spa. Guests here have their choice of casitas, executive suites, villas or haciendas; all decked out with luxury furnishings and the feel of home. The resort is truly an oasis full of willows, cactus and flowering shrubs, flowers and a dramatic landscape.

Via Boulders Resort & Spa

10. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Big Island, Hawaii

This beautiful beach hotel features 11 tennis courts alongside the ocean, making this one of the best views players will get. The hotel was built in 1965 by legendary hotelier Laurance S. Rockefeller and was completely updated after an earthquake in 2006. As well as enlarged and enhanced rooms, a spa and new restaurants, the courts also got a facelift. The setting of the tennis complex is perhaps what makes it so special, located so close to the sea that players often call timeouts to watch the whales and bottlenose dolphins that pass just off-shore.

The tennis direction Craig Pautler has set up amazing lessons, clinics, social activities, games and programs for kids. Children as young as 4 years old can start in the tiny tot’s tennis program whereas adults can enjoy the round robin tournaments or private lessons.

Via Big Island Now

9. Sani Resort, Greece

This resort sprawls over 1,000 acres and is made up of four hotels, ranging from family friendly to grown-up suites. It also happens to feature its own marina, an ecological reserve, an 8km stretch of beach and six tennis courts. The courts are clay and floodlit, housed in the state of the art sports complex near the Sani Beach Hotel. The Sani Tennis Academy focuses on providing an ideal environment to motivate young beginners while at the same time giving advanced players the opportunity to continue training at a higher level.

Experienced full-time coaches are on hand to lead you through group sessions or one-on-one instruction. Kids are welcome here and specialty camps are offered for kids aged 4-12. Besides tennis there are plenty of other activities such as scuba diving, walking trails and lounging by the pool. Three restaurants, a spa, and miles of beach await visitors to this awesome tennis resort.

Via Booking.com

8. Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, South Carolina

It has been ranked in the top 10 of best Tennis Resorts in America, nine years in a row by Tennis Magazine so it is no surprise it is amongst the best in the world. Tennis isn’t just an option at this beautiful resort but a true passion. Wild Dunes offers 17 courts, including a stadium court and five of them floodlit for night play. As a guest here you will receive complimentary court time.

Guests are also privy to top-ranked instruction with professional instructors and activities range from clinics, lessons, and drills. Accommodations here range from condos to cottages to hotels and guests can choose from pool-side to beach-side and even court-side. Other activities here include golf, fishing, water sports, and fitness. Let’s not forget about the abundance of spa services that are offered here as well.

Via Destination Hotels

7. TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort, Destin, Florida.

Visitors here only need to spend moments in the Pro Shop and around the courts to appreciate the love for tennis at this resort. Located on the soft white sand beaches, this private resort combines a 12-court tennis complex with a gorgeous stretch of beach, for the ultimate tennis vacation. Several tall towers and numerous one and two-story condos make up the resort, along with an expansive pool, restaurants, whirlpools and an on-site shuttle service.

Players here should expect the ultimate tennis experience as the staff is focused on delivering lessons, clinics, round robin plays and weekends devoted to team competitions. The 12 courts are all clay courts and ten of them are lighted for night use, with guests having complimentary access to all of them. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy the beach and improve your game at the TOPS’L Beach and Racquet Resort in Florida.

Via 30A.com

6. Gstaad Palace, Switzerland

This beautiful hotel is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Swiss Alps and dates back to 1913. Featuring 104 rooms, a spa, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, numerous restaurants and four tennis courts; this Palace is truly spectacular. During the summer seasons is when tennis lovers will want to head here, specifically during one of the specialty tennis weeks when tennis legend Roy Emerson offers personal instruction to guests.

If you are more interested in watching the pros perform, plan on staying at this hotel during the Allianz Swiss Tennis Open Gstaad where the world’s best tennis players compete for one of the most important tennis trophies. There also happens to be three indoor courts located next door in case of bad weather. Whether you want to relax with a full body massage after a long day of practicing, soak in the steam baths of hit the nightclub; this hotel truly offers it all.

Via TrailblazerGirl

5. Topnotch Resort and Spa, Stowe, Vermont

This resort and spa is a haven for both tennis lovers and those looking to get introduced to the sport. With a recent renovation to its 76 rooms, this resort also enlarged the amazing swimming pool, enhanced the 40,000 square foot European Spa and installed a new casual restaurant. It’s the tennis academy that sits above all though with its extensive menu of both indoor and outdoor programs. Players can count on playing up t 5 hours a day if they choose to do so while junior programs divert kids and encourage the whole family to play. Staff will arrange opponents for games or group and private lessons. There is your choice of rooms, suites, and homes to rent; all packed with luxury amenities. If you get sick of tennis why not head over to the equestrian center, golf courses or shops that are all located nearby.

Via Topnotch Resort

4. Forte Village Sardegna, Sardinia, Italy

If you happen to love tennis and want to visit the wonderful country of Italy, there is only one place you need to visit and that is the Forte Village. This resort in Sardinia features a total of 12 tennis courts- 10 clay, 1 natural grass and 1 synthetic- all floodlit for nighttime use. Guests flock here for the head coach of the tennis program here, a man by the name of Rocco Loccisano, a former top Australian player and once trainer to Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.

Private or group lessons are available from a plethora of tennis professionals but that isn’t all these amazing resort offer. Choose from a spacious seafront suite, bungalow, villa or 5-star hotels to spend your nights in. An array of restaurants and bars await you, as well as shopping and nightlife. If you happen to have the kids with you, make sure to check out the awesome children’s wonderland that features pools, a theatre, and other fun activities.

Via Forte Village

3. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

With two complete tennis complexes located on this 10-mile island, it is easy to be close to a championship court. This elegant oceanfront hotel comes complete with an elegant spa, dedicated children’s park, five designer golf courses, 10 miles of pristine beach and numerous shops and restaurants. What makes this resort pretty special is the fact that they have put their tennis clubs under the direction of former touring pro, Roy Barth.

For 35 years Barth has been operating a broad-based program that features a lengthy roster of weekly activities including instructional clinics, mini-camps, round robins and private lessons. The resort features 90 holes of championship golf, fishing tours, special activities for kids and teens and a plethora of dining options including a signature steakhouse. Choose to stay in the Sanctuary Hotel, a private villa or luxury private homes.

Via charlestoncvb.com

2. Rancho Valencia, California

This elegant Relais and Chateau and retreat in Santa Fe California has a huge focus on tennis, offering 17 courts for just 49 suites. This family-friendly resort also has a way with customer service and guests here should expect that every need they have will be catered to, one and off the court. Along with the amazing courts, this retreat offers an incredible 10,000 square foot spa, a delicious restaurant that is focused on California coastal ranch cuisine and amenity-rich suites.

The suites here are simply to die for, with their gas-log fireplaces, outdoor Jacuzzis, private patio gardens and jetted tubs. Guests here will enjoy the superior coaches and instructors that offer private lessons and programs that are tailored to each individual. Complimentary match play, daily tennis clinics, video lessons and family lessons are just a slice of what is offered here.

Via Jetsetter

1. Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire

The setting is picture perfect, an English mansion that is set in the Buckinghamshire countryside that dates back to 1908.  The grounds are over 300 acres and include 49 exquisite rooms, three restaurants, indoor swimming pool, a 27 hole championship golf course, and a whopping 13 tennis courts. Tennis is the draw here and every year this hotel hosts the pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament where tennis stars from around the world gather to warm up for the season.

Many guests choose to come during this week to watch the stars in action. If you are more interested in working on your own tennis skills though, this hotel offers lessons to guests on both the indoor and outdoor courts and provides junior camps to young players. Luxury amenities, incredible dining options and the opportunity to not only work on your skills but see the stars in action make this one awesome tennis hotel.

Via Stoke Park

Top 12 Mountain Biking Trails in North America

If you have ever thought about taking up the sport of mountain biking, there is no better time like the present, as thousands of incredible trails are awaiting you across the country. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider, these trails are packed with incredible scenery, technical descents, and grueling uphills. From narrow trails along the edge of cliff tops to trails winding through 300 year old forests, we have gathered our favorite 12 mountain biking trails in America. So what are you waiting for, grab your gear and hit the trails!

12. Bangtail Divide Trail, Bozeman, Montana

The Bangtail Divide Trail is regarded as Bozeman’s most notorious mountain biking trail, and not because it is difficult in nature. No, the Bangtail Divide Trail is known for its breathtaking scenery and smooth single-track trails. The views here will include several mountain ranges and endless fields of wildflowers. Riders can do the whole loop, which runs about 31 miles and starts off with a big climb, utilizing twenty some off switchbacks.

It’s around 18 miles that you will reach the best part of the trail, a five-mile ride downhill through a pine forest that is nice and smooth. It’s so good, it’s almost enough that you want to go up and do the whole thing over again.  Rounding out the trail is a final downhill that features some tricky switchbacks. All in all, the ride is smooth, moderately easy and full of epic scenery.

Via southwestmontanamba.org

11. Poison Spider Messa down Portal Trail, Moab, Utah

You will either love or hate this trail and it will definitely make you cry, however old and in shape, you may think you are. Technically, physically and mentally this trail will rip you to shreds and that is what makes it all worth it. Words that have been used to describe it are deadly, dangerous, scenic and stunning. Riders can choose to ride the loop which is about 13 miles or as an out-and-back trail, but it starts off the same way, a relentless climb over deep sand, technical bedrock and slippery stones.

After you reach the viewpoint looking over Moab, you will join the Portal Trail that edges closer to the cliff walls than you have ever imagined. It is imperative to know your abilities before attempting this trail and in some places, you must dismount and walk your bike as you are literally on the edge. After riders have cleared the cliffs the trail gets even gnarlier with ledge drops, loose rocks, narrow squeezes and crazy turns.

Via Moab Utah

10.  Top of the World Trail, Whistler, British Columbia

This trail is only a few years old and is already a favorite among riders. To start, head up to the very top of Whistler Mountain via the lift, and make sure you get your ticket early as they only sell 150 of them a day. The trail starts at a whopping 7160 feet with incredible views of the shimmering lakes, Black Tusk, and the coastal mountains. There are two ways to go, as indicated by signs stating “this way is hard” and “this way is harder”.

It’s a 5km descent to the bottom, through creeks, around tight corners, and through rocky sections. The trail itself is a mix of alpine single-track and double-wide ski-runs with views of alpine trees, brilliant blue lakes and the backcountry of Whistler. With no uphill pedaling required, riders should be sure to have the proper gear including bike to ensure they make it the way down on this jumpy, fun, awesome new trail.

9. Mountainside Loop, Kingdom Trails, Vermont

This is the perfect trail to hop on if you are staying at the Burke Mountain Campground as it starts and ends here, but even if you aren’t camping, we suggest trying this trail out. Riders will start off pedaling the 15.5 mile trail by making their way up some switchbacks in this wooded incline but prepared to immediately switch gears as you break into a quick descent.

The downhill is loaded with roots, bumps, a few jumps and some narrow bridges sans railings to navigate. Another ascent/descent awaits riders, although less challenging than the first. The final leg of this trail is an uphill climb to end at the campground where you will surely be ready for a cold beer. This route is technical and for riders that have experience with true dirt trails loaded with bumps, objects to navigate and other riders to contend with.

8. Deep Steep Trail, South Carolina

This single-track 4.6 mile track certainly doesn’t sound that daunting but locals that ride here have a love/hate relationship with Deep Steep Trail. This trail actually has more climbing than any other in the Forks Area Trails and as much fun as it is to go down, one must go back up. It has also been described as one of the most fun trails in the area and riders can choose to ride it either way, with both offering tons of uphill’s and downhills.

The ride is perfect for beginners and advanced riders as beginners can practice their stability and control on the descents whereas advanced riders can let loose. The trail is non-technical and littered with whoops, berms and gentle turns and promises that you won’t want to ride it just once.

Via The Mountain Hiker

7. Downieville Downhill, Downieville, California

What awaits riders coming to this trail is a whopping 17 miles of the sheer vertical downhill drop and is recommended for the intermediate or advanced riders only. The town of Downieville is located a couple hours into the mountain and is a true mountain biker’s destination. To get to the top of this trail, either take a shuttle up or have someone drop you off. From there it is all downhill, taking over an hour to reach the bottom.

Riders have the privilege of having this single-track trail to themselves for 85% of the way down and expect a steep technical ride on top as you battle your way through rock gardens, creeks, and long suspension bridges. Don’t be fooled thinking you won’t have any uphill battles though, as although this trail descends 17 miles, you will still have to pedal a few uphills.

Via vitalmtb.com

6. Munds Wagon Trail, Sedona, Arizona

The most difficult part of this trail is actually staying focused on riding, rather than admiring the beautiful scenery, although many will argue that this trail is both physically and mentally demanding as well. The trail is a tough 21.55 miles, single-track and is in excellent condition. Riders will be faced with a literal uphill battle though as they climb through stunning scenery.

The views only get better the higher you go and the reward at the top is simply surreal. Riders should prepare to contend with a few hikers that are often on the trail as well as a 5-6 hour ride, make sure to pack plenty of fluids and sunscreen. Think lots of speed, lots of technical spots and lots of pictures to be taken.

Via singletracks.com

5. Rock Lake Epic, CAMBA Trails, Cable, Wisconsin

The Rock Lake Epic is, just like the name says, an epic 27 mile trail that is located in the hilly woods of Cable, Wisconsin. It is part of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) Trails, which host a seemingly endless network of single tracks in the summer. The Epic loop takes riders through a web of tracks that winds its way through maple and oak forest through four of the best trails in the network: Rock Lake, Glacier, Patsy Lake, and Namakagon.

This dense terrain features plenty of rock ledges, plank bridges, step-ups and beautiful wilderness lakes.  This trail is not for beginners even though no climb is more than 100 feet, what gets riders through it’s the constant rollers, downed logs, rock features and plenty of mud.

Via McKinney Realty

4. Paradise Royale Trail, California

Although much of California’s land is off-limits due to preservation efforts, the Paradise Royale Trail was built specifically for mountain biking. Located deep in the King Range Mountains off the northern coast, this 14 mile loop thrills riders with its brief descend and then steady climb. Riders are advised to ride clockwise to take advantage of the long flowy descent on the east side.

Expect 19 gritty switchbacks which have been nicknamed “The Prince of Pain” along with steep side slopes, a skinny trail, and exciting flowy descents. Riders will take in incredible views of the Pacific Ocean as well as having the choice of optional jumps and drops on the way down. Once you get through that tough climb on the get go, it’s nothing but laughs and fun on the way down, as long as you know what you are doing.

Via MTB Project

3. 401 Trail Crested Butte, Colorado

It is one of the best rides in the area as voted by riders and is a mix of road and single-track trail, which has you climbing and dropping for miles. This loop begins with a long but easy climb up Gothic Rd to Schofield Pass where you will catch the single-track trail and this is where the scenery begins to get epic with an incredible view of Emerald Lake.

Around 6.5 miles in is where the climb pays off as riders can take in unparalleled views of the Elk mountains and as you descend expect to see fields of colorful flowers. The downhill is generally fast and flowy with a few skinny sections to watch out for. Expect two more climbs after the downhill which are a little more technical than the first, or take the exit at Rustler’s Gulch back to Gothic Road to end of one awesome ride.

Via Mountain Bike Bill

2. McKenzie River Trail, Oregon

This trail on the west side of the Cascade Mountains will take riders through lush green forests and lava fields on a single-track that is meant for both beginners and advanced riders. It is recommended that riders shuttle to the top and then ride down to the bottom, zipping past crystal blue pools, towering waterfalls, and hot springs. The total distance of the trail is 26 miles and riders will do plenty of bobbing, ducking and weaving as they make their way through one of America’s top trails.

Riders won’t find any painful climbs here but will find challenging lava rock sections along with an abundance of logs, roots, and rocks. Don’t expect to be going downhill the whole ride though, this trail drop 1800ft and goes back up 1000ft with lots of pedaling. Prepare to want to stop every few minutes to gaze at the waterfalls, 300 year old forest, mountain river and other spectacular scenery.

Via Greg Vaughn Photography

1. Porcupine Rim Trail, Moab, Utah

This world-famous ride should definitely be on your bucket list of trails, only if you are an advanced rider though. It can either be one-way with a shuttle car or a grueling 34 mile loop, for those truly hardcore riders. An incredible climb at the beginning takes riders up to the rim for breathtaking views of Castle Valley. From the top, the trail descends quickly through slick rock sections and some long smooth bits.

It is when you reach the single-track where the downhill gets extremely technical. The trail gets fast, the rocks start sloping sideways and the trail stays narrow. The views start to get incredible and riders should make sure to stay focused as the trail twists and turns. Expect to reach the bottom brimming with relief and excitement, knowing you just completed one of the best mountain biking trails in the country.

Via Doug in Idaho

The 5 Best Places to Try Fat Biking

Mountain bikers used to dread the wintertime as snow would descend onto the trails and bikes would be put away for months at a time. Luckily for biking enthusiasts, the sport of fat biking was recently introduced to the world. For the past few years this sport has been growing in popularity and it is no longer just a fad but a sport that is here to stay. Nowadays this sport is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and bike clubs and land managers are creating and grooming trails specific for the sport. Discover 5 awesome spots in the United States to try this epic new winter adventure.

5. Kincaid Park, Anchorage, Alaska

Most people agree that Alaska is the birthplace of the fat biking movement and it’s easy to understand why due to its weather. Kincaid Park is the fat biking hot spot here, offering 16 miles of singletrack. The tracks are groomed by volunteers making the trails flow both in the summer and the winter.

Snow machines are in place to pull around car tires to create a 2-3 foot firm trail. Head on over to Arctic Cycles to rent a fat bike if you don’t have your own, just make sure you reserve a bike ahead of time. This outfitter also hosts epic fat bike adventures, whether you want to spend a day exploring Anchorage or even take an overnight fat bike adventure.

Via Michael Dinneen Photography

4. Kingdom Trails Nordic Adventure Center, Vermont

This adventure center is packed full of fat bike trails, a total of 30km in fact. Whether you want to ride in the summer or winter, fat bike riders will be pleasantly surprised by the land access and trail design, adopting a separate but equal approach to trail access for skiers and bikers. No need to worry about running into each other on these trails. With miles of single-track to choose from, including some pretty epic summer favorites, there is no shortage of adventure here.

As an added bonus the trails are marked like ski slopes- green for beginners and black for experts. At just $15 for a day pass, this is a steal. If you don’t own a fat bike head on over to Village Sports who will rent you a bike for under $60 for the day.

Via vtsports

3. Methow Trails, Washington

The Methow Valley Sports Trail Association operates the largest Nordic ski system in the lower 48 and has started opening their groomed trails to fat bikes in the last three years. Although skiers have over 120 miles of groomed track to explore, fat bikers now have 18 miles of groomed trails to choose from.

Most of the trails are wide, with expansive views and rolling terrain. Beginners can choose easy loops that start in the town of Winthrop as well as grab a rental bike from Methow Cycle & Sport located in the town. For the more experienced fat biker why not head to the seven-mile Gunn Ranch Trail where riders get sweeping views of the valley and ridges. Make sure to stay at the Grizzly Backcountry Hut if you choose to do this trail for an extra special experience.

Via Methow Trails

2. Levis Mound, Neillsville, Wisconsin

There are just shy of 10 miles of machine packed fat biking singletrack trails here for enthusiasts. One of the features that make the trails stand out is the fact that they were created specifically for fat bikes, unlike other trails, which are retrofitted for snow bikes.

Essentially what this means is fewer hills, wider trails, removal of problem trees and a commitment to make fat biking an on-going trend. This also happens to be the home of the Sweaty Yeti fatbike race and Yet-Fest. Facilities include washrooms, a large parking area, and running water and at trail passes at just $5 a day; this is one epic place to start your fat biking adventure.

Via Wasatch Rider

1. Marquette, Michigan

This hamlet may only have 20,000 residents but the four bike shops it has says something about its passion. Biking is at the forefront of activity in this community and that love has transferred over to the winter months with the sport of fat biking. In the town of Marquette alone there are over 70 miles of singletrack that are groomed specifically for fat bikes.

The clubs here are committed to building more trails each year with an emphasis on winter fat biking. The south side of the town is host to a 12-mile Snow Bike Route system that is absolutely killer. Head to one of the four bike shops for a rental and recommendations on where to start out.

Via GearJunkie

Best Snowshoe Destinations for Families

When you are looking for the perfect destination for a winter family getaway (that includes plenty of snowshoeing) there are so many options to consider. We have looked at hundreds of destinations and compiled a list of what we believe to be the best 10 snowshoe destinations for families. We examined factors such as location, ease of access to superior snowshoe trails, amenities for kids and parents and opportunity for guided and non-guided snowshoe treks. From luxury hotels to themed resorts there is a destination here to suit every families needs.

10. Ski Portillo, Chile

The first of two all-inclusive options on this list–Chile’s Ski Portillo resort; this once-in-a-lifetime vacation destination is the perfect spot for families to relax, bond and snowshoe. Overlooking a pristine lake and situated in the Aconcagua Valley in the heart of the Andes, the scenery is enough to make you want to hop on a plane right now. But this destination offers so much more than just magnificent views and a ski hill. Portillo offers two excellent lodging choices for families. They offer two access trails to the mountain, along with numerous opportunities to trek around the base of Mt. Aconcagua. This all-inclusive resort includes meals, lift tickets for your entire stay (we suggest trying your hand at some skiing), accommodations, airport transfers and all amenities on site. From the dedicated tubing hills and outdoor heated pool for the kids to the outdoor hot tub and nightly live music for the adults, this gem should not go undiscovered.

Photo by: Ski Portillo Chile via Facebook
Photo by: Ski Portillo Chile via Facebook

9. Adventure Suites – New Hampshire, USA

Our next destination is truly a kid’s paradise. If you are looking for a relaxing, unwinding vacation, this may not be the one for you. But if you are looking for something totally unique that will have your kids begging to come back, Adventure Suites is the place. Named one of the top 10 theme hotels in the world, this hotel offers more than just really awesome rooms. We first need to talk about the suites they offer. From a prehistoric cave suite that features a five-person hot tub in the suite to a jungle themed suite that offers an upstairs for the kids complete with a flat screen TV and PlayStation…it may be hard to want to leave your room. Adventure Suites offer guided snowshoe treks as an add-on to any stay and offers free trail passes if you stay two or more nights. If you are looking to get on your own, Glen Trails Outdoor Center and Purity Spring Resort offer extensive trails to explore.

Snowshoes

8. Hoshino Resort Tomamu, Japan

A huge resort featuring more than 800 rooms in two magnificent towers, an indoor wave pool, an ice village in the center of the resort (January-March) and unparalleled views of the mountain from your room makes Hoshino Resort Tomamu number eight on our list. Tunnels connect the towers to the restaurants and food court, which allow for warm ease of access during a cold night. Snowshoeing has become quite a popular sport in Japan and visiting the Polar Village Activity Center is where you will find all your snowshoe needs. Equipment rentals as well as maps of the area are provided. Members of the resort’s staff are happy to help and if you tell them what kind of difficulty or length of trek you are looking for they will point you in the right direction. With fresh powder, breathtaking scenery and an experience you won’t get in North America, Hoshino Resort is a fantastic choice for a family getaway.

Photo by: Hoshino Resorts Tomamu via Facebook
Photo by: Hoshino Resorts Tomamu via Facebook

7. Douglas Fir Resort and Chalets – Alberta, Canada

If you are looking for the finest family accommodation in Banff, look no further as Douglas Fir Resort and Chalet is where you want to be. Located a four-minute drive from downtown Banff in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the views from your patio will take your breath away. All rooms include complimentary WiFi, flat screen TVs, plug-and-play panels for personal gaming systems and a fireplace. What makes this resort even more family friendly is the indoor two-story playground, the indoor water park featuring two giant water slides and a “quiet time” for adults only, and an outdoor hot tub with views of the awe-inspiring mountains. There are unlimited snowshoe opportunities in Banff ranging from beginner to experienced. We highly recommend trekking around Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park and the Sundance Trail to Sundance Canyon. Parks Canada offers up suggestions here or check out a tour company for a guided experience.

Photo by: Douglas Fir Resort & Chalet via Facebook
Photo by: Douglas Fir Resort & Chalet via Facebook

6. Firelight Lodge – British Columbia, Canada

The Firelight Lodge, located in the Silver Star Mountain Village, is one of the newest properties to the village; Firelight is located right next to the skating pond and tube park. With access to 16 km of snowshoe exclusive forested trails, Silver Star Mountain is your perfect destinations. Firelight Lodge offers up your choice of rooms that can include anything from a personal outdoor hot tub to a gas fireplace and patio BBQ. An in-resort shuttle runs through the Firelight and Village areas of the resort making it easy to access all amenities and restaurants. Snowshoe rentals and trail passes/maps are available at Ski Dazzle Rentals or the Village Ski shop. The kids will go nuts for the tube park and mini snowmobiles, or perhaps they will try their hand at the indoor climbing wall or ski-in ski-out bowling alley. Parents can relax in the outdoor hot tub, visit one of the pubs or unwind at the Yoga classes offered next door to the lodge.

shutterstock_123342973

5. Crystal Mountain – Michigan, USA

Crystal Mountain Resort in Michigan is a compact resort that offers older kids a chance for independence as condos, restaurants and amenities are within a five-minute walk. For the wee ones with the tired legs, there is a complimentary shuttle to take you where you want to go. With more than 250 rooms ranging from the standard hotel room to bungalows to full houses, the accommodations at Crystal Mountain are superior. Snowshoeing is permitted on the entire Crystal Mountain property, except for the downhill runs and the cross-country ski trails. Equipment rental and trail maps are provided on-site as well as guided tours. For something a little different take a trek Michigan Legacy Art Park where ice sculptures line the way. Moonlight snowshoe tours are a popular activity at Crystal Mountain and a fun way to explore nature in the dark.

Photo by: Crystal Mountain
Photo by: Crystal Mountain

4. The Lodge at Sugar Bowl – California, USA

The Lodge at Sugar Bowl is not your typical family resort. Here you won’t find huge flat screen TVs, gaming systems or world-class children’s programs. Here you will find the country’s only snowbound lodging experience, where you park your car in a garage and whisk up to the lodge in a gondola with your luggage. There are many different room options ranging from standard Mountain View rooms to family suites and adjoining rooms. The lodge also boasts a dining room, bar and new athletic center. But what you are really coming here for is the miles upon miles on snowshoe trails at Royal Gorge. Located right outside your front door you have access to North America’s largest cross-country resort that features an array of exclusive snowshoe trails. Rentals and trail passes are available at the Summit Station Lodge where you can also rent a sled to pull the little ones along the trails with you.

Photo by: Sugar Bowl Resort via Facebook
Photo by: Sugar Bowl Resort via Facebook

3. Waldorf Astoria Park City – Utah, USA

If you are looking for a luxury family getaway, Waldorf Astoria Park City in Utah is where you will want to head. With more than 4,000 acres of varied terrain in the backyard, this resort was meant to be explored. Dedicated shuttles will take you to local dining, skiing, shopping and entertainment. We do recommend this destination for kids 10 and up. Ranging from standard guest rooms to three bedroom suites with full kitchens, this resort offers such pleasures as upscale bathrooms with hot tubs and TVs, a free gondola up to Canyons Resort and free kids s’mores at night. Guided snowshoe tours are provided at Canyons Resort (a free shuttle ride away) where equipment can be rented. You can also go off on your own around the Canyons Resort and follow the marked trails. If you are looking to explore other areas, we recommend checking out Snowshoe Utah where you will find a variety of trail maps.

Photo by: Waldorf Astoria Park City via Facebook
Photo by: Waldorf Astoria Park City via Facebook

2. C Lazy U Ranch – Colorado, USA

If you are looking for a vacation that combines the love of the outdoors, breathtaking scenery and a chance for the kids and you to learn something new, C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado is the perfect destination. From horseback riding to sledding to ice skating to snowshoeing, this dude ranch is the perfect all-inclusive winter wonderland. Choose from cabins that include refrigerators, stone fireplaces or separate bedrooms for the older kids. Enjoy the personal touches such as daily housekeeping service, bed turn down, coffee and tea, plush robes and a fruit basket that is replenished each day. Now let’s talk about the snowshoeing. A popular winter activity at this resort, all equipment is offered for no extra charge and a trail map is provided on request. From beginner to expert, there are trails to suit any level of experience. Other activities include skating, sleigh rides, sledding, snowmobiling, skiing and so much more.

Photo by: C Lazy U Ranch via Facebook
Photo by: C Lazy U Ranch via Facebook

1. Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont, USA

Rated as the granddaddy of all family resorts, it is no surprise that Smugglers’ Notch Resort ranks No. 1 on our top 10 list. From the huge fun zone offering an arcade, slides and after-dark teen programs to the heated indoor pool to the massages for mom and dad, Smugglers’ has gone above and beyond what one expects from a resort. Upon booking your vacation you will have the choice of condominium style lodgings. Each are either within walking distance or an on-demand resort shuttle is available to take you to all the village amenities. The Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Adventure Center is where you want to head for all your snowshoe needs. Here you will find 24 km of dedicated snowshoe trails to explore off the beaten path. If lessons are what you are looking for, they offer both group and private lessons with equipment rental on-site. For a memorable snowshoe experience try the snowshoe adventure dinner; a dining experience atop Sterling Mountain with a 40-minute snowshoe after dinner back to the base lodge.

Photo by: Smugglers' Notch Vermont
Photo by: Smugglers’ Notch Vermont

America’s 10 Best Towns to Visit During the Holidays

It’s that time of year again, sleigh bells are ringing, Christmas lights are strung from rooftops and around trees, carols are playing over the radio and there is a feeling of holiday cheer in the air. Some towns in America take the holidays extra serious, with festive decorations, tree lighting ceremonies, parades, contests and more. From traditional Victorian Christmas Festivals to those that feature over 5 million lights, here are America’s best towns to visit during the holidays.

10. Woodstock, Vermont

The air smells like pine needles, the ground lightly dusted with snow and the twinkling of lights shine down on this town during the holiday season. For the past 25 years this town has hosted Wassail Weekend, a pre-Christmas festival that is rooted in 19th century Norse culture and traditions. Wassail is a hot beverage, something like cider that is associated with Christmastime. The festival brings a parade of over 50 horses and riders that are in holiday costumes and period dresses, as well as wagon and sleigh rides. Don’t forget about the feast and the tours of the most notable historic buildings as well. Add in local shops that decorate their windows and stay open late for shoppers during the festival, friendly locals and an old-world charm, and this may be the perfect town to visit this holiday season.

Photo by: Scenic VT PHotos
Photo by: Scenic VT PHotos

9. McAdenville, North Carolina

This small town just 20 minutes outside of Charlotte has actually renamed itself “Christmas Town USA” during the month of December each year. This small town draws an average of 600,000 people each year who come to gaze at the 500,000 lights that decorate this town. This town kicks off its holiday cheer with a tree lighting ceremony on December 1st where the big switch is turned on to reveal the 500,000 red, white and green lights. It takes about 375 trees to house all these lights and they light a route that is perfect for a winter stroll through the downtown. Along with these lights are homes that are lit up by owners, who all love to take part in this holiday celebration. Enjoy hot chocolate and kettle corn as you stroll through the downtown and down to the nearby lake which features 33 trees liming the perimeter and a 75 foot water fountain that is lit with vibrant colors. It’s truly Christmas here all December long.

McAdenville, North Carolina

8. Ogden, Utah

Located in Northern Utah, this great railway hub of a town welcomes in the holiday season each year with their downtown Christmas Village. From the Saturday after Thanksgiving through January 1st the downtown area is aglow with magnificent displays and holiday lights. Every year thousands of tourists come to view the Christmas lights and replica cottages that are modeled after Santa’s Village at the North Pole. To open the Christmas Village an Electric Light Parade fills the streets, loaded with elaborate floats, themes and performers. Santa also happens to arrive this day and flips the switch to turn on the lights and illuminate the village. Each of the 59 cottages have their own theme, including The Elf Workshop, The Grinch and of course, Santa’s Castle. Ride on the Polar Express Train, shop at Santa’s store and marvel at the millions of lights that light this village up.

Photo by: Our Beck Treks
Photo by: Our Beck Treks

7. Vail, Colorado

This town turns into a true Winter Wonderland when the holiday season hits. December brings the festivities of Snowdaze to the town, when fresh snow is celebrated with live concerts each night. The village is filled with sponsors and après parties and former performers include the Barenaked Ladies, Wilco and O.A.R. Vail also plays host to Holidaz, a celebration that includes the tree lighting ceremony, a New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and some incredible fireworks. Enjoy outdoor skating, hot coffee from local producers and equally warming cocktails. This incredible winter destination has more than 5,2000 acres of ski and snowboard terrain and things only get better during the holiday season. Get here and discover why this is one of America’s most loved towns, especially in December.

Photo by: Panoramio/Ash Cook
Photo by: Panoramio/Ash Cook

6. Nantucket, Massachusetts

The festivities in this town really started in the 1970’s, as too many locals left town to shop in Cape Cod, and there needed to be a solution. This island town quickly came up with an annual Christmas Stroll, in which stores stayed open late and shop owners entertained shoppers with wine, hot chocolate, cider and Christmas cookies while they browsed. Nowadays this Christmas Stroll lasts for the whole first weekend of December and visitors can take part in walking amid dozens of seven foot Christmas trees that are illuminated at night and the 20-foot tree that talks to all visitors who visit it. Carolers sing at various downtown locations, live entertainment takes place, craft shows happen and Santa and Mrs. Claus always make an appearance.

Nantucket, Massachusetts Christmas

5. Ogunquit, Maine

It used to be an artist’s colony but has transformed into a summer getaway, not the first place one would think of when it comes to the Holiday season. But visiting here during the holidays means lower prices, a laid-back feeling and enough festivities to keep you going. Christmas by the Sea Festival features a town tree lighting ceremony with caroling and warm drinks, concerts, a meet and greet with Santa, beer and wine tasting, nightly bonfires, Christmas craft making workshops and more. There are plenty of local shops for those last minute gifts and plenty of friendly locals, and great deals on accommodations and dining here.

Photo by: Discover New England/Paul LaCedra
Photo by: Discover New England/Paul LaCedra

4. Naples, Florida

If you want to avoid the snowy weather but still want to enjoy that festive feeling, there is no better place than Naples to head to. This snowbird-style winter wonderland lures visitors with its festive ambiance, luxury stores, fantastic dining and warm weather. The headquarters for the official Christmas tree is Third Street South where twinkling lights and red and silver decorations adorn the streets. It is here where Santa comes to visit, snow falls out of the lampposts and shows take place throughout the month. On Fifth Avenue South is where the Christmas Parade takes place, along with awesome shopping for the Holidays event, which features live music, dancing and dining. Those who still want holiday cheer but want to avoid the snow, this is the town for you.

Naples Florida Christmas

3. Nevada City, California

Nevada City is located about an hour northwest of Sacramento, population of just over 3,000 and it happens to take great pride in its annual Victorian Christmas Festival. Already picturesque all year round with its historic buildings and mountain surroundings, this town transforms into a beautiful picture perfect Christmas Card during the holiday season. The town brings in authentic gas lamps, twinkling white lights and carolers that dress up in Victorian apparel. The smell of roasted chestnuts and holiday food will fill the air as you wander through the streets that over-flow with Christmas treasures. Make sure to check out the famous walking Christmas tree and the living nativity scene, as well as take a ride in a horse drawn carriage. Visitors are also encouraged to dress up in period attire, complete with feathers, scarves and top hats.

Photo by: Nevada City Chamber of Commerce
Photo by: Nevada City Chamber of Commerce

2. Branson, Missouri

It is known as the Ozark Mountain Christmas here in this town, as Branson transforms into a winter wonderland complete with twinkling lights, live shows and plenty of shopping. Here in this town they don’t even wait until thanksgiving has passed to start their holiday cheer, celebrations run from the beginning of November through New Year’s Day. Branson is the live music capital of the world and visitors should plan on attending one of the famous events that incorporate traditional Christmas music. Visiting the Silver Dollar City’s an Old Time Christmas Festival is a must when you are here, where 5 million lights, two live chows, 1,000 decorated Christmas trees and the awesome light parade all take place. Many of the hotels and resorts in this town pull out all stops for the holidays and expect visits with Santa, special activities for kids and lots of yummy treats.

Photo by: Branson Ticket Travel
Photo by: Branson Ticket Travel

1. Historic Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

It is Washington D.C.’s oldest neighborhood, beautiful already with its historic buildings that line the streets, but it really comes alive during the holiday season. With over 450 stores, restaurants and galleries, the streets come alive with Yuletide decorations. The Holiday Window Competition that takes place each year means visitors are privy to the gorgeous and innovative displays that shop keepers come up with. Think roasted chestnuts, horse-drawn sleigh rides, appearances by St. Nicholas, carolers in Victorian costumes, dancers and other entertainment.

Photo by: Hotel Junkie
Photo by: Hotel Junkie

The 12 Strangest Sayings in America

If you’ve had a chance to travel, you’ve noticed differences in the way people talk in other places. This is something that anyone who has traveled the U.S. is keenly aware that people in Seattle talk differently than New Yorkers, and Texans are a whole other kettle of fish again. Even then, we can usually figure out what people mean when they break out a colloquialism or a local version of an idiom. Sometimes, though, we’re left scratching our heads. Here are 12 of those strange sayings that will have you wondering if everyone’s still speaking English.

12. “Bang a U-ey” – Rhode Island

For most of us, “banging” something either means you’re making a big noise, like construction workers hammering nails into a wall or … well, you get the idea. We do use “bang” colloquially, but nowhere is the verb more colloquial than in Rhode Island where locals might tell you to “bang a U-ey” if you make a wrong turn. “U-ey” is pretty common slang for a U-turn. When Rhode Islanders tell you this, they just want you to make a U-turn, and there’s no need to make a lot of noise about it. The term might be related to the phrase “bang one out,” which essentially means to do something, but it sure sounds strange nonetheless. If you happen to be told to do this, your Rhode Island tour guide will likely be impressed if you just wheel it around, no questions asked.

Rhode Island

11. “Your wig’s a little loose” – Kentucky

The Bluegrass State is known for some of its quirky Southern slang, although it shares much of this lingo with other Southern states. One interesting phrase you might hear only in Kentucky is, “your wig’s a little loose” or “I think your wig’s a little loose.” This is essentially telling someone you think they’re crazy—not exactly a compliment. The phrase is comparable to idioms like “doesn’t have his head on straight” and “I think you have a few screws loose.” You needn’t be actually wearing a wig, in this case, your wig is more a metaphor than anything, so don’t worry about telling your Kentucky friends that you’re not even wearing a wig. Bets that this phrase got its start in the early days of the Union, when everyone was still wearing powdered wigs? We really hope so.

Kentucky 1

10. “Get a wiggle on” – South Dakota

The Dakotas get a bad rap: the weather isn’t all that great, there’s not much to see or do and the locals are friendly, but perhaps a little strange. One thing you’ll quickly notice is that South Dakotans, much like Minnesotans and North Dakotans, have some pretty odd turns of phrase. One of the most intriguing is “get a wiggle on,” which essentially means “hurry up.” Others might be familiar with the phrase “get a move on,” which uses the same construct and means the same thing. We’re not entirely sure why South Dakotans want everyone to wiggle to their destination, though maybe it has something to do with keeping warm during the harsh winter weather. Nonetheless, if a South Dakotan acquaintance happens to suggest you should get your wiggle on, you needn’t bust a move like you’re on the dance floor—a bit more spring in your step will do.

South Dakota

9. “Gotta get flat” – California

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Golden State has some pretty slangy terminology. While a lot of California colloquialisms have arisen from surf culture and then spread to a wider demographic through the magic of Hollywood, there are still a few turns of phrase that are uniquely Californian. One of those phrases might be “gotta get flat,” which, at first glance, seems pretty obtuse. Why do we need to get flattened out? Is this something to do with earthquakes? Or maybe it’s some new twist on “getting down.” It actually just means “I need to lie down”—and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense: we often talk about being “laid flat out” or “flat on our backs,” so “getting flat” would be lying down.

California

8. “Geez-o-Pete!” – Michigan

Michigan’s strangest idiom might seem relatively tame or even understandable from some points of view. It’s a sort of mild swear, certainly not as rude as some of the phrases you can find around the world. In some ways, it’s almost cute and it’s definitely Michigan. “Geez-o-Pete!” is an exclamation that’s sort of like “Jesus Mary Mother of God!” with much the same meaning and a kind of parallel structure in that it calls on Jesus and St. Peter. If you hear your Michiganian friends shouting this, you know something’s caught them off-guard and not in a way that’s made them happy. It’s just that polite company is likely forcing them to keep it G-rated—otherwise you might hear some other choice words instead of this phrase.

Michigan

7. “Just because a cat has her kittens in the oven don’t make them biscuits” – Vermont

Local pride is something you’ll run into in any number of states (and countries, for that matter), but Vermont seems to take the cake with their own colloquialism about what makes a local a local. Specifically, they might tell you that “just because a cat has her kittens in the oven don’t make them biscuits.” What they’re really saying is that even if you were born in Vermont, you’re not necessarily a Vermonter, just like putting those kittens in the oven doesn’t make them biscuits. Once an outsider, always an outsider in Vermont, it seems. It will apparently take a couple generations to be considered a real Vermonter. In the meantime, nobody’s said we can’t all enjoy maple syrup, fantastic fall colors and great skiing in the Green Mountains in the wintertime.

Vermont

6. “That dog won’t hunt” – Georgia

Georgia’s another Southern state with that peculiarly Southern way of speaking. Of course, the Peach State has its own lingo, and one of the native phrases is “that dog won’t hunt” or “that dog don’t hunt.” While outsiders might think nothing of this idiom, it’s actually a way of saying something won’t work—much like a dog that won’t hunt, something’s a little off. Other versions of the phrase include “that horse isn’t a runner” and the historical predecessor “that cock won’t fight,” which was used as a natural metaphor for an idea that was bound to fail during the heydays of cockfighting in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, if someone from the Peach State tells you the dog won’t hunt, you’d better go back to the drawing board.

Georgia

5. “Looks like 10 miles of dirt road” – Wyoming

Wyoming is a relatively “young” state and this Western state has been decidedly pastoral and rural throughout most of its history, even before statehood. With a large interest in ranching, the smallest population in the U.S. and a huge swath of land dotted by mountains and valleys, it’s little wonder that Wyoming’s slang would take on a distinctly rural flavor. The phrase “looks like 10 miles of dirt road” is an example of that. This phrase is pretty easy to figure out: it means someone looks disheveled or unwell. Dirt roads are often unkempt and bumpy, washed out by storms and rutted especially after use or the winter—so saying someone looks like 10 miles of that is not a compliment! If your hosts in Wyoming suggest you look like this, you might want to nip off and “freshen up.”

Wyoming

4. “I’m going by your house later” – Louisiana

At first glance, the phrase “I’m going by your house later” may not seem all that strange. In fact, some of us may have offered someone a ride home from a party or offered to drop something off because we were “going by later.” But in Louisiana, “going by your house later” doesn’t mean someone is just going to drive by like a bitter ex. It means they’re actually going to stop in and visit. Whereas people from other places might say, “I’m going to stop in later,” Louisianans like to keep you in suspense by suggesting that they’ll be in the neighborhood, at some point. Chances are that the phrase started off much like it’s used in other regions—to mean somebody’s place is on your way—but eventually just became another way of saying they were going to drop by.

Louisiana

3. “Red it up” – Pennsylvania

Have you made a bit of a mess of things? If you’re in Pennsylvania, chances are you won’t be told to “clean up.” No, Pennsylvanians are more apt to tell you to “red it up,” an odd turn of phrase that could catch most of us off-guard. It seems, at first glance, tangentially related to phrases like “paint the town red,” but the actual meaning of the phrase is a lot more buckled down and serious than we might imagine. It’s actually descended from the verb “to ready [up],” which means to make a room ready for a guest or to set the table for a meal. It might be related to other archaic uses like “ready the cannons.” The Pennsylvania Dutch introduced that particular idiom to English in the Keystone state. In the modern day, “ready” has been changed to “red,” even though the phrase still means the same.

Pennsylvania

2. “Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!” – Alabama

Alabama is probably best known for its Southern drawl, that oft-mimicked and mocked accent that is supposed to characterize people who hail from Alabama and the other states that make up the Deep South. Alabamans have a few expressions that set them apart from other Southern states. One of the best (and most mystifying) is “butter my butt and call me a biscuit!” This is an exclamation expressing delight at discovering something surprising yet pleasant. Other variants exist around the English-speaking world, such as “pin my tail and call me a donkey.” A close synonym is “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” Just don’t take the suggestion too literally if you’re visiting the Heart of Dixie—nobody actually wants to be buttered and called a biscuit, although they’d surely be surprised if you did!

Alabama

1. “Slap you naked and hide your clothes” – Missouri

This phrase comes to us from Missouri, although there might be variants on it around other parts of the South and the West. In other areas, we might have heard our parents threaten to “tan your hide” or “slap you silly” when we did something they didn’t like. In Missouri, the threat is to “slap you naked,” and then “hide your clothes” so you can’t go out again in public—at least, not unless you want to go out in the buff. Really, this seems like a pretty good threat. If your parents were to “tan your hide,” nobody would really know. If you get slapped naked and have your clothes hidden though, everybody’s going to know what happened—you get a bruised ego in addition. Best to mind your manners when you visit Missouri!

TommyBrison / Shutterstock.com
TommyBrison / Shutterstock.com

7 Ski Resorts Worth Visiting in the Off-Season

Many people would scoff at the idea of visiting a ski resort during any time of the year other than winter. What could there possibly be to do then? Well, the answer is tons! From shopping, to dining, to entertainment and even summer sports, there are countless ski resorts that deserve your time and attention before the snow even falls. Many will even offer special deals during their ‘off peak’ season meaning you can score a great deal for less. Here are 7 of our favorites to visit in Canada and the United States:

7. Whiteface Mountain, New York

The site of the 1980 Winter Olympics is undoubtedly a hot ski destination, but by no means shuts down outside of ski season. In fact, Whiteface is a veritable outdoor playground all year round. In addition to touring the Winter Olympic Museum, visitors can take in and experience a number of winter Olympic sports firsthand- even in the heat of July. Careen down the bobsled track (from the midpoint of the track, complete with driver and brakeman). Become a biathlete (minus skiing on the snow, of course). Instructors simulate the experience of biathlon racing by substituting other cardio-intensive, more seasonally appropriate activities. Take a glass elevator to the top of the ski jump. You can take a ride up the Gondola ski lift to get a panoramic view of the surrounding areas. There is, of course mountain biking (27 different trails) and hiking as well.

Photo by: Whiteface
Photo by: Whiteface

6. Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Towering Mt. Tremblant is the geographical anchor of the Laurentians, and transitions seamlessly through the seasons as a multi-sport, multi-season destination. There is nothing quite as refreshing as a spring-fed mountain lake, and Mt. Tremblant’s beach and tennis club take good advantage of this. Families can thrill together, riding down the luge run on three-wheeled cars. Mt. Tremblant is a major golf destination in Quebec, with private clubs and two of the best-designed public courses in the entire province. Pint-sized golfers (and their parents) will enjoy the challenging mini-golf course. This mountain too offers rides up the gondola ski lift, which provides a unique view overlooking the Laurentian mountain chain below.

Photo by: Mont Tremblant
Photo by: Mont Tremblant

5. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Adventure seekers need not limit themselves to the winter season at this adrenaline pumping all-season destination. The Grand Adventure Park is full of fun activities. The Ropes course will test your balance (and not just work-life balance) with bridges, zip lines, balance beams and cargo nets, all while being suspended 25 ft. off of the ground.  A well-designed bike park has ramps, jumps and challenges that meet a variety of skill and fitness. Always wanted to try bungee jumping, but weren’t quite ready to jump off of a bridge? You can try a slightly more tame experience with trampoline bungee jumping, where you’ll still experience some great height, but not as extreme. Jackson Hole is located right on the edge of the famous Grand Teton National Park, where picnicking and hiking are popular.

Photo by: Jackson Hole
Photo by: Jackson Hole

4. Calabogie Peaks, Ontario

Calabogie is one of those best-kept destination secrets. With a clean, crisp mountain lake, a lovely sandy beach, a beach club and a 9-hole golf course that is great for families (or those learning to play) together, this small (761 ft. vertical drop) mountain offers nice, easy skiing in the winter, but lots of vacation opportunity in the summer months. The mountain has a challenging Adventure Bike course, and offers good hiking trails. The small inn located at the base of the mountain has an excellent restaurant with a small menu that changes frequently to reflect the season. Calabogie is a great festival destination, with a well-known Rib and Bluesfest that rocks the mountain every August.

Photo by: Calabogie Peaks
Photo by: Calabogie Peaks

3. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

While the village of Whistler is bustling year-round, the mountain doesn’t sleep in the off-season either. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy biking and hiking, along with a gondola ride that offers unparalleled views of the village below, and of the surrounding mountainsides. There are other, unique experiences at the mountain during the off-season, like bear watching tours and local craft beer brewery tours. And at the base of Blackcomb- for the family that plays together- the family adventure zone. Visitors get to ride a 315 m luge track at top speed and then slow it down with a little mini golf. There is a bevy of other family fun activities, like mazes, trampolines, bouncy castles, bungee trampoline and ropes courses.

Photo by: Whistler Blackcomb
Photo by: Whistler Blackcomb

2. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

This family friendly ski resort kept up its niche marketing through the off-season, tailoring a number of packages and promotions that cater to family summer vacations. Smugglers’ Notch is a one-stop activity shop, with a full outdoor water playground with eight pools, four waterslides and an inflatable water playground on Morse Mountain, where kids can jump to their hearts content on aqua trampolines. There is also zip lining, hiking, biking, tennis, geocaching, kayaking and canoeing just to name a few. A unique activity offered at Smugglers’ Notch: llama trekking, where you hike around the neighboring mountain trails with a cuddly llama.

Photo by: Smugglers' Notch Resort/a>
Photo by: Smugglers’ Notch Resort/a>

1. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

After doing your sun salutations at 11,212 ft., returning to your local studio for yoga class is going to seem rather pedestrian after taking in the views at yoga classes on this mountaintop. This area is also home to a group of mountains called the Maroon Bells, which are reportedly some of the most photographed peaks in North America. They tower up 14,000 ft. and are framed by river streams and unusual sedimentary formations, which make for prime photo ops. The best spot to take in this vista? At Maroon Lake, which sits below the group of mountains. You can drive yourself, or there are shuttle buses from nearby Aspen Highlands Village. Is there a more scenic place to float in a hot air balloon? Probably not- which is why they run hot air balloon rides and paragliders frequently. If you’re feeling more active, there is paddle boarding, kayaking, horseback riding and even a rock climbing wall.

Photo by: Aspen Snowmass
Photo by: Aspen Snowmass

The Best Scenic Train Trips in North America

In the past decade more and more people have taken to the skies, leaving train trips a thing of the past, but let us be the first to tell you, they shouldn’t be. Exploring a continent by whisking along the rails not only takes us back to the first pioneers of the areas but allows us to rewind, dine and take in amazing scenery. From towering mountains to beautiful seascapes to the changing colors of the leaves; these 10 train trips in North America will change the way you think about travel forever.

10. Coast Starlight -Seattle to Los Angeles

It can be argued that this is one of the most scenic train rides in all of North America and runs all the way along the west coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. It takes about 35 hours and covers over 1,300 miles and is one of the last remaining full-service sleeper trains. What exactly does that mean though? It means a dining car, an observation car with floor-to ceiling windows, a movie theater, and a slew of entertainment options, including complimentary wine tastings and free champagne. The train passes through the rugged Pacific Northwest, the mountains and forests of Northern California and the beautiful central coast. Along with all of this scenery, this train takes passengers through Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose. Whether this is just a scenery trip for you, or a full blown railway experience, you will not be disappointed.

Photo by: There From Here
Photo by: There From Here

9. Ethan Allen Express -New York City to Rutland, Vermont

In just five hours and thirty minutes you can leave the hustle and bustle of New York behind and escape to the wilderness of Vermont. This Amtrak train travels 241 miles through the Catskills in New York to the Green Mountains in Vermont. Riders can choose to ride in the economy class or for a bit of extra room upgrade their ticket to business class. Depending what time of year you choose to travel depends on what you will see on this train journey. During the fall and early winter, riders are privy to the changing colors of the leaves, while summer brings fields of wildflowers growing on the roadside. There are many stops along the way that offer numerous activities and towns to explore if you don’t feel like riding the entire journey. Insiders tip: Make sure to sit on the left side of the train facing the front for the best scenic views!

Photo by: Subway Nut
Photo by: Subway Nut

8. Cass Scenic Railroad -Cass, WV to Bald Knob

Step back into a time where steam-driven locomotives were an everyday part of life at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. The town of Cass remains relatively unchanged from over 100 years ago and is the starting point of your historic train ride. The Shay locomotives complete with passenger cars that were once old logging flat cars are the same locomotives that were used back in the early 1900’s. Passengers can choose from a variety of routes but we suggest take the four and a half hour ride to Bald Knob, the third highest point in West Virginia. The steam locomotive will billow black smoke as it pulls you up two switchbacks and offers spectacular views. Make sure to dress warm if you are heading up to Bald Knob as the temperature does drop and check out the landscape at the top, which resembles Canadian wilderness in a lot of way.

Cass Scenic Railroad

7. Rocky Mountaineer -Vancouver, BC to Calgary, AB

For 25 years the Rocky Mountaineer has been providing breathtaking train trips through British Columbia and Alberta. It would be hard to narrow down one particular route as being better than the rest as they each offer spectacular scenery, the same levels of exceptional service and first-class dining. There are different classes of passenger’s cars here but we do suggest splurging for the Gold Leaf package which offers riders 360-degree view of glacier and peaks from domed, double-decked carriages. These train only travel throughout the day and if you are on a multi-day trip, overnights are at hotels. Besides breathtaking mountain views, lakes, streams and waterfalls; riders will want to keep their eyes open for bald eagles and other wildlife that is in abundance. It has been called the ride of a lifetime and it will certainly pay to take this train ride at least once in your life.

Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

6. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad -Bryson City, NC to Nantahala Gorge

This scenic railway journey takes riders over 44 miles through the remote corner of North Carolina, over four and a half hours. Riders will travel with Bluegrass musicians and an occasional Appalachian story while traveling along the Tennessee and Nantahala River. The historic trellis bridge Fontana Trestle takes you across Fontana Lake and into the beautiful Nantahala Gorge. Riders will arrive at the Nantahala Outdoor Center for a one-hour layover where many choose to relax by the river. You have to time this excursion right as this journey only operates March through October. With a choice of first class cabins, family first class, open air gondola, crown class and many others; it is easy to ride this train well within your budget.

Photo by: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Photo by: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

5. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad -Durango to Silverton, Colorado

This train trip is solely meant for sightseeing and tourism and the 3.5 journey will take riders 45 miles from Durango to Silverton, an elevation gain of 3,000 feet. Riders will feel as they have taken a journey back in history when they chug along at a mere 18 miles an hour in the 1880-era passenger cars being pulled by a 1920’s steam locomotive. The narrow-gauge railway with tracks just three feet apart is not for the faint of heart but the views are absolutely worth it. Colorado’s snow-capped peaks steal the show here in this breathtaking landscape. Choose from four different seating classes or get adventurous and ride up in the open-air gondola. With historic narration from characters, high bridges to cross and a step back in history; this train ride is truly unforgettable.

Photo by: Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Photo by: Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

4. Coastal Classic -Anchorage to Seward, Alaska

The Alaska railroad system covers over 500 miles of unforgettable landscape but the 114 miles between Anchorage and Seward are the absolute best. To start the journey the route hugs the coast of the Turnagain Arm and the heads into areas unreachable by car, away from the Seward Highway. Riders should expect to travel through five tunnels, over a river gorge and past an impressive blue glacier. The rugged coastal mountains, forests and glaciers are home to some of the best wildlife that can be seen from a train. Riders will want to keep their eyes peeled for moose, bears, Beluga whales, Dell sheep and bald eagles. This 4 ½ hour journey can be stretched into a few days by staying overnight in Girdwood or Seward and taking advantage of the day trips from those towns. Make sure not to miss out on the sunset over Cook Islet on the way home though.

Cvandyke / Shutterstock.com
Cvandyke / Shutterstock.com

3. California Zephyr -Chicago to Emeryville, California

This epic train ride takes riders through seven states, mimicking a journey that was taken by the pioneers to settle the American West. The stunning Rocky Mountains are just the beginning of what you will see along the route. Other notable scenery includes the Sierra Nevada’s, Moffat Tunnel, Truckee River, Donner Lake, San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait. This 3,000 mile four day trek is also a steal of a deal, costing riders just a mere $250 or so. The cars on this route include the observation car, lounge, dining and sleeping cars. We suggest splurging on the sleeper cars and having all your meals included in your price. Although it is not fine dining aboard this track, these down home meals sure hit the spot. This journey has many stops along the way, to get out and stretch your legs, perhaps the most important thing on a journey that can take 4 days.

"Amtrak California Zephyr Green River - Floy, Utah" by Kabelleger / David Gubler (https://www.bahnbilder.ch) - Own work: https://www.bahnbilder.ch/picture/6533. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Amtrak California Zephyr Green River – Floy, Utah” by Kabelleger / David Gubler (https://www.bahnbilder.ch) – Own work: https://www.bahnbilder.ch/picture/6533. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

2. Amtrak Cascades -Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, BC

If you are looking for a train ride that offers the most variety of scenery that is downright beautiful, look no further than the ride from Oregon to Vancouver on the Amtrak Cascades. This journey takes riders along the coast to discover seascapes, through the mountains with views of Mt. Rainer and Mt. Baker and through rainforests, farms and cloud forests. This is one train ride you will want to pack a pair of binoculars as you can see whales breaching, seals playing, bald eagles flying and an abundance of other wildlife. Free WiFi, plenty of food options, big windows and exceptional service makes this one of the best train rides in all of North America. With a ride time of 11.5 hours, there is no shortage of time to take in all of the beauty that will surround you.

Photo by: Amtrak Cascades
Photo by: Amtrak Cascades

1. Grand Canyon Railway -Williams to Grand Canyon, Arizona

This train ride has been operating on and off since 1901 and takes passengers to the South Rim of the famous Grand Canyon. There are five different classes to choose from when riding this train and as each one get more expensive, the views get better and the luxury services better as well. The trip to the South Rim takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes each way and guests of this ride have the opportunity to spend a good 4 hours at the Canyon exploring before getting back on board. Some of the amenities offered on-board include Western entertainers, snacks, refreshments and big windows. We suggest booking one of the glass observation dome car that offers the best views.

Grand Canyon Railway

8 Best North American Destinations to See the Colors of Autumn

Summer is drawing to a close; kids are back to school and there’s a frosty feel in the air at night. This year’s fall equinox is September 23, marking the official start of the autumn season in the northern hemisphere. One of the most exciting things about fall is the fantastic display in the forests and countryside, as plants turn a myriad of brilliant colors—reds, golds, browns and oranges speckle the vibrant landscape. The following 8 destinations are good viewing points for nature’s radiance; pick a clear and crisp autumn day to get out and enjoy nature’s beautiful hues.

8. Lake Placid, New York

Nestled away in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is part of the Tri-Lakes area in Essex County, New York. The village is well-known to outdoor enthusiasts; its renowned for its winter sports scene, including skiing and bobsledding. In fact, it hosted 2 Winter Olympics (1932 and 1980). The area is also great for mountain climbing and hiking. The area, much of it now parkland, is the southernmost part of the Eastern forest-boreal transition ecozones, and includes pine, spruce and deciduous trees. Almost 60% of the Adirondacks park is covered in northern hardwood forest. Tree species include sugar maple, white ash, American beech and yellow birch, which make for a spectacular mix of colors, from the showy maple trees to the reliable colors of the ash trees. Take a hike through some of the mountainous trails and enjoy the scenery rolling across the hills.

Lake Placid, New York

7. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton, part of the province of Nova Scotia, is Canada’s 18th largest island. Its geography is widely varied, including plateaus, headlands and glacial valleys, along with mountains and, yes, forests. The northern part of the island, known as the Cape Breton Highlands, is home to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The forests here are mixed between the Acadian forest and Boreal forest, which is found at higher elevations. You can hike the Cabot Trail or the Skyline Trail, which wrap around the park’s coast line. The forests of the area are home to many species of pine and spruce, but their deciduous inhabitants include birches, beeches, maples and oaks. Cottonwood and poplar species turn brilliant yellow in autumn, adding sunny colors to the canvas alongside the deep reds and oranges of maples and oaks. Visit the Beulach Ban Falls in the Aspy Valley for some spectacular fall colors.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Cabot trail fall

6. Aspen, Colorado

The west usually isn’t the first stop on people’s list when they think of fall foliage, but the forests of the Rockies put on a good show, giving the eastern Appalachians a run for their money. Aspen, Colorado, is named after a tree and there are plenty of aspens around. Their foliage turns a beautiful golden-yellow hue in the fall and even seems to shimmer in the breeze. They provide a perfect contrast to the background of the evergreens on the craggy mountains. The biggest problem, however, is that viewing season is short: onset happens mid-September and by the first week of October, most of the trees will have shed their leaves. That means you have about 3 weeks to get out and see the colors. If you happen to be in the area anyway, be sure to take the time to appreciate the splendor of Mother Nature’s palette.

Fall Landscape of Maroon Bells Aspen Colorado

5. Ludlow, Vermont

Vermont is renowned for its forests—they give the state’s iconic Green Mountains their name, after all—so it should be little surprise that there’s a number of great places to view fall foliage in Vermont. Ludlow, in the Okemo Valley, is one of those places. Although it’s often passed over for the Green Mountain Byway, Okemo Mountain provides a 360-degree view of the Green Mountains and the valley. Ludlow is surrounded by prime viewing spots: the Scenic Route 100 Byway will take you to Coolidge State Park and the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site with their mountaintop views. The area shares similarities with the Adirondacks and Cape Breton forests, which means the autumn colors are a splendid mix of reds, oranges and yellows, thanks to the mix of trees like maples, birches and poplars.

Ludlow, Vermont

4. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

It’s hard to go wrong picking a fall foliage destination almost anywhere in New England, but Portsmouth, New Hampshire, might be a good selection. Although it is somewhat famed as a historic seaport (and the end of Paul Revere’s infamous 1774 ride), Portsmouth is like many New England towns—awash in early American colonial history and endowed with ample tracts of northern hardwood forests that offer up the colors of maple, oak, ash, beech and birch in the fall. The town has restored 17th-century buildings along its waterfront district and the 10-acre Strawberry Banke Museum, where you can wander as you take in the fall foliage. By car, you can enjoy the fall colors by cruising down the 18-mile Coastal Byway. You could also hop on an inland river cruise; there are a few dedicated to highlighting the fall foliage.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

3. Lenox, Massachusetts

Lenox is an affluent town nestled away in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. The town was once part of nearby Richmond, but because the mountains pass between the 2, they were eventually divided into 2 towns. The Housatonic River flows through the east side of Lenox, and parts of the Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area and the October Mountain State Forest line the east banks of the river. October Mountain rises further east and in the west, Yokun Seat is the highest peak at 2,146 feet. The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is also in the area, to the south of Yokun Seat. What all of this means is that there are a lot of wilderness spaces around Lenox and a lot of trees. Leaf-viewing season usually starts October 1; the Jacob’s Ladder section of U.S. Route 20, a 35-mile stretch near Lenox, is popular for taking in fall foliage.

Fall colors trees

2. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Mont-Tremblant, approximately 80 miles northwest of Montreal, is perhaps most famous for its skiing. Long a winter destination for snow bunnies, the area actually hosts a number of sporting events throughout the year and presents great opportunities for activities like hiking, ziplining and cycling. Mont Tremblant, at just under 3,000 feet, is one of the tallest peaks in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. Dense boreal forest in the area promises a mix of evergreens splashed with color from aspens, birches, willows and rowan. Larches, one of the most common trees in the boreal biome, also turn color in the fall, adding a distinctive yellow hue to the forests. Take a tour along the Via ferrata du Diable, which offers a hybrid hiking-climbing experience, in nearby Mont-Tremblant National Park. The path is open until October, making it a unique way to view the autumn colors.

Mont-Tremblant fall

1. Skyline Drive, Virginia

This 105-mile stretch of highway in northern Virginia winds through Shenandoah National Park. It features almost 75 mountain overlooks and forests chockful of colorful sumac, locust, sassafras, scarlet oak, red maple and sweet gum trees—a combination that makes for a brilliant blending of reds and yellows that stretches on for miles. October is prime viewing month for the colors in the park. If you have time, pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway and continue through the southern part of the state, into the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. If you prefer to go on foot, Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park is about 75 miles from Washington, D.C., making it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capitol and get back to nature.

Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive