Summer On The Trail

By on June 21, 2013
elk lake trail-montana

By Donna Hull –

Summer’s finally here! There’s no better way to celebrate than spending a little time out on the trail. Whether you’re vacationing at a favorite destination or visiting in your own backyard, there’s a hiking trail out there with your name on it.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

alligator at paynes prairieWalk with the Alligators in Florida

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Does your trip to the beach include a hike with the alligators? You can make it happen by visiting Gainesville in north-central Florida for a walk on the 3-mile-round-trip La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie State Preserve. This level walk skirts Alachua Sink, ending at an observation tower for views of the marsh and wet-prairie wilderness. Consider Florida’s heat and humidity before heading out on this one, an early start might be in order. And watch out for those alligators! Oh, did I mention the bison and wild horses?


Stand on the Rim of a Colorado Canyon

Are you a fan of less-crowded natural wonders? Do I have a canyon for you? Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, approximately 250 miles southwest of Denver, offers trails along the north and the south rims. A summer hike on Deadhorse trail (5-mile round trip on the north rim) travels through high desert vegetation decorated with wildflowers. The trail follows rolling terrain to the canyon’s edge where you can hear the roar from the Gunnison River as it rushes through the gorge.


Hike to a Green Sand Beach in Hawaii

Have you had enough relaxation on the tropical beaches of the Big Island? When it’s time for adventure, drive to South Point for a hike to the green sands of Papalokea beach (approximately 4-mile round trip). The drive in itself is an experience. You’ll feel as if you’ve reached the end of the world but it’s only the southernmost point in the U.S. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen and water on this trail that travels through the sand dunes above the windy Pacific Coast. The hike down to the beach is a bit treacherous so be careful. Or enjoy the view from the top. That’s what I do.


Discover Montana Mountain Majesty

If you’re summer travel plans call for a stop in Red Lodge, Montana on the way to Yellowstone National Park via the Beartooth Highway, save time for a hike on the East Rosebud Trail.  You’ll need to start early for the 20-mile drive to Roscoe. But that’s only the beginning. Don’t be put off by the 14-mile dirt road from Roscoe to the trailhead near East Rosebud Lake. The scenery is worth every minute of the drive. On this summer adventure, you’ll discover a 7-mile round trip hike to Elk Lake with waterfall views and mountain majesty, making every scenic step worth the effort.

Do you have a favorite summer hike? Post a comment to tell us about it.

Photos courtesy Alan Hull Photography and Donna Hull.

Freelance writer Donna L. Hull specializes in travel and human interest content for online and print publications. At My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel (, she encourages boomers to get up off the couch and go.

About Donna Hull

Donna L. Hull is so obsessed with travel that it makes her feet itchy when she’s not out exploring the world. Since 2008, Donna has been checking off adventures one trip at a time at My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel, her popular website about active travel for baby boomers. She’s also the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure and the boomer travel expert at My Well-Being Presented by Humana.


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Summer On The Trail