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Hudson Valley Outdoor Adventures

Fresh air and challenging terrain for a wide range of sports are two primary factors that draw visitors to the more remote parts of the Hudson River Valley. Whether you choose to hike, bike, or ski, you’ll have plenty of choices for a memorable outdoor adventure.

Hiking

[pullquote align=right]Minnewaska State Park Preserve has rare dwarf pines and peregrine falcons to see.[/pullquote]Some 200 miles of trails traverse the Catskill Forest Preserve. High above the Hudson River Valley are Kaaterskill Falls and the Escarpment Trail, a magical wilderness setting where the Hudson River School of painters found inspiration and the Catskill Mountain House entertained prominent guests. The rugged 23-mile trail connects the towns of Haines Falls and Windham, changing 10,000 feet in elevation along the way. The highest peak along the trail is 3,940-foot Blackhead Mountain. Allow two days for a challenging overnight hike, or three days for side trips at either end of the hike.

Near New Paltz in Ulster County, Minnewaska State Park Preserve has rare dwarf pines and peregrine falcons to see, plus gorgeous vistas at every bend in the trail.

Swimming and Boating

The Hudson and its tributaries lure water sports enthusiasts for fishing, sailing, tubing, kayaking, and more. Tubing on the Esopus in Ulster County is especially popular in summer. Sailing school is an option out of Kingston. Greenwood Lake in Orange County, Lake Taghkanic in Columbia County, and several lakes near Saratoga Springs have beaches for swimming and facilities for boats.

Kayakers can paddle lakes, ponds, creeks, and of course the Hudson River in Dutchess County. Several shops in the region rent gear and offer guided trips.

Tubing on the Esopus river.
Tubing on the Esopus river. Photo © ScubaBear68, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Cycling

Cyclists enjoy endless miles of rolling hills on quiet country roads, and several counties have converted long stretches of abandoned train tracks into paths for walking, jogging, or biking. Piermont and New Paltz are popular cycling towns, and many local clubs plan group rides on summer weekends. You might tour one county at a time, or attempt the 180-mile multiday ride from New York City to Albany. Include as many bridge crossings as possible, and allow time to take in some of the sights along the way. Several companies offer guided bike tours of the area; an amateur bike race is another way to discover many of the back roads.

Skiing

Falling temperatures mean one thing to winter sports enthusiasts: the possibility of powder. Ski resorts in the Catskills and Adirondacks start making snow as soon as it will freeze, and then hope for a little help from Mother Nature as the season progresses. Whether you prefer the thrill of downhill or the serenity of the open trail, the greater Hudson River Valley has much to offer December-March.

For downhill thrills, head to Windham, Hunter, or Belleayre in the northern Catskill Mountains, where snow guns cover nearly 100 percent of the terrain. For more solitude on Nordic trails, choose the Capital-Saratoga region: John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany and Lapland Lake near Saratoga Springs are good bets.

The Hudson Valley & The Catskills
The Hudson Valley & The Catskills

Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Hudson Valley & the Catskills.

Discover Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes

Argentina’s Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes is best reached through nearby La Villa, a lakeside town neighboring Villa La Angostura. Los Arrayanes is larger than the town of La Villa, but they’re so close that it feels more like a sprawling city park.

[pullquote align=”right”]Local folklore says Walt Disney’s cartoon feature Bambi modeled its forest after the arrayán woodland at the tip of Península Quetrihué…[/pullquote]Local folklore says Walt Disney’s cartoon feature Bambi modeled its forest after the arrayán woodland at the tip of Península Quetrihué, a former ranch that became the national park in 1971. With their bright white flowers, the eye-catching red-barked forests of Luma apiculata do bear a resemblance, but a Disney archivist has pointed out that Bambi was in production before Walt’s 1941 trip to Argentina, and that he never visited the area.

The park occupies Quetrihué’s entire 1,753 hectares, which stretch south into Lago Nahuel Huapi. Its namesake forest covers only about 20 hectares, but the rest of the peninsula bristles with trees like the maitén and the southern beeches coihue and ñire, as well as colorful shrubs like the notro and chilco, and dense bamboo thickets of colihue. The floral standout is the arrayán, whose individual specimens reach up to 25 meters and 650 years of age.

Enjoy a walk through the trees in Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes.
Enjoy a walk through the trees in Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes. Photo © miragik/123rf.

The park is ideal for hiking and mountain biking: The undulating 12-kilometer trail to or from the peninsula’s tip is a perfect half-day excursion (on a bicycle or doing one way by boat and the other on foot) or a full day by hiking in both directions. Argentine rangers often exaggerate the time needed on certain trails, but the three hours they suggest is about right for this walk in the woods, which passes a pair of lakes. Only at the park portal, near La Villa, are there any steep segments; a slide has forced partial relocation of the route here.

Before starting any hike in the park and within the previous 48 hours to the date of the hike, a free form must be filled in to keep a record at the national park’s Registro de Trekking and to show upon park rangers’ request. The form is provided at APN’s offices (Blvd. Nahuel Huapi 2193, tel. 0294/4494152, 9am- 3pm Mon.-Fri.), online on the park’s webpage, and at the Club Andino (20 de Febrero 30, tel. 0294/4527966). Access for hikers is permitted only up to 1pm, and up to 2pm for bikers. Bikes can be rented at La Villa.

At the portal, rangers collect a US$11 admission charge (US$4 for Argentine residents). Those who only plan to do the short walk to the panoramic Mirador Bahía Mansa and the Mirador Brazo Norte need not pay the fee. Near the dock at the peninsula’s southern tip, a café with a cozy fireplace serves sandwiches, coffee, and hot chocolate.

From the Bahía Mansa dock near park headquarters, non-hikers can reach the arrayán forest in about 45 minutes on the Catamarán Futaleufú, run by El Cruce’s Greenleaf Turismo (Av. Siete Lagos 118, 1st Fl., tel. 0294/4494404), which runs 1-3 services daily; the cost is US$20 one-way, US$38 round-trip, plus a small boarding tax and the park admission fee.

From the Bahía Brava dock across the isthmus, the newer Catamarán Patagonia Argentina (tel. 0294/4494463) runs a similar service (US$23 one-way, US$38 round-trip, plus a small boarding tax and the park’s admission fee), also 1-3 times daily.


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Patagonia.

Hiking and Biking on O‘ahu’s Windward Side

While hiking on O‘ahu’s windward side is limited, the few options available cover the range from a workout to a moderate hike to a simple stroll; you’ll find the scenery for each hike is fairly unique, too. Biking is equally limited, with cyclists confined mostly to roadways and a few trails, but since Kailua is a very bike-friendly town, that won’t be a problem for most.

Hiking

Hawai‘i Kai

For a great cardio workout and 360-degree views of the southeast shore, the Koko Crater Trail is a daunting 1,048 steps up the south side of Koko Crater. The stairs, actually railroad ties, follow the track of an old World War II military tramway that took supplies to the top of Koko Crater more than 1,000 feet to the summit. At the top you’ll find several cement military installations and amazing views all around. From Kalanianaole Highway, turn mauka onto Koko Head Park Road and park in the Koko Head District Park parking lot. It’s about a 0.25-mile walk to the base of the stairs.

For a great cardio workout and 360-degree views of the southeast shore, the Koko Crater Trail is a daunting 1,048 steps up the south side of Koko Crater.
For a great cardio workout and 360-degree views of the southeast shore, the Koko Crater Trail is a daunting 1,048 steps up the south side of Koko Crater. Photo © Ben Ferenchak, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Kailua

There is a popular walking trail along Kawainui Marsh, one of the few wetland ecosystems on O‘ahu and home to several species of native waterbirds like the Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian moorhen, and the Hawaiian stilt along with a host of other feathered inhabitants. The mile-long path is a raised, paved trail that crosses the marsh from Kailua Road to Kaha Street, off Oneawa Street on the north end of the Kailua neighborhood known as Coconut Grove.

Maunawili Falls is a short hike in the shadow of Olomana that follows Maunawili Stream and terminates at the falls. From Kalanianaole Highway, turn into A‘uola Road in the Maunawili neighborhood. Immediately fork left onto Maunawili Road and follow it through the subdivision and a forested area to the end at Kelewina Street. Park near the intersection and continue on foot on the one-lane private road. A sign indicates the way to the falls, which in part is on private land, so stay on the trail. Along the stream look for ‘ape, a plant with huge, elephant-ear-shaped leaves. A ridgeline section offers views of Ko‘olau Range, Olomana and Kane‘ohe Bay. Regain the stream and follow it to a large, deep pool and Maunawili Falls. On the hike you’ll cross the stream several times and the trail can be quite muddy. It is also very popular and heavily used on the weekends. There is a second smaller pool at the top of the falls and the trail continues back from there if you wish to continue exploring the forest.

Biking

Kailua is the most bike-friendly town on O‘ahu. The beaches and neighborhoods are in relatively close proximity to the town center, where all the dining, shopping, and services are located. The town is flat, the weather is exceptional, and the traffic is usually so congested that it’s faster to get around on two wheels. In addition to riding around town, bikes are allowed on the trail that crosses the Kawainui Marsh.

Because of these factors, Kailua is home to the first bike share program in the state. There are two Hawaii B-cycle kiosks in the town center: 767 Hamakua Drive (near the intersection of Hamakua Dr. and Kailua Rd.), and 515 Kailua Road (near the intersection of Hahani St. and Kailua Rd.). Simply swipe your credit card at the kiosk, grab a bike, and go. When you park the bike at either location, your card is charged for the time you used it. The cruisers come equipped with a lock, comfy seat, and baskets.

Or you can rent a bike the traditional way, from an outfitter. The Bike Shop (270 Kuulei Rd., 808/261-1553, 10am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 9am-5pm Sat., 10am-5pm Sun.) is a full-service bicycle shop. They rent 21-speed cruisers for $20 per day and road bikes for $40 per day. Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks (130 Kailua Rd., Ste. 101B, 808/262-2555 or 888/457-5737, 8:30am-5pm daily) rents bikes for $25 a full day and $85 for seven days.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

Visiting the Toronto Islands

A view of Toronto from the Ward's Island Ferry.
A view of Toronto from the Ward’s Island Ferry. Photo © Dan Dickinson, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

A short ferry ride across the harbor from downtown, the Toronto Islands (415/397-2628) are the city’s backyard, where both residents and visitors go lounge at the beach, cruise around by bike or kayak, or have a picnic. The awesome views of the city skyline, from the ferries and from the islands themselves, are a bonus; take those picture-postcard city snapshots here.

[pullquote align=”right”]Cars are not allowed on the islands, so you’ll need to get around on foot or by bicycle. Bicycling is a good way to tour these flat islands, which are crisscrossed with pathways.[/pullquote]

The “Toronto Islands” actually consist of several small islands connected by bridges. Ferries dock at Centre Island, Ward’s Island to the east, and Hanlan’s Point to the west.

Restrooms and drinking water are available on the islands, and there are several places to eat, including the year-round Rectory Cafe (102 Lakeshore Ave., Ward’s Island, 416/203-2152, 11am-5pm Mon.-Thurs., 11am-8pm Fri.-Sun. late May-mid-Oct., 11am-5pm Wed.-Sun. mid-Oct.-late May, $12-18)) or the more touristy Shopsy’s Island Deli Bar and Grill (416/203-0405, www.centreisland.ca, 11am-8pm daily mid-June-early Sept., $9-16), next to the Centre Island docks.

Centre Island

Centre Island is the entertainment hub, with an amusement park, gardens, bicycle and boat rentals, and beaches. If you have young kids, head for the Franklin Children’s Garden, with play structures, a tree house, and a theater with summer storytelling events. There’s a beach by the pier on Centre Island, but if you walk or cycle either direction from there, you’ll find prettier, less populated sand.

You can rent bikes at Toronto Islands Bike Rentals (416/203-0009, May-Sept., $8 per hour, tandems $15 per hour, cash only) near the Centre Island pier, across the island from the ferry dock. You can also rent fun “quadricycles,” four-wheeled pedal bikes seating two ($17 per hour) or four ($30 per hour) people. It takes about an hour to cycle a loop of the islands. You can take bicycles over from the mainland, except on the Centre Island ferry on busy summer weekends.

In summer, the Boat House (416/397-5166) rents canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats. From the Centre Island docks, follow the main path past the amusement park, cross the bridge near the fountains, then bear left (east) toward the Boat House.

A big draw for the kids is the Centreville Amusement Park (604/203-0405, 10:30am-8pm daily July-early Sept., call or check the website for hours May-June and mid-late Sept.), with a 1907 carousel, a Ferris wheel, bumper boats, a roller coaster, and other old-time carnival attractions. If you arrive on the Centre Island ferry, it’s hard to sneak past the amusements without the kids noticing; the park is a short walk from the ferry dock.

Admission to the amusement park is free, but you’ll pay to ride the rides. A sheet of 25 ride tickets costs $25, or you can buy an all-day pass. Individual passes are based on height; one-day passes for adults and kids over four feet tall are $37, under four feet tall $26. Family all-day passes are $112. Passes are discounted if you buy them online.

Ward’s Island

Ward’s Island looks like an urban cottage colony, with the islands’ only community of permanent residents, a beach, and a playground. The mostly sandy Ward’s Island Beach can be a little less crowded than some of the others.

Toronto Island SUP (416/877-4668, May-Sept., 1st hour $30, $10 per additional hour) rents stand-up paddleboards from Ward’s Island Beach. They’re on the beach every weekend, but call first if you’re coming on a weekday.

Hanlan’s Point

If you see airplanes coming in over the harbor, so low that you think they’re going to land on your ferry, it’s because they’re headed to the Toronto Island Airport, near Hanlan’s Point, which also has parks and beaches, including Gibraltar Beach, west of the pier. Nearby, the stone Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, built in 1808-1809, is the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes and the second oldest in Canada. There’s a clothing-optional beach at Hanlan’s Point.


Getting There and Around

Catch the ferry (9 Queens Quay West, at Bay St., 416/397-2628, round-trip adults $7, seniors and students $4.50, kids 3–14 $3.50) to the islands from the docks just west of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.

From downtown, ferries run to Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point, and Ward’s Island. You can disembark at one and return from another. The schedules for the three ferries are different, however, so be sure to check. While schedules vary seasonally and by time of day, the Centre Island boats (mid-Apr.–mid-Oct.) run most frequently, with summer departures every 15-30 minutes. Boats to Hanlan’s Point (mid-Apr.–mid-Oct.) and Ward’s Island (year-round) typically operate every 30-60 minutes in summer. Only the Ward’s Island ferry runs year-round.

Cars are not allowed on the islands, so you’ll need to get around on foot or by bicycle. Cycling is a good way to tour these flat islands, which are crisscrossed with pathways. In summer, 35-minute tram tours leave from Centre Island, a short walk south of the ferry docks.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Ontario.

Cycling Hudson Valley in 6 Days

In a six-day tour, riding 35-45 miles per day, you can cover the length of the Hudson River Valley, hitting key sights, vistas, and attractions on both sides of the river. Total distance is approximately 200 miles. This suggested itinerary starts in the town of Hudson, in the Upper Hudson River Valley. Use your arrival day to get oriented, stock up on supplies, and check out your gear. Steiner’s Sports on Warren Street can see to all your last-minute needs. If you have extra time, take a warm-up ride over to Olana (12 miles) to tour Frederic Church’s historic estate. Book accommodations in or near the towns of Hudson, Kingston, Hyde Park, Garrison, and Nyack.

Day 1: Hudson to Kingston

[pullquote align=right]Be sure to see the historical homes along Huguenot Street and stop at a winery or two.[/pullquote]Get an early start for the first ride of the week, which starts in Hudson (Columbia County) and finishes in Kingston (Ulster County). Along the way, stop to visit Montgomery Place and refuel in Rhinebeck. Cross the river at the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. When you reach downtown Kingston, walk through the Stockade District, check in to your hotel, and then look to the Rondout Creek area for dinner.

Day 2: Kingston to Hyde Park

Ride along part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and through the college town of New Paltz. Be sure to see the historical homes along Huguenot Street and stop at a winery or two. End the day by crossing the river on the Walkway Over the Hudson and looping back north to Hyde Park.

The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York.
The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York. Photo © Steven Phraner/123rf.

Day 3: Hyde Park Rest Day

Take a day off to visit FDR’s home and library, the Vanderbilt Estate, and the Culinary Institute of America. Or add an optional loop through the countryside and wineries of eastern Dutchess County instead.

Day 4: Hyde Park to Garrison

Fuel up for an action-packed ride through Poughkeepsie, Beacon, and Cold Spring. Optional side trips include the Dia:Beacon modern art museum and a paddle on the river from a launch near Cold Spring. Finish the day in Garrison (Putnam County).

Day 5: Garrison to Nyack

Ride across the Bear Mountain Bridge and head south over Storm King Mountain to West Point. Take a tour of the military academy, and have lunch at the Thayer Hotel. For more mileage, add an optional route through Bear Mountain State Park. Or get off the bike for a few hours to hike along a section of the Appalachian Trail. Overnight in Nyack or Piermont.

Day 6: Nyack to New York City

Finish the ride along the Hudson with a ride under the cliffs of the Palisades and end at the George Washington Bridge. Alternatively, cross the river at Nyack to explore Tarrytown and the Rockefeller Estate. From Tarrytown, you can catch Amtrak back to Hudson, or plot a new cycling route for the return trip, with stops in Peekskill, Red Hook, and Catskill, for example.

The Hudson Valley & The Catskills
The Hudson Valley & The Catskills

Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Hudson Valley & the Catskills.

Central Maui Biking

Despite the steep grade of the West Maui Mountains there aren’t any official mountain biking trails in Central Maui. The most popular road cycling ride is heading from Kahului to the fishing village of Kahakuloa and back. Distances will vary depending on where you start, but along the way cyclists will be treated to quad-burning ascents, hairpin turns through rainforest surroundings, and sweeping views of the entire North Shore.

The most popular road cycling ride in Maui is heading from Kahului to Kahakuloa.
The most popular road cycling ride in Maui is heading from Kahului to Kahakuloa. Photo © Charles Starrett, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Sharing the road with cars can be tough considering how narrow it gets, but most cars are traveling so slowly around the tight turns that altercations are rare. If you would prefer to be on a designated bike path that stays on level ground, the North Shore Greenway runs from the last parking lot at Kanaha Beach Park all the way to the town of Pa‘ia, and along the route of the seven-mile bike path only 0.25 mile passes along the shoulder of the main highway.

To reach the Kahului terminus of the bike path, follow Amala Place all the way to the end and park in the last parking lot of Kanaha Beach Park. Parts of the bike path go directly behind the airport runway, and this ride is best in the morning due to the strong trade winds which can create momentum-destroying headwinds during the afternoon (the wind normally blows from Pa‘ia toward Kahului).

Rental Shops

Across the street from K-Mart by the Tesoro Gas Station, Island Biker Maui (415 Dairy Rd., 808/877-7744, 9am-5pm weekdays, 9am-3pm Sat.) offers rentals which range from $60/day to $250/week. All bike rentals come with flat repair tools, water bottles, one spare tube, and local insights from staff members who ride these roads on a regular basis. Both mountain bikes and road bikes are available.

At Crater Cycles (358 Papa Pl., 808/893-2020, 9am-5pm Mon.-Sat.), rentals range $65-85/day depending on which ride you’re going to be doing. The focus here is mainly on mountain biking. If you’re looking for information on trail conditions in Polipoli, Skyline Drive, or Makawao Forest Reserve, these are the folks to call.

Map of Central Maui, Hawaii
Central Maui

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

Lady Bird Lake in Austin

The greatest attraction Austin has to offer is the stretch of the Colorado River called Lady Bird Lake, formerly known as Town Lake. This wide, slow-moving river winding through the heart of downtown Austin is banked with lush vegetation, ancient trees, and wildlife, such as turtles, swans, and ducks. What makes Lady Bird Lake so remarkable? By taking just a few steps you can go from bustling, urban downtown to an alternative world that’s peaceful, beautiful, and natural.

A pair of kayakers on the water in Austin's Lady Bird Lake.
Kayaker’s on Austin’s Lady Bird Lake. Photo © Jenn Deering Davis, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

[pullquote align=”right”]Lady Bird Lake’s hike-and-bike trails are some of the best urban trails in the country, with several loops over and around the lake that are in three 10-mile increments.[/pullquote]Lady Bird Lake’s hike-and-bike trails are some of the best urban trails in the country, with several loops over and around the lake that are in three 10-mile increments. Each loop’s bridge provides a different view of Austin, the lake, and surrounding hills. Although the trails are fit for bikes as well as pedestrians, and during peak hours bikers find it pretty hard to navigate all the joggers and speed-walkers, everyone seems to sweat in harmony. The trails are all lakeside and have lots of shade, benches, water fountains, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. That’s right! On the south shore of the lake is a life-size bronze statue of the Austin legend proudly standing as a sentinel with guitar in hand. Free water stations are set up at various locations along the trail. The trail is considered very safe, so no need to worry about crazy people doing crazy things. However, watch out for poison oak. The trail is laced with this evil plant, and if you are not paying attention, or decide to pet the cute dog running up to you, you may end up with some serious itching. During the peak months nice people will put little flags on branches to help identify the stuff.

Other activities that take place on Lady Bird Lake include crewing, canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding, which are great ways to get up close to giant white swans and turtles. You might even catch a glimpse of the elusive gar. This is a long, prehistoric-looking fish with spots and a crocodile-like nose. From the water the city skyline looks pretty impressive—even breathtaking. For many locals, spending time on the lake in some sort of vessel is the best way to spend a Saturday.

Travel map of Austin, Texas
Austin

Canoes can be rented by Zilker Park Boat Rentals (512/478-3852, 10am-dark Mon.-Fri., 9am-dark Sat.-Sun. in summer and early fall, 10am-dark Sat.-Sun. in winter as weather permits, $12 an hour or $40 per day) at Zilker Park near Barton Springs Pool. They have 17-foot Alumacraft, Grumman and Michicraft canoes, and both Frenzy (one-person) and Malibu Two (two-person) ocean kayaks. Paddles and life jackets are provided.

If you prefer standing while traversing the lake, stand-up paddle-boards can be rented from Texas Rowing Center (512/651-5710, open daily during daylight hours). This boat rental go-to is located on the north side of Lady Bird Lake on the trail near Mo-Pac on Stephen F. Austin Drive across from Austin High School. The weird-looking recreational sport of standing on a surf board has become very popular. Texas Rowing Center also has rentals for other water sports, such as canoes and kayaks. Rates start at $10 an hour and go to $45 for all-day rental.

The most glorious way to experience the lake under the city skyline is by tour on a double-decker paddle-wheel riverboat. Lone Star Riverboat (512/327-1388, $10) operates this Mark Twain-style adventure March-October on weekends at 3pm.

Lady Bird Lake’s trails can be accessed at any of the downtown bridges and from several of the hotels on the river. The most convenient parking lot is at Auditorium Shores, on the south side of the lake at the foot of the 1st Street Bridge. However, a better place to park is in Zilker Park, on Stratford Drive under the Mo-Pac overpass. Peak recreation hours are before and after the workday, during the weekend, and on holidays. Swimming in Lady Bird Lake isn’t allowed due to dangerous whirlpools.


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Austin, San Antonio and the Hill Country.

San Martín de los Andes Recreation

Thanks to Lanín’s proximity, San Martín de los Andes is a mecca for everything from hiking and climbing to mountain biking, white-water rafting, trout fishing, and skiing.

Overlooking San Martín, at a maximum elevation of 1,980 meters, Cerro Chapelco ski resort draws enthusiastic winter crowds to 28 different runs, whose longest combination is about 5.3 kilometers. The diversity of conditions means it’s suitable for both experienced skiers and novices. Several winter sports events take place annually, including the snowboard world cup, snow polo tournaments, and many ski championships.

Lift-ticket prices depend on timing; the season runs mid-June-mid-October but is subdivided into low, mid-, and peak season. Chapelco Aventura (Mariano Moreno 859, tel. 02972/427845) is the resort office in San Martín; for current rates, check the website. Rental equipment is available on-site but also in town at Bumps (Villegas 465, tel. 02972/428491) and La Colina (San Martín 532, tel. 02972/427414).

Downhill skiing near San Martin de los Andes, Argentina.
Backcountry skiing in Cerro Chapelco. Photo © Eric Rodolfo Schroeder/123rf.

HG Rodados (Av. San Martín 1061, tel. 02972/427345) rents mountain bikes, which are ideal for secondary roads around Lago Lácar and the park.

Argentine rivers generally have lower flows and fewer rapids than their Chilean counterparts, but the Class II-IV Río Aluminé flows through spectacular scenery a couple hours north of San Martín. Rafting is best with the spring runoff in November and December. Contact Siete Lagos Turismo (Villegas 313, tel. 02972/427877) or Lanín Turismo (Av. San Martín 437, local 3, tel. 02972/425808).

Closer to San Martín, the Class II Río Hua Hum provides a gentler experience. Contact El Claro Viajes & Turismo (Coronel Díaz 751, tel. 02972/428876) or Net Sur (Teniente Coronel Pérez 1124, tel. 02972/427929).

For hiking and climbing, contact Rumbo Patagonia (tel. 0294/15-4634070).

For fishing gear and advice, visit the Jorge Cardillo Fly Shop (Villegas 1061, tel. 02972/428372).


Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Patagonia.

Hiking and Biking in Kona

Hiking and biking in Kona are two vastly different experiences. If serious hiking is what you’re looking for, you’ll want to visit other regions of the islands. Instead, the Kona area offers a lot of moderate trails that are almost always the means to getting to some awesome beach. On the other hand, as home to the famous Ironman World Championship, Kona takes biking seriously.

A cyclist on the last leg of the 2007 Ironman in Kona.
Pictured is a competitor in the 2007 Ironman race in Kona. Photo © Christian Reed, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Hiking in Kona

You can hike to Captain Cook Monument via the inland trail. It’s not the most exciting hike ever, but the destination is the goal. The trail starts on Napo‘opo‘o Road just 500 feet below where it drops off Highway 11 (between mile markers 110 and 111). Look for a group of three coconut trees right near a telephone pole. The trailhead will be obvious, as it is worn there. It will take you 60-90 minutes to descend and much longer to return to the top. While on the trail, if you see any side paths, just always keep to the left.

If you are looking for something more organized, try Hawaii Forest and Trails (74-5035B Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy./Hwy. 19, 808/331-8505). Although their headquarters is in the heart of Kona, their tours are outside this region, mainly to Kohala and Volcano. It is a wonderful company with an excellent environmental ethic—the tours are highly recommended.

Biking in Kona

On any given day you’ll easily see many serious bikers riding along Highway 19, sometimes faster than the cars. Some areas have semi-designated bike lanes. Highway 19 is an ideal ride: smooth and flat and uninterrupted for many miles. Check out PATH to learn more about efforts in Hawaii to develop bike lanes.

Since Kona is a bike town, there are many shops that build custom bikes for elite athletes. If you’re just looking for a rental, visit Cycle Station (73-5619 Kauhola St., 808/327-0087, Mon.-Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 10am-4pm, $20-75 a day). The website has an extensive list of what bikes are available, ranging from hybrid to luxury bikes. Another option with online booking options is Bike Works (74-5583 Luhia St., 808/326-2453, Mon.-Sat. 9am-6pm, Sun. 10am-4pm, $40-60).

If you’re aching for a guided or group riding tour, consider Orchid Isle Bicycling (808/327-0087, $125-145 per person), which offers four different trips. Some trips are for beginners while others are for more experienced riders, like the ride up the Kohala Mountain Range. Orchid Isle also offers week-long bicycling tours that include accommodations ($3,000) for those who want to cycle around the entire island.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

Exploring Bermuda’s Railway Trail

Stretching the length of the island, the Railway Trail provides a serene 20-mile artery through Bermuda’s parishes, safely away from trafficked thoroughfares. Abandoned as a train route when the island’s railway fell into disrepair after a brief run in the 1930s and ’40s, the trail today belongs to the National Parks System. Well maintained and signposted with interpretive historical information, as well as historic limestone parish markers, the trail is popular with runners, walkers, horseback riders, and nature-lovers. Try two of the best sections on foot or bicycle.

A pair of cyclists following the Railway Trail in Bermuda.
Cyclists along the Railway Trail in Bermuda. Photo © Craig Stanfill, licensed Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike.

Paget-Southampton

[pullquote align=”right”]The trail provides a green getaway in these busy central commuter parishes, making a perfect nature-filled expedition through residential neighborhoods.[/pullquote]The trail provides a green getaway in these busy central commuter parishes, making a perfect nature-filled expedition through residential neighborhoods. Enter at Rural Hill, Paget, on South Road just west of the Trimingham Hill roundabout. You can park a scooter here at the entrance gates or rent a mountain bike from nearby Oleander Cycles for an out-and-back of your desired distance (the huge limestone quarry at Khyber Pass, near St. Mary’s Church, and back is about 5 miles, out and back to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is closer to 9 miles). Proceed westwards, through a limestone-walled tunnel, past Paget Marsh and Elbow Beach—accessible via tribe roads—and onwards past the historic Cobbs Hill Methodist Church, scenic Belmont Hills Golf Club, and through thick spice tree woodlands populated with cardinals, lizards, and wild fruits like loquats and cherries.

Various main roads will intersect your journey; be extremely careful when crossing, as there are no speed bumps, stoplights, or crosswalks as yet. You’ll also have to step, or lift your bike, over the metal trail gates meant to prevent motorized traffic. At Tribe Road 2, scoot up to Gibbs Hill for lunch at the onsite Dining Room restaurant, or just ogle the stunning 360-degree views, before retracing your steps.

Flags fly beside a tall white lighthouse in Southampton Parish.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton Parish. Photo © Rosemary Jones.

Somerset Island

The beauty of the Railway Trail is that it offers a fairly flat, as-the-crow-flies route for taking in most of Bermuda. The Somerset section is a perfect example, including tarmacadam sections that make it the smoothest stretch for riding a pedal bike. If you’re on a scooter, park at Somerset Bridge, the world’s smallest drawbridge, and watch occasional boats making their way between the Great Sound and Ely’s Harbour in Sandys. Walk westwards through fascinating deep limestone cuts in the cliffsides, now covered in rubber tree roots and other exotic foliage. The trail hugs the coastline for long stretches here, giving marvelous views of the Great Sound. You can venture down to the shore edge, where several spots offer good swimming points to cool off. Continuing on, it’s worth climbing up to historic Fort Scaur to check out the cannons and eagle-eye views.

At Mangrove Bay, where the final Somerset Station stood, you can explore Somerset Village before heading back (out-and-back distance is about 3.5 miles). If you start at Dockyard instead, you can do the route in reverse, bringing a scooter or pedal bike on the ferry from Hamilton, or renting them at Dockyard’s Oleander Cycles outlet.


Travel map of Southampton Parish, Bermuda
Southampton Parish

Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Bermuda.

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