19 Epic Outdoor Destinations to Explore in 2019
Planning an adventure this year? Here are 19 places our ambassadors think you should visit.
As we set our sights on planning adventures for the year ahead, it can be helpful (and fun) to get input from people we know and trust rather than just blindly researching locations on the internet.
We polled our community of ambassadors and a few teammates who are always hiking, backpacking, or adventuring in cool places to get their recommendations for top-outdoor destinations to visit in 2019. Here's what they said:
1. North Cascades National Park, Washington
“I snapped this picture while on the Ptarmigan Traverse mountaineering route that starts at Cascade Pass and ends 35 miles later in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The North Cascades are truly a dream come true. A never ending supply of alpine lakes, trail systems, steep climbs, and technical terrain. Swiss style alpinism right here in the good ole US of A!” ~ Travis, BioLite Ambassador, Texas.
2. St. Regis Canoe Wilderness, Adirondacks, New York
"Among the most wild places on the Northeast is the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness, nestled inside the 6.1 million acre Adirondack Park and closed to motorized vehicles, the campsites and lakes of the area are open only to the intrepid paddler (and often, the areas famed mosquitos and flies). Those with strong insect repellent and a love for exploration by canoe will fall in love with the area as soon as they start exploring its connected waterways and quiet islands." ~ Sarah, Founder of OutdoorFest, New York.
3. Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Arizona
“Growing up on the Navajo Nation reservation in Northern Arizona the outdoors was my playground. One area that I still enjoy visiting is Canyon De Chelly National Monument. It is best known feature is Spider Rock which rises more than 700 ft from the canyon floor. This is one of many beautiful destinations to explore on the Navajo Nation. What’s great is there is no entrance fee. The park features a Welcome Center, two rim drives, ten overlooks, and one public trail to visit on your own. Private companies offer canyon tours.” ~ Vern, BioLite Ambassador, New Mexico.
4. Minaret Lake, Eastern Sierras, California
“Minaret Lake is a 13.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Mary, California that features a waterfall, glacier water, great trout fishing, and scenic views. It’s one of my favorite spots to backpack for a couple days and just fish, relax, and swim in the Eastern Sierras! As a bonus, dogs are allowed.” ~ Mike, BioLite Ambassador, California.
5. Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Colorado
“If you're living around (or visiting) the Denver Metro area and want to get out into nature, you know driving up I-70 is a huge pain with traffic. The Brainard Lake Rec Area is perfect for a quick day trip without the traffic, and it's undeniably breathtaking. Every adventure here has led to us seeing wildlife. In the winter the main road through the park closes, but pack some snowshoes and go when even fewer people are around!" ~ Sam, BioLite Ambassador, Colorado.
6. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina
“I love the Smokies because they offer a little bit of something for every level of outdoor adventurer. Incredibly diverse camping destinations, scenic hiking for all ages and one of the best paddling schools in the country at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The landscape is dotted with quaint mountain towns featuring some of the best food and beer you'll ever have. My favorite spot is just off the Appalachian Trail called Max Patch. The peak of this mountain was cleared for grazing several hundred years ago so you get full 360 views of the Smoky Mountains. It's especially breathtaking in the fall." ~ Seth, BioLite's Senior Designer.
7. Everglades National Park, Florida
“I’d highly recommend taking a paddling trip through the Everglades out to the Keys. The wildlife sightings, tangled mangrove terrain, and vibrant sunsets feel otherworldly. Make a point to reserve a Chickee Stand to stay one night. It’s basically a small wooden stand above the water (and safe from alligators). Go in the winter for milder weather and less bugs.” ~ Hayley, BioLite’s Content & Community Manager. (Read more about her trip here).
8. Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
“In 2019 I'll finish my three year journey to all 418 National Park Service sites, and the current front-runner for my #1 ranked spot is Dinosaur National Monument. It’s a 2-3 hour drive from the nearest interstate, it's virtually un-visited compared to the rest of Utah's parks, and its ridge line hikes and epic rivers make it my favorite of Utah's 13 NPS sites - even better than Zion and Bryce!” ~ Mikah, BioLite Ambassador, Nomad.
International Outdoor Destinations to Visit
9. The Italian Dolomites
“The Italian Dolomites, while not nearly as high in elevation as their neighbors to the west, are just as grand in their own way. Their sheer limestone cliffs jut straight up for thousands of feet from fertile farmland; moving amongst them is a breeze thanks to an expansive network of trails, a robust hut system (where you can have a cozy bed and hot meal,) and via ferrata (Italian for "iron path") which uses a combination of cables and steps carved into the mountainsides to aid in ease of passage through more difficult or exposed terrain--meaning that non-climbers can experience the feeling of moving up or alongside a rugged mountain.” ~ Chris, Ambassador, New Zealand.
10. Jinja, Uganda
Jonathan, BioLite’s CEO, predicts Jinja will actually become one of the next big adventure destinations, “Jinja, Uganda is the headwaters of the White Nile River. In addition to being one of the longest rivers in the world, and one of the few Northward flowing rivers, it’s home to some of the best big-water kayaking in the world. With average flows between 1,000-1,500 cubic meters per second, it’s an amazing place for huge surfing waves and generally wild rides. You have to watch out for hippos and crocodiles in the eddies.”
11. Ausangate Mountains, Peru
“Peru is one of the most amazing countries I've ever had the pleasure of visiting! The mountains are larger than life and walking a few miles in one direction can bring you to a completely different landscape than where you started. Camping, trekking, day hikes, road trips, hot springs - there is something for everyone in Peru. My personal favorite is the trek to Rainbow Mountain.” ~ Dani, BioLite Ambassador, Arizona.
12. Annapurna Mountains, Himalaya, Nepal
Photo Credit: Brian Lipps
“The small villages scattered precariously in the Annapurna mountains offer the best juxtaposition of untouched natural beauty and an ancient agrarian culture. Trekking up to 11k ft through a forest of rhododendron trees, out of breath, we were excited to come upon small tin-roofed huts - the smell of fresh Chapati cooking over an open fire was a warm end to each day's trek.” ~ Joe, BioLite’s eCommerce Operations Manager.
13. Petra, Jordan
Krista & Matt, BioLite ambassadors based out of Seattle, have been traveling the world for the past 2 years and say, “Jordan is a highly underrated travel destination and home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Lost City of Petra. Petra is much more than the iconic Treasury and Monastery, made popular by several Hollywood films, it is a whole city of beautifully preserved ruins carved into mountains. Hiking through Petra offers incredible desert views among ancient history.”
14. Viñales National Park, Cuba
“Viñales is an untouched outdoor mecca. While the village is a feast for Cuba's tourism industry, just a few steps outside of town lands you in the grandeur of one of Cuba's only Nations Parks. I imagine it as the place where King Kong would’ve grown up, because of its huge caves, giant rock domes emerging from the ground, and tropical feel. In the park, you can ride horses up and down the granite domes, sip mango smoothies with the Tocororo, Cuba’s National Bird, overhead. Just outside the town, if you’re keen on walking, down one of the main roads you will find a trail that leads through a pineapple farm to a cave visited by many tourists - but rarely do they go through to see the other side. On the other side of this bat-dwelling cave is where you will find the rock-climbers, and a short trail that leads to some of the hardest climbing-routes I’ve ever laid eyes on.” ~ Joe, Photographer, Wyoming.
15. Bagan, Myanmar
“We have traveled to over 30 countries in the past 4 years, yet the memory of Bagan is everlasting. No words can describe the feeling of sitting in anticipation atop a stone temple, built over a thousand years ago, for an unforgettable sunrise. At 4am that morning, we crawled out of bed and peddled, half asleep, like mad on our bikes down the pitch black streets to one of the tallest pagodas in Bagan. As the sun rays started to kiss our toes to our nose, the hot air balloons began to rise over the temples. At first they were only small dots in the distance, floating silently through the dawn. As they drew closer and closer, the sun rose higher and higher, outlining their beautiful shapes.” ~ Kim & Nash, Ambassadors, California.
16. Nordegg, Alberta
“With an endless amount of trails & waterfalls, Nordegg really is a hidden gem. There are no fancy restaurants or stores in Nordegg, just a bunch of mountains that define beauty. Into waterfall sightings? Head to Crescent Falls. And don’t miss Vision Quest for the views!” ~ Lindsey, Ambassador, Alberta.
17. The Netherlands
“The Netherlands is a bicycling mecca. On our week-long loop around the country, we spent about 90% of the time on bike paths. Dutch bike networks are built like regular roads and are complete with roundabouts, mileage posts, countdown traffic lights, road markings, and even trash cans positioned like basketball hoops allowing you to easily toss your trash mid-pedal. We followed the country's extensive bike path network on a loop out of Amsterdam through Breukelen, Gouda, The Hague, Leiden, Haarlem and back. I've never breathed fresher air.” ~ Annalisa, Ambassador, New York.
18. Western Mongolia
"Mongolia offers unparalleled uniqueness in both its diverse topography and welcoming community. The western region of the country, where I visited, is speckled with gers (yurt-like homes of the nomadic peoples of the region) and gives way to the snowcapped Altai mountain range that captivates adventurers. Climbing in this range you are greeted with incredible views of the three countries in which the range straddles - Mongolia, China, and Russia. While climbing or trekking in the area you feel as if you are traversing in a truly untouched part of the earth." ~ Talia, BioLite's Visual Designer.
19. Pilbara Region, Western Australia
"This region of Australia is worth a visit. It can get really hot and dry here making the scenery other worldly. It's so remote that most of the area remains unexplored. Theres something very beautiful about the silence of a vast, barren desert the only thing people compare it to is being atop a very high mountain. Everyone tends to drive the coastline however I find some of my favorite camp spots are when you make your own tracks through the desert. You really begin to get an understanding of how small and insignificant we are when you're out there alone." ~ Caleb, Ambassador, Australia.
Still in need of some adventure inspiration? Check out our blog about finding an adventure community that fits your style.