National Public Lands Day

Posted on 19/09/2016

The 23rd annual National Public Lands Day will take place on September 24th, 2016. Across the USA, thousands of public land sites and many state parks will be a fee-free day. There are many activities on for people of all ages, as well as volunteering opportunities. Through NPLD, the National Environmental Education Foundation connects people to their local public lands, encouraging people to give back to their community by maintaining trails and many other different opportunities.

Whether you’ll need a relaxing walk after your volunteering activities, or if you want to enjoy your natural surroundings on the fee-free day, we’ve picked out some of the best hiking routes in some of the participating parks for all to enjoy.

Be sure to check here for events near you.


NPLD Yosemite

1. Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Park, California (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Hard
Length: 11.12 miles
By John Sims

The hike is a 14-mile round trip, with lots of ups and downs. The final yards will test your fear of heights, but reward you with beautiful views.

Best for: View lovers
Download this route here 


2. Barr Lake, Colorado ($)Barr Lake

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 22.51 miles
By Menasha Ridge Press

The Lake Perimeter Trail at Barr Lake offers a rare opportunity to explore a major prairie reservoir in Colorado. The lake is lined with cottonwoods, marshes, and aquatic plants. Its southern half has been designated as a wildlife refuge to shelter animals and birds, including the 350 species of birds that have been spotted here.

Best for: Bird spotting
Download this route here


NPLD Pisgah National Park3. Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina (FREE)

Type: Hiking          
Difficulty: Medium              
Length: 6.01 miles
By Jeffrey Johnson

Trail hike beginning at Black Mountain Campground to the top of Mt. Mitchell in the NC Blue Ridge Mountains. Along the route are a couple of reasonable flat areas where camping is possible, including Commissary Hill, with plenty of streams.

Best for: Back to nature
Download this route here


NPLD Mount Rainier4. Mount Rainier, Washington (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Very hard
Length: 3.86 miles
By Leif Vieweg

This is a challenging adventure, gaining about 5,000 vertical feet in roughly 4 miles, giving the very best that Washington's Mt Rainier has to offer. After an easy first few miles, physical fitness and some "at altitude" training are required for the remaining hike.

Best for: A challenge
Download this route here 


NPLD Valley Forge National Park5. Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania ($)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Hard
Length: 8.72 miles
By Menasha Ridge Press

This hike is a step back in time to a preserved historic encampment that trained men who would ultimately help win independence for the American colonies. Follow their journey with this detailed, story-laced route.

Best for: Historical hikers
Download this route here

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