Thursday, November 10, 2016

Take a Hike! Around-the-World Hiking Trails

In celebration of National Take a Hike Day (November 17), here are some of the world’s best trails and destinations – all offering the same reward – stunning views for all your hard work and effort to get there. Located around the globe, check out these destinations and their trails.

 Rancho La Puerta
Photo by Cynthia Dial

Rancho La Puerta | Tecate, Mexico
Rancho La Puerta is the original “fitness resort” and spa, which welcomes some 140 guests each week to its 3,000 private acres of gardens, mountains and meadows in Baja California, Mexico. All facilities and land are for the exclusive use of guests who come for an entire week, Saturday to Saturday, or partial-week stays of three or four nights. It's a unique escape for women and men offering over 80 fitness classes including TRX, yoga, pilates and advanced hiking trails, as well as spa treatments and therapeutic sessions. Hiking is a very big part of the Rancho La Puerta guest experience. Most guests do some sort of hike before breakfast each morning. Rancho La Puerta is located in the mountains and the guided hiking trails are a five-minute walk from the resort, offering over 50 miles of hiking trails. Options include a two-mile hike through an oak grove with undulating terrain, a nine-mile mountain hike and everything in between. A few standout hikes include:

Organic Garden Breakfast Hike - A four-mile round-trip trek over rolling hills to La Cocina Que Canta, the Ranch's culinary center and organic six-acre farm. Enjoy a garden breakfast, followed by a garden tour with the resident horticulturist.

Quail Two - A 2.5-mile hike that winds across the meadow and along a stream before climbing up to the base of the mountain. The return is via the oak grove. 

Coyote Hike - A 5.5-mile strenuous hike winding up the mountain between the Pilgrim and the Professor routes and then looping back along the flanks of Mt. Kuchumaa. Elevation gain is 800+ feet. 

Mountain Trek | Nelson, British Columbia
A true backcountry experience, Mountain Trek offers guests a dynamic boot camp vacation while also providing an upscale resort experience at their beautiful lodge in Nelson, British Columbia. Set in spectacular natural landscapes, guests spend time focusing on hiking-based activities in the beautiful mountains of British Columbia. Mountain Trek takes hiking to the next level by utilizing Nordic Trekking Poles, and employing postural ergonomic instruction for a full body workout, that increases cardio and maximizes muscle power. Program Director Kirkland Shave motivates guests with a sense of adventure and wonder, taking them through a new trail each day, offering different environments and views among nature. Some of the premier hiking trails to explore at Mountain Trek include:

Fry Creek Canyon in Purcell Wilderness Conservancy - Explore breathtaking views along the pristine Kootenay Lake, set below the snowcapped Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. The trail takes trekkers snaking along an old 1920s gold mining mule trail that hugs the canyon above the crystalline glacial run off.

Idaho Peak - Take the trail three grades up the mountain to access the old forest fire lookout, where hikers will find 360-degree views of the shimmering Slocan Lake below, and Kokanee Glaciers and the Selkirk Mountain peaks across the valley. Visit July through September and experience the park's "Sound of Music" backdrop with the most outstanding, rainbow colored array of alpine wild flower meadows

The Mulia & Mulia Villas | Bali, Indonesia
Located on the majestic coastline of Nusa Dua, The Mulia & Mulia Villas, evoke a relaxed yet polished sensibility and offer a sunrise hike up Bali’s most popular volcano, Mount Batur.  Located a few hours from Nusa Dua, guests can trek two to three hours hike for the sunrise view of the volcano's caldera, the majestic Lake Batur, and stunning panoramic views of Bali. After a strenuous day of hiking, guests can enjoy the Hot Springs located near the volcano which is said to have healing properties.

West Coast

Hotel Murano | Tacoma, Wash.
Mount Rainier is the ultimate in American alpine climbing. You can see Mount Rainier from Seattle but you have to come to Tacoma to experience it. Outdoor adventurers have plenty to do at this all-seasons destination and mountaineers love this 14,411-foot climb. Stay at Hotel Murano and experience the many hiking trails, for all ability levels, that lead to many of the most beautiful spots on Mt. Rainier National Park: Crystalline high mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, meandering streams, sub-alpine meadows carpeted in flowers and peaks offering vistas of the glaciers of Rainier.  The best of the trails is the famous Wonderland Trail, a multi-day journey covering over 93 miles that encircles the entire mountain.

Rancho Bernardo Inn | San Diego, Calif.
Located at Rancho Bernardo Inn in picturesque North County, experience the best of San Diego’s hiking scene just minutes away from the 265-acre destination resort. Soak in the beautiful sunny weather and enjoy local hikes including Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Mount Woodson Trail where you can find the famous potato chip rock and more, less than five miles away from the property. A hiking concierge is happy to assist describing routes and escorting you to the trail via Rancho Bernardo Inn’s private SUV (upon availability).    

Washington School House | Park City, Utah
Park City is the ideal destination for the adventurous traveler. Stay at Washington School House, the hip town's most exclusive luxury boutique hotel, and book a guided hike and stand-up paddleboard yoga session with Park City Yoga Adventures. Starting with a 1.5 hour hike through the Wasatch mountains range’s Aspen forest along a winding stream, guests will then practice yoga, deep inside the 10,000-year-old crater. The instructor demonstrates yoga poses from the dock while guests move and bend on paddleboards that float in the 90-plus-degree natural therapeutic pool. In the water, tiny effervescent bubbles of CO2 exfoliate and rejuvenate dry skin while the hotel mineral water relaxes muscles and lowers blood pressure. After yoga, a relaxing hike back down the mountain truly ends the day on a fantastic note. 

Tanque Verde Ranch - Tucson, Ariz.
Located on 60,000 acres of stunning desert landscape, Tanque Verde Ranch caters year-round to travelers looking to unplug and reconnect with one another and the great outdoors. There are no TVs at the Ranch, so guests are encouraged to go outside and enjoy daily guided hikes covering miles of scenic trail. Led by experienced naturalists, guests will go deep into the Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest, which surrounds Tanque Verde Ranch, to witness desert wildlife, unique cacti formations. species and more. Hikes range from easy to difficult and are generally offered in the mornings or at sunset. Certain hikes even take guests into the mountains, with elevation gains of up to several thousand feet.  

Four Seasons Resorts Lāna‘i | Lāna‘i, Hawaii
With only 30 miles of paved roads on the entire island, Lāna‘i is a hiker’s dream. From beachside paths perfect for a sunrise stroll to more strenuous tree-lined trails that crest mountain tops, the island of Lāna‘i offers hikes to suit every level. Now guests of Four Seasons Resorts Lāna‘i have an even better reason to hit the road, with a series of fascinating hiking routes. The hikes range from 60–90 minutes and are designed to showcase the beauty, history and lore of the island. A few standout hikes include:

Sunrise Pu‘u Pehe Hike - Enjoy an early morning hike to the summit overlooking one of Lāna‘i’s most recognizable landmarks, Pu‘u Pehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock. Immerse yourself in culture and learn the legend behind Pu‘u Pehe, how Shark Bay got its name and why there are so many holes in the ground along the way.  All this, while witnessing what may possibly be the most beautiful sunrise ever, folks on Lāna‘i say.  The moderate hike is approximately 75 minutes, give or take time spent snapping photos.

Kapiha‘ā Trail Hike - A preservation trail with million dollar views along the southern coast line. Once used by the ancient Hawaiians, the Fisherman’s trail as it’s also known, offers a glimpse of life in the past. Watch as one of the largest blow holes on Lāna‘i shoots into the sky, Mother Nature permitting. This adventure concludes as you make your way through the actual ruins of Kapiha‘ā Village, established 600 years ago. The hike averages 90 minutes, and is moderate, but can be challenging in certain areas.  

Lāna‘i also offers a number of self-guided hikes, including the five-mile Koloiki Ridge Hike. Guests can pick up a descriptive trail map from the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center or from The Lodge at Kō‘ele and head out the back to get started. Enter a forest canopy of pine and eucalyptus trees and hike towards Maunalei Valley and Naio Gulch, and maybe catch a glimpse of an axis deer, with Moloka‘i and Maui in the distance.

The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage | Rancho Mirage, Calif.  
Enveloped within the Santa Rosa Mountain range and offering striking panoramic views of Palm Springs and the surrounding valley, two hidden desert trails located directly next to The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage are perfectly situated for the luxury traveler looking to stay fit and active. The Roadrunner / Big Horn Overlook Trail is two and a half miles of awe-inspiring views of deep, colorful canyons and unrivaled sights of natural desert landscape. The Chuckwalla Trail is moderately intense and takes hikers through uncrowded, quiet trails that skirt steep cliff edges.   The guided hikes are complimentary to resort guests and take place daily, offering expertise about wildlife, plants, nature destinations in the area, and the human history of the beautiful lands. For those who prefer to hike on their own, the resort provides maps to stunning scenery perfect for the desert adventurer. 

Surf & Sand Resort | Laguna Beach, Calif. 
The Surf & Sand Resort is directly located in Laguna Beach, offering flawless oceanfront views and a variety of ways to explore the locale. A short 15-minute drive will land you amidst some of the destination’s finest trails. The Aliso & Wood Canyons Regional Park is home to Aliso Canyon, which is an intermediate level hike, stretching on a 20-mile single track with elevation up to 126 feet. For the more experienced hiker, trek through miles of coastal wilderness with resort partner, La Vida Laguna. If you prefer to take on the trails without guidance, the three options include the Laguna Summit, the Dartmoor Loop and Laurel Canyon. The Laguna Summit starts at the downtown Festival of Arts and ascends behind the Water Tank Trail. The climb continues to expand up the ridge line with breathtaking views of the ocean south to Laguna. The Dartmoor Loop is also deemed a vigorous, intermediate hike, climbing from sea level to ridge. This trail offers spectacular views with Saddleback Mountain to the east and Catalina island to the west. The Laurel Canyon trail is regarded as an easier intermediate hike in the heart of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 

L'Auberge de Sedona | Sedona, Ariz.
One of the most sought after destinations in the U.S., Sedona, Arizona is outdoor enthusiasts dream with a variety of red rock formations that offer endless miles of trails. A beautiful, creekside retreat, L’Auberge de Sedona has recently partnered with The Hike House, creating the perfect opportunity for those looking to get outdoors and explore the famed hiking trails of Sedona. Through the partnership, guests of L’Auberge de Sedona will have access to all The Hike House has to offer - including tailored trail finders, guided adventures, hiking clinics and all the hiking gear one could need. From guided Vortex, individual and group hikes - L’Auberge’s partnership with The Hike House ensures each guest will experience their “Sedona moment.” 

Lodge at Tiburon | Tiburon, Calif.
Nestled at the tip of the scenic Tiburon Peninsula on the San Francisco Bay, Lodge at Tiburon offers plenty of nearby hikes and trails for guests to explore. Trail and hike lovers can enjoy and explore Mt. Livermore, an exhilarating hike that provides visitors with magnificent views of Marin County, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.   

The Mansion at Casa Madrona | Sausalito, Calif.
Located in the seaside community of Sausalito, The Mansion is also right around the corner from one of the most unique areas in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Marin Headlands.  Covering various types hiking and trails, the headlands also offer astonishing views of the Northern California coastline and San Francisco.   

The Marker | San Francisco, Calif.
Escape to the heart of San Francisco for an urban hike up the iconic city’s many hills and steps. Located just two blocks from the city’s Union Square neighborhood, the concierge can guide guests to the best stairways, hills and hiking trails to see the sights and local history that helped shaped San Francisco, including Twin Peaks, Land’s End Trail and Lombard Street.  

East Coast

Craddock Terry Hotel | Lynchburg, Va.
Nestled in Downtown Lynchburg, Craddock Terry Hotel is a 44-room boutique property with easy access to a variety of trails for hiking, walking or biking. One of the most popular trails in the area is Blackwater Creek Trail, built along an abandoned railway bed and traveling through an urban forest. The property is happy to assist guests in mapping out the nearest trails, and guests can even be joined by the hotel’s house dog, a Wirehaired Fox Terrier named Buster Brown, who can act as your very own tour guide. Your reward: dramatic views of the James River, historic downtown Lynchburg or the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Twin Farms | Barnard, Vt.
Twin Farms, the Relais & Chateaux property and only five-star resort in Barnard, Vermont, is situated on 300 acres of lush meadowlands. For the perfect hiking experience, explore the forest, meadows and ponds by foot independently or request a guide with the miles of groomed trails, hills and views that invite moderate or strenuous recreation in the verdant forest. Request to have your lunch packed to enjoy a gourmet picnic while exploring the hidden groves of the property.

Mission Point Resort | Mackinac Island, Mich.
Mackinac Island boasts over 70 miles of hiking and biking on just 3.8 square miles of land. With more than 80% of the island protected as a state park, Mackinac Island offers some of the most beautiful vistas in Michigan. Trails are offered in a combination of both paved roadways and more rugged natural trails for the more adventurous. Hike to one of the most famous and photographed spots on Mackinac Island, Arch Rock. This geological wonder is a natural limestone arch formed during the Nipissing post-glacial period when high Lake Huron levels and wave action created openings in the rock. The views from Arch Rock are dramatic, sweeping vistas of Lake Huron and Canada.

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