Hikes, Climbs and Backpacks in the USA

The Cascades, the Westcoast of the USA

Volcanoes soaring 12,000 feet above their surroundings. The Cascade Mountains are best reached from Seattle. Because of their proximity to the westcoast, they receive massive snowfalls in winter, and many of the climbs are ice or snow-climbs.  Mt. Adams is not quite as high a Mt. Rainier, but it's not an afternoon stroll either. Especially, when you go up via the Mazama Glacier Route. When we went up on July 27, 2005, we were the only party, of course only up and until the Mazama route meets the normal route (South Spur). Mt. Adams tops out at 12,276 feet, or 3742 Meter, but - being a volcano - stands high above its surrounding plains.

Mt. Baker is one of the iciest of the Cascade volcanoes, with 44 square miles of ice spread out among its 12 glaciers (Mt. Rainier has only 35 square miles of ice). Mt Baker is "only" 10,778 or 3285 Meter, but you start walking at a miserably low elevation of 3300 feet (or 1000 Meter). With so much ice and snow, Mt Baker is somewhat more technical than Adams... We took the route over the Easton Glacier.  Old Snowy Mountain, in the South Cascades, is a very rewarding hike, culminating in a little, lofty scramble for the last 50 feet. Because the hike leads through the pretty Snowgrass Flats, it is best undertaken as a two day hike, so one can fully enjoy the flowery meadows with Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier beckoning in the distance. The hike uses, for a short while, the highest portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. And then there are, of course, many more mountains, valleys, hikes in the South-, and in the North Cascades, at the Westcoast of the USA...

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier, Westcoast

Colorado, Rocky Mountains

In summer, most of Colorado's mountains are humangous grey heaps of gravel and rock, which offer walk-ups to their summits. But that doesn't mean hiking in Colorado, USA, is boring. Quite to the contrary.... Check out the montains of the Front Range, the Sawatch Range, San Juan Mountains, Mount Sneffels and many more. Review the highest and the interesting, the popular and those you will have for yourself. Coloroda is the country of the fourteeners - the mountains with an altitudes exceeding 14,000 feet...

Uncompahagre Peak

Uncompaharge Peak, San Juan Range in Colorado

The Adirondacks

The Adirondacks, often belittled, are actually the largest National Park in the contiguous USA. The wilderness experience in the Adirondacks is as good as anywhere else - and while not high compared to well known mountain ranges, the peaks of the Adirondacks present serious backpacking challenges.The Adirondacks are the major mountain range closest to New York. Mount Marcy is the highest peak, topping out at 1629 Meter. On the labor weekend 2007, we made our second attempt for Mount Marcy from the "Upper Works" route -, and bagged Mount Colden, for good measure, too.Our first attempt to scale Marcy in October 2005 was dwarfed by pounding rain, but we managed to brave water and mud and backpacked to Lake Colden, and slogged up Mt. Jo - both very much worthwhile destinations, especially in fall. Algonquin Peak is, with 1475 Meter, the Adirondack's second highest peak.  On Labor weekend 2008, we came from the southern end to visit the Dix Range, 1480 Meter, where we also climbed Macomb, 1343 Meter- one of the so-called trail-less peaks. And even later the year we managed a 4 day epic backpack across a good part of the Great Range, across Haystack (1512 Meter - the third highest peak in the Adirondacks), Basin (1471 Meter, 9th) and Saddleback (1376 Meter, 17th). According to the Guide to the Adirondacks Trails, this section is "perhaps the most spectacular of any in the Adirondacks...". In May 2004, we visited Giant Mountain, 1410 Meter, and in September we labored up Gothics, 1440 Meter, which many consider the most worthwhile summit of the range. But it is not always the highest mountains that provide the greatest satisfaction. Twice we went into the Pharaoh Wilderness - truly memorable events - especially if combined with an excursion to the Tongue Mountain, home of the Rattlesnakes...


Climbing in the Dix Range, Adirondacks

Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont

Virtually visit the highest, remotest, most popular or most difficult mountain trails in the NorthEast of the USA. Katahdin (1606 Meter) is the highest Peak in Maine, and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Many consider it "done" only when taking the route over the precipitous and infamous Knife Edge. It is probably the most spectacular mountain trail in the Eastern USA. The Northern Woods are a vast expanse of National Parks and private logging country. Hiking there helps to understand the delicate balance between conservation and forest management. But then, with the Rangeley lakes and mountains, the 100-mile-Wilderness is one of the toughest stretches of the Appalachian Trail.

The White Mountains in New Hampshire are quite popular. Quite rightly so... Franconia Ridge, the Presidentials, and more. The Green Mountains in Vermont seem to remain in the shadows of the higher White Mountains of New Hampshire. This is good so. Mt. Mansfield (1339 Meter - the highest point in Vermont) is already busy enough, and we just hope that Camel's Hump (1244 Meter) will remain as it is. Also have a look at the out-of-way Mt. Pisgah (839 Meter), a splendid little mountain with glorious views.


Moose in the Northern Woods

The Catskills, the Shawagunks and the Hudson Valley

These hikes and climbs are close to New York City - some would be best done as an overnight outing, others can be done as daytrips if one gets up early. Start with a tour through the Catskills - the famous Escarpment Trail. Probably more famouus are the Shawagunks, a climbers paradise, but there are also spectacular hikes for those who aren't quite ready for ropes and helmets.

While there is nothing grand or spectacular (in relative terms) for the ambitious hiker in the Lower Hudson Valley, there are many pleasant short and long hikes, walks and rambles. The Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park is large by any standard, and it will take several hiking seasons to explore it all. More to the north, Connecticut and Massachusetts have also much to offer, including the Taconic Range. To the East and West Even of New York City the parks and reserves of New Jersey and Long Island turn up many surprises - including the possibilty of encounters with Rattlesnakes. Even the nature reserves and small parks of Westchester County are good for countless daytrips or afternoon hikes. And check out some of best shots of flora and fauna in the Lower Hudson Valley.


View along the Shawagunks


Western Virginia and eastern West Virginia in the USA are good destinations when the mountains of the Northeast are still covered in snow...

Back to Hikes and Climbs



crevasse at baker

Negotiating a crevasse on Mount Baker, Cascades, West Coast


view from Sneffels

View from the top of Mount Sneffels, to the Blue Lakes


view from Mount Colden

View from Mount Colden, onto Lake Colden


The Adirondacks Site is the perfect start for learnig more and visiting the Adirondack National Park - the biggest in the U.S.A.

The Appalachian Club site is good for hiking adventure at the US Eastcoast

Note: In the eastern part of the Adirondack High Peak Region, bear-canisters are required for any overight camping. One can buy or rent bear canisters from the DEC or sport shops, or from the "interior outpost" ranger post.

A Bear Canister

The New York - New Jersey Trail Conference has plenty of resources for hiking in the Hudson Valley and New Jersey

For day- or weekend hikes the Westchester Parks website can be quite useful.