“There’s an enormous body of evidence compiled over decades, showing that the best way to improve your mood is a ten-minute walk,” says Stephen Kiesling, editor-at-large, Spirituality & Health and author of Nike’s Walk On! “Walking is better than meditating, better than a candy bar, and better even than calling a friend.” So what makes the benefit of that 10-minute walk even better and long-lasting? A glorious hike in a spectacular place—especially when there’s an opportunity for a spa treatment and a great meal at the end. With that in mind, we’ve gathered five very special hikes.
The Osthoff Resort & Kettle Moraine State Forest
Hike the trails of the beautiful Kettle Moraine State Forest featuring hilly terrain and glacial landforms accompanied by Melanie McManus, the only person to have twice thru-hiked the 1,150-mile Ice Age Trail. McManus and The Osthoff Resort have partnered for this special weekend to bring you guided hikes through local segments of this part of Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail, spacious overnight accommodations, and the elegant amenities and culinary creations of the AAA Four Diamond Osthoff Resort.
Offered October 25th through 27th, the weekend includes: Two evenings in a two-bedroom suite; Friday welcome reception and dinner at Elkhart Inn; Ice Age Trail guided hikes and discussions with Melanie McManus; Sunday European Brunch at Lola’s on the Lake Restaurant; Complimentary glass of wine with dinner at Lola’s, Otto’s or Elkhart Inn Restaurants; and 20% off all Aspira Spa services, Friday through Sunday. From $335 per person, plus tax and gratuity (double occupancy). Single rates available. For more information or click here for the full itinerary.
Mountain Lodges of Peru & Machu Picchu
Mountain Lodges of Peru, a spirited adventure company with a strong commitment to the communities and environmental resources of Peru, has launched new and exciting programming offering unique, limited-departure journeys through the Andean highlands to Machu Picchu. One of those is the Wellness and Yoga Experience to Machu Picchu– Combining exhilarating hikes, wellness workshops, and focused yoga practices with meaningful cultural immersion and interaction with locals, this journey will dazzle travelers with expert-led programming such as “Ayurveda for Life”; “Mysore Ashtanga Yoga Method: Build Your Own Practice”; a philosophy workshop on “The Heart of Yoga’ with discussion of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga”; “Sun Salutations’ amid the Mandor Nature Preserve” followed by a visit to the Circle of Life; and a visit to Machu Picchu. There will be four departures in 2020, from April 13th, to December 14th.
Rancho La Puerta’s Ember of the Valley Trail
Rancho La Puerta introduces a very special new hiking trail, Ember of the Valley, named in honor of Emily Shenandoah Brightwood, the daughter of The Ranch’s president, Sarah Livia Brightwood. A challenging four-mile loop, the trail takes hikers through Kuchumaa Passage, which points to the sacred Mt. Kuchumaa. There is a 3.5-mile option, if the last half-mile loop up a steeper section of trail on Mt. Kuchumaa feels too intimidating. Rancho La Puerta is set on 4,000 magical acres and offers all levels of guided hikes “from meadows and stream-sides to high up into the boulder-garden foothills of Mt. Kuchumaa.”
Calabash Cove Resort & Mount Gimie
For fitness enthusiasts looking for a truly unique island experience, Calabash Cove Resort and Spa, a boutique 26-room resort and spa, arranges private climbs of Mount Gimie, Saint Lucia’s highest peak. Mount Gimie is the tallest mountain on the island of Saint Lucia. The mountain’s peak reaches 950 meters (3117 feet). It is of volcanic origin and is covered by lush tropical rainforest. With a few days advance notice guests just need to bring good hiking gear and a backpack and Calabash Cove will arrange a private guide, lunch and the transfer to the foot of the mountain and back. The tour takes all day with approximately 5-6 hours of hiking in steep terrain. This is not a run of the mill activity. Some participants take 9 hours for the hike, trekking through two valleys, along a small creek and up and down on a barely visible trail. In some places the guide has to clear the path from overhanging vegetation. People do it only seldom and it is not unusual for hikers to turn around half way! After the day’s strenuous climb, return to Calabash Cove and rejuvenate those tired limbs and muscles at Ti Spa, the resort’s on-site spa with one of their luxurious massages or treatments with indigenous ingredients. For more information, visit www.calabashcove.com.
Red Mountain Resort & Zion National Park
Renowned for its gorgeous red rock setting and topnotch hiking options, Red Mountain Resort offers a plethora of outdoor options for all levels of hikers. Two of note are the Candy Cliffs Hiking Adventure (seasonal availability; confident explorer hikers and above) and the Zion National Park Hiking Adventure. Sign up for the Candy Cliffs hike and enjoy incredible views of Zion National Park, Grand Staircase, and Pine Valley mountains along with some mind-blowing geology. Hike on wave-like red sand stone, and be sure to look for the heart shaped rock formation hand crafted by Mother Nature. This is an off-the beaten path adventure, without the crowds of the parks, but with some of the most incredibly colored sandstone in our area. Confident explorer hikers and above. Half day trip, includes lunch. Plan on an all-day trip when you sign up for The Zion National Park Hiking Adventure. One of the scenic natural wonders of the world, Zion National Park is famous for its deep canyons, sandstone cliffs, and stunning vistas. Red Mountain Resort’s experienced guides will lead you though the stark contrasts of lush forestland and colorful mountain peaks in Utah’s first National Park.