Monday, November 28, 2016

5 Hikes Past Fascinating Rock Formations

Door Trail in Badlands National Park.
Trail of the Gargoyles
Stanislaus National Forest
An otherworldly array of rock formations await day hikers on the Trail of the Gargoyles in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. The national forest consists of more than 900,000 acres bordering Yosemite National Park’s north side. With 480 miles of marked hiking trails, the national forest makes a great alternative for those wishing to avoid Yosemite’s crowds.

Ledges Trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Families can traipse across 320 million-year-old formation, created when great coal swamps covered the earth, via the Ledges Trail at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Ledges Trail plus the stem to it runs 2.8-miles.

Door Trail
Badlands National Park
Hiking the Door Trail in Badlands National Park is like a two-for-one deal. The trail begins amid the prairie’s level and open grasslands. It ends in a bizarre menagerie of spires and domes encased by striped, twisting canyon walls. 

Watchman Trail
Zion National Park
Hikers can see several of Zion National Park’s exotic geological formations on the short Watchman Trail. The trail runs 2.8-miles round trip through Zion Canyon in the Utah park. Among the sights are The Watchman, the Towers of the Virgin, the Altar of Sacrifice, and the West Temple.

Skull Rock Trail
Joshua Tree National Park
Families can day hike with their children to Skull Rock – not the one in Neverland of “Peter Pan” fame but one bearing an uncanny resemblance – in the Mojave Desert. The Skull Rock Trail runs 1.75-miles round trip in Joshua Tree National Park. For those staying at the nearby Jumbo Rocks Campground, it’s a must-see. 

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks series.