Nothing says summer like enjoying authentic experiences in the great outdoors. Over the next few months, we've teamed up with ABC's Good Morning America to deliver our favorite activities and destinations to help ensure you have a spectacular season in the sun. Here's the first of our top ten lists.
The Top Ten Outdoor Adventures
1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
While floating on the Colorado River, learn about geology and enjoy some of the best white water rafting in the country. Read our top itineraries >>
What to Do: George Wendt, the founder of O.A.R.S (www.oars.com), has been running rafting trips down the Colorado River since 1969.
Where to Stay: The Bright Angel Lodge on the South
Rim has rooms for $50 and detached cabins for $109. Go to www.xanterra.com. On the North Rim, Grand Canyon Lodge (www.grandcanyonnorthrim.com) has upscale rooms for $96.
For park information, camp reservations, and backcountry permits, which cost $10, plus $5 a night per person, visit www.nps.gov/grca.
2. Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is the oldest walking trail in America. It traces the East Coast for 2,160 miles (3,476 kilometers) from north to south. The trail, which would take five months to hike in its entirety, includes the Great Smoky Mountains and the Presidential Range.
Information and permits for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, go to www.nps.gov/grsm.
Information about the trail is available from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Go to www.appalachiantrail.org.
3. El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California
El Capitan, or "El Cap," is a 3,000-foot (914-meter) vertical rock formation located in Yosemite National Park.
Where to Stay: Consider the Ahwahnee Hotel (www.webportal.com/ahwahnee), or you can camp right on park grounds.
For permits, travel and park information, visit the Yosemite National Park Web site, www.nps.gov/yose.
Plan a rock climbing excursion with Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides (www.symg.com).
4. Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska
Getting to Juneau: There are no roads into Juneau, so you'll need to take a ferry or plane.
Flights: Alaska Air (www.alaskaair.com) offers flights from most major cities to Juneau International Airport.
Ferry: Book your ride at the Alaska Marine Highway. Go to www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.html.
Take a guided hike offered by the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. The center also offers programs and maintains trails in the area around the glacier. Go to www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/districts/mendenhall.
5. North Woods, Ossipee River, Maine
Guided Canoeing Trips: Ossipee River Canoe: The seven-mile (11-kilometer) paddle costs $125 per person. Children 12 and under get a 25 percent discount.
6. Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota
Find links to travel information, paddling outfitters and guidelines, and park information and permits for exploring and camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (www.bwcaw.org).
Where to Stay: Ludlow's Island Resort (www.ludlowsresort.com) gives its guests their own canoes and kayaks. It costs $2,400 a week for a four-person cabin.
7. Wind River Range, Wyoming
Horseback is the preferred mode of transportation in the Wind River Range. Book your guided horseback trip at John Henry Lee Outfitters, Inc. Visit www.johnhenrylee.com. Or consider Gilroy Outfitters. Call +1 307 733 4314.
Where to Stay: Brooks Lake Lodge (www.brookslake.com) starts at $275 a night per person.
8. Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park
Plan your trip using the Zion Canyon Visitor Center (www.nps.gov/zion).
Where to Stay: Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort's cabin suites go for $125 a night. Go to www.zionponderosa.com.
Guides and Gear: The Zion Adventure Company (www.zionadventures.com) can take care of beginners and more experienced visitors.
Zion's Other Narrows: Visit the more isolated Lower Telephone Canyon (www.nps.gov/zion).
9.Tree Climbing in Atlanta, Georgia
For information on tree climbing classes visit Tree Climbers International (www.treeclimbing.com/classes.html).
Where to Eat: Try the world's largest drive-through, the Varsity Downtown (www.thevarsity.com), located right across from the Georgia Tech campus.
Canoe along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Visit www.canoeatl.com.
10. Hiking Tahoe Rim Trail, Tahoe National Forest, California
This year, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the long distance trail for which it was named. Find out about the guided hikes and training sessions that are being offered at www.tahoerimtrail.org.
Take a two-to-four-day backpacking trip along the Tahoe Rim from Echo Lake to Barker Pass. The trip takes you through the heart of Desolation Wilderness. Camping is permitted in the Tahoe National Forest. Maps, permits, and info for Tahoe National Forest, California can be found at www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe.
Next: Top Ten Trips With a Splash: Airing on Good Morning America on Thursday, June 29.
Pick up the June/July 2006 issue for 50 top adventures in the national parks; how to move to Montana; the best ten-day Brazil vacation; 11 instant weekend escapes; and new watches, cameras, and sunglasses for summer.
Subscribe to Adventure today!
More Great Summer Trip Ideas:
National Parks: The Best of the Great Parks
Two countries. Thirty national parks. Fifty adventures of a lifetime. Between the United States and Canada, it's time to gear up for a summer like no other.
Next Weekend: Summer Strategy
Track mountain lions, paddle deserted islands, and get back home in time for Sunday supper.
Festival Nation: The Adventurous Summer
'Tis the season for microbrew celebrations, barbecue blowouts, and outdoor jams. Get to these adventure outposts when they're at their liveliest.