There has been a rise in demand for trying out adventure sports in recent years. Normal getaways are turning into adventure vacations, and we could not have been happier! People are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to make memories of a different kind.

Trekking is one such adventure sport. The youth, especially, has started coming in groups of friends and family to experience life in the mountains and feel its thrill. Two of India‘s most popular trekking terrains include Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The Himalayas have changing topography. It enables adventure lovers to trek from lush green meadows to snow-capped summits. The beautiful landscape of the terrain and its distinct rich culture and wildlife attracts trekkers worldwide. The climate, too, experiences massive changes in temperature throughout the year.

Himachal Pradesh is no less than a trekker’s paradise. You can choose from various treks, depending on your fitness level, trekking experience, and time at hand. Some of the treks in Himachal Pradesh include Hampta Pass Trek, Bhrigu Lake Trek, Pin Bhaba Pass Trek, and Rupin pass trek.

Uttarakhand, also known as ‘Devbhoomi,’ is equally enticing for a wandering soul. Located in the northern part of India, Uttarakhand ranges from Garhwal Himalayas to Kumaon. This vast expanse of land ensures breathtaking views, rich biodiversity, and challenging terrains.

Just like in the case of treks in Himachal Pradesh, this region also allows you to choose from various treks. Some of the treks in Uttarakhand include Valley of Flowers National Park Trek, Har Ki Dun Valley Trek, Kedarkantha Summit trek, and Kuari Pass trek.

Four best treks in Uttarakhand

1. Valley of Flowers National Park Trek

Duration- 6 days

Explore the Valley of Flowers - one of the Best Treks in Uttarakhand

Explore the Valley of Flowers – one of the best treks in Uttarakhand

Located at an altitude of 14,100 ft, the Valley of Flowers is one of the best Himalayan treks. In 1982, the valley got declared a National Park due to its rich biodiversity. The meadow lies nestled between the rugged Himalayas and Zanskar ranges, and true to its name, is a paradise for nature lovers.

Unlike other treks in Uttarakhand, you can enjoy this 38 km trek best in the monsoon months of July and August. The rain brings in fresh blooms and increases the beauty of the verdant meadows, allowing the trekker to bask in nature’s goodness.

Major attractions include Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Hemkund Lake, Shri Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, Joshimath, Govindghat, and Ghangria village. The difficulty level of this terrain is easy to moderate with very few steeps and lows, making it ideal for beginners with decent stamina and physical fitness. Avid trekkers also enjoy this trek in Uttarakhand.

2. Har Ki Dun Valley Trek

Duration- 7 days

Experience the dynamic landscape of the Garhwal Himalayas on the Har Ki Dun Valley Trek

Experience the dynamic landscape of the Garhwal Himalayas on the Har Ki Dun Valley Trek

Trekking in the Himalayas is always an experience to remember, cherish and savor. The Har ki Dun Valley Trek or the hanging valley is no exception. Many adrenaline enthusiasts get attracted to this 47 km long trek for its cultural history and diverse topography.

The Garhwal Himalayas offer a dynamic landscape compromising pristine rivers, rugged terrains, alpine meadows, quaint hamlets, and dense forests. The valley stands at an elevation of 11,700ft, and the journey leading to it is of spiritual importance.

Highlights of the trek include glaciers like Jaundhar and Swargarohini, Bandarpooch, Borasu Pass, Morinda Lake, Kalanag, and close interaction with locals residing in the villages of Sankri, Osla, Saud, Seema, and Taluka.

The trek is accessible all year round, but the best time to visit is April to November, especially in summers and post-monsoons. It is a moderate to difficult trek, and you will need to work on your fitness at least a few months before the trek. You will have to cover long stretches each day.

3. Kedarkantha Summit trek

Duration- 6 days

Take in panoramic Himlayan views on the Kedarkantha Summit trek

Take in panoramic Himlayan views on the Kedarkantha Summit trek

Located at an elevation of 12,500 ft., Kedarkantha Summit Trek is one of the best Himalayan treks. It exposes you to the lesser-known parts of Uttarakhand, beautiful campsites, tiny hamlets, and the rich lifestyle of the people dwelling in them.

This 20 km stretch is within the territory of Govind Pashu Vihar National Park, and so you will be able to spot quite a bit of Himalayan wildlife here. It is a moderate to difficult trek. The region receives generous snowfall from November to March, making it an absolute favorite among snow lovers.

However, one can trek this region at all seasons. One of the most striking factors of this trek is the panoramic view of the mountain peaks from the summit—Kalanag, Dhauladhar, Swargarohini, Gangotri, Bandarpooch, and Yamunotri, to name a few. The village of Sankri and the Juda ka Talab campsite also deserve mention.

4. Kuari Pass trek: Lord Curzon’s Trail

Duration- 6 days

The Kuari Pass trek also known as Lord Curzon's Trail

The Kuari Pass trek also known as Lord Curzon’s Trail

Located at an altitude of 12516 ft, the Kuari Pass Trek is among the best treks in Uttarakhand. Named after its discoverer Lord Curzon, this trail is perfect for beginners and seasoned trekkers. This 22 km short trail introduces you to the essence of trekking and the wonderful gifts of nature.

It is suitable for beginners, too, as the grade of difficulty ranges from easy to moderate. The trail moves from vast thick forests of rhododendrons and oaks to lush meadows and beautiful campsites. Both the campsites, Khulla and Chitrakantha, have jaw-dropping backdrops.

Dronagiri, Nandagiri, Neelkanth, Changbang, Mukut Parbat will take turns to greet you on your journey. Other trek highlights include Auli, Gurson Bugyal, Dhak village, Gulling Top, Tali Forest Base camp, etc. October to December and February to April are ideal times to visit this rugged terrain.

Four best treks in Himachal Pradesh

1. Hampta Pass Trek

Duration- 5 days

Hampta Pass is one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh and is also suitable for beginners

Hampta Pass is one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh and is also suitable for beginners

Located at the height of 14,010 ft. on the Pir Panjal range, Hampta Pass Trek is one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh. This 28 km crossover trek takes you through the various shades of nature and explores the unknown.

The journey starts from the lush Kullu valley, and then moves further towards Lahaul and deserted Spiti to reach the Rohtang Pass. Hampta Pass falls in the middle of this route but leaves trekkers awe of its alluring scenery and dynamic trail.

Forests, water streams, meadows, vast expanses of pure land, wildflowers, and rugged mountains; you name it, and the Hampta Pass trek has it. Other takeaways of this trek include Chandratal Lake, Sethan village, Hampta village, and wonderful campsites at Chika, Balu ka Ghera, Shea Goru, and Chatru.

You can go on this trek in Himalayan trek anytime between Mid-June to Mid-October. The difficulty level is easy to moderate. Beginners, as well as experienced trekkers, can enjoy it.

2. Bhrigu Lake Trek

Duration- 3 days

The Bhrigu Lake trek is regarded as one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh for beginners

The Bhrigu Lake trek is regarded as one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh for beginners

The Bhrigu Lake falls under the easy treks in Himachal, despite being a high-altitude lake standing at 14,010 ft. It is also regarded as one of the best lake treks in Himachal Pradesh, as it offers a splendid view of Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges and peaks like Seven Sisters and Hanuman Tibba.

This 25 km trek comprises alpine meadows, thick forests, quaint hamlets, and staying nights at cozy campsites. If you visit Vashisth, you can also take a dip in its hot water spring. You cannot do this trek in the winter due to harsh weather. Stick to May to October, but try and avoid the monsoon as heavy landslides occur. It is an overall easy trek.

3. Pin Bhaba Pass Trek

Duration- 7 days

The Pin Bhaba Pass Trek - one of the best crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh

The Pin Bhaba Pass Trek – one of the best crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh

Located at an altitude of 16,100 ft, the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek is one of the most loved crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh. It connects the picturesque Bhaba valley with the deserted Pin valley.

The landscape in this trek changes every moment, but the Bhaba River flows throughout. It is a difficult trek as it requires trekkers to push their extremes while crossing river bridges and trek through screes, glaciers, and moraines.

Kafnu, Mulling, Kara, Pushtirang, and Mangrungse are some of the wonderful campsites that this trek offers, along with the stunning views of Hansbeshan Peak, Tari Khango, Pin Bhaba Pass, and Nimish Khango.

You witness a striking contrast of green and brown on this 112 km Himalayan trek that makes it an unforgettable experience. June to September is the best time to go on this Himalayan trek, as monsoons make this trail look like Switzerland.

4. Rupin pass trek

Duration- 8 days

The Rupin Pass Trek - a challenging Himalayan trek with mesmerizing views

The Rupin Pass Trek – a challenging Himalayan trek with mesmerizing views

The Rupin Pass has a surprising element in every nook and corner, a favorite among the crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh. The journey takes you from Dhaula in Uttarakhand to Sangla in Himachal, exposing two distinct cultures.

The variation in the landscape and the challenges that come with it make this 52 km trek difficult. Some of the highlights of this trek include the untamed Rupin River, Haldi Khad, Poku Devta Temple, and beautiful campsites like Suruwas Thatch and Upper Waterfall.

The summit also offers mesmerizing views of Charang Ghati and Kinnaur Kailash. The trek is open all year round but is ideal for visiting during summers (Mid-May to June) and post-monsoons (September to October).

Conclusion

This article covers India’s two most stunning trekking destinations – Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Whether you are a beginner, a seasoned trekker, or an expert, you can choose from our list of best Himalayan treks. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the mountains.

There are a ton of things to see among the best backpacking trails in the USA if you want something more than just hiking and camping. Let’s get down to it!

Northern California

Backpacking the Lost Coast Trails in Northern Calfornia

Backpacking the Lost Coast Trails in Northern Calfornia

There are millions of people who flock towards the pretty and breathtaking views of the Golden Coast every year when it gets chilly in other parts of the country. Most of these hotspots are South of the Bay Area.

Once you start heading up North, to the place where the Pacific Coast Highway breaks off from the coastline, you’ll start entering the Lost Coast Trails. This is right along with the state’s King Range National Conservation Area.

It can be considered some of the rockiest beach terrain around this area. This trip will be quite short, but it is quite a challenge for beginner backpackers.

You will need an overnight permit in order to go to this trail from the Bureau of Land Management. This will be available on Recreation.gov.

Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is definitely a place that you would not think about when it comes to backpacking. The city is known for its nightlife and amazing casinos.

But did you know how much there is to do out there? If you want to get a bit adventurous, you could get las vegas atv tours and go through the desert on your own.

Apart from this, you can find some of the greatest backpacking trails in the USA near Las Vegas, one of them being the amazing rock formations at Red Rock Canyon.

You could surely drive down this 13-mile stretch but can also choose to soak in the experience fully on foot. You can hop onto the Greenlee trail that is approximately 3 miles long.

It has a ton of open space and is a generally moderate trail. Winter hikes are best here due to the road being open and on top of the Mesa, giving you a lot of sunshine.

They are exactly parallel to the canyons, giving you a breathtaking view while you hike up the trail. You can also look at Gardens of God for the most part of it.

If you love cloud-watching, be sure to take a blanket with you to lie down, and do not forget sunscreen if you do not want to come back burned.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Backpacking in Olympic National Park in Washington

Backpacking in Olympic National Park in Washington

This is positioned beautifully along most of the coastal region of Washington’s Olympic National Park. it is a long 20-mile trail that is perfect for people looking for an adventure.

It is quite ideal for people who have not backpacked before and offers scenic views of the seaside along the entire way. The entire way is mostly flat and is much like a long walk instead of a hike.

You will also find the weather to be quite pleasant most of the time. This actually has one of the lowest elevations as compared to most trails and will help you test your distance-per-day if you are new to this.

You can also camp along the trail on certain pre-established campgrounds that are set up. You do not need a permit to do this.

Central California

Backpacking near Lake Tahoe in Central Calfornia

Backpacking near Lake Tahoe in Central Calfornia

Near the southern end of California’s Lake Tahoe lied the Lake Aloha Trail. It looks like it is custom-built for most entry-level backpackers and will definitely give you a postcard-worthy view all along the way.

This hike will take you alongside a number of alpine lakes. You should be sure to take a slower pace while hitting those inclines so that you do not lose your stamina.

Diving into the clean waters of Lake Tahoe after a sweaty hike would be the perfect way to end this.

This area is home to some of the best backpacking trails in the USA, which is why it might be hard to find campgrounds that are not already taken. You can beat the crowd and plan one during the off-season for reservations.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited parks in the country. The Mount Sterling Loop trail is situated here and gives you an intermediate-level trip in order to reach the peak of the mountain in the park.

You can start in NC and cross through forests to reach Tennessee on your way. Be sure to follow the Big Creek to the top of Mount Sterling.

You’ll even see a fire tower that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s.

This is the perfect place for getting full views of these mountains. This has an elevation gain of around 8,000+ and there are some sharp turns and climbs in this trail.

Death Valley National Park, California

Climbing above Desolation Canyon in Death Valley

Climbing above Desolation Canyon in Death Valley

The scenery looks like it has seriously just been pulled out of Mars. Hiking around this park is as intense as it is interesting.

The trail will take you through quite a stark terrain and you will definitely need a lot of planning on this trip. It is almost 30 miles long and is quite a challenge.

Remember to keep a lot of water with you since you won’t be finding any over here. You can also pack a water filter.

Backpacking can give you the sense of adventure that you have always been looking for. So choose a destination and start packing as soon as you can!

When traveling in Uganda, there is a myriad of options when deciding how to spend your weekend, vacation, honeymoon, or holiday. One activity that will allow you to stay fit while experiencing the beautiful landscape of the country is hiking in Uganda.

The geography of Uganda features numerous hills and mountains as well as low lands with good hiking areas.

Each of these locations offers different experiences, so depending on your preference, there are vast choices in terms of elevation, the ruggedness of the trail, and the surrounding wildlife and plant life.

Whether you want to explore challenging and beautiful landscapes of the mountains, want to catch sight of wildlife, or just want to meander through plains, hills, and forests, there are hikes in Uganda that will suit all levels and age groups.

Uganda is an amazing country where you can explore the great outdoors, so if you are thinking about exploring the country on foot, or want to learn about its history, beliefs, and cultures, dive into our list of the best places for hiking in Uganda.

Rwenzori Mountains

Discover the Rwenzori Mountains, one of the best hiking spots in Uganda

Discover the Rwenzori Mountains, one of the best spots for hiking in Uganda

The famed “mountains of the moon” are a worthy place to visit, this has the highest peak in Uganda and is usually covered in snow throughout the year. In fact, the snowmelt is the source of rivers and waterfalls in the Rwenzori area.

The Rwenzori Mountain range is one of the best places for hiking in Uganda, and there are several trails through which a ranger guide leads hikers through different vegetation at different heights in the mountain.

It takes about 8-10 days to reach the apex of the mountain, where there’s stunning snow almost year-round. If you don’t have as much time, there are other peaks in the mountain range that take fewer days to ascend.

Most of this mountain region is covered in forests and serves as a home to primates like baboons, monkeys, reptiles, and a variety of birds. As you climb the impressive peaks, you will be able to catch amazing views of rocky cliffs, vast valleys, and towns in the foothills below.

Bwindi Impenetrable Park

Bwindi is a famous destination because of Uganda’s prime tourist activity, Gorilla trekking. It’s possible to do hikes both within and outside the park.

The most famous hike in Bwindi Impenetrable Park is one that goes through the forest to Lake Mutanda, where you can encounter residents of the forest like chimps, gorillas, and a wide variety of birds.

Another famous trail here is the Batwa Trail. The Batwa are the original inhabitants of the Bwindi forest, and they lived there until they were evicted when the forest was transformed into a national park.

While inhabiting the forest, they lived sustainably as hunter-gatherers and never destroyed their surroundings for farming purposes. The cultural values and ways of these people have been kept alive by conducting cultural hikes through the forests to the places where they once lived.

Mabira Forest

Discover untouched nature in the Mabira Forest Reserve

Discover untouched nature in the Mabira Forest Reserve

Mabira is located along the Kampala Jinja highway and is home to a variety of birds and primates among other wildlife.

There are a couple of trails that take you to the innermost parts of the forest, some of these are covered with a canopy where nearly all sunlight is blocked by the thick vegetation. Along with forest hikes, you can also partake in other activities like zip-lining and tree climbing.

This rain forest is well known for being the only place in the country that harbors the rare Gray Cheeked Mangabey; an old-world monkey that dwells in trees and is closely related to the baboon family.

There are three habituated groups in the forest that can be easily tracked with the help of guides. The forest is also home to other species of monkey, like the red-tailed monkey among others.

Kibale forest, the Primate Capital of the world

The Kibale Forest is famed for its great number of primates, including chimps, baboons, and a couple of different species of monkeys. The trails here go through Bigodi Swamp, the top of the world hike where you can view a vast area of the region as well as the nocturnal forest walk.

Not far from the forest is Fort Portal town, famed as the “Tourism city of Uganda” where you can enjoy a smooth hike to Amabeere Caves and Nyakasura Caves that have a long-standing history in the area.

Once you hike to the top of the hills, you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the crater lakes that make the region so beautiful.

Mount Morungole

Mount Morungole is one of the most thrilling places for hiking in Uganda and even the world.

The trail here leads you to places where the Ik people live, the only way to meet these indigenous people in their village just outside one of the most beautiful wildernesses in Africa, Kidepo Valley National Park in northeastern Uganda.

If you desire to hike in isolated places where you are immersed in wilderness trails, then this is the best hike to go for in Uganda.

Mount Elgon

Sipi Falls near Mount Elgon

Sipi Falls near Mount Elgon

Mountain Elgon is the largest solitary extinct volcanic mountain in East Africa. Atop the mountain, you’ll find a collapsed crater caldera which covers more than 40 kilometers at the summit is the largest known natural crater.

It is not very steep and can be climbed even by people who do not have much hiking expertise. Trails here lead past caves, viewpoints, and waterfalls.

Also in the area, you can visit Sipi Falls that can be reached after hiking through some plantations. Hike to the top of the falls for the thrilling experience of seeing the water cascade over the rocks.

Murchison Falls National Park

Top of the Falls hike in the Murchison Falls National Park

Top of the Falls hike in the Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls is a waterfall along the mighty River Nile where the Victoria Nile breaks and forces its way through a seven-meter gorge, toppling 43 meters below.

There are various trails to choose from while in the park, the most famous hike leads right to the top of the falls. Other trails are located in forests surrounding the Park, like Budongo and Rabongo. Wildlife sightings here include chimps, birds, monkeys, and baboons among others.

West Nile

The West Nile is the region that is located west of the river Nile in Northern Uganda. The Nile acts as a major border of this region from the rest of the country. The region has its own gems and attractions that make it unique from the rest of Northern Uganda.

Mount Wati is the highest mountain in West Nile, standing at approximately 1250 meters above sea level. Surrounding the mountains, you’ll find the Offude Hills.

This is not just an ordinary mountain but rather a place where mysteries unfold as it is also said to be central to the ancestry of the local Lugbara people.

Fascinating stories are told of this mountain and spending time in this region, you will get to experience a mix of cultural, traditional, and spiritual adventurism in the ancestral world.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Take to the trails in Kyambura Gorge in Western Uganda

Take to the trails in Kyambura Gorge in Western Uganda

This is a region in Uganda with a couple of trails to choose from. The most popular option is The Kyambura George exploration, where you hike and have the opportunity to view chimps in their natural habitat.

Another interesting hike is to explore the Maramagambo Forest, which covers part of the park from Kichwamba escarpment to Lake Edward. The other trails are in the Mweya Peninsula where you can do a Banded Mongoose research hike and the Ishasha river hiking trail that takes you along the river in the Ishasha sector.

Cycad Village Trail

The Cycad Village Trail is a new trail located along Mpanga River Gorge in Kitagwenda district in western Uganda. The village is named after the local cycad, a pre-historic plant species that is believed to date back to the dinosaur age.

Closely related (yet completely different from) palm trees, the large plant is unique for its beautiful appearance and the pleasant aroma of its fruits, which penetrate the entire region. The trail is still under development, but it is still possible to hike in this region to view this beautiful village.


These are what we consider as the best areas for hiking in Uganda, though there are a couple of other good trails not included in this list. Trips to any of these can be organized by Ssamba Safaris. If you want to learn more about Uganda, check out our guide to backpacking in Uganda.

While most visitors to Washington, DC typically come to visit the national monuments, Smithsonian museums and the White House, they are missing a hidden gem. The most beautiful gardens in Washington, DC are often free to visit and present endless entertainment.

On the National Mall alone, there are five free gardens to explore. So if you don’t have a car, don’t despair. Read on for a list of my favorite public gardens in Washington, DC.

 

U.S. Botanical Gardens (USBG)

United States Botanical Gardens in Washington DC

United States Botanical Gardens

The number one destination is the U.S. Botanical Gardens, which is located Maryland Avenue SW in Washington, DC. While the conservatory remains closed, visitors can roam outside in the gardens at the front and side of the museum.

To prepare for your visit, consider a virtual tour—both outdoors and indoors. During non-pandemic times, the USBG offered free guided tours.

The three-acre National Garden is enclosed within walls, like a secret garden. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed. It is home to the Regional Garden (featuring Mid-Atlantic plants) as well as the Rose Garden. Children will love the Butterfly Garden.

The nation’s First Ladies are honored with a special water garden. There is a fountain area to relax as well as stone boulders. Occasionally, educational programs occur in the Amphitheater.

Across the street on Independence Avenue lies Bartholdi Park. Not to be missed is the Bartholdi Fountain when visiting gardens in Washington, DC. There are tables and chairs for a quick al fresco lunch.

Follow the circular paths to explore hidden paths and groves of plants. A special delight for cooks is the herb garden where you can take in the fragrance of basil or oregano plants. The U.S. Botanic Gardens is included in the U.S. Capitol Complex.

U.S. Capitol Grounds

Magnolia Trees on the US Capitol Grounds in Washington DC

Magnolia Trees on the US Capitol Grounds

While not a traditional garden, the 58-acre U.S. Capitol Grounds is home to the most extensive array of trees in the Washington DC area.

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed a park-like setting in 1874, which featured curving paths. He removed 400 trees. His design included low border walls, decorative lamps, and a historic shelter for streetcar passengers.

A special delight is the red-brick Summerhouse, set on the slope of the West Front Lawn. In the spring, beds of tulips bloom near the structure.

A visitor could spend an entire afternoon walking around the paths encircling the U.S. Capitol building. According to the Architect of the Capitol, 65 of Olmsted’s original trees are alive today. His design featured native trees, including elms, lindens, buckeyes and oaks.

There are also groupings of evergreen near the base of the West Terrace of the Capitol. In addition, the Capitol Grounds now feature gifted, memorial and commemorative trees, including the 9/11 Anniversary Tree, the Anne Frank Tree and the Emmett Till Tree. Download a map at www.aoc.gov.

There are wrought-iron benches for a rest period. The Capitol Reflecting Pool is a perfect venue for lunch while you watch the ducks swim by.

Smithsonian Gardens

Smithsonian Moongate Garden in Washington DC

Smithsonian Moongate Garden

After visiting a Smithsonian museum, be sure to reserve time to relax at the rooftop Enid A. Haupt Garden. It opened in 1987.

Smithsonian Associates even offers forest bathing class in its Moongate Garden (for a fee). Designed by architect Jean Paul Carlhian, the Moongate Garden features an Asian design inspired by the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China.

Enid Haupt Garden Parterre in Washington DC

Enid Haupt Garden Parterre

The Haupt garden is conveniently located next to the old Smithsonian Castle. This 4-acre venue also features the Fountain Garden and the French-styled Parterre.

Wander down the brick paths, rest at the fountain or read a book while admiring the flowers. Pose in front of the Renwick Gates or the Downing Urn. This Haupt garden is actually standing on the roofs of the National Museum of African Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the S. Rillon Ripley Center.

As you walk through the end gates, be sure to devote some time to the Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden. The air is perfumed year-round with the four-season garden that includes fragrant flowers and interpretative signage.

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden in Washington DC

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

This open-air gallery is situated on the National Mall, with direct views of the U.S. Capitol on the left and the Washington Monument on the right.

The sunken sculpture garden is embedded 14 feet below the surface of the Mall. Visitors explore different rooms that divide up the open air gallery.

There are 30 works of arts ranging from abstract to modern. The plants provide a backdrop for the modern art. In addition, gardeners regularly change the plant palette to reflect the changing seasons.

Do not miss the Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC. A special treat is to visit the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden after a major snowstorm when the artwork is buried under a blanket of snow.

National Gallery Sculpture Garden

National Gallery of Art Outdoor Sculpture Garden in Washington DC

National Gallery of Art Outdoor Sculpture Garden

One block away, the National Gallery of Art “planted” its gated outdoor Sculpture Garden on the corners of Constitution Avenue, 7th Street NW and Madison Avenue NW.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden features lush plantings, trees and bushes as well as important artwork. Do not miss the secluded area which features Marc Chagall’s Orphee.

The 1969 stone and glass mosaic can serve as a meditation point. The 10-feet by 17-feet mosaic features characters from Greek mythology.

Other fun sculptures include Robert Indiana’s bright-red AMOR and Barry Flanagan’s Thinker on a Rock. Plan to visit around lunch or mid-afternoon to enjoy a meal at the Pavilion Café, which operates from 11 am to 4 pm.

The last two gardens in Washington DC will require a car, but they are definitely worth a visit.

National Arboretum

Located in NE Washington at New York Avenue and R Street, the U.S. National Arboretum is free to explore.

This is a must-see venue if visiting gardens in Washington, DC. It is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm, except December 25.

The 446-acre campus features 9.5 miles of winding roadways. Typically, 600,000 visitors explore each year. It is a favorite destination of dog owners.

Traffic peaks in the spring to see the Japanese cherry trees and the azaleas. Favorite flowers and bushes include azalea, boxwood, daffodil, daylily, dogwood, holly, magnolia, and maple.

The modern architecture visitors’ center includes a fountain and pool with aquatic plants. Also not to be missed are the Flowering Tree Walk, the National Herb Garden and the Asian Collections. The Arboretum is also home to the National Capitol Columns.

Dumbarton Gardens

Dumbarton Oaks Gate in Washington DC

Dumbarton Oaks Gate

Dumbarton Oaks is a country estate sited in Washington, DC. Located in Georgetown, the Dumbarton Oaks mansion and surrounding gardens represent bliss.

Owned by Robert and Mildred Bliss, the estate was conceived as a retreat. The 1801 Federal-style home was purchased in June 1920.

The owners hired landscape architect Beatrix Farrand to design terraced garden rooms and vistas. The couple “gifted” the property to Harvard University in 1940 when it transitioned from a private estate to a research institute. Dumbarton Oaks is located at 1703 32nd Street NW.

 

 

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If hiking through the wilderness is at the top of your bucket list, you’re not alone. The beautiful scenery, epic trails, and campsites, and experiences of a lifetime make backcountry backpacking a major goal for any outdoor enthusiast. 

But, there’s a reason the idea stays on bucket lists and doesn’t get crossed off as often as other items. 

Backcountry backpacking can be dangerous, especially if you don’t take the proper precautions. If you’re a frequent backpacker, you already know some of the common injuries that can occur while hiking. But, you’re putting yourself at risk for things greater than blisters and scrapes when you’re exploring mostly-uncharted terrain. 

Still, if heading into the backcountry is a goal of yours, there’s no reason you can’t reach it with a little preparedness. Use the following safety tips and ideas as your ultimate guide to backpacking safely while in the backcountry. 

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the most important safety tip before you head out on your backcountry backpacking trip is to plan ahead as much as possible. That starts by making sure you pack the right essentials, including: 

You don’t want to overload your bag so it weighs you down. But, you’ll be happy to have these essentials on hand in case of an emergency, or just at the end of a long day on the trail. 

In addition to packing for your trip, you can also plan ahead by telling someone where you’re going. This should be typical standard practice even on shorter trips. But, it’s an especially important safety tip for more dangerous backpacking treks in the backcountry.

Let someone know exactly where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. If anything were to happen and people needed to look for you, they would have a better idea of where to find you quickly. 

Finally, prepare yourself by researching the weather and local terrain. What does the forecast look like for your trip? Knowing ahead of time will make it easier to make efficient packing decisions. 

Have Support

Bring your dog along when Backcountry Backpacking

Your dog can be a welcome companion when backcountry backpacking

Backpacking is a great way to find yourself and take advantage of some peace and quiet in an overly busy world. But, when you’re tackling rough terrain, having some kind of support system is important.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel with family or friends. But, you might consider bringing your canine companion along with you. 

Dogs should always be trained if you’re considering taking them along for your trek. You can train them yourself, hire a trainer, or go for a really thorough option by signing them up for a board-and-train program.

Once they learn to listen and obey basic commands on the trail, going backcountry backpacking with your dog can actually benefit your experience. They will offer a source of companionship and motivation as well as protection. 

Keep in mind that there are extra things you’ll need to bring if you backpack with your dog. You might even consider getting them their own little harness pack to keep things like food, treats, water, and waste bags. 

Another safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to keep your phone with you to make sure you have support on your adventure. It might go against any “off the grid” ideas you have.

But, keeping your phone charged and with you at all times will give you a way to call for help, if needed. It will also give you a way to connect with people back home if you’re struggling to stay motivated or you’re dealing with loneliness.

Having a support system, whether they’re right next to you in the form of a furry friend, or a thousand miles away, can make a big difference. 

Expect the Unexpected

Planning and preparing will always be important when you’re heading out on a backpacking excursion. But, no matter how well-prepared you are, you can’t predict everything that will happen on the trail. You might run into things like: 

  • Unexpected bad weather
  • Changes to the land due to erosion 
  • Wild animals that could be threatening
  • Malfunctioning equipment

There are things you can do to better prepare yourself for some of these situations. For example, one important safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to prepare to protect yourself from the threat of dangerous animals by carrying a firearm.

Whether you’re by yourself or hiking with your kids, make sure you know how to properly store your gun, and that you’ve received firearm training before using it. 

For other unexpected situations, you have to be willing to think on your feet. Backpacking in the backcountry takes more than strength and stamina – it takes a sharp mind.

Some of the best survivalists in the world are only able to do what they do because of their outdoor knowledge and willingness to think outside the box. 

If you’re ready to cross backcountry backpacking off your bucket list, there’s no better time to do it. But, keep these safety tips in mind to make sure it’s a positive experience that you’ll feel confident about every step of the way.