Read Caption
Climber Nalle Hukkataival scales the Taipan Wall in Victoria, Australia; Photograph by Keith Ladzinski

Ultimate Adventure Bucket List: Top Athletes’ Dream Trips

Earlier this year, we asked 20 of the world’s best athletes and explorers to advise us on the top adventure trips within their sports for our Ultimate Adventure Bucket List. Each gave us two recommendations—one “dream trip” they hoped to do someday and one “must-do trip,” a true classic, that the rest of us should consider. The resulting collection of 40 world-class escapes makes for a Bucket List like no other.

Then we wondered what these athletes dream of doing when they are not pushing the boundaries of their sports? Of course, they want to mix it up during their downtime, like the rest of us. Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler would go to a yoga ashram in India. Ski mountaineer Chris Davenport would like to sail around the world with his family. Hiker/explorer Andrew Skurka playfully suggests making a lunar trek. Just to name a few.

See the full list below.

Alex Honnold, Rock Climber
“When I’m old, I fantasize about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and stuff like that or the Continental Divide Trail. I think it would be super cool to do those long backpacking walks and stuff but it’s just too boring right now, you know?”

Andrew Skurka, Hiker/Explorer
“The one I always laugh about that I think would just be the ultimate would be a thru-hike of the moon. I’m waiting to get the call from Richard Branson on this one, because he’s got the resources and the sort of adventurous qualities. There are obviously a lot of obstacles to figure it out, but he’s probably in a better position than NASA to figure it out… The circumference of the moon is 6,800 miles so it’s about the distance of my Great Western Loop hike, which isn’t that bad! And the gravity is only like one fifth, so I could bound all across the moon. I don’t think there’s any oxygen on the moon, but whatever, small process to figure it out. The idea is the important thing.”

Ben Stookesberry, Kayaker/Filmmaker
“I’d like to do some hiking circuits through Yosemite National Park—on the roads and in the visitors’ centers, these maintained little points, it’s so crowded. But it seems like you take one step off the beaten path and you enter this fantasy land of rock and snow and waterfalls and massive trees—really scraggly trees that are the oldest on earth, the bristlecone pine. For example, we once just hiked out of Tuolomne, and we didn’t see anyone all day. It’s an opportunity that’s so accessible and the wilderness permit there is free. We ran into a family doing a two-week journey up into the Immigrant Wilderness. It’s so vast, and I think anyone who has been to the valley knows how beautiful it is, but you don’t get a sense of what John Muir saw in this place until you get into the wilderness.”

Candice Appleby, Stand-Up Paddleboarder
“I love everything about everything in the ocean (if that makes sense). This is why the “All Boards Trip” is my dream. Indonesia would be incredible. On a boat or even bungalow with a few my best friends and every type of surfing craft in tow: SUP, longboard, shortboard, surfing canoe, etc. Australia would also be awesome. I have been to Australia before, but only the Gold Coast. The dream trip would be exploring the all the coastline of Australia. A caravan might be the way to go. From the Sunshine Coast, to the Gold Coast, and every spot down to Sydney, then start heading up the Western side of Australia to surf some of the bigger waves that the country has to offer. Being that I have lots of Aussie friends, it would be great to have a new host friend on each leg, or coastline, of the trip. Somewhere in between there would have to be an exploration into the Outback to check out Uluru, and if there is water, we will paddle.”

Chris Davenport, Ski Mountaineer
“I would love to sail around the world with my family someday. I would spend a year with my wife and three kids aboard a sailboat circumnavigating the Earth, schooling our kids, and exploring as many remote and exotic locations as we could. I think it would be the most amazing educational experience that a kid could ever have.”

Ed Viesturs, Alpinist
“My wife and I are planning to take the kids trekking in Nepal in the next year or two. Paula has been to Nepal a couple of times, and we would both love our children to see this amazing country and visit with some of the friends we’ve made there. Our plan is to do part of the Annapurna Circuit or perhaps go to Mustang. Our youngest child is two-years-old now, so in a year or two she’ll be a bit more ready to do some of the walking. I’m also planning to carry her for part of the way in a backpack.”

Enric Sala, Ocean Ecologist
“I’d love to ski the Haute Route on the Swiss Alps—a week of fun climbing and skiing. But being an aquatic animal, I’ll need to train for that one!”

Freya Hoffmeister, Kayaker
“Going to Antarctica would be nice. There are lots of tourists going every year, so maybe it’s not so exciting. But it depends on your means. I would like to paddle the coast. I haven’t paddled with icebergs yet, maybe it’s quite time.”

Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarder
“Trips that teach and help me grow and gain new perspectives are right up my alley, so a retreat to an Ashram in India for a month is on my list of things to do!”

Jennifer Pharr Davis, Hiker
“My husband and I, recently, we’ve been looking at some shorter hikes up in Iceland that maybe include some mountaineering. We’re looking at one in particular that’s called Landmannalaugar. I feel like Iceland, it’s very remote, and it would be very different for us to go visit. There’s glaciers and hot springs. That’s at the top of our list. Funny, I don’t do well in cold weather. We don’t have aspirations to do too much mountaineering. We both really love hiking and seeing new places. Walking really gives you a feel for the land and the people.”

Jill Kintner, Mountain Biker
“I’d like to see Revelstoke. A couple of my friends are guides up there and come back with epic tales. Anywhere in BC makes me happy really, spent a bit of time there in the fall, but not enough.”

Kenny Broad, Cave Diver/Explorer
“Surf and Cave expedition to Palawan and New Guinea on my personal helicopter.”

Kristin Armstrong, Road Cyclist
“I would love to go to New Zealand and explore via foot and mountain bike.”

Layne Beachley, Surfer
“Outside of the water, I would like to spend time building my confidence on a snowboard and go on a heli-boarding trip in New Zealand. Fresh unridden powder trails all day long! Followed by drinks at the bar by an open fire all night. Heaven!”

Lynsey Dyer, Skier
“For me it would be combining what I love athletically with giving back to the culture or feeling like you’re making an impact environmentally, like the ultimate surf trip to destination surf breaks while either building awareness for water or being able to spend enough time in cultures so you get to be part of the community. It takes at least a month to really feel grounded and feel like you understand a place and a culture and the community, instead of just a passerby. Probably Panama or a one of those eastern places where spirituality is mixed with the culture, so Indonesia and Bali.”

Sarah McNair-Landry, Arctic Explorer
“I’d love to do a circumnavigation of the globe using kites, skis, and sailing. That one’s way off in the future. You’d need a sailboat crew and a ski crew. The sailing crew could drop the skiers off and then you could ski up to the pole, do a crossing of the Arctic Ocean, then get picked up on the other side.”

Steph Davis, Rock Climber
“I would love to go to Tibet and visit some monasteries.”

Ueli Steck, Speed Climber
“I would like to go to space. That would be so cool. I’d like to fly up there and have a good view of earth. But I mean that’s like pheeew.” [Noise was like expression that that’s pie in the sky…]

Will Gadd, Ice Climber/Paraglider
“I’d really like to fly my paraglider the length of the Rift Valley in Africa. I’ve been working on this trip for years, but it’s challenging to pull all the pieces together, to put it mildly. One day soon!”

Will Steger, Arctic Explorer
“I’d like to explore the Australian desert, just driving. I’d like to see that desert. I’d like to hike in the four corners area—Arizona, New Mexico. I’d like to explore those areas. Those are some of my favorite spots. I don’t get down there enough, but I really like that area… Hiking in the desert is probably what I would do. The wilderness, it’s easy to walk through. The desert is comfortable, it’s easy to walk through and cover great distances. I’m more comfortable being in the open like that.”