So, you have the 4th of July off, just like many other hard working Americans. You would love to get out and enjoy the Great Outdoors, but how do you plan your trip so that you aren’t surrounded by more people than trees? Try these tips to help you enjoy your holiday adventure without the rest of America stepping on your heels:
1. Visit those less frequented trails: Whether you are traveling in your local State Park or visiting a National Park there are going to be certain trails that everyone has heard about. These trails go to the closest waterfalls and scenic viewpoints. However, there are tons of trails in these same areas that are underutilized. Get out the map or ask your local ranger about waterfalls and scenic overlooks that are off the beaten path.
2. Hit the trail early: Last year on the 4th I happened to be in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We wanted to visit Harney Peak, the highest peak in the state at 7242 ft, but the only day we had available was the 4th of July. To avoid the crowds, we woke up and got on the trail at sunrise. We didn’t see any other visitor on the way up, and there was only one other couple on the peak when we arrived. The light was great for photography and the crisp morning made for cool climbing. On the way back to our car, within a mile from the trailhead, we began passing large groups of visitors on their way to the peak. It was worth waking before the birds to beat the crowds.
3. Hit the trail late: Wait until mid afternoon to throw your pack on your back. Find a campsite that is just the right distance away to allow you to start later in the day. With longer summer days you should have plenty of time to get to your campsite. You will avoid the mid-day crowds and benefit from the cooler evening temperatures. While most of us are kicked back in a lawn chair on Main Street getting ready for fireworks to fly over head, you could be kicked back in your Crazy Creek getting ready for the stars to come out.
I hope these tips help. Regardless of what you end up doing for the 4th, plan ahead to keep yourself and the others traveling with you safe!