Dream Destinations for Outdoor Adventure

Snake River (Idaho) and Tongariro Northern Circuit (New Zealand)
Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
MIDDLE EARTH, FOR REAL: Mount Ngauruhoe and Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (courtesy, Tourism New Zealand)

The Snake River (Wyoming)
The spring melt in the great mountains of Wyoming seems to last forever; for weeks that reach through June and even into July, the mighty, frothy Snake River is a chocolate brown color. Then it starts to clear and fishing season is finally at hand. Anglers head for the upper reaches near the headwaters in Yellowstone National Park, or for put-ins along the 27-mile stretch that meanders through Grand Teton National Park. Drift boats vie in places with rafts and kayaks and, yes, the Snake can get crowded, but that is because it presents one of the world's very finest freshwater fishing experiences. (As if confirmation were needed, the Snake has served as host river for the World Fly-fishing Championship, a rare honor.) Novices can spin-cast for their quarry if they choose, but the Snake was created by nature to exalt the dry-fly experience: fishing as art form. Experts deftly cast their lines, coaxing brown and rainbow trout from the depths of the river. The native fine-spotted Snake River cutthroat trout is not nearly as wary as his relations, and several of these beauties, up to 17 inches and more, may be landed on a good day. Then again, any day angling on the Snake is going to be a good-to-great one.
Click here to read GORP.com's guide to fishing the Snake

The Tongariro Northern Circuit (New Zealand)
New Zealand sports some of the world's very best hiking—or tramping—routes, called “tracks" and collectively known as the New Zealand Great Walks. Rigorously maintained with well-kept huts and other amenities, these nine backcountry hikes set an international standard and lure thousands of visitors to the “other" land down under each year. There is variety here: The high-Alpine experience of the Kepler Track is in stark contrast to the beach walks along the Abel Tasman Coast Track and to the even more watery experience of the Whanganui Journey, which isn't really a hike at all but rather a kayak excursion on the country's longest navigable river. The temptation is always to highlight the Milford Track, one of the most famous mountain-going adventures in the world this side of climbing Everest. While several days on the Milford certainly make for a memorable experience, the track is so popular in the New Zealand summer that traffic on it is always heavy and also regulated. Less well-traveled but no less spectacular is the Tongariro Northern Circuit, a loop around a symmetrical volcano, Mount Ngauruhoe, that rises in the middle of New Zealand's North Island. The trek usually takes three nights in the backcountry, and if you go, here's a tip: Since you are already traveling such a long way, start saving your pennies now for a night's accommodation on either end of your walk at the nearby Grand Chateau—a delightfully luxurious add-on to one of the best possible hiking vacations.
Click here to read GORP.com's guide to hiking in Tongariro

Published: 14 May 2008 | Last Updated: 3 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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