“A microadventure,” says Alastair Humphreys, the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and founder of a global movement, “is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.”
Sounds good, right? More importantly, it sounds do-able.
Microadventures, Humphreys argues, should fit in the 5:00 pm to 9:00 am window after each workday. Should you have a weekend free, they can also take a few days. They may involve wandering into the woods and setting up a camp or even having a slumber party in your backyard.
As part of Uproxx GPS, we decided to identify the best places to take a microadventure in all 50 states. Because Humphreys is adamant that a microadventure must include an overnight stay under the stars, we included campsite information with every entry. If you’re relatively new to spending the night out of doors, check out the camping info. If you’re a hardened vagabond, skip it and do things your own way.
Creating this list was punishing. When you actually sit down and start listing all the rad outdoor areas in a state, the magnitude of natural beauty in every corner of the country is made abundantly clear. How do you choose between the redwood forests, deserts, and coastal locales of California? How do you name the best place to adventure outdoors in Hawaii of all gorgeous freaking places? Clearly, we made it happen and we stand behind our picks… but it hurt. It also made us want to throw our computers out the window and go full wanderlust beastie.
Read through these adventures in the westernmost states in the United States and you too will want to get outside. Like, today.
Washington: Hoh Rainforest
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It’s hard to say what people outside of the Pacific Northwest think of when they think “Washington” — but it’s likely either Seattle, coffee, or weed. Well, in your face people-who-aren’t-familiar-with-the-state: WA has a rainforest. It’s the locally adored, Olympic National Park.
Located on the Olympic Peninsula (the westernmost part of the state), the national park has four regions: The dramatic coastline, all the alpine areas, the forests on the east side, and the temperate rainforest on the west side. This means the park has three completely separate ecosystems, which is rad (and rare). In 1909 Teddy Roosevelt created Mount Olympus National Monument; it became a national park 19 years later, under FDR. In the late 70s, UNESCO named it an International Biosphere Reserve, and the area received World Heritage Site certification in 1981.
So… the credentials are in place.
Coming in at roughly 922 thousand acres, Olympic NP hosts nearly three and a half million guests a year. Many of them are there for the Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the nation. The 50-mile long Hoh River travels from its starting point on lofty Mount Olympus to the Pacific Ocean, descending 7,000 feet as it travels. The Hoh campground features 88 sites along the river, allowing you to sleep among the moss and ancient trees. It’s year-round and first come, first served. There are actual flush toilets, which is its own special luxury, and a handicap accessible site. It’s a popular site, so this won’t just be you sleeping alone in the wilderness, but there is enough rainforest for you to spend the day exploring without crowds surrounding you.