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As a person who loves the great outdoors and going on hikes, there is nothing I love more than the fresh air and a great view, something you can get plenty of in Alberta. 

During my last 8 months in Canada, I’ve spent a lot of time in Alberta and have been trying to find the best day hikes that don’t have heaps of tourists. Who doesn’t prefer quiet, peaceful walks through nature? During the winter, that’s an easy task, as many of the more difficult trails are closed due to the weather. Plus, who wants to go hiking in -40c?! Not me.  

However, during summer, also known as the peak season, it was a challenge to find off-the-beaten trails in Alberta that were short enough to complete in 1 day and didn’t have hundreds of tourists.

Below, I have listed some of my favourite day hikes off the beaten path in Alberta. Some are easy for beginners, and some are more tricky, but all feature a great view without too much effort.

East End of Rundle

Stunning views over Whitemans pond and Ha Ling peak from the East End of Rundle Trail

Stunning views over Whitemans pond and Ha Ling peak from the East End of Rundle Trail

At 4.8 km long and taking between 6-7 hours to complete, the East End of Rundle hike is one of the slightly longer day hikes in Alberta and one that’s a real leg burner. Starting on the edge of a forest on the side of Rundle mountain, this trail is steep pretty much the entire way. It can be difficult to tell what direction the trail leads as there are not too many signs anymore – keep an eye out for the orange ribbons! They’ll help guide you. 

I highly recommend bringing some gloves, as it can become a difficult scramble around the halfway point. You may need to use your hands to keep yourself stable. After around 2 hours you’ll be rewarded with stunning views over the Whitemans pond and its neighbouring mountain Ha Ling peak – this makes a fantastic spot to watch the sunrise (or sunset). The summit can get extremely windy in this part of Alberta, so be careful!

Valley of the Five Lakes

The Valley of the Five Lake hike is one of the shortest day hikes on our list in Alberta. At an average of 1.5 hours to complete, it’s a simple trail that doesn’t take much effort, which means anyone can enjoy it. With a very low elevation, this is the perfect short walk without breaking a sweat. There are two steep sections, but for no more than a few steps. Some parts of the trail get very narrow, you may have to walk single file if travelling in a group. Along the way, you’ll have multiple opportunities to stop and enjoy the lake views at the many openings by the water’s edge.

Ha Ling Peak

Take in the view from HaLing peak on one of Alberta's best day hikes

Take in the view from HaLing peak

If you did the East End of Rundle trail, you’d be able to see Ha Ling Peak in your view, but what about climbing Ha Ling for yourself? One of the more moderate day hikes in Alberta, this trail has chains to use as handrails to help you when you’re climbing up due to the uneven terrain. In typical Alberta fashion, it can be extremely windy when you get to the peak, so be mindful that it can throw you off balance if you’re not careful. 

Along the route, you’ll have the chance to stop for photos on a few flat viewpoints before you reach the summit of Ha Ling Peak. From the top, you’ll see the town of Canmore as well as much of the Bow Valley down below. It’ll take you an average of 4-5 hours to reach the summit and make it back down the trail.

The Big Beehive

This hike puts a new spin on a world-famous lake in Banff National Park. The Big Beehive trail is only really accessible during the summer months and can get quite busy during this peak season. As it is a loop trail, you can continue through the entire trail without backtracking, meaning you get fresh views for the entire route. 

Most average hikers with a good level of fitness can finish this trail in under 6 hours, making it suited for a day hike. This trail has a few different highlights including Lake Louise, Mirror Lake, and the tea house before heading to the summit, this just gives you plenty of photo opportunities to enjoy! 

Grassi Lakes

The Grassi Lakes hike offers options for both beginner and advanced hikers

The Grassi Lakes hike offers options for both beginner and advanced hikers

Also in Canmore, The Grassi Lakes hike is probably one of the most easy-to-do short day hikes in Alberta. Although this hike is rated as number 1 in the region on Alltrails, every time I have been I’ve seen no more than 3 others on the trail. This is a walking route the whole family can enjoy! It’s a trail with two options, the easy way and the more difficult way, and even as a loop they only take between 1 and 2 hours to complete. 

The easy way takes you up a gradual hill through the forest until you reach the 2 small lakes and beautiful viewpoint. Whereas the more difficult way keeps you on lower elevation until the last portion of the trail. This is where you come across a large waterfall and steep staircase built into the cliff. This can become slippery due to water spray, so hold onto the rails, but make sure you enjoy the view! 

Lake Louise Lakefront Trail

The Lake Louise Lakefront Trail is another one of Alberta’s short day hikes at only 1.5 hours to complete. This one takes you along the edge of the turquoise Lake Louise – a nice change compared to the Big Beehive trail that takes you up and over the lake for a birds-eye view. 

With barely any elevation, you won’t end up with muscle aches, which I’m sure you’ll be thankful for. In the summer you can walk around the lake, and during the winter you can even walk on it when it freezes over. This is a year-round accessible trail for people with all fitness levels. 

Prairie Mountain

Summiting Prairie Mountain

Summiting Prairie Mountain

Average hikers finish the Prairie Mountain hike in 2 hours (1 hour up and just over an hour down) but many can finish quicker in clear weather. The trailhead starts southwest of Bragg Creek near the Elbow River. Although steep, (the trail reaches an elevation of 666 m), it’s a pretty easy walk for most of the way up and accessible for most fitness levels. 

There are endless mountain views from the viewpoint across the valley, so Prairie Mountain is one of the best day hikes in Alberta to avoid the crowds. Although this is a hike that can be accessed all year round, the driving access road usually closes for the winter due to weather conditions. If you do decide to hike Prairie Mountain during the colder months, crampons and spikes are recommended, as the scramble can get a bit slippery. When you make it to the top, you’ll have a nice surprise, seeing the flag waving at the summit!

Boom Lake Trail

The Boom Lake Trail is another trail with minimal incline and is more of a stroll than a hike. It takes roughly 3.5 hours to complete, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a day hike in Alberta. As an out and back trail, you’ll need to backtrack once you get to the lake to reach the Boom Lake Trail finish line. As you walk along the track, you will see a few small streams as you head towards Boom Lake. In summer, they are crystal clear and flowing and add to the beauty of the region.

In the winter months, these streams can become dangerously icy along the trail, so use caution. When hiking during summer and spring, you can expect to see a stunning bright blue lake that Canada is known for. Take it in and enjoy your reward for walking the trail!

Summary

There you have it, 8 fun day hikes in Alberta that offer great views of the province! Of course, if I listed every single one we would be here for days, so I have handpicked some of the most enjoyable – but also less busy – trails for hikers to enjoy without being stuck in a crowd. Because let’s face it, nobody likes having to line up for a photo op at a viewpoint!

The Best Day Hikes in Alberta Canada to Avoid the Crowds

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The USA is home to such a variety of ecosystems, but some of the best national parks, like Death Valley, are near-impossible to visit during the summer due to the extreme climate. The good news is, there are some US National Parks that are even more stunning during the winter! On top of that, by visiting these US National Parks in winter, you’ll be avoiding the crowds. Read on to see the best National Parks in the US to visit during the winter.

1. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Visit Joshua Tree National Park in Winter

Beat the heat by visiting Joshua National Park in winter

Joshua Tree is one of the US National Parks that is best to visit in the winter. For one, you can hike for longer since you won’t have to deal with the sweltering heat. However, keep in mind that you should bring plenty of water with you even in winter, since there is a serious lack of shade in Joshua Tree National Park. Plus, even during the winter with cooler temperatures, there is still a risk of sun exposure and dehydration. While the most popular time to visit Joshua Tree National Park is from March to May, or from October to November, we suggest visiting in winter for a unique experience.

2. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion is one of the most popular US National Parks, but with great popularity comes great hordes of crowds. If you want more solitude in this stunning national park, it’s a good idea to visit this famous National Park during the winter. It can get cold, but having more peace and quiet is a fair trade-off.

As long as you have the proper gear and clothing, you can still get the most out of Zion National Park in the winter months. Just be sure to check the weather forecast before planning your trip. From November until February, the weather can range from clear sunny days to full-on winter storms, dumping a couple of feet of snow, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the weather and stay flexible.

Also, be sure to pay attention to posted signs, since some trails like Angel’s Landing might be closed due to icy conditions. Read more tips about hiking in Zion National Park in Winter here.

3. Death Valley National Park, California

As the world record-holder for the hottest place on earth, it’s a no-brainer that you should avoid visiting Death Valley during the summer months. But in the winter you’ll have more freedom to explore this stunning National Park.

Death Valley is famous for its other-worldly landscape devoid of all life, which will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Mars. Pro-tip, don’t miss sunrise at Dante’s View if you visit Death Valley during the winter.

4. Yosemite National Park, California

Winter is our favorite time to visit Yosemite for so many reasons

Winter is our favorite time to visit Yosemite for so many reasons

Who are we to judge the crowds of tourists who flock to some of the most beautiful places on earth? Yosemite is one of those places that sits at the top of the US National Park for visitors from far and wide. Sadly, that means that Yosemite can feel more like a theme park than a National Park during peak visiting months. Year-round, tour buses are driving in and out of the park, and it has all gotten a bit commercialized.

Nevertheless, with its unique rock faces, stunning waterfalls, and multiple networks of trails, Yosemite National Park still holds a special place in our hearts. To avoid the peak crowds and to connect more with nature, we highly suggest visiting Yosemite in the Winter.

The climate of Yosemite Valley means that you might get snow if you visit during the winter months, but it’s relatively moderate winter weather. And seeing the valley walls dusted in the snow is a good look for Yosemite. You might even get lucky and score a camping spot right in the Valley of the National Park, but even in winter, you’ll have to battle with the waitlist and lottery system.

5. Arches National Park, Utah

Experience Arches National Park during the winter months

Experience Arches National Park during the winter months

Winter is the best time to visit Arches National Park for a variety of reasons. With a climate that is normally scorching, the winter weather makes it possible to enjoy hiking and overnight camping in this stunning National Park.

Plus, you might be able to see the famous arches dusted in a thin layer of snow. Stunning.


Don’t let the colder temperatures deter you from experiencing some of the greatest National Parks. In fact, we hope that you will agree that some of these National Parks are even better during the winter! If you’re feeling even more ambitious, check out our summary of the best places in the USA for a multi-day backpacking trip. Wherever your journey take you, we hope you enjoy!

We all know Miami for its awesome beaches and fantastic cuisine. However, Miami has different kinds of hiking spots that will allow you to experience Miami off the beaten path. While you won’t be scrambling up rocks or climbing hills, you’ll be able to take in the unique natural beauty of Miami on these wondering hiking paths. In today’s topic, we will be talking about 7 of the best places to go hiking in Miami. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive straight into it!

Myres Bayside Park Commodore Hiking Trail

Distance: 7.1km

Difficulty: Easy

Located in the heart of Miami, Kenneth M Myres Bayside Park is a perfect place for short trips and outings with families. The park draws a sharp contrast between the sky-high buildings and a beautiful bay. The park is family-friendly and it also has an outdoor gym and auditorium. It has been a picnic spot for a long time now and people also enjoy riding bikes through the greenery of nature.

Speaking of best trail, the Commodore Trail holds this prestigious title. The trail starts parallel to the highway and then gradually heads to the coconut grooves. The path is made of concrete surrounded by trees and plants on both sides. As you move through the trees, the city noises fade, and you will experience a peaceful atmosphere off the beaten path in Miami. The beautiful bay also falls on this trail and if you are lucky you can also get to see some iguanas on your way. The trail is pet-friendly for dogs, but make sure they stay on a leash all the time.

Big Cypress Florida Trail- Blue Orange Trail

Distance: 24km

Difficulty: Easy

Hiking near Miami on Big Cypress Florida Trail- Blue Orange Trail

Big Cypress Florida Trail- Blue Orange Trail

Want to spend more quality time with mother nature? How about a long hiking trip off the beaten path in Miami? Sounds great? Well, in that case, Big Cypress National Preserve should be on the top spot of your holiday list. Conserving over 729,000 acres of a vast swamp, this preserve is home to diverse flora and fauna including the endangered species, The Florida Panther. It is a lovely place to go on a scenic drive with your family. There are lots of picnic spots, swamp tours, and tons of outdoor activities along with 8 different campgrounds.

You can find many hiking and driving trails throughout the preserve with each having its own set of unique experiences. The trail that we love the most is the Blue Orange Trail Loop as it is lightly trafficked and perfect for all sorts of skill levels. The trail is covered with wildflowers and contains both tropical and temperate climate trees. You might also find some alligators in the swamp so it is recommended to take a guide with you. 

Tropical Park Tropical Park Loop

Distance: 6km

Difficulty: Easy

It’s time for some lake time! Situated on a former race track, Tropical Park is a place that attracts tourists throughout the year with its scenic view. The park features three beautiful lakes and a green river bank which is home to many birds and other wildlife species. You will find many picnic tables with barbeque grills and many outdoor recreations including a sports center and boxing center. Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails but there is a different dog park area.

Topical Park Loop is a beautiful place to go hiking in Miami with a beautiful view of the river and the surrounding greenery. The trail has a hill for people to run up and down and have some fun. Beside the lake, you can find raccoons, ducks, iguanas, and many other varieties of animals. The landscape is breathtaking and the view of the blue lake under the blue sky is just beyond words. People also love the food here so don’t miss to check out the food trucks.

Oleta River State Park Trail

Distance: 4.8km

Difficulty: Moderate

Oleta River State Park Trail

Oleta River State Park Trail

Oleta River State Park is the largest urban park in Florida. It is situated on an oasis just around 30 minutes drive from downtown Miami. There are off-road bicycling trails, hiking trails, paddle boat trails throughout the park. If you are an adventure lover, this place is made for you! Old rustic cabins with air conditioners can also be found inside the state park. Activities like fishing and swimming are also allowed by the river. Though you won’t be far from Miami, you’ll truly feel off the beaten path.

Oleta River State Park Trail passes through mangrove forests and is slightly more challenging than the other trails. The trail is great for traveling away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The best part is that the trails are interconnected, so you can start from one and end on a completely different trail.  The mangrove trees also do a good job of blocking off the direct sunlight, so you don’t have to carry sunscreen with you. Your pet friend is allowed to company you on this trip, but he must be on a leash on the trails.

Everglades National Park Anhinga Trail

Distance: 1.3km

Difficulty: Easy

Just outside Miami - go hiking on the Anhinga Trail in the Florida Everglades

Just outside Miami – go hiking on the Anhinga Trail in the Florida Everglades

One of the central attractions near Miami is the Everglades National Park. This national park is the third-largest national park and largest subtropical wilderness in the US. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, there are many different kinds of endangered species and wildlife in the vicinity. The landscape of this park is wonderful and you can go on boating trips to the rivers and lakes. If you are planning to stay overnight amid nature, you will also find several campgrounds in the park.

For such a large park, like Everglades, Anhinga Trail is relatively short, yet people love this trail more than any other. The trail features beautiful wildflowers and during the winter season, you can witness numerous wildlife species. You can also go birdwatching in this family-friendly tour of a lifetime. The winter season is the best time for visiting the park as the water level remains low and birds migrate to take shelter during the winters. A delight for the bird lovers!

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Lighthouse Loop

Distance: 4.8km

Difficulty: Easy

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Lighthouse Loop

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Lighthouse Loop

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a beach park and is often considered one of the top 10 beaches nationwide. This place is historically diverse, as Cape Florida has been a symbol of revolution in the pages of history. Nowadays, the park is used as a relaxing spot for hikers or bikers who want to get off the beaten path in Miami. You can go on guided tours and explore the history of the park, or you can enjoy the lovely natural landscape. You will also find many cottages and a lighthouse in the park. 

The Cape Florida lighthouse was built around 1825 and because of its rich historical value, visitors love visiting the Lighthouse Loop throughout the year. The trail is family-friendly presenting beautiful scenarios of rivers, trees, and wildflowers. You can also take a tour of the lighthouse and also take a tour of the park by boat or kayak. Make sure you stay till the evening as the view of the sunset over the bay is stunning.

Biscayne National Park Black Creek Canal Trail

Distance: 2.7km

Difficulty: Easy

Hiking near downtown Miami on Biscayne National Park Black Creek Canal Trail

Biscayne National Park Black Creek Canal Trail

Last but not least is the Biscayne National Park. Located right in Miami, yet feeling like a world away, this park has a lot to offer starting from hiking, boating, fishing, canoeing, and lobstering as well. This place is an ideal spot for water activities and birdwatching. Biscayne National Park also has its fair share of historical importance. You can opt-out for scuba diving and explore the vibrant colors of the coral reef.

 Take a short trip along the beachside and enjoy the scenic beauty and pleasing sounds of the ocean with your family through the Black Creek Canal Trail. The trail features a short hiking trip down the mangrove lined-shore that leads to the Colonial Bird Protection area. The place has lots of resting spots and some picnic tables too. There are information panels throughout the trail which give you directions and interesting information regarding the vivid history of the park. 

Start your Hiking Adventure in Miami

Miami is one of the largest cities in Florida and also one of the most common tourist destinations. But if you’re looking to experience Miami off the beaten path, you can find beautiful nature and wildlife while hiking in Miami. Enjoy your trip!

Backpacking means that you can get out and explore the world however you see fit. Though you might want to always be on the move, there are times when it is better to sit still and work a little. One of the best work travel jobs for backpackers is working a season at a ski resort in Europe or North America. Here are some of the reasons why this might be the right choice for you!

A Variety of Work-Travel Opportunities

One of the best reasons to work a season at a ski resort can simply be for the variety of work available. After all, a ski resort might as well be a small city, so there should be plenty of roles that you could fulfil.

If you have the qualifications and the experience, you might be able to find a role as a ski or snowboard instructor. You could also get a job maintaining the slopes and helping out with other aspects of managing the pistes.

Of course, there are also plenty of roles in hospitality. You could work in the lodges, whether they are for private owners or just for people renting for a week or two.

There is usually also a good amount of bar work in the ski resorts. Get your applications in early so you have a good chance at landing a role that works for you and your skills!

Enjoy the Ski Resort Benefits

Use your days off to enjoy employee discounts at the ski resort

Use your days off to enjoy employee discounts at the ski resort

A great reason to choose to work a ski season will always be the days off. Many jobs at resorts will come with either a staff pass or a serious discount for a day pass to the slopes. If you are not scheduled in, you will be able to head out and enjoy everything that the resort has to offer!

Just make sure that you are fully prepared for your time outside so that you can keep yourself safe on the slopes. It would be devastating if you were to run into trouble at the start of the season and would be left having to give up your position. Use tools like pistepro.com to monitor conditions on the slopes, and make sure your equipment is always properly maintained.

Meeting People from All over the World

Meet people from all over the world while working at a ski resort

Meet people from all over the world while working at a ski resort

When you choose to work a season at a ski resort, you will be able to meet people from all around the world. Whether you are a housekeeper or a bartender, there is always a chance that you will run into someone from the other side of the world who might nevertheless be your new best friend.

You have to work, and work hard, but don’t forget to have fun too! A ski resort is a great place to live for a few months.

Whether you are in Canada, one of Europe’s best ski resorts, or anywhere else with amazing slopes, you will have so many opportunities at your feet. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges and embrace everything this adventure has to offer you!

As a backpacker, it can sometimes be good to stay put for a little while. In addition to the experience of working in a ski resort, you will be able to work up a fantastic pot that you can use to further your travels.

Working at a Ski Resort Abroad

If you’re interested in traveling abroad to work at a ski resort, be sure to check into the local visa rules for work travel. Some countries grant short-term work visas for people who are only interested in working for a season.

Working at a Ski Resort in the USA

Most of the ski resorts in the US are found in the West and Central regions, in the Sierra Nevadas and the Rocky Mountains. There are also some top-notch ski resorts found in the Northern New England area, in Vermont and New York State.

If you are a US citizen, you shouldn’t have any complications finding short term work at a ski resort in the US. Lots of young people choose to work a season at a ski resort in between high school and university, or after graduating from college.

If you are not from the US, you’ll need to secure a work visa to work a season at a ski resort. The most common work travel visa for the USA is the H2B visa. With this visa, the ski resort sponsors you directly to work there.

Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, the number of H2B visas has been limited, since ski resorts need to show that they cannot find a US citizen to fill the job. If you are a certified ski or snowboard instructor, you’ll have a better chance of landing a job at a US Ski Resort. Be sure to apply ahead of time, since most of the jobs are filled in the springtime before the winter season.

Working at a Ski Resort in Canada

Famous for backcountry skiing and massive Rocky Mountain resorts, Canada is one of the best places to work a season at a ski resort. Besides, Canada has a working holiday visa program, which makes it easier for foreigners to get a ski resort job in Canada compared with the US and even Europe.

The working holiday visa is open for most countries for young people from age 18 to 30/35. The benefit of the program is that you do not have to secure a job before going. The visa is valid for a year or two (depending on your country) and allows you to travel to Canada and start looking for a job.

Be sure to check the specific requirements to see if you’re eligible for a work travel visa for Canada.

Working at a Ski Resort in Europe

The most popular European ski resorts are found in Austria, Switzerland, France, and Germany. You can also go north to Scandinavia and find work in Norway or Sweden.

If you are a local EU citizen, you won’t have any visa trouble securing a job at a ski resort in Europe. However, if your job will have any sort of client interaction, you must speak the local language of the resort. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for non-EU citizens to secure a job at a European ski resort since most of the jobs will go to the locals.

However, Austria and France now have a work-travel agreement with several countries, including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and Chinese Taipei.

Switzerland does not have a work-travel visa program, so your only option would be to hope for a cash job at a Swiss Ski Resort.

Nevertheless, if it is your dream to work a season at a ski resort in Europe, be sure to check the working requirements, as things may change in the future.


Where will you go next? What will you do? All could be determined by what you manage to save up whilst working at the ski resort.

Take the time to work out whether this could be the right move for you careerwise, and then see if there is a ski resort that will take you on for the season!

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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