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    Ryan Kipp reviewed Charleston Peak South Trail

    about 1 month ago

    Attempted this trail yesterday (04/25/18) with a goal of making it to Griffith Peak (total = 4.0mi one-way), and unfortunately only made it to 10,000' before I had to turn around (vertical 1000' / 0.7mi short of Griffith Peak). While the first ~3mi on the trail were mostly clear of snow (with some patches of 6-12"-deep snow on thinner parts of the trail over hills, which should be considered very carefully), the last mile of the trail's switchbacks are pretty heavily loaded in deep snow. At one point, the tracks I was following made by previous hikers became too unclear, and I decided to play it safe and turn around. It is worth noting that I passed a few other hikers coming down who had made it to Griffith, but each of them noted some trail-finding would be necessary as the upper portion of the trail was unclear to them, too.

    Aside from the snow, this trail was beautiful -- steep and challenging, especially when considering the altitude (you'll be going above 10,000' if you do the whole thing, and starting at 8000' in the parking area), but really wide-open scenery with tons of great views and lookouts that get better and better the further you ascend. Highly recommend. Bring poles and consider microspikes, if available for the snowy patches, and definitely take your time and be safe with the snow. As always, avoid altitude sickness by staying well hydrated (water with electrolytes!) and fed.

    Ryan Kipp completed Charleston Peak South Trail

    about 1 month ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel Trail

    about 1 month ago

    Easily two of the most breathtaking trails I've ever had the chance to travel. A few things you should know before starting -- 1. You're in for a huge treat; 2. South Kaibab has very little shade; if you are starting anytime after 10am (unfortunately, I personally couldn't begin until noon and I highly recommend against doing the same), be prepared for a really hot hike, even in late April/early May. On the day I visited, it was an estimated 110F at Phantom Ranch (remember, it gets hotter as you go down), and it definitely felt that way during descent. 3. You need a ton of water AND electrolytes. Do not underestimate the importance of electrolytes; get some dissolvable tablets and put them in your hydropack/water bottles, or bring tons of sport drink. I learned this the hard way and, despite having enough water, definitely suffered from some dehydration complications, to which I was extremely fortunate to have some hikers at Phantom help me out with their tablets. 4. Bright Angel is longer, but has a lesser grade and offers more shade; I would highly suggest using this route for ascent (start early!); 5. I personally highly suggest hiking poles. They will save your knees during descend, and help you a ton during ascent.

    These two trails gave an incredible experience that you'll never forget. Less than 1% of the GC's visitors each year actually descend into the Canyon and the Colorado River, and although you'll have to earn every step, there's a whole different world down there waiting to be explored. Be prepared, hike smart, pace yourself, and listen to your body.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail Loop

    6 months ago

    Made it back to the South Ridge early January for a sunrise visit to Cadillac -- easily continues to be one of the most beautiful, and one of my favorite, trails of all time. Based more-so on length than elevation gain (although there is still a fair amount!), I agree with the difficulty rating of hard. Do not attempt this trail in the winter unless you have proper winter and ice gear -- much of the the trail was completely coated over in ice and snow, and a lot of caution is necessary, particularly on the way down. It was also very cold and on the ridge, you are exposed to the elements. If you are prepared, though, then you're sure to have an incredible experience with some of Maine's finest scenery.

    If a sunrise hike is in your plans for any season, be sure to have a headlamp or good flashlight. There are cairns and blazes along the ridge, but depending on the conditions you're in, they may be tough to see (if clear though, then easy to follow for the most part). Take your time and don't go off trail.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Jump Off Trail via Appalachain Trail

    7 months ago

    An absolutely beautiful trail with one of the best (and relatively lesser known) views in the park. The trail up was moderate, rocky, and icy. Once you get to the sign for the Jump Off, continue on the side trail until you reach a rock that gives an incredible view of the mountains (it’ll feel like you’re going on to another trail, but you’re not — just keep going until the trail ends at the Jump Off). Highly recommended.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Rainbow Falls Trail

    7 months ago

    The Rainbow Falls Trail was a great way to kick off our trip in the Smokes -- if you're looking for a short half-day hike, you can go up to the falls (they're beautiful), relax for a bit, and come back. If you're looking to take up the whole day, you can keep going up to Mount LeConte and spend some time at the Lodge with views. This trail is definitely uphill, but if you take your time, I would say it's more on the moderate side than strenuous. Good boots and water definitely required -- you can refill at the Lodge if you choose to go all the way. Overall, had a fantastic time -- definitely recommended!

    Ryan Kipp completed Rainbow Falls Trail

    7 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Wolf Rock & Chimney Rock Trail

    8 months ago

    Short hike with some great views -- definitely recommend! Be careful near Chimney/Wolf Rocks, as there are a lot of crevasses. Easy to follow, trail is well-blazed (orange)

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Victoria Trail

    8 months ago

    Just a reminder to hikers to where orange at this time of year, as the area is in State Game Lands territory!

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

    9 months ago

    Easily one of the most beautiful trails on which I have ever set foot. I had been hearing a lot about this trail, but didn't think it would live up to the hype -- it definitely did. Started my hike up the Falling Waters Trail at 5:30am and made it to the ridge after ~1.5-2.0 hours. It is rocky and pretty much all uphill, so be prepared with good boots and lots of water (I agree with the hard/strenuous rating for the Falling Waters Trail). Up on the ridge (which is above treeline), it was 31F with a windchill of 9F, average windspeed ~51mph, but clear skies -- which made it worth it. Take your time when you're up on the ridge -- it's not hard, but there's so much to see and take in, there's no reason to rush to the top of Lafeyette (great surrounding views of all the Whites and the Presedential Range). Descended via Old Bridle Path; the Hut was about half-way down and had warm coffee/tea if you bring cash. Can't recommend this trail enough -- if you're visiting the Whites, it's a must.

    Ryan Kipp saved Middle Sister Trail

    10 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Van Hoevenberg Trail

    10 months ago

    A fantastic day-hike that allowed for a full Adirondack experience. The hike was beautiful the entire way, but the views and scenery definitely picked up passed Marcy Dam. Once you get into the alpine zone (and above treeline), weather can get spotty -- depending on the day you go. Make sure you are prepared with proper rain gear, heat gear, etc. I visited a few days ago, and Marcy summit -- with windchill -- was probably in the low-40s (and in the 70s-80s at the base). I missed the summit marker at first because of how foggy it was, and talked with a few other hikers at the bottom that did the same. If you start going down in elevation, you went too far.

    As for trail dynamics, just follow the blue blaze-medallions posted marked on the trail to get to Marcy summit. Try to start early if possible -- as the parking lot and trail can get crowded (5:45am was a nice starting time -- got back around 1:30-2:00pm). Trail difficulty picked up after the Dam, and it's definitely a workout. I would not recommend going if you aren't adjusted to longer, more strenuous hikes, as this will definitely have you going towards the top (not as bad as a few in the Whites, but equally a tough workout). Bring boots, as this is a very rocky trail. Lots of water too!

    Ryan Kipp completed Van Hoevenberg Trail

    10 months ago

    Ryan Kipp saved Van Hoevenberg Trail

    10 months ago

    Ryan Kipp saved Mount Haystack Trail

    10 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Sunset Rocks Trail

    11 months ago

    Overall, a nice hike in the woods with some cool history along the way! I took the AT>Sunset Rocks Trail (finishing at the overlook), and I found it to be pretty easy/moderate in difficulty. Heading along the AT, you'll hit the trail's official halfway point; further down, you can also work in a detour to the Michaux Camp (a secret POW camp back in time used during WWII), although I didn't have the chance to do this. Along the Sunset Rocks Trail, you'll hit a boulder field which adds some difficulty and fun. The view was great! Overall, a nice, relaxed adventure day hike that is pretty moderate in difficulty. Definitely recommend! Make sure to stop by the AT Museum before you leave.

    Ryan Kipp completed Sunset Rocks Trail

    11 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Victoria Trail

    11 months ago

    A nice, relatively shorter hike that offers nice glimpses of forrest scenery and, at the top of the mountain, views of the adjacent valley. Started off Rt. 325 and made the turn-around at the Ibberson Conservation Area. I agree with the "moderate" rating for this hike -- it definitely features an incline over its duration (with slightly steeper grades going 325-->Ibberson) and rocks that add resistance, but it's relatively shorter and steadier than more strenuous uphill hikes. Bring hiking boots and water, and enjoy the hike!

    Ryan Kipp completed Victoria Trail

    11 months ago

    Ryan Kipp completed Boulder Loop Trail

    12 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Boulder Loop Trail

    12 months ago

    Great trail with a lot of cool history! Definitely do the "View" outlook that's offered near Station #9 - as this will give you some incredible views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Aside from that, nice quiet hike in the woods with some great scenery.

    Trail can get steep at times, so take your time going from station to station. Bring water, snacks, and bugspray - as the flies and mosquitos are definitely out.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Champney Brook Trail to Mount Chocorua

    12 months ago

    Great trail for a shorter day hike! Trail is well marked and offers amazing views at the summit on a clear day. I would rate this more as a lower grade of "strenuous" if you're not accustomed to longer uphill hikes; if you are, then moderate is appropriate. Trail gets to be a lot of fun before the summit - you'll be climbing over and around some rocks.

    Bring water, snacks, and bugspray - as the flies and mosquitos were definitely out.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Champney Falls Trail

    12 months ago

    Nice, easy-moderate out-and-back hike that only takes about ~1.5hr to complete. Trail is well-marked and maintained; a good portion of it follows a creek, which provides some good views along the way. When I went a few days ago, the falls were pretty dried up- but I can imagine them being incredible after some rain (really interesting stone formations). Can imagine this being a good family hike. As with anything involving waterfalls, use common sense and you'll be safe!

    Ryan Kipp completed Champney Falls Trail

    12 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Mount Washington

    12 months ago

    Absolutely unreal experience finally getting to do this. Did Tuckerman Ravine to Lion Head to the Summit, and then down Tuckerman, with the whole trip (including an hour at the summit) taking around 7 hours to complete. This was the most rewarding hike I've done to date, but it is very strenuous and comes with dangers - I would strongly recommend against attempting this if you're new to hiking / not in optimal shape (it is very cardiointensive and as another user said, you will earn every one of those 4200 feet - going up very steep grades at times); with regards to danger - look up the weather conditions of the summit and surrounding area the night before and the morning of; do not attempt in bad weather.

    In general - be safe and pace yourself both ways. Wear good hiking boots. Bring rain and thermal gear - it was 34F at the summit with a windchill of 19F today, without any precipitation (we were still in the clouds and it was very windy - 40mph). But more than anything, have an awesome time - the Ravine is unlike anything I've ever seen, and it was breathtaking. Have to imagine the views from the summit on a clear day are the same. The summit has a heated visitor center with food, drinks, water (can refill your packs here), restrooms, and a post office - which was closed today.

    Ryan Kipp saved Baldface Trail

    12 months ago