Canyonlands Sport Safari
With a small group of intrepid thrill seekers and a cadre of gung-ho guides, expect to push your limits in a stunning desert landscape of red sandstone spires, buttes, and canyons. Warm up with a quiet float through breathtaking Ruby Canyon and a hike up Rattlesnake Gulch. During six nonstop days, you’ll try white-water rafting in the Westwater Canyon of the Colorado River, haul your fat-tire bike across streams at the foot of the La Sal Mountains and Six Shooter Peak, and hike on slickrock trails in Arches National Park to discover hidden petroglyphs in Devil’s Garden. One night is spent at a plush safari-style camp on the river; others are pure luxury at a four-star guest ranch, where you can end your high-energy adventure with a restorative yoga class and the “Happy Feet” hiker’s massage.
Canyonlands/Arches National Parks: www.austinlehman.com
Snowlight in Vermont
Your winter blues will fade as you glide through an aromatic spruce and birch forest past silvery, ice-bound lakes. As pristine as a postcard between January and March, the Catamount Trail in Vermont’s Green Mountains is dotted with vintage country inns, each about eight to 10 miles apart, perfect for a five-night, self-guided, inn-to-inn cross-country ski trek. The company Country Inns Along the Trail arranges every detail of your expedition: maps, advice for experienced and novice skiers, car shuttles, and romantic rooms and gourmet meals in historic bed-and-breakfasts. Both groomed and untracked backcountry trails trace ridges with panoramic views of the Adirondacks and Mount Moosalamoo. Start with a tour of the 200-year-old village of Brandon on the Neshobe River and a candlelit dinner at the circa-1870 Churchill House Inn. Set off in the morning to explore the lush Green Mountain National Forest—as popular for summer hikes as it is for winter skiing and snowshoeing. At day’s end, head for the sauna before dinner by a roaring fire.
Country Inns Along the Trail: www.inntoinn.com
Horses in High Country
Explore the high country in Yosemite National Park without the burden of a backpack by signing up for a High Sierra Camps Saddle Trip. A network of trails above 7,500 feet meanders through spectacular scenery: glacier-polished domes, snowy peaks reflected in alpine lakes, and waterfalls around the rugged “Grand Canyon” of Tuolumne Meadows. Groups of up to 10 riders are led by park wranglers to basic camps spread eight to 10 miles apart; it’s just the right distance for an exhilarating ride with time to fish for rainbow trout or doze in a sunny meadow. This is camping with showers, hearty meals, and tent cabins.
High Sierra Camps Saddle Trip: www.yosemitepark.com