We've just updated our popular America's
Best Adventures feature with 50 new trips, bringing our grand total to 100 iconic escapes (see the map, state-by-state list, and photo gallery, too). So no matter what your pleasure—hiking,
heli-skiing, surfing, climbing, biking, or paddling—we've got the perfect adventure
for you. Check in each day for a new, out-the-backdoor adventure highlighted here on our blog.
By Kate Siber; Photograph by Ethan Ladof, My Shot
The Gunks, or Shawangunk Mountains, are
the climbing equivalent of skiing Jackson Hole: They’re the ultimate
proving ground. The area, a long ridgeline only about a two-hour drive
north of New York City, is also living history. Climbers first ascended
the cliffs with leather boots and hemp ropes in the 1930s. Pros later
set up some of the country’s hardest routes in the 1980s and 90s, which
still can seem much harder than their grades. Today, every level of
climber can find a challenge. The Gunks’ 2,000-plus climbs range from
5.1 to 5.13 and are renowned for their high-quality holds and hard
quartz conglomerate rock, which makes placing protective gear unusually
safe and easy.
For newbies, Alpine Endeavors,
an American Mountain Guides Association-accredited guide service, runs
group clinics and offers private guiding services on single- to
four-pitch climbs characterized by roofs, overhangs, and ledges. The
adventure quotient rises quickly as climbers poke above the tree canopy
to find airy, knee-weakening, highly photogenic exposure. Up there,
incredible views of cliffs stretching in both directions and the
bucolic farm valleys far, far below can lend a lot of perspective.
Need to Know: Alpine Endeavors (www.alpineendeavors.com) offers full-day private guides from $130 per person, as well as group courses from $100 per person.
- Nat Geo Expeditions