Black Hills, South Dakota

South Dakota's Black Hills.The Black Hills, in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, consists of 1.2 million acres of forested hills and mountains, approximately 110 miles long and 70 miles wide, a hikers and naturalist paradise.

The Black Hills rise from the adjacent grasslands into a ponderosa pine forest. Described as an “Island in the Plains,” the Forest has diverse wildlife and plants reaching from the eastern forests to the western plains. The Forest is a multiple-use Forest with activities ranging from timber production, grazing, to hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, mining, wildlife viewing and many others.

The four seasons offer amazing opportunities to view and enjoy nature on the Black Hills National Forest. In the springtime, flowers abound on the forest floor. Fall colors  brighten the hills and white winter snow illuminates the surroundings. Forest lakes glisten bright blue on summer days, and summer nights offer magnificent opportunities for star gazing.

Enjoy yourself while viewing the many rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, and deep blue lakes.

 

Rock Climbing

 

 

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills

Flint Hills Nature Trail – Kansas

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This 117-mile crown jewel is the seventh-longest rail-trail in the U.S. and the longest trail in Kansas. It follows the general route of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail and is a component of the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail.

The trail crosses the Flint Hills, one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems in the world. It is home to abundant prairie plant and wildlife species, spectacular views, national historic sites, and a diverse set of recreational areas. On eastern portions of the trail, hikers and bikers travel along the Marais Des Cygnes River, between rushing waters and towering bluffs, through rolling farmland and riparian woodlands. Trail-goers can enjoy the sites and hospitality of more than 12 rural communities across five counties.

 

Flint Hills Nature Trail History

The Flint Hills Nature Trail is built on an old railroad corridor. The route was originally developed in the late 1880s, as the Council Grove, Osage City & Ottawa Railway. It later became the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

MoPac discontinued railway service on the line in the 1980s, and subsequently abandoned. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy acquired and railbanked the corridor in 1995 and later transferred ownership to the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy.

The KRTC has been developing the trail in sections, where volunteers have been available, and where grant funding and donations have permitted the old corridor to be refurbished.

The Flint Hills Nature Trail was the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s “Trail of the Month” in March 2010. The RTC also features the Flint Hills Nature Trail on their TrailLink site.

Visit Flint Hills Nature Trailfor more information.

Lake of the Ozarks – Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

 

It’s a  17,441 acre playground lying just to the south of Osage Beach. Lake of the Ozarks State Park is Missouri’s largest and can provide a pleasant diversion while vacationing in the Lake area. The park has 85 miles of shoreline and two public beaches, plus boat launching areas.  The Grand Glaize Arm of the lake dissects the park with over 85 miles of shoreline.

 

Wildlife at Lake of the Ozarks State ParkDiscover unusual natural features along the park’s lake shore on Lake of the Ozarks Aquatic Trail . This unique “trail” designed for boaters has stops marked by buoys. A free booklet keyed to these buoys explains the significance of each of the 14 marked shoreline highlights. It is available at the park office.

Naturalists present programs in an open air amphitheater from May until mid October, featuring slide shows or movies about natural features found in Missouri¹s state parks. Guided hikes and a variety of other programs are provided as well.

Many lake visitors escape the summer¹s heat by exploring 56° Ozark Caverns. Follow Highway A (between Osage Beach and Camdenton) for eight miles and follow the signs. After paying a small fee, hand held lanterns are provided which enhance the sense of discovering a whole new world of underground beauty. The spectacular Angel’s Shower, a never-ending flow of water which seems to fall from the solid ceiling of rock into two massive bowl shaped stone basins on the cave floor, is one of the many features pointed out by your guide. Unusual animals, adapted to this world of darkness, can be seen as well.

Ozark Caverns Visitor Center opened in 1987 and helps visitors understand the cave environment. The one mile Coakley Hollow Self-Guided Trail near the Visitor Center takes visitors through one of the most scenic and naturally diverse parts of the park. This is one of ten trails in the park.

More info:

https://www.funlake.com/state-parks 

Hiking at Isle Royale National Park: Michigan Upper Peninsula

Located above Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this half-million acre park consists of 400 islands with a variety of hiking and camping options. Isle Royale camping is only allowed at 36 wilderness campgrounds, all of which can only be reached by watercraft. But in northern Lake Superior, being on the water is as much a part of the experience as the land.

One of the best trails in Isle Royale National Park is the Scoville Point Loop, while the Island Traverse is perfect for longer hikes. You may not see many other people during your stay: Isle Royale is one of America’s least-visited national parks. In our opinion that makes it all the more special.  http://nps.gov/isroHiking in the Midwest in Winter

isle royale hiking

Love of the Lens – On Location

Badlands – South Dakota 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

A must see destination

By far my favorite, the Badlands National Park is located in the midst of the Northern Great Plains and named Mako Sica by the Lokata people. Here you can get lost….with of 244,000 acres of spectacular landscapes, native mixed grass prairie, a large variety of native wildlife, amazing fossils, wonderful skyscapes and compelling human and geological history.

The Badlands were formed by the geologic forces of deposition and erosion over 69 million years ago when an ancient sea stretched across what is now the Great Plains. After the sea retreated, successive land environments, including rivers and flood plains, continued to deposit sediments. Although the major period of deposition ended 28 million years ago, significant erosion of the Badlands did not begin until a mere half a million years ago. Erosion continues to carve the Badlands buttes today. Eventually, the Badlands will completely erode away.

Hiking in Wisconsin – Devil’s Lake Loop

Weekend Trail ConditionsIce Wall of Pine Hollow SNADevil’s Lake has over 29 miles of hiking trails for any skill level including amazingly scenic sections of the National Ice Age Trail.  The trails vary in condition and difficulty from easy to challenging and are not maintained in the winter months. Steep climbs or descents and stairways are common on Devil’s Lake’s hiking trails.

 

For more information visit: https://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/activities/hiking/