As you get the kids ready for school and catch up on laundry from summer adventures, it’s a great time to start planning next summer’s activities! If your family is anything like mine, you have the best time when you’re active together. Vacations scheduled around physical activities can be challenging to plan and execute, but we’ve got some ideas to help you get your family outside next summer, or even before.
Time on the river is one of the best ways to unplug and enjoy the company of those around you. What you may not know is that there are a lot of different ways to enjoy the river—under the guidance of experienced adventurers. Whether your vessel of choice is a canoe, a kayak, or a raft, there is an outfitter that will make sure you have everything you need. Lots of them will join you for the journey and even take care of the cooking for you. Others have the option to rent all the gear you need and head out on your own. Try canoeing Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, kayaking the Colorado River, or rafting Westwater Canyon.
If you want to let the water toss you around a bit more and get in a little beach time, try a surfing trip for your family! Living in Utah we love rivers and lakes, but some ocean time with the family is always amazing. Surfing is physically and mentally challenging, and fun for all ages. Our friends at WildMex offer surf and stay trips in Sayulita and Punta Mita, Mexico. We had a blast with them in Sayulita last year.
Hiking is a great way to get the family together outdoors. You can set your own pace and keep things from getting too technical, or if you want a challenge, you can push it a little harder. If you’re up for rustic accommodations (tents) and minimal amenities (no showers!), multi-day backpacking trips are awesome. But if you’re just breaking into the art of family adventures, there are great places to visit, stay in town, and take day hikes. Of course we love Moab. In addition to hiking and admiring the breathtaking natural rock formations and canyons, you can dabble in world class biking and rock climbing. Telluride and Crested Butte, CO are two other fantastic natural playgrounds worth exploring.
Well, I have to admit, this is our favorite. And the reason we created Western Spirit Cycling Adventures. We want to help you and your family get out and enjoy the outdoors on two wheels. We have seen countless families make memories as they roll down picturesque descents and cheer each other on up challenging climbs. We have trips throughout the West, from Oregon to Idaho, through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. We offer a variety of trips for all skill levels, and if you don’t see one that looks perfect for your family, we can build a custom trip to fit your needs and occasion. Give us a call any time and we can start planning your adventure.
Whichever direction you choose, it’s never too early to set aside the time and start researching your trip. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and prepare for another school year to fly by!
Tags: Cycling, Hiking, River Trips
The Grand Canyon is inarguably one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful places in the United States. Its magnitude, color palate, wildlife, and history have fascinated countless visitors for hundreds of years.
The North Rim of the canyon is a higher elevation than the South Rim, and provides our favorite views. The Rainbow Trail is surely a North Rim highlight not to be missed. It is 18 miles long and was designed and flagged by Ranger John Kneeling, of the North Kaibab Ranger District. He spent three months flagging the route to make sure the trail never rose or fell by more than nine degrees. This makes for attainable climbs and fun descents. The Rainbow Rim is a beautiful ride that’s doable for cyclists of varying levels of experience, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our Grand Canyon Mountain Bike Trip.
Arizona Trail Singletrack
The Arizona Trail runs along the east side of the canyon and provides dramatic views of its upper sedimentary rock layers. Millions of years of erosion have exposed these layers of Kaibab and Toroweap limestones, Coconino Sandstone, Hermit Shale, the Supai Group and Redwall limestone. The singletrack on the Arizona trail also winds through Ponderosa pine forests as it makes its way across the state, covering 800 miles of terrain.
Seeing the canyon from above is one thing, but it is also pretty awesome to see the geological masterpiece from the perspective of the water. You need a permit to get on the river, so it’s best to find a guided outfitter to lead your trip. Ceiba Adventures is one of our favorite crews in the canyon, running custom trips that include whatever your group needs. They’ve been taking groups into the canyon for 30 years, so they know the ins and outs of the adventure.
North Rim Lodge
Every time we visit, my wife Ashley sits quietly for as long as she can on the porch of the North Rim Lodge. Don’t get me wrong, she is a force on the singletrack—but after a long day of riding or hiking, the view from the Lodge can’t be beat. If you’ve never seen it, it might sound cliché, but the sunset over the canyon is absolutely amazing to behold.
Hike the Bright Angel Trail
If you’re anything like me, you’ll see the canyon and want to hike down into it. I’ll caution you to remember that what goes down must come back up. Canyon hiking is interesting this way! The Bright Angel Trail was one of the first trails down into the canyon and an awesome way to get down into it. Just bring plenty of water, and expect the way up to be much more challenging than the way down. There are great views all along the way, so you can turn around at any point and still have a great hike. The National Parks Service issues stern warnings not to attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day.
Visit Phantom Ranch
If you take the Bright Angel Trail all the way down to the bottom of the canyon, you’ll find the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch. If you want to hike from the rim to the river, you’ll want to camp at the bottom before hiking back out. Space at the ranch is very limited, and reservations are required. You’ll need to book about a year ahead of time. But it’s well worth it to sleep in a rustic cabin on the banks of the Colorado River, at the bottom of a geological masterpiece. Keep in mind that the hike out is not for the faint of heart!
The Grand Canyon deserves a spot on every bucket list, and these are just a few of my favorite ways to enjoy it. The National Parks Service and GrandCanyon.com are great resources for more information about the park. And of course, we’d love to take you there on a Western Spirit Adventure.
Tags: Grand Canyon, Hiking, River Trips
Looking for something a little different to do with your family this summer? How about investing some time and energy into developing a skill that you can all enjoy together? Learning and having adventures together are guaranteed to make meaningful memories with your loved ones—and there are usually plenty of laughs along the way. Here are a few of our favorite activities that make for great family vacations, and some even include a pastime that you can enjoy together all year round!
It might be obvious, but this is our favorite activity. Intimidating to some, but loved by many, mountain biking is the perfect way to bring your family together and keep everyone happy and healthy for a lifetime! Kids and adults of all ages get a thrill out of cycling through deserts, canyons, forests, and mountains. Beginners and experienced cyclists can find a great summer adventure with Western Spirit, and if you’ve got a group of mixed abilities, we can accommodate that as well. Our family trips provide lots of additional activities along the way, including fishing, hiking, and swimming. A trip together can ignite or deepen your connection to mountain biking, which will continue to bring challenge and adventure to you and your family for years to come.
River trips are another great way to get your family together outside this summer. If you’ve got some experience on the water, but could use some help getting your gear and provisions together, check out an outfitter like Ceiba Adventures. They operate out of Flagstaff, AZ and can set you up with the whole shebang—everything you need to take your family through the Grand Canyon.
If you’re looking for a more intense and guided river trip, Canyon Voyages Adventure Co takes groups on awesome guided day trips. They’re based in Moab and they join us on our river kayak and mountain bike combo trip. From the Green River to the White Rim, this trip is the best way to see the canyons from every angle. This trip isn’t specifically designed for families with young kids so if you’re looking to get your little ones on the river, try one of Canyon Voyages’ day trips from Moab.
Rock Climbing and Mountaineering
Immerse yourself in natural history and geology, while using your mind and strength to defy gravity. Sounds like a great way to bring the family together, right? Everybody brings something different to their first rock climbing experiences. Asking for more than brute strength, families are often surprised at how naturally their kids take to scrambling up sandstone. For adults, with or without prior rock climbing experience, guided trips provide all the support, equipment, and education you need to have fun, rewarding, and safe climbing experiences. Moab Cliffs and Canyons has unique trips centered around “Rockaneering,” which combines their favorite aspects of rock climbing, canyoneering, and mountaineering into family friendly excursions.
So get outside this summer! Let nature be the backdrop for your photos and memories together. Contact our team with questions here.
Tags: Family, Mountain Biking, River Trips, Rock Climbing, Summer