5 Adventure Spots You May Not Know About

By Ross Bernards | 5.20.2019

That time of year is just around the corner: Adventure Season! The season of chasing trails, exploring parks and embarking on adventures that you’ve spent all winter planning while you’ve been holed up inside during those short cold days. It never seems like there are enough days in the summer to squeeze in everything you want to do. Every time I cross a location off my list, I seem to find 5 more places to go.  

If you spent your winter climbing down the Netflix rabbit hole and forgot to look at where you should go this summer on some adventures, don’t worry. I’m here to help you. I have been fortunate enough in the last year to travel across the country in search of some really incredible and underrated places from coast to coast. Some you may have heard of but never thought to go to. Others you probably have never heard of but should really look into checking out!

Newberry Crater – Bend, Oregon

I’m sure you’ve heard of Bend, Oregon. It is one of my favorite places on earth. Yes, I am a bit biased as I grew up in Oregon and this is where we vacationed when I was a kid. That being said, my love for the place has only grown as I’ve gotten older. The reason being is it is an absolute Mecca for outdoor activities. You into mountain biking? Yea there’s that. Fly fishing? You betcha. Hiking? You best believe it. Bend has it all!

One spot you may not be familiar with in the Bend area, though, is the Newberry Crater. Located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, it is a hidden gem in Oregon. Inside the crater, you will find two beautiful lakes, Paulina and East Lake. These lakes used to join as one, but an ancient explosion of the Newberry Volcano sent a flow of obsidian right through the middle of it!

I’m a sucker for hot springs and Paulina Lake has one of my favorites. At the end of the Little Crater Campground on the east end of the lake, you’ll find a trailhead, take that trailhead for about a mile and you’ll find a rock beach with steam wafting above it. The reason the beach is steaming is that underneath the rocks is some very hot water. Luckily, someone left some buckets on the beach for you to dig out your own little pool to soak in right along the lake shore. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

Sandpoint, Idaho

Sandpoint is one of the most beautiful towns you could ever hope to visit. Located along the banks of Lake Pend Oreille in Northern Idaho, this picturesque town offers something for everyone. The town itself is full of exceptionally friendly people and some amazing local events, including “The Festival,” in early August which has some incredible live music.

Outside of town is where the fun really gets started. Schweitzer Mountain is located just 30 minutes north of town and has some incredible hiking trails and views of Lake Pend Oreille. Not only are there hiking trails but you can also find mountain biking, disc golf, and even huckleberry picking.

Wanna get a little more adventurous? Take a boat ride out to see the Green Monarchs or explore some of the thousands of square miles of the Coeur d’Alene, Kaniksu or Colville National Forests that surround Lake Pend Oreille.  

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Don’t let the name deter you. The Badlands are absolutely breathtaking. Of everywhere we visited last summer, this place surprised me the most. A rugged and sculpted landscape of orange, red and white that form dramatic cliffs and ridges all throughout the park.  

As you drive down through the park coming from the town of Wall, you just feel like you’re driving through time. As you pass each layer of rock and down into flowing prairies, you’d be forgiven to think a dinosaur might jump out in front of your car. Instead of a dinosaur, you’ll find buffalo, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, and a whole bunch of other animals. When I hear “Badlands” I would assume it would be a void of life, but man that couldn’t be more wrong.

I have to be 100% honest here, we only spent a morning in this park on our way to North Carolina from Oregon. But the fact that I spent so little time and can’t stop thinking about the place, should be a testament to how incredible it is!

Camping Tip: if you’re looking for a place to do some dispersed camping there’s a fantastic spot right outside the park. If you’re coming from Wall, .8 miles before the Pinnacle entrance you’ll see a road on the left. It’s a dirt road, take that. It’ll put you on the rim above the park and leave you with some incredible views. Don’t anticipate being alone, but you will have some breathtaking scenery.  

Vail, Colorado

Letting my bias slip out again. I’ve lived in Vail for the last 9 years and there’s nowhere better to spend the summer (and I’m sure some of my friends will be pretty mad for telling you to come to our valley, but the secret's out). You are in the heart of the Rockies and there are some killer hikes all around the valley and surrounding areas.

I am personally very fond of the hikes in East Vail. Each one will take you to a beautiful alpine lake nestled in among the jagged peaks of the Gore Range. One unique characteristic of these hikes is that each one starts basically the same way with the first mile being a butt kicker. They are all straight uphill but then mellow out into rolling meadows and wooded areas. Winding through aspen and pine trees while meadows of wildflowers sprawl out in between. The cherry on top is after a bit more elevation game you end up at some beautiful alpine lakes.

If you don’t want to go hiking, don’t worry there is plenty of other things to do from fly fishing to rafting, zip-lining to mountain biking. There are some incredibly beautiful (and accessible) camp spots just outside of town as well.  

Transylvania County, NC – Blue Ridge Mountains

Don’t worry the only blood-sucking creatures here are the bugs so leave your holy water and wooden stakes at home. Growing up in Oregon I was used to seeing waterfalls a lot, but spending a decade in Colorado has made me realize that not every place is so lucky. Well, I got a little taste of home in Transylvania County.

Located in the South Western part of North Carolina and surrounded by beautiful forested mountains this part of the state is a secret waterfall haven. I highly recommend the hike to High Falls. This short hike gives you access to 3 gorgeous and quite different waterfalls. The largest being High Falls where you can really feel the power of the water flowing, and just below that is Triple Falls and the lowest falls are Hooker Falls where you can also enjoy a great little swimming hole.

If you drive just outside of the county you will hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. You should definitely bring some tissues with you as you’re going to be drooling over the views from the top of the parkway. Once you’ve picked your jaw off the floor, go check out Sliding Rock which is a natural water slide into a lovely pool, but expect it to be crowded. If you are trying to avoid some crowds, go check out Skinny Dip Falls. Gentlemen, be warned, the water is cold.  

There are some breathtaking hikes all along the parkway and driving the whole parkway is well worth your time and gas. This is one place in the world where you can actually watch the earth breath as the low clouds come out of nowhere as the sun comes up and then gets inhaled once again.  

Final Thoughts

Summer is a great time of year that is always full of amazement, wonder, and of course adventure. It’s the time of year when you need to turn off the TV, put down the phone, stock up the cooler and get outside. Go explore these areas and more! Browse these regions on All Trails or go talk to the locals. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re doing it outside.

5 Adventure Spots You May Not Know About

By Ross Bernards | 5.20.2019

That time of year is just around the corner: Adventure Season! The season of chasing trails, exploring parks and embarking on adventures that you’ve spent all winter planning while you’ve been holed up inside during those short cold days. It never seems like there are enough days in the summer to squeeze in everything you want to do. Every time I cross a location off my list, I seem to find 5 more places to go.  

If you spent your winter climbing down the Netflix rabbit hole and forgot to look at where you should go this summer on some adventures, don’t worry. I’m here to help you. I have been fortunate enough in the last year to travel across the country in search of some really incredible and underrated places from coast to coast. Some you may have heard of but never thought to go to. Others you probably have never heard of but should really look into checking out!

Newberry Crater – Bend, Oregon

I’m sure you’ve heard of Bend, Oregon. It is one of my favorite places on earth. Yes, I am a bit biased as I grew up in Oregon and this is where we vacationed when I was a kid. That being said, my love for the place has only grown as I’ve gotten older. The reason being is it is an absolute Mecca for outdoor activities. You into mountain biking? Yea there’s that. Fly fishing? You betcha. Hiking? You best believe it. Bend has it all!

One spot you may not be familiar with in the Bend area, though, is the Newberry Crater. Located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, it is a hidden gem in Oregon. Inside the crater, you will find two beautiful lakes, Paulina and East Lake. These lakes used to join as one, but an ancient explosion of the Newberry Volcano sent a flow of obsidian right through the middle of it!

I’m a sucker for hot springs and Paulina Lake has one of my favorites. At the end of the Little Crater Campground on the east end of the lake, you’ll find a trailhead, take that trailhead for about a mile and you’ll find a rock beach with steam wafting above it. The reason the beach is steaming is that underneath the rocks is some very hot water. Luckily, someone left some buckets on the beach for you to dig out your own little pool to soak in right along the lake shore. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

Sandpoint, Idaho

Sandpoint is one of the most beautiful towns you could ever hope to visit. Located along the banks of Lake Pend Oreille in Northern Idaho, this picturesque town offers something for everyone. The town itself is full of exceptionally friendly people and some amazing local events, including “The Festival,” in early August which has some incredible live music.

Outside of town is where the fun really gets started. Schweitzer Mountain is located just 30 minutes north of town and has some incredible hiking trails and views of Lake Pend Oreille. Not only are there hiking trails but you can also find mountain biking, disc golf, and even huckleberry picking.

Wanna get a little more adventurous? Take a boat ride out to see the Green Monarchs or explore some of the thousands of square miles of the Coeur d’Alene, Kaniksu or Colville National Forests that surround Lake Pend Oreille.  

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Don’t let the name deter you. The Badlands are absolutely breathtaking. Of everywhere we visited last summer, this place surprised me the most. A rugged and sculpted landscape of orange, red and white that form dramatic cliffs and ridges all throughout the park.  

As you drive down through the park coming from the town of Wall, you just feel like you’re driving through time. As you pass each layer of rock and down into flowing prairies, you’d be forgiven to think a dinosaur might jump out in front of your car. Instead of a dinosaur, you’ll find buffalo, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, and a whole bunch of other animals. When I hear “Badlands” I would assume it would be a void of life, but man that couldn’t be more wrong.

I have to be 100% honest here, we only spent a morning in this park on our way to North Carolina from Oregon. But the fact that I spent so little time and can’t stop thinking about the place, should be a testament to how incredible it is!

Camping Tip: if you’re looking for a place to do some dispersed camping there’s a fantastic spot right outside the park. If you’re coming from Wall, .8 miles before the Pinnacle entrance you’ll see a road on the left. It’s a dirt road, take that. It’ll put you on the rim above the park and leave you with some incredible views. Don’t anticipate being alone, but you will have some breathtaking scenery.  

Vail, Colorado

Letting my bias slip out again. I’ve lived in Vail for the last 9 years and there’s nowhere better to spend the summer (and I’m sure some of my friends will be pretty mad for telling you to come to our valley, but the secret's out). You are in the heart of the Rockies and there are some killer hikes all around the valley and surrounding areas.

I am personally very fond of the hikes in East Vail. Each one will take you to a beautiful alpine lake nestled in among the jagged peaks of the Gore Range. One unique characteristic of these hikes is that each one starts basically the same way with the first mile being a butt kicker. They are all straight uphill but then mellow out into rolling meadows and wooded areas. Winding through aspen and pine trees while meadows of wildflowers sprawl out in between. The cherry on top is after a bit more elevation game you end up at some beautiful alpine lakes.

If you don’t want to go hiking, don’t worry there is plenty of other things to do from fly fishing to rafting, zip-lining to mountain biking. There are some incredibly beautiful (and accessible) camp spots just outside of town as well.  

Transylvania County, NC – Blue Ridge Mountains

Don’t worry the only blood-sucking creatures here are the bugs so leave your holy water and wooden stakes at home. Growing up in Oregon I was used to seeing waterfalls a lot, but spending a decade in Colorado has made me realize that not every place is so lucky. Well, I got a little taste of home in Transylvania County.

Located in the South Western part of North Carolina and surrounded by beautiful forested mountains this part of the state is a secret waterfall haven. I highly recommend the hike to High Falls. This short hike gives you access to 3 gorgeous and quite different waterfalls. The largest being High Falls where you can really feel the power of the water flowing, and just below that is Triple Falls and the lowest falls are Hooker Falls where you can also enjoy a great little swimming hole.

If you drive just outside of the county you will hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. You should definitely bring some tissues with you as you’re going to be drooling over the views from the top of the parkway. Once you’ve picked your jaw off the floor, go check out Sliding Rock which is a natural water slide into a lovely pool, but expect it to be crowded. If you are trying to avoid some crowds, go check out Skinny Dip Falls. Gentlemen, be warned, the water is cold.  

There are some breathtaking hikes all along the parkway and driving the whole parkway is well worth your time and gas. This is one place in the world where you can actually watch the earth breath as the low clouds come out of nowhere as the sun comes up and then gets inhaled once again.  

Final Thoughts

Summer is a great time of year that is always full of amazement, wonder, and of course adventure. It’s the time of year when you need to turn off the TV, put down the phone, stock up the cooler and get outside. Go explore these areas and more! Browse these regions on All Trails or go talk to the locals. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re doing it outside.

Ross Bernards

Ross’ love for the outdoors flourished while living in Colorado over the last 8 years. He calls Colorado home but spends most of the time traveling in his camper van with his girlfriend, Lauren, and dog, Missy. When Ross isn’t in the mountains, he can probably be found in the deserts of the southwest pursuing his dreams as an adventure and outdoor lifestyle photographer. 

Ross Bernards

Ross’ love for the outdoors flourished while living in Colorado over the last 8 years. He calls Colorado home but spends most of the time traveling in his camper van with his girlfriend, Lauren, and dog, Missy. When Ross isn’t in the mountains, he can probably be found in the deserts of the southwest pursuing his dreams as an adventure and outdoor lifestyle photographer. 

Comments 3

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Mo Roemmick on

Pretty cool Ross! Nice job.
Mo

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