Home to more than 70,000 acres of public lands, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia is the United States' newest national park. Established originally as a national river in 1978, the area was redesignated in 2020 as a park and has been a hallowed spot for locals for generations. The recent designation invites travelers to visit, explore and discover this slice of heaven. The national park has also received distinguished mentions by National Geographic, Frommer's, TIME, and AFAR, all of which label the New River Gorge a must-visit destination. Easily accessible by Route 19 and I-64, it is one of West Virginia's most photographed areas. The iconic steel arch bridge was once the longest in the world and welcomes travelers to this cherished region. Widely known as the second oldest river in the world, the New River cuts through extensive geological formations that make way for diverse flora and fauna. Bald eagles and peregrine falcons call this park home, and you'll often spot a few along your travels. Hiking trails here take you to spectacular overlooks and through remnants of old coal mining towns. Celebrate Bridge Day this October The New River Gorge bridge in autumn - courtesy of West Virginia Department of Tourism Each year, the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve hosts Bridge Day, the nation's premier extreme sports event, where nearly 150,000 spectators watch as 350 BASE jumpers parachute 876 feet into the Gorge's stunning fall colors. Bridge Day is West Virginia's largest single-day festival and one of the largest extreme sports events in the world. Held annually on the third Saturday in October on the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County, this is the only day each year that spectators can walk across the fifth-longest steel-arch bridge in the world as daredevils take the plunge into one of the oldest rivers in the world and an area recognized by TIME as One of the World's Greatest Places. For festival-goers, the day is filled with excitement, delicious bites from local food vendors and the opportunity to walk the catwalk underneath the New River Gorge Bridge or zipline off it. Watching the jumpers is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Some of the BASE jumpers make the jump even more exciting by being launched out of the "human catapult" while wearing flashy costumes. All the while, rappellers ascend and descend from the catwalk. Win a thrilling BASE jump experience A tandem BASE jump from Bridge Day 2022 - courtesy of West Virginia Department of Tourism This year, the West Virginia Department of Tourism is holding a contest to award one thrill-seeker the opportunity to tandem BASE jump from the New River Gorge Bridge this fall. The winner of the contest will receive a free trip to West Virginia and the opportunity of a lifetime as a part of Bridge Day festivities in the nation's newest national park. Daredevils from all over the U.S. and Canada are encouraged to sign up here before September 30th for the chance to win. Last year, 350 BASE jumpers from 39 states and four countries took part in this event. Some are experienced jumpers who leap solo, while others are new to the sport and go tandem with an experienced jumper. Much like a tandem skydive, jumpers are harnessed to the experienced Tandem BASE instructor. The winner of the contest will jump with Sean Chuma, who has completed more BASE jumps than anyone else in the world. Chuma has over 4,000 skydives and 7,400 BASE jumps, and also runs a world-renowned school, called I-D BASE, that teaches experienced skydivers how to BASE jump. "Bridge Day is one of the world's top extreme-sports events, and we are thrilled to offer one lucky daredevil the opportunity to join us and literally fly with some of the world's most spectacular fall foliage as a backdrop," said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. "Whether you're adventurous enough to parachute nearly 900 feet or you'd prefer a nice casual stroll across the bridge to soak in the fall colors while enjoying the festivities, Bridge Day is an experience you'll never forget."
Backroads recently announced the launch of Women's Adventures, a new offer exclusively for women travelers. Set in some of the world's most beautiful places, these new vacations feature some of the company's most popular Walking & Hiking itineraries in bucket-list destinations. While the all-women trips will naturally have a different dynamic than other Backroads' trips, they will offer the same commitment to excellence, flexible itineraries and exceptional Trip Leaders for which the company is known. "As part of the Hale family business, I've been lucky enough to take many Backroads trips, several of them with women only to destinations like Argentina, Vietnam/Cambodia and the California Wine Country," said Liz Hale, Backroads' Director of Community Partnerships. "There's nothing like traveling with a group of women. The shared experience on and off the trail, the sense of adventure, the deep connections and conversations, easy laughter and the joy of sisterhood that forms and strengthens as we create new lifelong memories.” Women seeking outdoor and cultural travel experiences in combination with stylish creature comforts—whether traveling solo or with female friends or family members—has been a growing trend over the years. Backroads has seen an increase in select travel dates becoming all-women trips, often as Private Trips. These Walking & Hiking tours are crafted to offer travelers an unfiltered and genuine connection to the culture, landscapes, people and natural beauty of the region they are exploring. With over 30 years of experience designing and leading Walking & Hiking trips across the globe, launching Women's Adventures that feature some of the company's top hiking itineraries is an exciting evolution of the Backroads trip collection. “There's a special magic and connection that often happens when women gather,” said Backroads Executive Vice President, Avery Hale Smith. “I've experienced this firsthand on the girls trips I've participated in over the years, and we've heard it repeatedly from guests who have traveled privately on all-women Backroads trips. We're excited to offer women the opportunity to connect, learn and be immersed in the local culture and community while discovering these amazing destinations together.” While the trips include locations from all over the world, there are several North American-based itineraries, including the selected trips below, that are more accessible and budget-friendly when adding in the costs of flights or other transportation. Banff to Yoho (Alberta, Canada) A 6-day getaway to the soaring peaks and emerald lakes of Banff, Lake Louise & Yoho National Park. Book here. Hike scenic trails in three Canadian national parks with dramatic vistas, beautiful lakes and lush landscapesWalk through evergreen forests and flowering meadows to sensational glaciers, magnificent waterfalls and towering peaksAdmire mountain reflections on Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, then hike to famous Plain of Six Glaciers TeahouseLook for mountain goats, pikas and marmots—perhaps come face-to-face with one of them! Palm Springs & Joshua Tree (California) Desert vegetation in Joshua Tree, California by Ben Karpinski - Unsplash A 4-day trip to this national park wonderland of rocks and desert oases. Book here. Hike Joshua Tree National Park's remarkable landscape strewn with gigantic boulders and shady palm oases Marvel at the desert's distinctive beauty—from Joshua trees to unique wildlife like roadrunners and desert bighorn sheep Admire the mid-century architecture and old Hollywood glamour of Palm Springs’ Las Palmas neighborhoodHike a section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail, taking in impressive views of San Gorgonio Mountain Yosemite (California) A waterfall in Yosemite National Park by Mick Haupt - Unsplash A 6-day excursion to explore this iconic national park's dramatic half dome and waterfalls. Book here. Experience spectacular hikes to alpine meadows, waterfalls and jaw-dropping panoramas Gaze skyward on a walk through a grove of giant sequoias, Yosemite's ancient trees Explore the endless trails of Tuolumne Meadows, a glacier-carved area over two miles long Discover the impressive rock formations for which Yosemite is known, including world-famous Half Dome Crate Lake & Cascades (Oregon) Crater Lake by Steven Coffey - Unsplash A 6-day adventure in the Pacific Northwest. Book here. Delight in Oregon's varied geology as you adventure on foot to the edge of the world-famous Crater LakeExplore the vibrant city of Bend, Oregon's lively and picturesque hub of outdoor adventure and craft brewingHike amid the grandeur of Oregon's Central Cascades, including a section of the famed Pacific Crest TrailAdmire Crater Lake's breathtakingly clear sapphire waters from some of the very best vantage points Sedona (Arizona) The red rocks of Sedona, Arizona by Edmundo Mendez, Jr - Unsplash A 4-day getaway to explore the red rocks and desert magic of Arizona. Book here. Hike among jagged peaks and vast canyons, and along trails blossoming with cacti, manzanita and agave plantsMarvel at the ever-changing colors of the landscape as the sun passes through the day, leaving behind a dazzling indigo sky full of starsWander in and out of art galleries and shops filled with jewelry and crafts made by local artists at Sedona’s Tlaquepaque villageRelish Southwestern cuisine and luxuriate in our quiet abode surrounded by red mesas and rugged cliffs Yellowstone & Tetons (Wyoming) Sunlight illuminates the peaks of the Teton mountain range by Toan Chu - Unsplash A 6-day trip to discover the geology, wildlife and peaks of these national parks. Book here. Observe the famous bubbling and churning geologic features of Yellowstone—including Old Faithful, of course Hike through gorgeous valley landscapes while gazing up to catch sight of the spectacular Teton peaks Photograph the wondrous Yellowstone wildlife you're bound to encounter—from elk to eagles and bison to bears Raft the Snake River with expert river runners, enjoying the views and abundant wildlife sightings —For more Women's Walking & Hiking trip itineraries, head to Backroads Women's Adventures.
From north to south and from coast to coast, America is packed with diverse landscapes that are worth exploring for every type of traveler. Each state has its own culture and landmarks that make them unique. Courtesy of musement Outdoor enthusiasts have a plethora of places to choose from. National parks and outdoor attractions make up almost one third of the most popular attractions in the United States. From the greats like The Grand Canyon (Arizona) and the urban oasis Central Park (New York) to lesser-known gems like Blackwater Falls State Park (West Virginia) or the Gulf Islands National Seashore (Mississippi) and its beaches, you can get a taste of cultural activities while enjoying Mother Nature. Hersheypark: Hershey, Pennsylvania - Istock/ gsheldon Thrill seekers and families with young ones will be glad to see that ten states across the country have amusement/theme parks as their number one attraction. Snap pictures with Mickey and your favorite Disney characters at Walt Disney World (Florida) or Disneyland Park (California). Otherwise, you can escape to the east to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia). Got a craving for chocolate? Head to Hersheypark (Pennsylvania) and see what the hype is all about. The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas History buffs will be able to turn the clocks back at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (Michigan) where they can witness some of America’s most historical items, discover what life was like in the 1830s at The Alamo (Texas), or jump on board the World War II battleship turned museum at the USS Alabama (Alabama). Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium: Atlanta,Georgia - Istock/Gau Souza Animal lovers across the states have the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best zoos and aquariums. From Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Nebraska) and its one-of-a-kind exhibits to the world-renowned Georgia Aquarium (Georgia), one of the largest in the world, to the west coast’s Oregon Zoo, the United States offers plenty to admire. Research done by Musement, the digital discovery and booking platform for travel activities and experiences around the world. To see the full list of all 50 attractions click here.
Leaf peeping is a great way to explore Fort Collins, Colorado, and the surrounding Northern Colorado area during its most beautiful season: autumn. Fort Collins proximity to the Cache la Poudre River canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park makes it a leaf-peeping magnet, and the perfect basecamp for fall adventures to Lory State Park, the Roosevelt National Forest, Rocky Mountain National Park and more. While the peak season for fall foliage typically runs from the last week in September to the second week of October, experts anticipate the leaves will peak slightly early this year, perhaps closer to mid-September. Here are five affordable fall adventures in Fort Collins: 1 - Take a Hike Courtesy of Caramie Petrowsky While there are myriad hikes in and around Fort Collins, one stands out as perfect for a sunny fall day paired with a picnic lunch. Greyrock Trail is a 7.1-mile moderate-to-strenuous loop hike that is gorgeous in the fall (and a bit quieter), with sweeping views of Greyrock Mountain and the Poudre Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Comanche Peak Wilderness Area. 2 - Drop a line Horsetooth Reservoir Between the Cache La Poudre River and Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins offers paradise found for fishermen and fisherwomen. The Poudre is perfect for fly-fishing, though there are a few spots where you can bait fish. At Horsetooth, try your hand catching smallmouth bass or walleye from the shore or a boat. Fort Collins also has 15 Natural Areas that allow fishing, including Riverbend Ponds, a popular fishing spot with easy access from the trailheads. It’s one of two Natural Areas where gizzard shad (part of the herring family of fish) are found. 3 - Road trip to Red Feather Lakes Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Red Feather Lakes, located an hour drive northwest of Fort Collins, is a secluded, hidden gem that’s less populated than many Colorado outdoor destinations. Surrounded by 612,000 acres of Roosevelt National Forest, the Red Feathers Lakes area is a year-round outdoor playground, but fall is stunning. Hike or fish in one of the eight lakes in the area, four of which are open for public fishing. You may also fish in the nearby Cache La Poudre River, Colorado’s only designated Wild and Scenic River and the area’s best spot for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Nearby Beaver Meadows Resort Ranch offers lodging, fishing, horseback riding and more. 4 - Attend a festival Pumpkins on Parade - Courtesy of Caramie Petrowsky Festival season doesn’t slow down come fall in the Fort; here are three to check out. Tour de Corgi (Oct. 7) brings a sea of cute corgis in costume to one of the most quirky festivals in town. Pumpkins on Parade (Oct. Date TBD) is a fun-for-all-ages celebration at The Gardens on Spring Creek complete with hundreds of locally grown pumpkins and fun and festive activities for the whole family (tickets are $10 for adults/children 12+; $5 for children 5-11 and free for under age 4). Korean Festival (Oct. 17) Dance, music, Tae-kwon-do performances, and games to celebrate Korean culture. 5 - Celebrate the harvest There is no shortage of local pumpkin patches and farms offering all sorts of fall fun: The Bartel’s Farm – Stop in for a huge selection of pumpkins, corn mazes, and hayrides. The Farm at Lee Martinez Park – Visit the farm animals and take a hayride. There’s also a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect future jack-o-lantern. Northern Colorado Corn Maze – Jack Lantern’s Corn Maze is a Colorado favorite. Something from the Farm – This family-owned farm features an organic pumpkin patch, hay bale maze, hayrides, a pumpkin catapult, and more. Fritzler Farm Park – Located in nearby LaSalle, attractions at the farm include a corn maze, pumpkin patch, pedal go-carts, barrel train, pumpkin cannons, slide mountain, and more. Spooky’s Pumpkin Patch — Choose from a variety of pumpkins, gourds, carving kits, and even straw bales and corn stalks for your fall decorating needs at this patch, located on South College Avenue. Colorado native Caramie Petrowsky is a former daily newspaper arts and entertainment editor who loves exploring new places with her husband and their two children. As a CSU alum, Fort Collins holds an especially dear place in her heart.
Solo travel has been on the rise this past decade. According to research by Kayak, searches for single-traveler flights are 36% higher for 2023 travel than for 2022 travel. Escape from the distractions of everyday life and opt for a transformative, renewing experience in the wilderness. The three great options below all offer plenty of seclusion, adventure, and incredible encounters with wildlife and nature. Embark on a Wilderness Cruise in Alaska Embark on a journey of discovery in Alaska, Vancouver Island, or Desolation Sound while reveling in the freedom of solo exploration. Small group adventures are an alluring option for solo travelers seeking to explore in the company of likeminded people, but expedition cruises often require a single supplement to pay for the high level of experience they offer. Boutique wilderness cruise company Maple Leaf Adventures has pioneered safari-like trips in Alaska and British Columbia since 1986, with small group exploration at its core. Ships carry either 8, 12 or 24 guests and when ashore, guests are usually in groups of about 12 people. Some of their upcoming expeditions this season include the Alaska Supervoyage (August 6-17 aboard Swell), Alaska Supervoyage with Canadian Geographic (July 26-Aug 6, aboard Swell), Whales & Wild Isles (July 23-31 and August 3-11, aboard Cascadia), and Desolation Sound & Fjords of BC (October 17-24, aboard Cascadia). The nature of this style of travel eliminates the barriers a solo traveler may face on larger ships; compared to bigger boats, guests do not feel overwhelmed by hordes of strangers . Guiding crew are essentially “built-in” solo travelers to share the journey with guests—their expertise and warmth are as much a part of the trip as the place, wildlife and ship. Hike to a Backcountry Hut in Colorado The sunlight breaks through clouds in Colorado's San Juan Mountains by Kody Goodson - Unsplash In the San Juan Mountains just outside of Silverton, Colorado, travelers can hike or snowshoe to a unique lodging experience. The OPUS Hut is a full-service, European-style backcountry lodge with solar-powered lighting, indoor composting toilets, in-floor solar-thermal heating, and healthy, natural food served up daily. In the summer months, one can drive to within just a quarter mile of the hut, but in the winter the road closes and it’s a 3.5 mile hike. This, cozy lodge features two wood stoves, a large dining area with seating for 20, and a small reclining area by the fire. While the hut is certainly off the beaten path, it still has plenty of little luxuries like outlets for charging devices, filtered drinking water, hot and cold tap water, as well as beer, wine and a limited selection of spirits are available from their bar. Meals are prepared with quality natural, organic and when possible, locally grown products. This summer, the hut is also trialing a new full bedding service by providing sheets, pillows, pillowcases and a duvet—which means visitors don't need to bring a sleeping bag liner or any other bedding in their packs. However, this is trial run, and may not continue in the future; be sure to double-check before your booking, or else you might be sleeping a little less comfortably. Further north in the high peaks of Leadville, those seeking a unique off-grid overnight experience can sleep sustainably at the Weston Pass Hut, set at 11,950 feet. While this hut is technically accessible by vehicle, get the full experience by hiking, skiing, or biking to this remote escape. Hikes from this high perch look out to the tops of the Sawatch and Mosquito ranges, including Colorado’s two highest peaks, showcasing Mother Earth’s splendor. The hut itself complements the surrounding natural beauty, as it was built with locally harvested and milled beams and an earth-covered, naturally insulated tundra roof. Stargaze in the Adirondacks The Milk Way galaxy rises over the Adirondacks by Kurt Von - Unsplash The Adirondacks, located within a day’s drive for 25% of the entire North American population, is home to hundreds of New York state-owned campgrounds where visitors can pitch a tent, park an RV, swim in one of the cool lakes, fish along the shore, and explore the area’s mountains, trails, and attractions. At night, campers can enjoy the region’s extreme darkness to easily admire the nighttime sky - offering billions of stars under which to sleep. The Hamilton County region, in particular, is known for its wilderness and the “big” experiences that it offers to visitors. The area’s wide-open nighttime sky provides a 180-degree view of the Milky Way, billions of stars, planets and sometimes satellites, all twinkling against an ink-black background. In fact, the Adirondack sky is a prime Eastern stargazing zone, with very little light pollution, relatively low humidity, and elevation—all important factors for viewing the stars. Hamilton County’s billion-star camping options include riverfront and lakefront sites, perfect for daytime swimming, fishing and lounging. Many offer restroom facilities, showers and easy access to local attractions. Who needs a 5-star resort when you can have a beautiful, remote, adventure-filled, billion-star hotel? This summer, last-minute camping under the stars is possible, as campsites are still available; many for less than $20 per night. It has also recently been announced by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation that two campgrounds in the region (Moffit Beach and Lewey Lake campgrounds) have extended their seasons until October 9th.
National parks are a national treasure—and Americans know it. In fact, the National Park Service saw 312 million recreation visits in 2022 (that’s up 15 million visitors from the previous year!), and almost half of Americans (48%) say visiting the national parks is on their bucket list. National parks help preserve and protect many of our nation’s stunning natural landscapes, so we can behold the beauty for years to come—often through one of thousands of breathtaking hikes. With all this in mind, KURU Footwear wanted to dig into data and find the top 10 best national parks for hiking to help Americans discover their next adventure. To rank each park, KURU used Alltrails to find all of the available trails in each of the 63 National Parks, and analyzed them based on the following metrics: number of trails (total), total distance of trails (in miles), average trail rating, number of annual visitors, and acreage of the national park (public areas only). Pacific Coast Jewels Giant trees and a park visitor in Sequoia National Park by Vitto Sommella - Unsplash The Sierra Nevadas are well-represented in the top 10 best parks for hiking. In 8th place overall, Sequoia National Park has an excellent 4.48 average trail rating and 1,624 trail miles total. Nearby Kings Canyon National Park comes in at #9 with 1,583 miles of trails and equally well-loved trails with an average 4.47 rating. Fourth place overall goes to Olympic National Park in Washington, with over 3,000 miles to traverse across 194 trails. Nearby Mount Rainier National Park took 12th place overall. Wild Rocky Mountain Frontiers A bull elk in Yellowstone by Harrison Hargrave - Unsplash Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming ranks as the third best for hiking. With 267 trails totaling over 3,500 miles, visitors will encounter incredible views and wildlife. However, with moose, wolves, and bears also making this park their home, hikers need to exercise extra caution and awareness when on the trail. Next door, Grand Teton National Park came in at #11, making it an easy place to visit on the same trip. In 6th place, Glacier National Park in Montana also isn’t too from away from Yellowstone. For the ultimate hiking trip, combine trails from Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Glacier. In 7th place sits Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado with 235 trails covering 1,970 miles of pristine mountain wilderness. It’s trails are some of the most-loved by visitors with an average rating of 4.5. Conveniently, this park isn’t too park from Denver International Airport, making it a little more accessible than Yellowstone and Glacier, which are only near smaller airports which often come with higher ticket prices and limited flight routes. Eastern Stand-outs Sunrise rolling over clouds in Shenandoah National Park by Taylor Wright - Unsplash The 5th best park for hiking is Shenandoah National Park, tucked along the Blue Ridge Mountains and rolling hills and valleys of western Virginia. While it isn’t too far from Washington, DC and is close to many college towns, it doesn’t make the top 10 list for most visitors in 2022, so the trails here are likely to be less crowded than many of the other parks on the list. It boasts the 4th highest number of trails and the 5th most trail miles of all parks. While Acadia National Park in Maine didn’t break into the Top 10 Best Park for Hikings (falling just shy in the #14 overall spot), it did rank as the 5th most visited park of 2022 and it also has the 5th highest number of trails. If you’re close to or local to the Northeastern US and New England, this is the park you’ll want to visit. Classic American Parks The Grand Canyon by Omer Nezih Gerek - Unsplash It makes sense that some of the most well known parks in America also top the list for hiking trails. At number nine overall, Grand Canyon National Park has 133 trails, 1,562 total miles of trails, and an average trail rating of 4.32. It was also the second most-visited park in 2022. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the highest number of trails, with 348, and took second place overall for best park for hiking. It also came in second for most miles of trails with 4,354. Overall, trails in this park average a 4.38 rating. Stretching across North Carolina and Tennessee, this park boasts the most number of visitors, and by a long shot; in 2022, it had over 12 million visitors (for comparison, the second busiest park was the Grand Canyon, at only 4.7 million). So if you're looking for seclusion, you may not quite find it here (but at least you know its a crowd pleaser!). The best of the best for hiking is Yosemite National Park; the park took the number 1 spot with 278 trails, 4,729 miles of trails (the most of any park), and a 4.56 average trail rating. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California (along with several other ranked parks), Yosemite is known for its iconic and striking Half Dome, tall waterfalls, and giant Sequoia trees. —For more details on the rankings, visit KURU Footwear.
With spring officially underway, landscapes across America have begun to burst into color with incredible blooms. Some of the most lovely scenery in the country becomes infinitely more magical as seasonal plants and flowers come to life. If you're looking to take advantage of this unique time of year, head to one of these locations below. With desert valleys, mountain meadows, prairie fields, and more, there's something for everyone, everywhere. Desert "Superblooms" in Death Valley - California Wildflower bloom in Death Valley National Park - courtesy of nps.gov Death Valley is famous for its spectacular, spring wildflower displays, but those are the exception, not the rule. Only under perfect conditions does the desert fill with a sea of gold, purple, pink or white flowers. These tend to average once a decade, with the most recent superbloom years being 2016, 2005, and 1998. Most of the showy desert wildflowers are annuals, also referred to as ephemerals because they are short-lived. Oddly enough, this limited lifespan ensures survival here. Rather than struggle to stay alive during the desert’s most extreme conditions, annual wildflowers lie dormant as seeds. When enough rain finally does fall, the seeds quickly sprout, grow, bloom and go back to seed again before the dryness and heat returns. By blooming enmasse during good years, wildflowers can attract large numbers of pollinators such as butterflies, moths, bees and hummingbirds that might not otherwise visit Death Valley. If you're not sure when to plan a trip, the National Park Service and several websites exist to track the Death Valley blooms each season. While there is not predicted to be a superbloom in Death Valley in 2023 due to a lack of fall and winter rains, visitors can still spot decent spring flora most years. Rarely is there a year totally absent of flora. However, elsewhere in California there may be superblooms to visit this year. California even has a tracking page for bloom predictions. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is expected to have small pockets of wildflower blooms throughout the park this year. Sand verbena, desert lily, dune evening primrose, and desert sunflowers are blooming with enthusiasm at Coyote Canyon/DiGiorgio Road, Henderson Canyon Road, and June Wash. Chino Hills State Park also has a great wildflower viewing experience along Bane Road and the Bane Ridge Trail with flora including canterbury and school bells, arroyo lupine, and California poppy. Ennis Bluebonnet Trails - Texas Ennis bluebonnets - courtesy of Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival Ennis, Texas was designated by the 1997 State Legislature as the home of the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail and was designated the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas. From April 1-30, Ennis showcases over 40 miles of mapped driving Bluebonnet Trails sponsored by the Ennis Garden Club. These trails are the oldest such trails known in the state, and tens of thousands of visitors make the short trek to Ennis to view this wonderful wildflower show. The Ennis Garden Club will drive the trails to check the bloom status each week starting in April. The Club then reports to the Ennis Welcome Center about the latest status of the bluebonnets so that visitors can be well informed where the best flowers are on the trails at the time of their visit. Each year, the bluebonnets will appear on different trails as these are natural to the area. In Ennis, the bluebonnets typically peak around the 3rd week of April. This can vary year to year due to weather conditions and terrain, so please check their website or call before visiting. The Ennis Welcome Center will be open 7 days a week in April (closed Easter Sunday). Downtown Ennis also hosts an annual Bluebonnet Festival in the middle of April. The event features kids activities, live music, arts and crafts vendors, food, and, of course, wildflower walks. Biltmore Blooms - North Carolina A bird's eye view of the gardens and conservatory at the Biltmore - courtesy of biltmore.com Spring at the historic Biltmore estate in North Carolina is one of the property's most glorious seasons. Experience a spring break mountain escape with all the charm of a European retreat. Immerse yourself in thousands of colorful tulips as Biltmore Blooms transforms our gardens and grounds. The estate's horticultural experts continually work to preserve Frederick Law Olmsted’s original vision for the gardens and grounds, including the Rose Garden that features more than 250 varieties. As a century-old model for forest conservation (and, more recently, for sustainability, thanks to nine acres of solar panels), Biltmore continues to honor George Vanderbilt’s legacy of environmental protection. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Washington The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington state was officially inaugurated in 1984 by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce. Chamber directors Jerry Diggerness and Joan Houchen saw that people were coming by the thousands to view the tulips and, through a retreat, decided to add events and festivities to enhance the visitors’ trip to the Skagit Valley. In 1994 the Tulip Festival broke off from the Chamber of Commerce and became an entity of its own, eventually opening a separate office and store. The festival is one of the destination events for the Pacific Northwest, held through the entire month of April, celebrating millions of tulips bursting into bloom. As with all things governed by Mother Nature, the tulips bloom according to their own schedule sometime during the festival. The tulips allow us to share our corner of the world and showcase Skagit Valley agriculture. Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - Colorado Crested Butte, Colorado - courtesy of Crested Butte Wildflower Festival A little later in the year, during July, the "Wildflower Capital of Colorado" hosts a Wildflower Festival. The event is an annual 10-day festival offering over 200 workshops in wildflower expertise each July, be it painting, pollination, photography, culinary arts, or leading hikes into the wild beyond in the heart of Crested Butte. The festival is held by a local organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the beauty of the montane and alpine wildflower environments in and around the Gunnison Valley. Holland's Tulip Time - Michigan Holland's only tulip farm is ablaze with acres of tulips from late April to mid-May. Veldheer farms began in 1950 when Vern Veldheer planted a couple hundred tulip bulbs as a hobby. Now, Veldheer's plants around 5 million tulip bulbs each year! In addition to tulips, there are several other imported flowers and perennials for you to enjoy and even purchase for your own garden. Several varieties of lilies bloom throughout the spring and summer, and you can enjoy the beautiful perennial gardens through mid-October. Veldheers is a must visit for garden and floral enthusiasts. Over 8 days in May, the town also hosts the Tulip Time festival. It features events and activities that take place in different locations, most within a 4-mile radius of Downtown Holland. Tulips can be seen for no charge in public parks and along downtown streets. However, for just a $15 ticket you can access an incredible, unique display of 65,000 tulips create by world renowned Dutch horticulturist, Ibo Gülsen. The outdoor exhibit allows visitors to be in the midst of the blooms at eye-level for an exciting display and photo-perfect experience. Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies - Tennessee & North Carolina Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, Great Smoky Mountains National Park - courtesy of Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage After a quick drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'll quickly see why it's dubbed "Wildflower National Park," in the spring and summer. For an expert-led tour, arrange your trek during the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage (SWFP) in April, which takes you the park's most beautiful displays with a naturalist. The SWFP is an annual nonprofit event features professionally-guided walks, exhibits, and other learning opportunities to explore the region's rich natural and cultural resources. Pilgrims from more than 40 states and several countries make the pilgrimage each year to learn more about fungi, ferns, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, medicinal plants, insects (terrestrial and aquatic), salamanders and snakes, birds, mammals (bats to bears), journaling, art and photography, and park history. Kauai's McBryde Garden - Hawaii Located on the South Shore of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, McBryde Garden is nestled in the picturesque and historic Lawa’i Valley. The garden is a veritable botanical ark of tropical flora and home to the largest ex situ collection of native Hawaiian flora in existence. Our extensive collections of palms, flowering trees, rubiaceae, heliconias, orchids, and many others have been wild-collected by botanists and biologists from throughout tropical regions around the world and transported to McBryde Garden to research, cultivate and thrive. Tours of McBryde Garden and the adjacent Allerton Garden are available by appointment only. Visitors are transported into the garden via a short, narrated shuttle ride along the stunning coastline of the South Shore. Be on the lookout for whales, dolphins and other marine life as you make your way into the garden over a historic railroad trestle road and into the magnificent valley. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve - California Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve - courtesy of timeout.com Each spring, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve comes alive with the seasonal surprises of the Mojave Desert Grassland habitat. The duration and intensity of colors and scents vary from year to year. The wildflower season generally lasts from as early as mid-February through May, with a variety of wildflowers creating a mosaic of color that changes daily.Eight miles of trails through the gentle rolling hills, including a paved section for wheelchair access, make the park a wonderful place to hike and explore any season. Get away from the city and relax in the quietude of the countryside, with the birds singing and hawks gliding silently overhead. Benches located along the trails make good places to sit quietly and watch for wildlife, such as meadow larks, lizards, and gopher snakes. If you're lucky, you may spot a coyote or bobcat. Numerous burrows around the trails may shelter mice, gophers, kangaroo rats, beetles, scorpions, or others. Delta Magnolias and Wetland Blooms - Mississippi Known for is dependability, resiliency and of course, beauty, Mississippi is aptly named the Magnolia State for sharing qualities with the flowering tree within its history and people, and these characteristics are especially present in the Delta region. Experiencing this beloved flower in the spring, whether it’s through Quapaw Canoe Company’s Mississippi River excursions or along the Blues Highway, is an ideal time to visit given its peak in bloom and Mississippi’s gorgeous climate during the spring months. As one of the most well-preserved wetlands in the United States, the coastal region of Mississippi is untouched oasis, offering a variety of aquatic plant life (and of course, beautiful Gulf views). The American Lotus, native to Mississippi and a symbol of enlightenment, blooms in the marshes along the coast, bringing new life each spring and a vibrant yellow-white color to the area. North Cascades National Park - Washington North Cascades wildflowers - courtesy of travel-experience-live.com Wildflowers can be found everywhere in the North Cascades in Washington state. They occur across the entire range of habitat types from wet hillside seeps and moist, shady forest floors to dry east-side slopes and exposed alpine ridges. The great differences in elevation, exposure, and precipitation that exist in the North Cascades promote a range of flowering times. Some plants are flowering by late February and early March in the low elevation forests, and as late as August and early September in the alpine zone. While most of the flowers are insect or wind pollinated, those blooming during the relatively warmer days of April and May, such as salmonberry, Indian plum, and red-flowering currant will be visited by hummingbirds returning to breed. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch - California For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of North San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The 55-acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California, are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, also is one of nature’s official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in Southern California.