Oct 10

Nebraska Trails

Great Plains Trail

historical trail

portion of Bison Trail

I recently added two new Nebraska trails to Trailsnet.com. One was the Bison Trail and the other was the White River Rail Trail. Both of them may some day be part of the Great Plains Trail that will run from the U.S./Canada border all the way down to the Guadalupe Mountains in Texas.

White River Trail

The White River Trail is a short but sweet rail trail that runs from Crawford, Nebraska to historical Fort Robinson. Although short on length, it is long on charm. The trail itself is peaceful and easy-riding. At each end, trail lovers will enjoy the history of Fort Robinson and the quaint, small-town joys of Crawford, NE.


Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/10/10/nebraska-trails/

Sep 24

Bike Trails in France

Dream of Cycling International Trails

French bike touring guide

Experience France by Bike

I devour bike trail guides like most people read fiction novels. Trail guides are my way of living vicariously through the writing of others. I’ve had the good fortune of traveling all over the United States riding bike trails and traveling all over the rest of the world leading student tours. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to combine those two and ride the great international trails like the ones found throughout Europe.

French Canal Trail Makes Great Bike Ride

So it is with great pleasure that I introduce an incredible bike guide by Maggie LaCoste of Experience France by Bike. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, Maggie’s bicycle blog is excellent and a must for those who enjoy active traveling. Now Maggie has published the first in a series of bicycle touring guides that will highlight the best bike routes in France. What I like best about Maggie’s guides is that they’re well written and easy to follow and, most important, they are extremely valuable for the rest of us. By “the rest of us,” I mean those of us who enjoy biking as a way of experiencing the splendors of the destination. In other words, the guides are for those who are as much into traveling, site-seeing and local culture as we are into bicycling.

From Blois to Chateau de Chambord

Maggie’s premier bicycle touring guidebook is entitled A Weekend Trip from Blois to Chateau de Chambord and makes a great read for those who plan to do enjoy a bike vacation in France or even those who just love to dream of enjoying a bike vacation in France. The guidebook is not at all expensive, but it makes great reading and provides invaluable reading material for European bicycle tourists. The book can be purchased as a PDF publication or as an e-book for Kindle, iPad or Nook. I hope you decide to read Maggie’s wonderful bicycle guide so we can have an online discussion about it. Please feel free to contribute comments here on the Trailsnet blog once you have started reading the guide. I look forward to your feedback.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/09/24/bike-trails-in-france/

Aug 23

Beautiful Coastal Walks In The UK

Coastal Hikes in Great Britain

©Flickr: John47kent - A Room With A View

Image courtesy of ©john47kent (Flickr)

Coastal walks can provide a necessary escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Gentle walks along one of the many beautiful coastal locations in the UK, joined by a significant other, can add an infusion of romance into a relationship. Day tripping to a fantastic coastal walk with the kids can be an inexpensive but enjoyable family getaway on a budget. Dramatic and breathtaking views of stone fortresses atop rocky isles on an unaccompanied nature walk can ignite a sense of discovery and adventure in one’s day to day life. The possibilities for a pleasurable coastal outing are truly endless, as a dose of fresh sea air can bring about a serenity that is often missing from the technological and fast pace of a twenty-first century life. As the UK is gifted in its abundance of beautiful coastal environments, your escape may only be a stone’s throw away.

Hiking Ramsgate to Broadstairs, Kent

©Flickr: AnnieMole - Clifftop Walk Solva

Image courtesy of ©Annie Mole (Flickr)

This beautiful, 5 mile coastal walk running along the shore of Ramsgate to Broadstairs and then back again is a great introduction to the wonderful world of coastal walks. As this walk follows along the sea wall for its duration, it provides a very easy trail to manoeuvre for one not yet well-versed in coastal walks. At different times in the season, this sea wall walk can be quite windy, so be sure to bring along a windbreaker jacket for your trek. Allow 2.5 to 3 hours to fully enjoy all that Kent County has to offer.

There is really no better place to begin a costal walk than the Royal Harbour Marina on the English Channel in Ramsgate. With 700 berths, the marina is one of the largest in the south of England, providing a great atmosphere for a budding sailor or one with even just a slight interest in the open sea. Following the promenade north from the marina, pick up the Thanet Coastal Path, and begin to take in all that surrounds you. Feel free to stop at any point and admire the beautiful Royal Victoria Pavilion, the Ramsgate Sands, or the King George VI Memorial Park. On a clear day, looking out to your right will bring the north coastline of France into view, a great opportunity for amateur photographers to hone their skills. As the trail continues north, follow along the East Cliff. Depending upon the tide at the time of your walk, continue either on the cliff’s edge or down onto the beach at Dumpton Gap, both providing

uniquely beautiful costal views of Broadstairs. As your journey reaches its northern-most point at Viking Bay, you will see the 150 metre horse shoe shaped beach that is a favourite of bold surfers, locals to Broadstairs and tourists alike. Turn around at the Broadstairs pier, and retrace your steps home. With two opportunities to walk along the sea wall, be sure to keep an eye out for the little things you may have missed on your northern walk.

Hiking Whitesands to Solva, Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is one of only fifteen British National Trails that represent the best walking trails in the UK. The many varied landscapes that the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path take the traveller through, truly sets it apart. Along its 186 mile length from Poppit Sands to Amroth, the costal path crosses landscapes ranging from tall cliffs of limestone to dormant volcanic headlands, from bays of red sandstone to glacial valleys carved out during the last Ice Age that have since flooded. Quaint towns filled with relaxing bed and breakfasts line the costal path; each begs the

inquisitive traveller to explore what it has to offer. Named the second best coastal destination in the world by National Geographic in 2011, the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path has been called a “haven of wildlife” for the puffins, grey seals and, if you have a keen eye, peregrine falcons that call the coastal path home. As the sheer length of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path may be off-putting to some, rest assured that the Coastal Bus Services offer year round service for those looking to explore segments of the path at a time.

If you were to walk one segment of the coastal path, the stretch from Whitesands to Solva is a great introduction to the beauty of the Welsh coast, as the many access points and availability of bus service make for a great nature outing without a feeling of isolation. This 13 mile course begins in the low cliffs of Whitesands, providing great views of

Ramsey Island and beyond. Continuing along the coast brings with it varying plateaus and hills, with easy gradients between them. Highlights of your trek will surely include the wildflowers that line the coast as you near Treginnis, the magnificent view of Skomer Island across St Brides Bay, as well as the majestic horses that often graze the path between Caerbwdy and Porth y Rhaw. All in all, this beautiful section of the Pembrokeshire Costal Path will surely leave you eager to explore more.

Emma-Jane Swaffield published this on behalf of Beeches Holiday Lets who offer holiday lets in Broadstairs with a range of stunning accommodation across the Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate area in Thanet, Kent.
Featured images:


Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/08/23/beautiful-coastal-walks-in-the-uk/

Aug 21

eBikes on Trails Garners Lots of Comments

Most Popular Trailsnet Article for Comments

electric bike on trail

E-bike on trail

Should electric bikes be allowed on trails? That was the question in a December 12, 2012 guest blog post on the Trailsnet website. And it’s getting more comments than any other blog post on the Trailsnet website.

Electric Bike Rules Being Debated Nationally & Internationally

While many countries are moving toward making electric bikes more attractive, the United States is dragging its feet and seems to be discouraging people to purchase and use electric bikes. This makes little sense since electric bikes promote exercise, environmental responsibility and recreation. Of course, like with most policies, it is driven more by money than anything. The automobile and fossil fuel corporations still call the shots, and electric bikes and electric cars are still seen as a threat to them. It is in their best interest to keep building roads and promoting fuel-guzzling automobiles and to discourage alternative transportation, trails and personal transportation vehicles.

eBikes Regulations Debate

So take a look at the eBikes on trails blog post

and share your thoughts. Should electric bikes be allowed on trails or not?

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/08/21/ebikes-on-trails-garners-lots-of-comments/

Aug 11

Hiking Trail In South Africa: The Otter Trail

Cape Town Trail

The great Otter Trail in Cape Town, despite turning 50 earlier this year, is one of those beautiful hikes in the world which is rarely known to the world. This 42 km long hike, going past the exquisite South African beaches and crossing over 11 rivers, is a delight for people who like adventure in aesthetic lands. Challenged by numerous tourists every year, this adventurous trial goes past South Africa’s lesser known Garden Route. It engulfs the mouth of 11 rivers in its entire stretch starting from the Storms Rivers Mouth and ending at the Nature’s Valley. This 5 day long trail is a way for few to alleviate themselves from the stress, while many come here to enjoy the serene beauty and experience the challenge it throws up. The spectacular trial follows the marvelous coastline of South Africa’s Tsitsikamma National Park in the Eastern Cape. The grand Indian Ocean, clattering at the rocks, is among the few sounds one can hear in this area. The marvelous caves, cliffs and waterfalls, especially the multi-layered fall near the beginning, along with numerous rivers silently embracing the sea, make the location even more picturesque. Dolphins, seals and whales, along with the very rare Cape clawless otter, are few creatures that are not hard to locate during the hike. You’ll also find not one but numerous rare species of birds. The virgin forest and the widely known South African fynbos, spread along the beaches and over the cliffs, will stun you even more whereas the wildlife flowers are too good to avoid. The walk goes past numerous steep ascent and descent, while crossing 11 rivers, which demands great skills, planning and abilities, so you have to be physically as well as mentally ready to take up this hiking trial.

The Otter Trail

Overnight Trail

The trail with four overnight destinations has accommodation hut for only 12 people, which gets booked up pretty fast. So it is strictly recommended to make the bookings well in advance, like many others who book around a year ahead. There is no provision to get necessary items on the trail, so you must carry everything you’ll need, such as eatables, utensils, crockery, cutlery, flashlights and sleeping bags, along with cooking stoves. Ensure that all your belongings are packed in a waterproof carrier, as you might get wet more than often while crossing the river or in the rain. An overnight stay at the Storms River Mouth RestCamp – the starting point of the trail – is something you should look forward to, as this is one of the best camp grounds in the world. The rib feast and the South African wine are a few essentials you should have in the cheap restaurants at the Storms Mouth River RestCamp.

Tsitsikamma National Park Trail

Be advised to take up the trail in a group of 3-4 people, an early start is suggested for this, which should start by registering for the Otter at the Tsitsikamma National Park entry gates. The documents which you’ll get from here, especially the instruction manual to safely cross the rivers, the tide tables of rivers, and the route map are few things which you’ll really find useful during your 5 day long journey. Hopping past the huge boulders, there are little chances of getting lost, as the way is nicely marked with directions. There are 4 mandatory night camps, with hut facility for 12 people, and cold shower. You have to prepare your own meals and tenting is strictly prohibited. Dry stock of wood is supplied by Sanparks and is kept underneath the huts. Stream water can be used to drink but it is advised to treat it beforehand.

Hut to Hut Hiking

The first 4.8 km till the first mandatory overnight camp is pretty easy to hike. The second day begins with an uphill climb to Olienboomkop passing through the virgin forest. The journey is of 7.9 km before you make it to the second overnight camp at Scott Hut where Geelhoutbos River flows into the river offering quality swimming space in the fresh water. The third day journey ends at the Oakhurst huts crossing the Elandsbos and the Lottering while covering 7.7 km. The fourth day journey is the longest of all stretching over 13.8 km to the André Hut before crossing the dangerous Bloukrans River. It is advised to reach the river at the time of low tide, as mentioned in the manual provided at the beginning of the trail. The river is pretty hard to cross otherwise, so it’s better to wait for next 12 hours for the tide to get lower, instead of trying something else. After the night stay at the André Hut, the last day’s journey goes past the Swing River, while crossing a plateau en route to Nature’s Valley and stretches to around 6.8 km. There is a restaurant in the Nature’s Valley – the only restaurant of the valley – where you can get the Otter certificate and a ‘shot’ to celebrate the completion of your hike. You can get a shuttle or any other ride back to the starting point of the trail, while there are provisions to spend a night in the Valley as well.

South Africa Hiking Trail

The clambering and slippery rocks make the journey even more difficult but it is worth in gold to be part of this great expedition. The permit is not easy to get for the Otter Trail and you must have a little South Africa information to get the permit. There is no online registration process for the trail and the booking has to be made well in advance as the camping seats are quite low. Only 12 hikers are allowed to start each day. There are no refunds and you can’t replace others for your reservations. The booking fee of 4 nights in camp for this astonishingly rejuvenating trail is $95 for foreign nationals, while $53 has to be paid as conservation charges separately. It is extremely important to plan the season and timing of the trip, as harsh weather makes things difficult. The tide table has to be followed carefully, and high precautions have to be taken while hiking the Otter Trail. It rains a lot in this area and crossing the river might also make your belongings wet, so waterproof bag is a must have for you. There is hardly any mobile phone reception on this trail, with little exceptions. The escape points are many on this journey, but it’s better to keep track of things before taking up the expedition. Keep these points in mind before taking up the trail to this peaceful abode of wilderness and enjoy a great trip.

Featured images:

Rohan is a freelance travel writer with a passion for traveling all around the world. He is currently working with ContinentTours.com and has written extensively about tourism in Africa and in many other continents.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/08/11/hiking-trail-in-south-africa-the-otter-trail/

Aug 04

Trail On Kakum National Park

Canopy Walkway

Featuring Africa’s only canopy walkway, the Kakum National park is the best place to visit in the entire Africa if you are a wildlife enthusiast. Located in the coastal region of Ghana, the park is famous for its preserved virgin forest. Covering an area of 145 sq mi, the park was first established in 1931, but it earned the status of a national park in 1992, after a survey of avifauna. The factor that sets it apart from other preserved parks is its establishment, which was done at the initiative of local people instead of State authority responsible for preserving the wildlife in Ghana. The 350 meter long canopy walk, connecting seven tree tops and hanging 40 feet above the forest floor, allows you to experience the profound wildlife while swaying above the ground. It provides a better view of the moist flora of the forest which otherwise is not possible; thus it is a particular favorite among tourists. The forest is also known for the dense population of African elephants inhabiting in Ghana. Other creatures existing in the forest, such as butterflies, birds, monkeys, giant bongo antelope and yellow-backed duiker, are also quite famous about this national Park. The park, by the funding from CI, has been exclusively developed to incorporate a rainforest, a secondary forest and a bird watching pond for tourists, making it to support three ecosystems.

What lies beneath the surface?

Kakum National Park is not that easy to trek, and you need an expert with you all the time. Precautions have to be taken throughout the trail, as numerous dangerous animals and poisonous snakes exist here in abundance. The canopy walk is really a delight for tourists and is among the main reasons behind people visiting this place. However, its aesthetic wildlife is what makes this national park a renowned name in the world. The canopy walk gets flocked by people in the day, so it is better to be here in the morning. The moist forest with the butterflies and birds can also be experienced best during early morning from the canopy walk, so get there as early as possible in the morning. As many as 250 species of birds and over 500 species of butterflies, as well as staggering types of large mammals, make the Kakum National Park a delight for nature lovers. The Afafranto Campsite within the Kakum National Park allows you to camp here for an unforgettable night. Mosquito nets and sleeping kits have to be arranged on your own, but you can rent then within the park quite easily. The accommodation for the camp is little, so it is better to book in advance to avoid rush.

What you can’t afford to miss?

When traveling to the Kakum National Park, you should visit Mesomagor – a nearby village – famous for its Bamboo Orchestra. This unique Orchestra uses bamboo instrument to produce melodious music blended with local traditional dance. The village also offers quite a few options to try the Ghanain cuisine. Drinking the local gin and visiting the cocoa farms are among the unique experiences you can have in this village. The Kakum National Park is famous for its medicinal plants and, with the help of an expert guide, you can learn a lot about these plants on your trail. There are other numerous hidden areas in the forest which have to be visited with an expert assistance. The Kakum Rainforest Café is the only place within the national park where you can refresh yourself with drinks and food. It is equally famous on the park due to the unique fruit juices and Ghanian dishes that it serves. You also have an option to order International cuisines here.

How to reach?

Cape coast – the regional capital – is the easiest way to approach the Kakum National Park. The tro-tro service of shared taxi in Ghana is the cheapest way to reach here, while you can also get a cab from Cape Coast for the one hour journey. The nearest international airport is in Accra, located around 129 km off the park. Taxis are plentiful from Accra to the Kakum National Park at quite cheaper rates. Rental cars, particularly 4×4 minivan vehicles, are also pretty easy to get, but as the number of such rides are low, a lot depends on bookings as well. You can get an accommodation to rest in Cape Coast at really cheap rates, while food is also not much expensive in the area. There are sufficient hotels around Cape Coast to cater the needs of tourists, which include quite a few 3 star and 4 star hotels. So don’t mind to relax back in a hotel in Cape Coast after your trial, or prior to it. You can visit this abode of great wildlife throughout the year, but it is better to avoid the monsoon season. Winters hardly get harsh here and summers are often too hot.

Other tips

The foremost thing you’ll need for a trial on the Kakum National Park is an expert help who can guide you better through the forest. So it’s better to look for an experienced guide instead of spoiling the entire fun. If you intend to camp here, then you should get your own sleeping kit along with mosquito nets and mosquito repellents. The nature has immensely bestowed its charm in this area, so don’t mind spending a little more time here. There are a few other places neighboring the Kakum National Park that you must check out while travelling here. This includes the Elmina Castle, Cape Castle, and a coastal town called Winneba.

Rohan is an avid travel writer with a passion for traveling in the African mainland. He has written extensively about African travel and tourism in many other countries. He has recently gone to a trail on Kakum National Park, where he got the inspiration to write this article.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/08/04/trail-on-kakum-national-park/

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