Running 50 States – Grand Teton Half Marathon in Wyoming

When deciding where to run a half marathon in Wyoming during my quest to run in all 50 states, I just knew it needed to be in the Jackson Hole area so I could make a vacation of it and visit the two nearby National Parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone while in the area.

I came across the Grand Teton Half Marathon which was part of the Vacation Races race series. Vacation Races started in 2012 and holds races ranging from 5Ks to ultra marathons on both road and trails in or near National Parks across the country. I had heard nothing but great things about thier races and knew I needed to try one. I’m not one for trail races and think running in all 50 states is enough of a challenge, so I don’t necessarily need a difficult race, so the fact the Grand Teton Half Marathon was rated as easy, made it the perfect choice for my Wyoming half marathon.

Grand Teton Half Marathon Views

Even though I wasn’t looking for a challenging course, I definitely was not completely opposed to a challenge, so I decided to take on the Moose Double Challenge. This involved running the 5K on the Friday night and then the Half Marathon on the Saturday morning.

When I signed up for the races, I was imagining the perfect cool running weather, but after snow in the area just a couple of weeks earlier, it ended up being a warm 80 degrees for the start of the 5K. Add in over 6,000 feet of elevation for someone that is used to running at sea level and it might as well have been 100 degrees and humid. It was a tough 5K even though it was a completely flat course that mostly went along a bike path. The one advantage to being a slow runner during covid though is that they start you in waves based on your anticipated finish time, so I was in one of the last groups to start, so the temperature was going down a bit towards the end of the 5K. And I was also able to see the first group start, which was fun.

5K Start

It was a great race though and a good warmup to get used to the elevation for the Half Marathon the next morning. Or so I thought….

The morning of the half marathon started early, I had to be on a shuttle from downtown Jackson Hole to the start at 4:30am. I won’t lie, walking from the hotel thru downtown to the shuttle in the dark early morning hours had me slightly worried about running into wildlife, especially bears. Things that go thru a city girl’s mind when in bear country! Luckily I walked out of the hotel with two other girls also running, safety in numbers!

The race did not start until 6am and due to the staggered start, my wave wasn’t set to start until 7am. Unlike the 5K where the slower runner’s late start had a slight advantage, for the half marathon it did not. It meant sitting around for 2 hours and then having to run more in the hot sun. Luckily they did start us a little earlier than 7am since a week earlier covid restrictions had been lifted because we thought it was over and we could go back to normal (ahh, remember the good old days of the beginning of summer when we thought we could safely be back to normal).

The race started out ok, but it didn’t take more than a couple of miles before the altitude started to bother me, the 5K definitely didn’t help get me used to the altitude nor did the run I did a week earlier in Idaho at over 4,000 feet. I’m pretty sure that I would definitely have an easier time running in 95 degrees and humidity than at the over 6000 feet altitude! Don’t be fooled by my forced smile in the photo below. Many, many rundisney races have taught me to be on the lookout for photographers and put on my ultra happy face, no matter how awful I feel!

As hard as the altitude was to run in, the views along the way more than made up for it. I must say the views in this race were as beautiful as my favorite race in terms of views, Maui Half Marathon. Every mile of the race was more beautiful than the next! I managed to run/walk up until mile 9 then I did nothing but walk the final four miles until the finish line where I forced myself to run. I luckily started talking with another girl at mile 9 and we walked together for two miles, that definitely helped to pass the time.

I probably have never been so happy to see a finish line as I was to see this one. And the finish line views were incredible! Definitely the most beautiful and scenic finish line I’ve ever run thru! They had some great signs leading up to the finish line ad a great photo op after the race with the Grand Teton Half Marathon sign.

After talking with other runners after the race, I definitely learned that even though the altitude was difficult in this race, it is definitely one of their easier races. Some of the trail races sound beyond challenging. There are quite a few people that run all of the races put on by vacation races. I talked to one man who was traveling thru the country running quite a few of the them this year. They even had another challenge called the Grand Quad where you run the 5K and Half Marathon at Grand Teton and the 5K and Half Marathon at Yellowstone the following week. Very impressive how many were in this challenge.

Even with the altitude, I highly recommend this race for your Wyoming race if you are working to run all 50 states. It was incredibly organized and well run, great course support and just a beautiful course! I’d love to get in a little better shape and run another race in the vacation race series, we’ll see, I’m definitely not getting any younger so races just seem to be getting more difficult on my body, but hey, there is always the 5K’s at some of the locations that I can certainly conquer!

Looking for more to do while in the area for the race, check out my posts on Grand Teton and Jackson Hole.

Need help planning your 50 states running travel, Beyond The Miles Travel is here to help. Contact us today.

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Jackson Hole: An Ideal Summer Getaway

Jackson Hole is the name of the valley that sits below the Teton Mountain Range in the state of Wyoming, which is part of the Rocky Mountains. The valley includes the town of Jackson, Wyoming. While some may prefer to visit Jackson Hole in Wyoming during the winter to ski down the world class slopes, I think summer is the ideal time to for a visit to Jackson Hole.

There is just so many things to do in Jackson Hole in the summer:

Grand Teton National Park: The number one attraction that brings visitors to Jackson Hole during the summer is Grand Teton National Park. With hiking, lakes, wildlife and beautiful views of the Tetons, this National Park is a must for all outdoor lovers. Top things to see in the park are Jenny Lake, Signal Mountain and Colter Bay. Check out my one day itinerary for Grand Teton National Park.

Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone National Park: Speaking of National Parks, the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park is just 60 miles north of Jackson Hole. The Jackson Hole Airport is a popular airport for travelers to fly into when visiting Yellowstone National Park. This national park can’t be missed, known for it’s abundant wildlife, popular geysers and hot springs such as Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic and other natural features like waterfalls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It’s definitely one of the most diverse parks I have ever visited.

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Mormon Row: You can’t miss the Teton Mountain Range when in Jackson Hole. It’s absolutely breathtaking and one of the most popular photographed views of the Tetons is at Mormon Row. Technically part of Grand Teton National Park, I’ve included it separately as it’s off Highway 191 and can therefore be accessed without entering the park and it’s also on the National Register of Historical Places.

In the late 1890’s Mormons from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah settled into the town of Grovont, Wy, which is now known as Mormom Row. A total of 27 homesteads were built in the area. To this day, some of the homestead barns still stand on these grounds and people come from all over the world to photograph the John Moulton barn and the T.A. Moulton barn with the Tetons in the background. Sunrise is an especially popular time to photgraph Mormon Row.

Teton Village: This is a popular area surrounding the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This isn’t just a place to enjoy during the ski season, a summer visit is also great. Check out the shops and restaurants in the village. Ride the Aerial Tram or Gondolas to the top of the mountain for fabulous views and many hiking trails to explore. Pro-tip: Check the weather report before heading up. I took the Gondola up, was up there long enough to take some quick photos, pay for a beer and a snack that I was looking forward to enjoying with the view and we were all told that lightning was heading our way and we would need to go back down as they shut the Gondolas off when there is a lightning in the area. Guess I’ll just need to go back so I can enjoy more time up there!

Rafting on the Snake River: The 1,078 foot long Snake River starts in Wyoming and flows thru Idaho into Washington State. It flows right thru Jackson and is the perfect spot for a rafting adventure. From a scenic float to Class III whitewater, there’s a raft trip for everyone. I’m not the biggest fan of getting wet, especially when it’s really cold water, so I opted for the scenic float. It was a 13 mile float down the river, with not just the beautiful scenery of the Tetons, but also plenty of wildlife to see along the way. We saw a bald eagle and pelicans. I was really surprised with the pelicans, I always think of somewhere by the ocean or a river in the southern part of the US when I think of place I would see pelicans, I certainly didn’t think I’d see them in the mountains of Wyoming!

I highly recommend Teton Whitewater for your rafting trip. Their guides were knowledgable about the area and alot of fun.

Jackson Hole Rodeo: Wyoming is the “Cowboy State” and rodeo is the state sport, so how could you come to Wyoming and not attend the rodeo? The Jackson Hole Rodeo takes place every Wednesday and Saturday night in June and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights in July and August.

For this city girl, the rodeo was definitely a different way to spend a Saturday night. It’s an experience that you must have when in Wyoming. I had a lot of fun!

Downtown Jackson Hole: It may be small for a downtown, but Jackson Hole’s downtown has a lot to offer. During the peak travel months, traffic going into downtown can go for miles. Best to arrive in the morning and just spend the day exploring downtown to miss the worst of the traffic.

Located in the center of town is George Washington Memorial Park, otherwise known as Town Square. Each corner of the park features arches that are made of elk antlers. The arches are a great place to take a photo! The park is a great place to relax and enjoy the nice weather or on a warm day sit and enjoy an ice cream cone from Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream located nearby. I highly recommend the huckleberry ice cream. Or in the morning enjoy your coffee in the park, stop by nearby Cowboy Coffee. I absolutely loved getting coffee at this local spot every morning.

Arch at Jackson Town Square

The Jackson Hole Historical Society offers free walking tours from the Town Square during the summer months. These tours will take you past historical buildings while you hear stories of Jackson Hole’s history.

Have a meal or enjoy a drink in one of these historic buildings. Jackson Hole Drug has been around for over 100 years, it’s gone thru different ownership and closed and reopened, but as of 2016 it’s back under ownership of a new generation of the original owners. If you are looking for a casual meal, this historic soda fountain is the place for you.

Jackson Drug

Looking for a after dinner beverage, well look no further than Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. This fun bar has been around since 1937 and has been visited by people from all over the world, including many celebrities. They offer live entertainment and my favorite part was the saddle bar stools. My short self might have had a little trouble getting up on the bar stool. lol This is a must stop in Jackson in my opinion.

Check out the shops to pick up some great souvenirs, from the typical touristy t-shirts to great quality western wear and cowboys boots.

Dowtown Jackson Hole is a great place to stay as well, there are many hotels located downtown like the historic Wort Hotel which has been in business since 1941 and has been rated as one of the best hotels in the state of Wyoming.

These are just a few of the many things there are to do during the summer in Jackson Hole. With the great scenery, the outdoor activities are endless. It’s definitely the perfect spot for a family vacation.

One Day in Grand Teton National Park

Located just 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is another great national park, Grand Teton National Park. Named after Grand Teton which at 13,775 feet is the tallest peak in the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Teton Range is the youngest mountain range in the Rockies, forming between 6 and 9 million years ago caused by movement along the Teton fault.

Grand Teton is just one of 84 named mountains in the Teton Range. Many of the other mountains in the range are over 12,000 feet. They are quite the sight to see and so beautiful as they are often snowcapped throughout the year.

Teton Range

After a few busy days in Yellowstone National Park, I decided to just spend one day in Grand Teton National Park as there were some other things I wanted to do outside of the park in the Jackson Hole area. In one day you can definitely see a lot of the highlights of the park. Here is my one day itinerary for Grant Teton National Park.

Jenny Lake: One of the must see spots in Grand Teton National Park is Jenny Lake. I would plan on spending the entire morning in this area of the park. It’s definitely the most popular area of the park, so it’s a good idea to get there as early as possible to be able to get a spot in the parking lot. I would suggest getting there well before 9am, the earlier the better during the busy summer months, as I had to circle the parking lot a couple of times before I got a spot a little after 9:30am, I definitely should have started my day earlier!

Jenny Lake

At Jenny Lake, there is a visitor’s center as well as a paved .35 mile Discovery Trail down to the lake with signs explaining the history and landscape of the area. Jenny Lake is home to some of the most popular hiking trails in the park. For a solo traveler like me, popular hikes were the way to go as you want to be sharing the trail with others when hiking in bear country.

Two of the more popular hikes in the park are Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. These are located on the other side of the lake. There are two ways to access these trails. The first is the Jenny Lake Loop Trail that goes around the entire lake. This trail is 7.6 miles roundtrip and has very little elevation gain. Another way is to take the Jenny Lake Shuttle. You could also hike one way and take the shuttle the other way.

I chose to take the shuttle since I love to take any chance I can for a boat ride. Seeing the Tetons from the water was pretty amazing!

The Hidden Falls trail will take you to the only accessible waterfall in Grand Teton National Park. From where the shuttle lets you off, it’s a one mile roundtrip hike with 200 ft of elevation gain to the falls, making it an easy to moderate hike to the 100 ft Hidden Falls.

Hidden Falls are fed by the snowmelt from the Tetons. I visited in late spring, so the water was definitely moving pretty fast from all the spring snowmelt. This video below doesn’t even do it justice as to how much water and how fast it was flowing.

From Hidden Falls, you can then take the one mile roundtrip trail to Inspiration Point. This trail is fairly steep, gaining another 300 feet in elevation.

After gaining these 300 feet in elevation, you will reach Inspiration Point which is at 7,200 feet. The views of Jenny Lake and the Jackson Hole Valley below definitely make the steep hike up worth it. It’s a great place to stop and have a snack while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

If you have more than a day in Grand Teton National Park, check out some of the longer hikes at Jenny Lake. Hike the mostly flat Forks of Cascade Canyon trail or continue on from there on the stenuous Lake Solitude trail where you will gain 2,500 feet in elevation to see this alpine lake.

If you aren’t up for a hike, you can also take a scenic boat ride or rent a canoe or kayak on Jenny Lake. Also make sure to drive the 3 mile long Jenny Lake Scenic Drive and stop to take in the views of the lake along the way.

Signal Mountain: After a morning at Jenny Lake, drive Teton Park Road over to Signal Mountain. The 7,727 foot Signal Mountain offers beautiful panoramic views of the Tetons and Jackson Hole. On a one day trip to the park, the perfect way to reach the summit is to drive the Signal Mountain Summit Road to the top. The road is narrow in spots but is an easy ride. There are pullouts along the way up to stop and take photos. You can really get some beautiful views of Jackson Lake at the stops along the way up. The views at the summit are definitely not to be missed. There were so many wildflowers at the top that just added to the beauty of it all.

If you have more than a day in the park, instead of driving to the summit you could hike the moderate 6.8 mile Signal Mountain Trail to the summit.

After enjoying the views from the summit, head back down Signal Mountain Summit Road to the Signal Mountain Lodge. The lodge sits right on the the shores of Jackson Lake. This is a great place to stop for a lakeside lunch. The lodge offers a few restaurants, at this time, most are take out only, but it’s the perfect place to find a spot to sit by the lake with your takeout lunch. Pro-tip, the quesadillas are huge, they have a full or half portion, I got the half portion and barely finished it (and I have a HUGE appetite, especially after hiking in the morning). In fact the takeout container was really heavy, that’s how big of a portion it was, but it was also one of the best quesadillas I’ve had in a while, highly recommend.

Colter Bay: On the northern end of the Teton Range is Colter Bay on the shores of Jackson Lake. The views of Jackson Lake with the Tetons as a backdrop are absolutely stunning! Take an easy 2 mile hike on the Lakeshore Trail.

If you have the time you can also rent a canoe or kayak to enjoy Jackson Lake.

Tips for Visiting: Whether you are visiting the park for just one day or multiple days, here are some helpful tips to enjoying the park.

  • Arrive early – it’s important to get an early start to help beat the crowds and make parking easier. National Parks have been busier than normal the past couple of years as more people are taking road trips and wanting to spend their vacations outside.
  • Hike in a group – Grand Teton National Park is in grizzly bear country, so it’s advisable to never hike alone and to try at minimum have at least three people in your hiking group.
  • Carry Bear Spray – To go along with hiking in a group, also carry bear spray with you while in the park. Bear spray is something that most people will never have to use, but it’s well worth the $50 price tag to have it with you on the rare chance you need it, it could very well save your life.
  • Keep your distance from wildlife – Seeing wildlife is exciting and we all want that great photo, but remember for your safety to keep 100 yards from bears and wolves and 25 yards from all other wildlife.
  • Wear sunscreen – Being at a higher elevation, you are closer to the sun, you will burn quicker than normal, so sunscreen is a must!
  • Bring plenty of water – At higher altitudes you can also get dehydrated quicker than normal. As with all hikes, it’s important to have plenty of water with you to avoid dehydration.

Although you could spend days exploring Grand Teton National Park, you can still manage to see quite a lot in just one day there. I hope this will help you get the most out of a one day visit!

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If you need help planning your Grand Teton vacation, Beyond the Miles Travel is here to help.

USS Constitution – The Oldest Commissioned Ship

The USS Constitution is not only the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy, its also the oldest commissioned ship still afloat in the world! Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the USS Constitution is part of the Freedom Trail and definitely a must see historical attraction!

The USS Constitution was commissioned by George Washington to protect America’s merchant ships. After three years of construction and three launch attempts the ship was finally launched in 1797.

The ship’s most noteworthy event was it’s involvement in the War of 1812. During the war the USS Constitution defeated five British warships and numerous merchant ships. During one of the battles in the War of 1812, British cannonballs that were fired at USS Constitution simply bounced off the sides of the ship and the crew said the ship must be made of iron. This is how it got the nickname of “Old Ironsides” It’s actually the triple layers of pine and oak used to construct the ship’s hull that gave it this iron strength.

Old Ironsides

The ship was retired in 1881 and was stationed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine until 1907. At that point it was turned into a museum ship. In 1925, the first restoration of the USS Constitution began and then in 1931, it set sail for a 90 city tour of the United States. In 1934, the ship returned to it’s home port in Boston. In 1997 and 2012 it set sail to celebrate it’s bicentennial and the bicentennial of the War of 1812. It would undergo a few more restorations in the 1970s, 1990s and most recently in 2015-2017. It’s permenant home is the Charlestown Navy Yard and that’s where you can go see this historic ship.

Wheel of the USS Constitution

As a fully commissioned ship of the the US Navy to this day, the USS Constitution does still make a few sails out into the Boston Harbor each year to turn the ship around so that each side is equally exposed while docked to help prevent damage to this old ship. Seeing this ship turn around is quite the sight and it was the annual 4th of July turn around sail that led me to spend a day being a tourist in my hometown and visiting this ship for the first time since I was a young child.

The event starts at 10am in the Charlestown Navy Yard where the USS Constitution begins it’s sail into the Boston Harbor. It heads into the harbor where it eventually reaches Castle Island in the South Boston neighborhood of Boston around 11:30am. Being that I live just on the other side of South Boston, I walked over and started the day there. The ship is usually at Castle Island until noon and there is a huge crowd waiting to witness the turn around of this ship.

Prior the ship turning around and heading back to it’s home at the Charlestown Navy Yard, the ship does a 21 gun salute. Then the turn around begins and even though I’ve seen it many times before, it’s still pretty amazing to see. Check out my video below to see for yourself.

USS Constitution Turning Around at Castle Island

If you want to catch the turn around from the water, there are many boating companies that do have cruises that day to see the turn around.

The turn around is a short but pretty amazing sight. This year I decided to then head over to the Charlestown Navy Yard to go on the ship since I hadn’t been on it since I was very young. And we all know that your perception of something when you are a young child vs. when you are an adult are completely different. The ship was going to be available for tours from 3pm-6pm that afternoon, so after lunch at the popular Sullivan’s at Castle Island, I set out for the Charlestown Navy Yard.

USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard

The USS Constitution is located in the oldest neighborhood of Boston, Charlestown. It’s docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard which is one of the oldest shipbuilding facilities in the United States. Since the USS Constitution is a stop along the Freedom Trail, the best way to get there is to walk there from Downtown Boston while following the famous red line on the ground that signifies the Freedom Trail.

The Charlestown Navy Yard is operated by the US National Park Service. Admission onto the ship is free and you will need to show your drivers license or passport and go thru security screening prior to entering.

Seeing the ship up close is pretty impressive, but once you get onto the ship that’s where things are really amazing to see. They have done a great job with the restorations over the years so we can all enjoy this beautiful ship.

There are three levels that you can explore, the top level and the two indoor levels. You will need to walk down the stairs into the lower levels like you are walking down a ladder, so it might be challenging for some. The one thing that was surprising to me when I was exploring the lower levels was how low the ceilings were. I’m pretty short, just 5 ft 2 in. and I even I felt like I almost had to duck in certain spots. I couldn’t figure out how these sailors, who I would assume would be MUCH taller than me could get around the boat. Well as it turns out the average height was only 5 ft 6 in. back then. It’s always surprising to me how much taller people are now compared to 200 years ago.

It was interesting to see how they lived on the ship. From the sleeping conditions of the majority of the sailors on the ship to the private bedrooms for those higher up in rank.

The second level of the ship was lined with cannons on both sides. Great to see the impressive cannons that they used to defend the ship.

Cannons on the USS Constitution

There are sailors scattered thru the ship to answer any questions that you may have as you are exploring the ship.

After you are done exploring the USS Constitution, make sure to visit the other attractions at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

The USS Constitution Museum is a great place to check out either before or after visiting the ship. The museum is great for all age with lots of interactive activities that both kids and adults will enjoy. It’s a fun way to bring some more education about the history of the USS Constitution to your kids. The museum is free to enter but they do accept donations. There is a donation box when you walk in as well as a cashier if you would like to donate via debit or credit card. Donations help to keep the museum open.

USS Constitution Museum

Also located at the Navy Yard is the naval destroyer, USS Cassin Young. The USS Cassin Young was used in both World War II and the Korean War. It was named after Captain Cassin Young, a medal of honor recipient for his heroism at Pearl Harbor. It’s one of only four Fletcher class destroyers still afloat and is considered a National Historic Landmark.

USS Cassin Young

Finally make sure to check out the view of Boston from the Navy Yard. While it might not be as impressive as other views of Boston, it’s a different perspective and a good mix of new modern buildings with old historic buildings such as the Old North Church and the Custom House.

View of Boston from Charlestown Navy Yard

The USS Constitution should be on everyone’s must see list when visiting Boston and if you happen to be in the city for the 4th of July, make sure to check out this 200 year old ship setting sail in the Boston Harbor.

Yellowstone – More Than Just Geysers and Hot Springs

When people think of Yellowstone National Park, the first thing that comes to mind is the famous geyser, Old Faithful. But while the geysers, hot springs and other hydrothermal features are amazing and a must see there is so much more that Yellowstone has to offer.

Yellowstone was established in 1872 as the first national park. The park covers over 2.2 million acres located mostly in Wyoming but also stretching into Montana and Idaho as well. There are five entrances into the park that lead you to 466 miles of roadway to explore this massive park. I spent three days in the park and feel like while I saw the major sites, that I didn’t even scratch the surface of things to see here.

So what is there to see other than the over 10,000 hydrothermal features.

Wildlife: The other thing that may come to mind other than Old Faithful when you think of Yellowstone is wildlife. Other than Alaska, Yellowstone has the most wildlife of anywhere in the US. There are 67 different types of mammals that live in the park including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, elk, pronghorn, coyote, linx and moose.

It’s not unusual to be driving the roads of Yellowstone and see wildlife alongside the road, crossing the road or just roaming in the road. When you see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road that’s a sign there was a wildlife sighting. While exciting, remember to pull over slowly and find a safe place to park your car. It’s also important to remember that when in Yellowstone, we are visitors in the animals home and to respect that. For safety, it’s important to stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards from all other wildlife.

While you may spend your trip to Yellowstone searching for a grizzly bear or a wolf and leave without seeing one, the one animal you will definitely see alot of throughout the park is bison. There are over 4000 bison in Yellowstone and they have no fear being around people or cars. They seem to love just walking right down the middle of the road causing the infamous “Bison Jams” that can cause you to be stuck in traffic for hours. I speak from experience as the first day I was there I was in a 2 hour bison jam and the last day I was there it was an hour bison jam that caused me to miss a kayaking trip. Important Tip: Give yourself a couple of extra hours if you need to be somewhere in the park by a specific time.

But even though the bison causes lots of traffice and aggravation, they are still amazing to see. Nothing like them walking right next to your car down the road! Spring is a great time to see wildlife in the park. The animals are coming out of hibernation and this is also when the babies are born. Baby bison are called “Red Dogs” due to them being an orange-red color and they are just adorable. My dream of seeing a bear leading some adorable cubs across the street didn’t come true, but I know that must be quite a great sight!

The best place for wildlife viewing is the Lamar Valley. Often referred to as America’s Serengeti, this is where the largest population of wildlife is in the park. In this area of the park, you are sure to see lots of wildlife.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: This is definitely a can’t miss spot in Yellowstone. I could have spent an entire day exploring this area. The canyon is 1,000 feet deep, 20 feet long and reaches 1,500 to 4,000 feet wide in different areas of the canyon. It’s thought the canyon formed by the Yellowstone River eroding the rock that had been weakened by hydrothermal activity.

The canyon is quite the sight to see. There are two drives that you can take, the North Rim Drive and the South Rim Drive.

The North Rim Drive will take you to multiple lookout points to view both the Upper and Lower Falls of the Canyon. There are also hikes at the different lookout points. I hiked the trail to the Brink of Lower Falls. The trail is only 3/8th of a mile but it’s a steep 600 foot walk down. This is a very popular hike and I saw people of all ages and wearing all types of footwear, including flip flops (even as a huge flip flop fan, I must say it, do NOT hike in flip flops, you are just asking for an injury if you do!) The view once you reached the bottom of the falls was just beautiful.

Check out the video below to see just how close you get to the falls and the beautiful rainbow.

Considering the steep drop down to the falls in such a short distance, the hike up was a little challenging especially on a hot afternoon. Luckily there were spots to stop to the side and take a little break without being in other hiker’s way. I’ll admit I had to stop a couple of times. You also get a really great view of just how impressive the canyon is when you look at it from the lower falls. It was absolutely beautiful!

Along the South Rim Drive are other lookouts and hikes. One of the most popular stops along the South Rim Drive is Artist Point. Artist Point is definitely a must see view in Yellowstone. The view definitely lives up to the hype, it’s absolutely stunning, in fact it’s so beautiful that it almost doesn’t even look real! There is a large parking lot and the view is just a short 5 minute walk from the parking lot.

Artist Point

Waterfalls: The Upper and Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone aren’t the only waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. As I was driving thru the park, I stopped a couple of other waterfalls. What’s a visit to a National Park, without a random stop at a waterfall?

Located between Madison Junction and Norris Geyser Basin is Gibbon Falls. The falls drop 84 feet into the Gibbon River. There is a trail along the river to see the falls from different viewpoints.

Heading south from Yellowstone Lake towards the South Entrance, you will pass the 30 foot tall Lewis Falls.

Yellowstone Lake: Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in North America. It’s 7,733 feet above sea level and is 20 miles long and 14 miles wide. At the bottom of the lake are geysers, hot springs and deep canyons. A popular area on the lake to see is West Thumb where some of these underwater hydrothermal features are located.

A great way to enjoy the lake and get up close to West Thumb is to take a kayaking tour. During my visit, I was signed up for a 6 hour kayaking tour but as I mentioned earlier, one of those infamous “Bison Jams” caused me to miss it.

Fishing is another great way to enjoy the lake. Yellowstone Lake has the largest population of cutthroat trout in all of North America.

You might me thinking, swimming in the lake sounds like a great idea, but think again. Due to the high elevation of the lake, the water stays very cold even during hot days in the summer. The average water temperature is 41 degrees fahrenheit, so swimming is not recommended.

The views of the lake are absolutely stunning and there are plenty of lookout points to stop and take in the view. There is something about a lake with the snow capped mountains in the distance that just seems so beautiful. The lake reminded me a bit of one of my favorite places in the world, Lake Tahoe.

Yellowstone is definitely the most diverse park you will ever visit. There is definitely something for everyone and it’s a place that should be visited by all at least once.

Lamar Valley Hike at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park may just be the most diverse park I have ever visited. While the Hydrothermal areas are fascinating to see, the wildlife is another huge draw for people visiting the park. While you can see plenty of wildlife throughout the park, the Lamar Valley has the largest population of wildlife of the whole park. Due to the large number of wildlife in the Lamar Valley, it’s often been referred to as America’s Serengeti. To name just a few of the animals you can see in the Lamar Valley are wolves, grizzly bears, bison, coyotes, pronghorn, elk and eagles.

Lamar Valley

Alot of people will just drive out to the valley and stop in one of the many pullouts to view the wildlife, but taking a hike is an even better way to see the wildlife. For safety from animal encounters, hiking is best done in groups in Yellowstone and you should avoid hiking alone or even with just two people. A great safe way to hike in the Lamar Valley is to go on a guided hike. When I visited Yellowstone, I booked my hike thru Yellowstone Hiking Guides.

Our guide met the 9 of us that were signed up for the hike at 8am at the Lamar Valley River Trailhead for a six hour hike that covered six miles along the Lamar River Trail. Since you must stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards away from all other wildlife, the guide provided us all with binoculars. We were also provided with hiking poles and a bag with lunch and plenty of snacks. The guide had bear spray on him and we were told to get into a tight circle behind him if we were to encounter a bear, which thankfully we did not, unfortunately we didn’t even get to see one from far away.

Bridge at the beginning of the trail

The hike started out by crossing a bridge and then we continued into the meadow. After taking so many hikes thru the woods, it was different to be hiking in a meadow. It definitely made for a warmer hike due to being fully exposed to the sun the entire hike. The great thing about having the guide was that he was able to tell us some information about the different wildlife and the area itself. In fact, everyone in the group was great about adding in their own knowledge about certain animals.

But probably the biggest highlight to having the guide and the others in the group was that everyone was on the lookout for wildlife and chances are someone would be looking in a different direction than you and could point out wildlife you might not see if you are in a smaller group.

While we didn’t get to see any bears or wolves, we got to see plenty of bison, even had some blocking our path that we had to wait for them to move before continuing on. We also saw quite a few pronghorn, an elk from quite the distance, osprey, a bald eagle and a golden eagle. I was quite amazed with the golden eagle and have now decided that I want to be an eagle in my next life. Who wouldn’t want to fly and then perch themselves up high above where they get a great view of everything!

This was definitely a time when I wish I had a fancy camera with a good zoom lense and wasn’t just using my good old phone as my camera. I’m very grateful for the binoculars though, the views I saw thru them will just have to live on in my memory instead of in a photo.

The hike is great for all abilities as we went slow and stopped often to view the wildlife. About halfway thru the hike, we stopped and sat by the river to have lunch. It was definitely a beautiful area to relax a bit in the middle of the hike. The lunch provided was pretty good, it was a sandwich, chips, apple, peanuts, fruit snacks and a granola bar. One of the things I would definitely recommend is to bring enough water. One of the people in our group just brought one 20 oz bottle, which was not enough. They suggested that everyone bring 2 liters of water with them.

Lunch views

I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone visiting Yellowstone, especially if you are traveling alone or with just one other person, safety in numbers in bear country is important! While we did not see any bears or wolves, the amount of bison and pronghorn we saw was quite amazing and I’ll never forget seeing that golden eagle.

Lamar Valley

Yellowstone National Park is huge! When I visited I stayed in West Yellowstone which ended up being a 2 hour 15 minute drive from the Lamar Valley, this is without the traffic caused by bison jams, which happens often! If you are not up for such a long drive (which includes the stress of a bison jam causing major traffic and making you late) so early in the morning, I would recommend staying on the northern side of the park the night before the hike in Gardiner, Montana.

I’ll end this post with a video of the hike after we waited for the bison to get far enough off the trail for us to go forward.

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Exploring the Hydrothermal Features in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park became the first national park in 1872 and to me it will always be the most unique national park. When I think of national parks, I think of places to hike, visit waterfalls and see wildlife. Yellowstone has all of this but also has many hydrothermal features from it’s volcanic geology which makes it truly unique from other national parks in the US. I will be the first to admit, the hydrothermal features made me stop and think of how strange this planet really is. It makes you think of all the natural things going on under the ground that we just don’t think about. The hydrothermal features in Yellowstone are both strange and fascinating at the same time!

There are 5 different types of hydrothermal features located in Yellowstone National Park.

  1. Hot Springs – The most common hydrothermal feature, these occur when rainwater and snowmelt seap into the ground and becomes hydrothermally heated and rise to the surface.
  2. Geysers – These are hot springs where the water is prevented from circulating which in turn causes them to periodically erupt for the heat to escape.
  3. Fumaroles – These steam vents occur when the water evaporates before coming to the surface.
  4. Mudpots – Acidic hot springs that dissolve the surrounding rock.
  5. Tavertine Terraces – Hot springs that rise thru limestone and create what looks like a cave turned inside out.

There are over 10,000 hydrothermal features located in Yellowstone National Park with over 500 active geysers, which make up half of the geysers in the entire world. This makes Yellowstone a great place to visit not just for Americans, but for citizens around the world.

There are multiple areas spread throughout the park that you can see the hydrothermal features. This post will discuss the top four areas you must visit Lower Geyser Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Upper Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs.

Lower Geyser Basin: The Lower Geyser Basin is approximately 11 square miles, making it the largest geyser basin in Yellowstone. It includes multiple areas of thermal activity, the most popular of which is the Fountain Paint Pot Area.

Fountain Paint Pots Trail

This was the first spot that I stopped at in the park. I was amazed at the effect that the thermal activity and volcanic geology has on the area. It’s not just the hydrothermal features that are fascinating but also the effect on things like the trees and the surrounding ground. Looking around, I kind of felt like I was on another planet.

Fountain Paint Pots area included 4 of the 5 types of hydrothermal features, everything but the tavertine terraces. There was a trail that was approximately a half mile long. The trail was on a boardwalk. It’s important to stay on the boardwalk as the hot springs, geysers, mudpots and fumaroles are all extremely hot and would cause serious injury.

The most impressive thermal feature in this area to me was the Silex Spring. The color of it was beautiful, a good preview of the much more colorful hot springs that I would see later in the park. The Clepsydra Geyser was erupting and could be seen as i was driving up to the area. Even walking on the boardwalk, you ended up walking thru the steam from this geyser.

Seeing the thermal features in action was a very interesting experience. It truly is amazing the things that occur on this planet! Check out this video of the Fountain Paint Pots:

Midway Geyser Basin: The Midway Geyser Basin has the least amount of thermal features, but also the most beautiful thing to see in the entire Yellowstone National Park in my opinion.

Excelsior Geyser was once the largest geyser in the world back in the 1880s. At present it is still a fairly large crater spouting lots of water and steam.

There are two hot springs, Opal Pool and Turquoise Pool which are beautiful to see.

When you compare these two pools to the star of the show in Midway Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic, they sadly look unimpressive. Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone stretching 300 feet across, it is also the most colorful. The colors pop the most when the sun is straight overhead during the midday. Early in the morning there is usually too much steam obscuring the view. This is unfortunate as the parking lot at Midway Geyser Basin is pretty small and finding a spot mid day is quite difficult. I visited it around 6pm and even then had a hard time trying to get a parking spot. But Grand Prismatic was still very impressive to see even with the steam obscuring some of the color.

If I had time I would have headed back to this area the following day and took the short hike to the overlook for a much better view. One mile down the road from Midway Geyser Basin is the Fairy Falls parking lot, which is a bit bigger than the parking lot at Midway Geyser Basin. From there you can take a .6 mile hike 105 feet up to the overlook and you can see Grand Prismatic in all it’s glory like the photo below, courtesy of wikipedia. I do regret not having time for this, just a reason to visit Yellowstone again sometime in the future I guess.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Upper Geyser Basin: The largest concentration of geysers in the world as well as some of the largest geysers in size in the world are located within one square mile at the Upper Geyser Basin.

Shortly before arriving at the main area where the famous Old Faithful Geyser is located is Biscuit Basin. This is a beautiful area to check out some of the hot springs with less of a crowd. There is a short half mile boardwalk trail to take here.

The Old Faithful area is the busiest part of the park. Even people not into National Parks have dreams of seeing Old Faithful erupt in person. It’s a beautiful area but also a very touristy area. There is a visitor center, an inn and lodge, restaurants, gift shop, general store and gas station. But you just cannot come to Yellowstone and not see Old Faithful, even if it means standing in a huge crowd of people waiting for it to erupt.

Old Faithful erupts more frequently than other large geysers in the park and it’s fairly easy to predict when it will erupt plus or minus 10 minutes, which is how it got it’s name. On average it erupts every 90 minutes but can be anywhere from 50 minutes to two hours in between eruptions. They are able to predict the timing of the eruption based on the last eruption and how long it lasted. The shorter duration of the eruption, the shorter amount of time in between that eruption and the next. The rangers post the predicted timing of the next eruption. I will say, I saw it erupt twice while I was there and it erupted within 5 minutes of their predicted time.

Check out the video below on the Old Faithful Geyser eruption:

Old Faithful is definitely not the only thing to see in Upper Geyser Basin. If you have the time take the Upper Geyser Basin Loop trail. This trail is mostly on boardwalk with some pavement and I clocked it at about 3 miles long. There are numerous hydrothermal features to see on the loop trail. It was interesting at 10:30am see some of the other geysers with predicted eruptions at 4 or 6pm and lots of empty seating in front of these geysers. You’d really have to be in the right place at the right time to see these erupt or sit for a while.

There were many impressive hot springs and geysers along this trail but by far the most beautiful was Morning Glory Pool. The colors of this hot spring were so beautiful and it was such an impressive thing to see. Made up for not seeing Grand Prismatic without the steam. This alone makes taking the long trail worth it in my opinion.

Mammoth Hot Springs: The final major area of hydrothermal features is Mammoth Hot Springs located near the Northern Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Like the Old Faithful area, this area can seem rather touristy, with visitors center, lodging, restaurants, gift shops and a gas station.

But this is the area of the park that features the fifth type of hydrothermal features, tavertine terraces, so it’s definitely worth checking out. These terraces will make you feel like you are looking at something from another planet. There are a couple of ways to view the terraces, you can park by the lower terraces and walk the boardwalk all the way to the top. This is a great way to see all of the terraces. Or for the upper terraces, there is also a parking lot by them. I walked all the way from the lower to the upper terraces after being up since 4am and hiking for 6 miles, probably would have been better to park near each and save my already sore legs a bit.

Seeing all these hydrothermal features at Yellowstone National Park was quite fascinating, kind of a surreal experience. Very different from the wildlife and nature also seen in the park. This alone makes Yellowstone a great destination for people all around the world to visit some day.

Running West Virginia at the Canaan Valley Half Marathon

Last month I ran my first in person race of the year. In my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states, I headed to West Virginia to run the Canaan Valley Half Marathon.

I had never been to West Virginia before and had no idea what to expect or where to even run a half marathon. I came across the Canaan Valley Half Marathon and the area looked like a great place to visit and the end of April would the ideal running weather.

Well I thought heading south from Boston at the end of April would give me ideal weather, but I forgot I was heading to the Mountain State, so two days after it was in the 70s in Boston, I was driving into the Canaan Valley Resort with snow coming down. Not what someone who really, really, really hates snow wants to see. Luckily though the snow was short lived and didn’t even stick to the ground. And by race day the weather was perfect for running!

Canaan Valley Resort

The race was held at the Canaan Valley Resort. It’s very convenient for a race to be held right at the hotel you are staying at. I checked in on Thursday evening and spent Friday exploring the local area, which was so beautiful, if you’d like to learn more about the area, check out my post on Canaan Valley West Virginia.

That evening a went to bib pickup up which was right in the hotel and then went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. There was a pretty long wait for dinner, so I ended up having dinner with three other girls who were also running that I met while waiting. I was literally at the two weeks after my vaccine that day and after a year of not being indoors with anyone else unmasked this was quite the risky move for me, but I’m so glad I did it, it was great to actually have a meal with new people that I just met and talk about other races we had all run. Meeting people is one of the biggest things I have missed this past year when there haven’t been many in person races.

So many hils

To accomodate social distancing, the race was held on both Saturday and Sunday morning. I ran on Saturday morning and the weather was perfect, it was sunny and cool, great for running. Sunday morning featured alot of fog, so I’m so glad I had chosen Saturday, I wouldn’t have had much motivation to run on a foggy morning.

I usually am pretty bad about looking at the elevation chart of a race beforehand, but this time I did and was prepared but still not all that happy about the amount of hills in the race. Hills are definitely my nemesis and I avoid them at all costs.

The race course was very beautiful, the majority of it taking place on the golf course at the resort.

The race started with a big downhill and you know how they say, “what goes up must come down”, well the reverse is also true, “what goes down must come back up”. So of course the very end of the 13.1 mile race was up a ridiculously steep hill, talk about earning your medal in that last tenth of a mile! A picture can’t even represent how steep this hill was!

The last hill!

Other than hating the hills, this was a really great race. A beautiful course, convenient start and finish right at the resort and extremely well run race. They also had a 5K and 10K race in addition to the half marathon. If you wanted to do the 5K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday, you could complete the Conquer the Valley Challenge and earn yourself three medals.

I highly recommend this race if you are running all 50 states and looking for a well run race in a beautiful area to visit.

Lilacs at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston

After the long Boston winters, there is nothing like getting outside during spring. While my absolute favorite place to visit in the spring is the Boston Public Garden, Arnold Arboretum is a very close second. And the highlight during spring at the Arboretum is definitely the lilacs!

History of Arnold Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum has been around for over 100 years. Back in 1872, the trustees to the will of the owner of the land, whaling merchant James Arnold, transferred a portion of it to Harvard University to be used as an arboretum. Ten years later in 1882, Harvard University granted the land the arboretum is on to the City of Boston to be included in the 7 mile long public parks system known as the Emerald Necklace which was designed by famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. This agreement is to last 2,000 years, so the Arnold Arboretum is hear to stay for well past our lifetime!

The Arnold Arboretum is located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston which is also home to the brewery of the most famous beer brewed in Boston, Sam Adams. The arboretum covers 281 acres and includes a living collection of 15,500 plants, a herbarium of 1.3 million specimens and a library with over 40,000 volumes. The arboretum is used by Harvard University to study plant biology, evolution, ecology and horticulture.

The Lilacs of Arnold Arboretum

There are many different flowers and plants to see and a lot of different walks to take, but the lilacs are the star of the show in the spring. There are over 400 lilac plants in the arborteum representing 179 different kinds of lilac. They can be viewed from late April thru mid to late May each year.

The lilac collection at Arnold Arboretum is one of the oldest and largest in North America and is thought to date back to as early as 1806 before the Arboretum was even established. The oldest lilacs in North America are located just an hour north in Portsmouth, NH and it’s said they were planted in 1750. Lilacs are so popular in the New England states as they are best grown in colder climates. While lilacs have a history in North America, the vast majority of lilacs originated in Asia and the most common type of lilac, Syringa vulgaris originated in eastern Europe.

When most people think of lilacs, they think of the color purple, but lilacs come in a whole rainbow of colors. My favorites are the purple, pink and white variety and when you see them all together the colors contract each other well.

While walking thru the lilac collection, take note of the signs. There are stories behind many of these lilac plants. Whether it’s a lilac cultivated, donated or named in honor of someone, each story is great to read and makes walking thru the garden more interesting. A self guided tour is available to learn more about the lilacs.

Lilac Sunday

The lilacs at the Arnold Arboretum are so popular that in 1908, Lilac Sunday was born. This annual event was originally held when the lilacs were at peak bloom, but it has since moved to the second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day. The event features guided tours of the lilacs and is the one day of the year that picnics are allowed in the arboretum. In 1997, a new lilac was cultivated at the Arboretum and was named Lilac Sunday after this popular annual event.

More than lilacs

There are many other flowers and plants to see in the Arboretum and spring is a great time to see them. There are many paths throughout the arboretum to take. There are many self guided tours you can take both virtually online or while in the park on the Expeditions app to learn more about the different plants as you walk thru the park.

The Arboretum is a beautiful place to spend a spring day and it’s large enough that you could easily spend an entire afternoon there. They also have a visitors center which is interesting to check out as well. The visitors center has been closed for the past year.

Visiting Arnold Arboretum

The Arboretum is open daily from sunrise to sunset and admission is free. It’s accessible by public transportation and there is free on street parking outside the Arboretum.

Who wants to head to Lilac Sunday next year?

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Things to Do in Canaan Valley West Virginia

The Canaan Valley is located in the northeast corner of the Mountain State of West Virginia within close proximity of the states of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Due to it’s location along the Blackwater River and the Allegheny Mountains, it’s an outdoor lovers paradise no matter the season with so many things to see and do!

Blackwater Falls State Park – Named after the 57 foot tall waterfall flowing from the 34 mile long Blackwater River, Blackwater Falls State Park is the top things to do in Canaan Valley. You can view the falls from the east and west. On the west side of the falls there is a boardwalk with 200 steps that will take you to a couple of different viewing platforms that are fairly close to the falls. The current boardwalk was finished in December of 2004 and is the third such boardwalk built, the first of which was built in 1961. Prior to the boardwalk being built, people would have to climb over trees and boulders down the natural path to the falls. Depending on the time of year, the boardwalk could be almost as treacherous as the natural path down to the falls was. I visited in late April and there was a snow storm earlier that week, leading to a very icy, slushy walk down the boardwalk. But the view of the Blackwater Falls was definitely worth it!

On the east side of the falls, the Gentle Trail is a .02 mile out and back trail that is wheelchair accessible. This trail provides a view of the falls from a distance.

While Blackwater Falls are the star of the show at the park, there is also another waterfall, Elakala Falls and beautiful overlooks and viewpoints to see.

Activities in the park in include hiking 20 different trails, swimming, fishing and boating. In the winter, Blackwater Falls State Park is home to the longest sled run on the east coast of the United States.

The park has both cabins and campsites and is a great place to stay in the Canaan Valley.

Canaan Valley Resort State Park – When I visited Canaan Valley, I stayed at the Canaan Valley Resort which is actually located inside one of West Virginia’s largest state parks, Canaan Valley Resort State Park.

Canaan Valley Resort has a lodge, cabins and campsites for guest to stay in. And the great part is you are staying right in the middle of a state park. So right outside the lodge, are 18 miles of hiking trails to explore. The resort even offers guided hikes.

Also available at the resort is a golf course, swimming pool, bike rentals, tennis court, mini golf, horseshoe pits and a scenic chairlift. During the winter there is 47 skiing and snowboarding trails for everyone from beginners to the advanced skier. There is also an outdoor ice skating rink, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails and a snow tubing park.

It’s the perfect all season resort to stay at or visit for the day.

Towns of Davis and Thomas – If you are looking for small town charm, check out the nearby towns of Davis and Thomas. With populations of 600 +/- people in each town, Davis and Thomas are the quintessential small town America. You won’t find the big chain restaurants, coffee shops or stores here, which makes them so great to explore.

While I was in the area and was looking for somewhere for lunch, I came across Picnic in Thomas. This takeout taco spot had amazing reviews, and by amazing I mean people were saying they had the best tacos they have ever eaten anywhere! I knew I had to check it out and I must agree, the tacos were to die for! They are only open Fridays thru Sundays and are takout only. If the weather is nice, there is a beautiful lawn where you can sit and enjoy your tacos. I cannot recommend this place enough!

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge – These 16,000 acres are a great place for wildlife watching, hunting, horseback riding and 20 different hiking trails of all abilities.

Dolly Sods Wilderness – Another great area for hiking is Dolly Sods Wilderness. There are 47 miles of hiking trails. It’s also a great area for camping, hunting and fishing.

Seneca Rocks – Located less than an hour from Canaan Valley is Seneca Rocks. Take a 3 mile round trip hike to an overlook with beautiful views. And if you are feeling more adventurous, this is also a popular rock climbing spot, but make sure to be trained in rock climbing as there have been a number of deaths that have unfortunately occured here. Even if you aren’t up for rock climbing or the hike, the rocks are a beautiful sight to see from down below.

Seneca Rocks

Seneca Caverns – Not far from Seneca Rocks is Seneca Caverns. These caverns are said to be 4.5 million years old and this area is home to some of the most caves in the entire United States. They have been open to the public for cave tours since 1928. Guided tours last an hour thru the caverns that are 165 feet below ground. The tour is a combination of history and information on the cave with some light humor added in, like naming some of the formations found in the cave based on what they look like. It’s definitely a fun tour to take. They also offer gemstone mining, a gift shop, restaurant and picnic area.

How to get to Canaan Valley – Canaan Valley West Virginia can is located about a 3 hour drive from both Washington DC and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Canaan Valley isn’t a very well known tourist area, but it’s definitely worthy of a visit with so many great things to do. I’m very glad I discovered this hidden gem of West Virginia. If you are looking to visit the state of West Virginia, I highly recommend visiting Canaan Valley.

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