June Active/Adventure Travel Guide

Machu Picchu
LONE RUINS: Escape the Inca Trail crowds and hike the quiet 30-mile Salcantay Route to Machu Picchu. (PhotoDisc)

Kiteboard in the Columbia River Gorge, WA and OR
Between June and September, the Columbia River Gorge vacuums cool Pacific air into the interior desert. Lucky for kiteboarders, this promises strong, steady breezes for the entire summer season. Beginners head to the Hood River Sandbar, where few obstacles and shallow waters make an ideal learning spot. Spend a few hours a day at flight school, and then explore the 4,000-foot walls of the gorge by other means, like bike or foot.

Kayak and Fish at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI
The 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline within this park are anything but monotonous: They're lined with dunes, sandstone cliffs, beaches, and woods. The lakeshore not only offers access to Superior but also to its many streams and inland lakes; explore the byways by kayak or fish for smallmouth bass, walleye, brook trout, rainbow trout, or coho salmon. Before leaving, check out the park's namesake, the 15-mile-long Pictured Rocks cliffs, and the white-sand Twelvemile Beach.

Backpack the Lost Coast, CA
Highway builders laughed at the prospect of laying road on northern California's Lost Coast, with its steep slopes and rugged shorelines. Happily for backpackers, moving the highways inland resulted in roughly 80 miles of roadless Pacific coast—the largest swath of pristine coastline in the Lower 48. Amble along dirt paths, over boulders, and across sandy beaches on the 64-mile section of the California Coastal Trail that runs along the Lost Coast. The array of scenery is dizzying, from surf breaks to 4,087-foot Kings Peak, steep canyons to wildflower meadows.

Raft the Main Salmon River, ID
Running through the 2.4-million-acre Frank Church-River of no Return Wilderness and featuring dozens of rapids, the Main Salmon appeals to both solitude seekers and whitewater aficionados. A choice five-day stretch between Salmon and McCall, Idaho, takes you past hot springs only accessible by river, ancient Native American rock art, and Buckskin Bill's old homestead. You'll float through the country's second deepest gorge, fish for trout, relax on sandy beaches, and perhaps, if you're keen-eyed, spot moose, bears, and bighorn sheep.

Hike the Grafton Loop Trail, ME
Rambling the Maine woods in June is an ideal breezy respite from the heat of eastern cities. Unfortunately, most all northeastern outdoors fanatics will agree, which is why the Appalachian Mountain Club opened a new trail, the Grafton Loop, in 2006 to expand our options. About eight miles of the Appalachian Trail connect the ends of the Grafton Loop Trail, a 34-mile tromp over Old Speck Mountain, Puzzle Mountain, and Lightening Ledges, through thick forests and past viewpoints of the Appalachians stretching north and south.

Float the Kenai River, AK
A float down the Kenai River south of Anchorage, Alaska, is a brilliant mix of classic Alaska and ultimate relaxation. You can choose to loll in the June sunshine, watch sockeye salmon dart from under the boat in the clear water, or scope the shores for brown bears. After floating down the river and through a few rapids, cross Skilak Lake to stay at lakeside Kenai Backcountry Lodge, which is accessible only via the river. The old hunting enclave built in the ‘30s has a wood-burning sauna, cozy cabins with down duvets, and access to hikes on the alpine tundra.

Road Bike the Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Despite pleasantly warm temps, peaks can remain snowy until June in Banff and Jasper national parks, making this month one of the best times to cruise the Icefields Parkway, arguably the continent's most magnificent stretch of mountainous scenic highway. On the 142 miles between Banff and Jasper, pedal past glaciers clinging to craggy peaks, aquamarine lakes, waterfalls, and rich green hills. Keep an eye out for moose, caribou, and bears, and stop each night at a roadside lodge or campsite.

Mountain Bike around Mont Blanc
Mountain biking the circuit around Mont Blanc may be one of the most efficient ways of seeing all the Alps has to offer, but that makes it no less enjoyable. The six-day loop of well-worn singletrack trails leads from Chamonix through France, Switzerland, and Italy, all while passing among flower-dotted meadows, granite peaks, mountain lodges, and hamlets of picturesque chalets. But the best part of all are the rich, wine-soaked carbo loads at the end of each day.

Hike Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands, Sicily, Italy
Stromboli residents are shockingly cool to the fact that their tiny volcanic island, ringed with black-sand beaches and northeast of Sicily, is constantly mildly erupting. There's plenty of warning before a sizeable eruption, which occurs every couple of years, but don't let that diminish the adrenaline rush of hiking to the top to peer into the crater. Alternatively, take a boat from neighboring Lipari, a lively nearby island, to watch as the volcano spews chunks of glowing lava into the sea below.

Walk the Salcantay Route to Machu Picchu, Peru
Think witnessing Machu Picchu in person is a must-tick on the adventure life list? Unfortunately, the 50,000 people who trek the Inca Trail every year think so too. The solution is an alternative route to the ruins, the 30-mile Salcantay Route, which also follows trails and stone paths once tromped by the Incas. Unlike walking the well-worn path through hordes of tourists and deep forests, the back route offers views of the Vilcabamba Range, a traverse over high Andean passes, stays in mountain hamlets, and utter solitude.


Published: 23 Mar 2007 | Last Updated: 7 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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