How to Find Grizzly Bears in Grand Teton and Yellowstone

Grizzly Bears Along Oxbow Bend

Important:┬áIt’s vital to remember that these are wild animals, and that your safety is not guaranteed, even with a ranger present. Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will react on instinct every time, and if you do not respect their space, you will find out exactly what that means first hand. Before venturing into areas like this, please show both …

String Lake Loop

Fog on String Lake

Distance: 3.7 miles (loop) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall The String Lake Loop is an easy but rewarding four miles that brings visitors to beautiful views of the lake and beyond, as well as intimate forests at the mouth of Paintbrush Canyon. Sweeping views of the lake and peaceful aspen groves await those willing to get …

Mormon to Geronimo Trail Loop

Geronimo Trail

Distance: 6 miles (loop) Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 February From the urban confines of Phoenix, the South Mountains don’t look terribly impressive, nor even very inviting. A hike into the mountains, however, reveals a fascinating desert environment with surprising seclusion from the constant roar of city noise. As the country’s largest urban …

Two Bit Peak

Scottsdale from Phoenix Mountains

Distance: 1.5 miles (one way) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 March Two Bit Peak, formerly known as Peak 2429, is a rugged and adventurous scramble up to outstanding views of the northern Phoenix area. Views stretch out in all directions, rivaled only by nearby Piestawa Peak and Camelback Mountain. The best part is, …

Day 38: Mormon Lake to Upper Lake Mary

Elk Below San Francisco Peaks

I heard it as I was falling asleep last night in the Mormon Lake Campground. Hundreds of tiny little collisions on my rain fly as if someone were constantly throwing a bunch of feathers at my tent. It was snowing, and I could feel a bit of it sneaking into my tent and hitting my face. Of course that’s why …

Day 37: Somewhere on the Rim to Mormon Lake

Tree Stumps in Pond

After such an uneventful day yesterday (which is still an awesome day on the AZT), today brought a little action back onto the trail, also partly because I still can’t seem to bring enough food on the trail. There was a much chillier wind this morning that persisted throughout the day, much of which was spent in what is the …

Day 29: Thicket Spring to Chilson Camp

Horseshoe Lake in Desert Valley

When I first moved to Phoenix late in 2004, I was still very new to photography. I was also very new to the southwest. I was eager to explore the area, but in seeing everything with completely fresh eyes, I wasn’t making much progress beyond the city limits. That was when I connected with another photography enthusiast who offered to …

Day 27: Northern Four Peaks to Sunflower

Sunset in Arizona Mountains

Funny how an easy day turns into a 20 mile day. I was looking forward to relaxing in the afternoon and doing some laundry, but I didn’t have quite as much time as I was hoping thanks to an error in my assumptions about the trail. I was up and on the trail by 7am, a bit earlier than in …

Day 12: Redington Road to Sycamore Creek

Sycamore Canyon

Near this time last year, I was driving down from Summerhaven on the Santa Catalina Highway having just picked up the mail drop I sent there for my thru-hike, only to have abandoned it a couple of hours earlier. Near the base of the highway, heading out of the mountains in the Molino Basin, I saw two other thru-hikers carrying …

Mud Volcano

Bison Sleeping at Mud Volcano

Distance: .8 miles (loop) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2015 September The Mud Volcano area is a fantastic collection of mudpots, rich with odd pools and Yellowstone’s signature sulphur smells. To get the most elevation change out of the way first, head to the south end of the parking area to start the trail there. Along …

Beaver Ponds Loop

Beaver Ponds and Mountains

Distance: 5.75 miles (loop) Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2015 September The Beaver Ponds Loop is an excellent hike to get you away from the crowds at Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as provide you with fantastic views over the surrounding landscape. With plenty of open space, it’s also a great opportunity to potentially …

Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

Ribbon Lake Trail

General Rules and Understandings for Hiking in Yellowstone National Park Hiking in Yellowstone National Park can be extremely rewarding for a number of reasons. Most obvious to many people is the quick access away from the crowds. Another is having the opportunity to hike in a pristine wilderness that hasn’t been altered by human hands, and has remained so for …

Hiking the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve

Phelps Lake Reflection

Distance: 1.5 miles (one way) or many more if desired Difficulty: Easy-Moderate Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2016 December In 2001, Laurance S. Rockefeller donated his family’s getaway ranch to Grand Teton National Park, ultimately becoming the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (LSR). Upon its completion, the public now had more access to brand new trails and Phelps Lake, …

AZT – Gardner Canyon to Santa Rita Foothills

Day 9 I woke up surprisingly not too chilly. Apparently the forest of oak trees that lined the creek that we were near had helped shelter us from some condensation, since for the first morning my tent was completely dry. Bill Murray and Sheriff Woody were off early to make a much better pace than we were. While Twix, Salsa, …

Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop

Alpine Terrain in the Tetons

Distance: 20 miles (loop) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2016 August The Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop remains one of my all-time favorite Teton Mountain hikes. The loop brings you through extraordinary landscapes and diverse terrain throughout the 20-mile journey. It wanders past four dramatic glacial lakes and exceeds elevations of 10,700 feet above sea level. It …