Hiking & Trail Biking

You know the urge. It can strike anytime, anywhere: the office, the dinner table, the hotel lobby. It’s the impulse to ditch the world of concrete, steel, and cul-de-sacs and get your wild on via the nearest trail into the brush. Here at Earth Gear, we’re no strangers to that urge—and we salute it. Whether a tried-and-true pair of hiking boots or an up-for-anything mountain bike is your preferred gear, we’ve got the inside tips for tracking down ready made adventure out on the trails.

Here you’ll find roundups of the best hiking trails in every state (one of our ongoing projects), in-depth profiles of standout routes, and a whole treasury of trail side tips—from wilderness safety to backcountry meals. And we’ve also got plenty of food for thought for all you dedicated trail cyclists, too.

So turn to Earth Gear to find the perfect path: the one up to that little-known mountain tarn, the one through that spellbinding old-growth grove, the one offering a blissfully convenient afternoon’s escape from the big-city crush. From pleasant strolls suitable for all ages to challenging multiday backpacks and thigh-burning, up-and-down pedaling circuits, we’ve got you covered!

Hiking Sedona Arizona West Fork Trail

Situated in Oak Creek Canyon 10.5 miles north of Sedona along SR 89A, The West Fork Trail is one of the most beautiful Sedona hiking trails. Parking at the trail head is limited and is a pay lot that fills up fast. If it’s full, you can park along the high way a few hundred meters away and walk into the park for a $2.00 per person fee. The trail head has access to washrooms and be sure to stop before heading out. After crossing Oak Creek on the only bridge the trail provides, you come to a small meadow scattered with apple trees and flanked by Oak Creek and the steep canyon walls. As you pass by the remains of the old Mayhews Lodge you will gradually move into the West Fork Canyon…[read more]

Hiking Sedona AZ Courthouse Butte Loop

Near the Village of Oak Creek, the Courthouse Butte Loop is a pleasant 4.2 mile trail circling Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. It is best to do this hike in the early hours of the morning as it can become very hot and has little shade to offer. Always take a hat and plenty of water to avoid heat stroke and dehydration. There is ample parking at the trail head just off Hwy 179, however you must display your Park pass to avoid getting a ticket. Passes can be purchased at the trail head through an automated vending machine that accepts credit cards. From here you take the main trail the heads directly towards Bell Rock. The trail is well marked at intersections with…[read more]

Hiking Sedona Brins Mesa Trail

If your looking to get out and turn your hike into a leg burning exercise, then you have to take the Brins Mesa Overlook Trail. The trail head is easy to find. From Sedona on 89A you turn up Jordan Road and go to the end where you take a left on West Park Ridge drive. This ends in a cul-de-sac with a dirt road. Take the dirt road all the way to the parking lot. The trail head is next to the washrooms and is clearly marked. You are starting at an elevation of 4520 feet and for the next mile you will have a gradual slope gaining about 500 vertical feet when you come upon a rock shelf. From here you will have a great view of the surrounding mountains and valley along with a nice breeze to…[read more]

Wildlife Hiking Tips

A puma (aka mountain lion, aka cougar, aka panther, etc.—this is a beast of many names) is a truly awesome carnivore: a big cat that can spring 40 feet in one bound and singlehandedly dispatch bull elk many times its weight. Its predatory prowess notwithstanding, the puma hardly ever targets people; it’s as elusive as any mammal on the continent, and rarely seen even where common. An uptick in puma attacks on humans over the past few decades seems to have much more to do with larger numbers of people living and recreating in cougar country than any change in the cats’ prey predilections. You’re still highly unlikely to run into a puma…[read more]

Bushwack Hiking Tips

Bushwhackers reap many rewards. Cross-country ramblers often stumble upon stirring sights few human eyes have laid eyes upon: hidden waterfalls, secret wildflower glades, unknown old-growth groves, remote vantages with killer views. Going off-trail instantly deepens your awareness of the landscape, your appreciation of the terrain. Rock outcrops, huge toppled trees, bucking rapids, waist-high swards—landscape features a trail hiker might barely register become incredibly immediate, almost alive, to the bushwhacker, for whom they may be daunting obstacles. And bushwhackers can lose the crowds even in super-popular or pocket-size recreation areas…[read more]

Fall Hiking Gear

No offense to the other seasons, but Autumn is the best time to hike throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. Fall hiking offers the most stunning views of colorful foliage and natural beauty on earth. Not only are there less people on the trails, with summer vacations ending, but there are often more wildlife sightings with animals coming down from the mountains for easier water sources and to bulk up on food before the long winter. Here is our advice on how to gear up and be ready for it all on your fall hikes. We have three words for you: Layers, layers and layers. Layering is the most important element when dealing with the elements…[read more]

Hiking Oregon

There aren’t many comparably sized regions in the world that pack in such diverse wild scenery as Oregon. Temperate rainforest to salty desert, ocean breakers to glacier-crowned volcanoes, oak parklands to juniper scrub, beach rivers to kaleidoscopic badlands—it’s all here, spread across an outdoors-loving state that’s over 50 percent in the public domain. With such landscape variety and so much backcountry to choose from, it’s not easy to narrow down a list of the Beaver State’s best hiking trails. Be that as it may, here’s an Earth Gear roundup of five excellent choices, ranging from no-sweat strolls to epic odysseys…[read more]

Hiking Arizona

Stretching from the canyon-riddled highlands of the Colorado Plateau south to cactus deserts and sky-island mountain ranges, Arizona boasts some of America’s most jaw-dropping scenery—and a plethora of top-shelf hiking trails for enjoying it firsthand. In a state with so much varied terrain, so much epic wilderness, and so many different possibilities for hoofing it, it’s tough to come up the five “best” trails. Nonetheless, we’ve gamely made a go at it. If nothing else, this quintet of routes does exemplify the magic of the Arizona backcountry, the diversity of the state’s physio graphic realms, and the full spectrum of hiking difficulty, from no-sweat to leg-buckler. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list…[read more]

Meals to Take Hiking

Refueling your body is one of the most important things you can do while hiking. Consuming enough food and drink offers a much needed energy boost and helps you guard against injury or illness while on the trail. What you eat or drink is as important as quenching your hunger and thirst. Poor nutrition can undo many of the positive benefits your body receives from hiking. You need to consume more than energy bars and jerky if you are staying in the wilderness for more than a day. It will do your body a world of good. What sort of food should you pack along for the journey? Consider these five meals as a good starting point for building your personal hiking menu…[read more]

Sentinel Pass Moraine Lake Alberta

If you find yourself in the Lake Louise area of Alberta Canada during the summer and early fall months, you really need to spend a day hiking the Sentinel Pass hike into Paradise Valley. It’s a wonderful trail that takes you from the beauty of Moraine Lake and Valley of the Ten Peaks over a high altitude rocky pass into the cool tranquil Paradise Valley. It has everything you could ever imagine you would see in the Rocky Mountains. Tall fir treed forests, high alpine meadows, rocky mountainous switch backs, and the cool clean fresh Glacial Rivers. Start at the Moraine Lake Visitors Center where there is plenty of parking, washrooms and a concession where you can stock up with a little food if you didn’t bring any supplies…[read more]

Outdoor Gear

Utah accounts for some of North America’s most extensive and singular backcountry—and some of the world’s most utterly gorgeous landscapes. With more than 70 percent of the wide-open and canyon-gouged state declared public land, hikers and backpackers will find it futile to trace every nook and cranny—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try via a lifetime’s worth of adventures. Here we’ll consider five of the very finest hiking trails in Utah, from the snowfields of the Middle Rockies to the slickrock outback of the Colorado Plateau. The list includes short, easy footpaths and challenging, multi-day expeditions…[read more]

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