Adventure destinations

By Libby Sherwood
Staff Writer

Moab, Utah
Activity: Climbing, hiking, mountain biking, rafting, off-roading
Driving time: 8 hours

An endless red desert paradise, Moab offers everything from whole-in-the-wall cafés with bacon blueberry muffins to remote desert towers with astounding views.
Moab’s world-famous mountain biking accomodates every level of rider. You will find everything from single track and slick-rock riding to remote dirt roads. Sink down into the canyons or ride the mesa-tops.

Nearby Indian Creek offers some of the best climbing in the west, or at least the most notorious. Covered in splitter cracks, the sandstone walls tower over the basin campground.

On a hot day, raft down the Colorado River as it winds through the Canyonlands and the famous Arches. Or tour the Indian petroglyph carvings found sprinkled throughout the area while learning about the rich Anasazi history.

Note: For delicious bacon blueberry muffins mentioned above, visit the Love Muffin Café.

Joshua Tree, California
Activity: Climbing, hiking
Driving time: 6 hours

On a typical weekday, tents dot the small campground and the whistle of stove-top espresso makers pierces the quiet of early-morning whispers. Throughout the year people find their second family of like-minded nature seekers at Joshua Tree National Park. In the winter, those looking to escape cold conditions flock to this desert playground.

The world famous park attracts visitors from around the globe looking to climb the distinctive routes. The quartz monzonite’s notorious slab appeals to and intimidates the best of climbers. Here it is possible to climb all day on the short, one-to-three pitch traditional routes.

Bring your tick list and your gusto; Joshua Tree is the perfect training ground for all levels.

Mount Lemmon, Arizona
Activity: Climbing, cycling, hiking
Driving time: 4 hours

Located within the Santa Catalina peaks outside of Tucson, Arizona, Mount Lemmon rises above the desert to nearly 10,000 feet.
The climbing generally challenges visitors and offers a mix of sport and traditional routes. Over 1,500 routes populate the area, making it one of the most condensed climbing venues in the state.

As the terrain is not for the faint of heart, many running and cycling athletes choose Mount Lemmon as a training ground. The road to the top gains 6,000 feet in 25 miles. It is no wonder that Lance Armstrong chose this region to train in 2010.

Zion, Utah
Activity: Climbing, hiking, canyoneering
Driving time: 6 hours

Many American climbers learn to aid and big-wall climb at Zion. Popular aesthetic sandstone routes such as Moonlight Buttress are perfect choices for entry-level walls.
Located in southeastern Utah between Saint George and Cedar City, the nearby town of Springdale resembles Sedona, a bustling tourist community. Most of the climbing bums will be out of sight, on distant walls.
If you are into adventure, than you have found the best place to explore deep slot-canyons that carry on for miles. Hidden within the canyon, some of these routes can be easily navigated while others require tricky route-finding and ropes. Many involve wading through narrow pools, and offer a cool relief to the arid weather.
Expect to pay large park fees to enter or remain in the park overnight, but know that your contribution aids in road maintenance and free shuttle services.
This article appeared in the April 2011 print edition of The Raven Review.
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