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The Best RootsRated Reads of 2016

12/29/16 by RootsRated

If 2016 has taught us anything, it's that... well, nevermind. We won't venture down that rabbit hole. What we will do, however, is reflect on some of the incredible stories that our dedicated team of writers produced about the outdoor life this year. So, settle in with some coffee and enjoy some of our favorite reads, running the gamut from campfire recipes, tips from angry Colorado locals, and heartfelt tales about man's best friend. Enjoy!

1. The RootsRated Guide to Every National Park in America

The Grand Canyon in all its glory.
The Grand Canyon in all its glory. Jake Wheeler

To celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, RootsRated's editors assembled an Insider's Guide to every park in the system. We hope you enjoy reading them, but we really hope you get out and enjoy them!

2. Scoring a 100-Day Ski Season (Without Quitting Your Job)

In which the author trades sleep for a Brighton sunrise.
In which the author trades sleep for a Brighton sunrise. Beth Lopez

The 100-day ski season is a magical benchmark in ski-bumming mythology. This is the story of how our go-to ski expert, Beth Lopez, bagged 100-days on the slopes amidst naysayers and intense 60-hour workweeks.

3. 10 Amazing (and Attainable) Thru-Hikes Across the Country

Camp vibes along the John Muir Trail.
Camp vibes along the John Muir Trail. Rick McCharles

Since these trails don’t get nearly the same press as the jewels of the triple crown—and aren't nearly as long either—the odds of getting a week of breathtaking vistas all to yourself are even better.

4. Lost and Found: Backpacking California's Lost Coast Trail

Alone along the sand and surf of California's Lost Coast.
Alone along the sand and surf of California's Lost Coast. Matt Palmer

"The Lost Coast Trail has forever changed my perception of not only the California Coast, but also what a wilderness backpack trip can be. Over those four days we saw more bear tracks than people, passed more coastal cliffs than crowds, and heard only the cry of seabirds. Sometimes, the best backpacking trips occur in places you least expect to find them."

5. America's Top 10 Hardest Day Hikes

The final fin of rock to the top of Angel's Landing.
The final fin of rock to the top of Angel's Landing. Lindsey Tate

A collection of some of America's hardest hikes packed with thrilling elements such as airy exposure, difficult navigation, gutsy traverses, and long distances.

6. There are No "Secret Spots"

Exploring Colorado's Red Cloud Peak Wilderness Study Area.
Exploring Colorado's Red Cloud Peak Wilderness Study Area. Bob Wick, BLM California

We want to inspire people to get outdoors, and we think sharing information about where to go makes outdoor recreation more accessible for everyone. Have a problem with that?

7. How to Plan a Menu for a Long Distance Backpacking Trip

Backcountry cooking with a view.
Backcountry cooking with a view. Laura Lancaster

If you’re planning your first long hike, whether it’s for six days or 60, you’ll want to spend some time considering what to eat, how much, and when. Here's a good starting point.

8. Great Whites and Great Waves: A Surf Road Trip from Seattle to San Francisco

Sunsets along a six day solo sojourn from Seattle to San Francisco.
Sunsets along a six day solo sojourn from Seattle to San Francisco. Drew Zieff

The surf road trip of a lifetime—a six-day solo sojourn from Seattle to San Francisco replete with shark sightings, beach camping, ego-crushing surf sessions, and perfect glassy sets.

9. 93 Miles Around Mount Rainier: Thru-Hiking the Wonderland Trail

Encircling Mount Rainier for 93-miles, the Wonderland Trail is worthy of any backpacker's bucket list
Encircling Mount Rainier for 93-miles, the Wonderland Trail is worthy of any backpacker's bucket list Laura Lancaster

Jaw-dropping vistas, gorgeous wildflowers, lowland forests, wild rivers—the Wonderland Trail has it all.

10. National Parks Too Crowded? Visit These Nearby National Forests Instead

Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Caribou-Targhee National Forest's Jedediah Smith Wilderness.
Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Caribou-Targhee National Forest's Jedediah Smith Wilderness. Jake Wheeler

A broad-stroked roundup of the (far less-crowded) national forests that border 10 of the most-visited national parks in the country.

11. Shylie’s Last Hurrah: Backpacking in the Desolation Wilderness for an Old Dog

Shylie briefly tolerates a portrait with a juniper tree overlooking the Desolation Valley. 
    Kara Guzman
Shylie briefly tolerates a portrait with a juniper tree overlooking the Desolation Valley. Kara Guzman

The heartfelt tale of Shylie, an old wolf-like mutt, who taught her human a thing or two about what life is all about while exploring California's Desolation Wilderness.

12. Skiing the Southern Colorado Powder Highway

Wolf Creek dishes up freshies off Alberta Peak.
Wolf Creek dishes up freshies off Alberta Peak. Avery Stonich

A 1,000-mile journey from the Front Range that strings together some of Southern Colorado's best ski mountains.

13. 6 Outdoors Tips from Angry Boulder Locals

There are no bikes in this picture. Let's keep it that way!
There are no bikes in this picture. Let's keep it that way! James Dziezynski

Behind Boulder's veneer of detached enlightenment, there are a lot of people who put the Type-A in "namaste".

14. 10 Reasons to Strongly Consider Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc features 105 of the most breathtaking backcountry miles in the world.
    Matt Guenther
The Tour du Mont Blanc features 105 of the most breathtaking backcountry miles in the world. Matt Guenther

In the summer of '16, our sales guy, Matt, hiked this incredible trail, wrote this story about it, and consequently convinced pretty much everyone in the RR office to add it to their bucket list.

15. 7 Days in the Grand Canyon State: The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip

While the Grand Canyon certainly shouldn’t be missed, there is so much more to the beautiful, desert-painted Arizona landscape. And a week-long road trip is the perfect way to do it.

Here's to an adventurous New Year ahead!

Originally written by RootsRated.