What kind of life would it be like to have an awesome adventure every month of the year? An awesome one. That’s the answer. And if you want to start pursuing the American dream, the best time to start planning your expeditions is now. While the epicness of an adventure isn’t necessarily defined by the location, duration, or sport of choice, some places are always guaranteed to deliver on one hell of an experience. Check out this awesome itinerary for yourself and let us know if you have any epic adventures worth putting on the list.
January – Ice Climb Ouray
Ouray Ice Park, Uncompahgre River Gorge, Colorado
To exercise your winter rights in January, the Ouray Ice Park of southwestern Colorado tops out as some of the best ice climbing in the country. Man-made within the Uncompahgre Gorge of the San Juan Mountains, the Ouray Ice Park has hundreds of established ice-routes to ascend, and a thriving community of people who put it all together. January is a particularly fun time to explore Ouray Ice park, especially during the annual Ouray Ice Festival which brings in climbers from across the world.
February – Ski Six Utah Resorts (in a day)
The Ski Utah Interconnect Tour, Wasatch Range, Utah
While February opens a lot of adventures at all your favorite ski resorts, few expeditions involve hitting multiple resorts in a day. The Interconnect Tour from Ski Utah does. By mixing backcountry with chair lifts, this epic day tour connects six different resorts all down the Wasatch Range. This professionally guided adventure is only open to advanced and expert skiers. Bring your skills to the slopes and you can find yourself hitting deep powder in the backcountry and enjoying the groomed tracks at Deer Valley, Park City and Alta (just to name a few).
March – Snorkel in the Florida Keys
Biscayne National Park, Florida
There are many ways to begin your winter thaw. One recommended course of action is diving into the Florida Keys via Biscayne National Park. Found off the coast of Miami, Biscayne is comprised of the northernmost Florida Keys. It’s defining features are the azure ocean waters and abundance of coral reef. Popular activities at Biscayne include snorkeling, kayaking and camping at either one of the two campgrounds (which can only be accessed by boat).
April – Bikepack the Trans-WNC (Western North Carolina)
Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina
Rotate your crank this April and find yourself a great bikepacking expedition. Combining the multi-night utility of backpacking and the big-amount-of-miles-in-a-day capabilities of a mountain bike, backpacking exposes a lot of wilderness in a relatively short amount of time. Take the Trans-WNC (Western North Carolina) for example, which combines single-track, dirt roads and minimal pavement to cover 300 miles of prime North Carolina Appalachian territory in a possible five-day excursion.
May – Waterfall Exploring in the Columbia River Gorge
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon/Washington
Sitting at sea-level and separating the Cascade-laden states of Washington and Oregon, the 80-mile long Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area receives a constant inflow of waterfalls throughout the year. Visitors have hundreds of waterfalls to choose from when visiting the gorge including the double-decker Multnomah Falls which drop over 600 feet combined. Many of the waterfalls in the gorge, like Multnomah, flow year-round, but April always brings a surge. Be sure to check trail conditions before going as large parts of the Columbia River Gorge were affected by the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire.
June – Camp on an Island
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
Featuring 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland coast, the Apostle Islands extend into Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin to reveal a tidal-swept world. There are many popular ways to explore the Apostle Islands throughout the summer. One of the most adventurous includes kayaking the open water to find an island campsite. Overnight explorers can choose between developed campsites and more primitive, secluded options as well. Other avenues for enjoyment while visiting the islands include fishing, scuba diving, and hiking the island terrain.
July – Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road
Glacier National Park, Montana
Given the appropriate enormous landscapes that bend over the horizon, the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is aptly named. With roadside stops, multiple trailheads, and 50 miles of a sweeping alpine environment, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is snow-free for about a quarter of the year. July is a prime time to check it out. Stop and nab some other bucket-list adventures in Glacier while you’re at it. Make sure to utilizing the many ways to get around so you can take your eyes off the road.
August – Backpack the Teton Crest Trail
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
August is the month to head to the high country. Across the American West, high-alpine backpacking routes open from their snowy surroundings and invite hikers to explore. A crown jewel of those high-country routes, the Teton Crest Trail traverses the Teton backcountry and exposes glacier-fed lakes, colorful canyons, and amazing wildlife. The National Park reserves two-thirds of backcountry permits for walk-up availability the day of or one day before your trip.
September – White-Water Raft the Upper Gauley River
Gauley River National Recreation Area, West Virginia
Considered by many to be the best white-water action in the country, the Upper Gauley River is released from the Summersville Dam for six consecutive weekends after Labor Day each year. Following the dam release, world-class (and class V+) rapids drop 668 feet through 25 miles of rugged terrain. Ride the rapids on your own if you have the experience or utilize the many different guide companies that line the river. American Whitewater also hosts their annual Gauley Fest which helps celebrate and lend access to these wild rivers.
October – Embark on the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge
Adirondack Mountains, New York
The Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge entails summiting a total of 23 Adirondack and Catskill fire tower peaks. Peaking the summit is all that matters for this challenge as some of the fire tower structures are closed to the public. Though it would be a serious crunch to complete the entire challenge in the cold mornings and early evenings of October, it’s a good time of the year to at least knock out a few thanks to the crisp colors that define the landscape.
November – Explore Underground
Mammoth Caves National Park, Kentucky
Anytime of the year is a great time to explore the underground labyrinths of Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. There is a lot to see with nearly 400 miles of the cave mapped out. Thanks to its subterranean status, the inside of Mammoth Cave hovers around 54° throughout the year. The only way to experience the underground is on a guided tour led by a park ranger of which there are many to choose from throughout the day.
December- Go Hut-to-Hut
10th Mountain Division Huts, Colorado
There is no better way to spend your December than in the comfortable confines of the 10th Mountain Division Huts in Colorado. Surrounded by picturesque Rocky Mountain horizons, the 34 different backcountry huts operated by the 10th Mountain Division welcome year-round recreation. Come winter, it’s a true paradise of snow with over 350 miles of suggested cross-country ski and snowshoe routes to explore. The only way to ensure an overnight stay in the winter season is through lottery forms, which are due by February 15th.