Outdoor bucket list activities.
June 27, 2019 7:24 AM   Subscribe

What are some outdoor activity bucket list items that people do?

I'm thinking like the 14ers in Colorado, High Peaks in the Adirondacks, Appalachian Trail, Pacific Coast Trail, etc. Doesn't have to be US-specific.
posted by Sreiny to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (30 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
If you like hot, Death Valley National Park.
Sporting camps in Maine.
posted by Melismata at 7:30 AM on June 27, 2019

Monro bagging

The Wainwrights

Three Peaks

Those are the main UK ones.
posted by roofus at 7:47 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mine are mostly scuba and snorkeling destinations. E.g. Galapagos, Jellyfish Lake, or snorkeling with belugas in Canada.
posted by ktkt at 7:50 AM on June 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Climb The Nose on El Capitan
posted by doctord at 7:52 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Reclining trails in a particular park or wilderness area. Redlining is when you do every part of every trail. You mark over the trails in red on your map when you've completed a section.

Around here we have the New Hampshire / New England Four Thousand Footers and the New England Hundred Highest. There are also other lists people have made (49 with a View, etc)

50 State High Points is a good one. Good luck getting Denali.

Rafting the Grand Canyon.

Angles Landing in Zion seems to be pretty high on people's lists of trails to do.

I guess it really depends on your level of interest and commitment. Some people just want to bag the highest peak in their state or climb a particularly interesting mountain like Rainier.
posted by bondcliff at 8:07 AM on June 27, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm trying to find geocaches in all 50 states and DC. Geocaching isn't inherently outdoorsy, but it is the way I do it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:27 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Climb all the Presidential Mountains in New Hampshire.
posted by sammyo at 8:37 AM on June 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

The West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 9:17 AM on June 27, 2019

Probably 25 years ago now, I read a magazine article about kayaking in Glacier Bay. (If my memory can be trusted, it was in a swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, one of those "we're going to do some journalism with no models" features they did to fill out the rest of the magazine. I had a subscription for a couple years in college. But I'm not sure my memory can be trusted.) Regardless of the source, it sounded amazing and I've wanted to do it ever since. You're never guaranteed to see anything, but seeing a whale breach from water level just sounds insane. And even if you don't see whales, you're still in Glacier Bay.

Part of me now wants to ride the length of Skyline Drive on a bike, which is not so far outside my physical limits that it's impossible, but I'm hesitant to start trying to train for it for real since bicycling turns expensive quickly. I know myself well enough that I know if I rode that much I'd fall into a gear trap and obsess over it in a way that I can avoid as long as I'm just a casual cyclist. I can't afford the heightened awareness of all the ways my current bikes are inadequate that would come with that many miles on the saddle and hoods.

We took our twelve-year-old nieces to the Grand Canyon last year (they're turning 13 this week) and one of them said the short hike we did was fine, but she wanted to come back and do a rim to rim hike. So I guess if she does that, I'll be doing it with her. Somehow I feel like we'd both keep each other alive. At least she didn't suggest a rim to rim to rim hike.
posted by fedward at 9:21 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Seven Summits, and the Poles.

Cycle touring across Canada.

The Camino de Santiago, in Spain.

In Vancouver, the Grouse Grind.

In Canoeing, there are several rivers in northern Canada, like the Mackenzie, and the Coppermine, that make for epic long paddles. The Nahanni is shorter, and perhaps even more famous.

In northern Ontario, people paddle the Missinabi river to James Bay.
posted by thenormshow at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Long Trail in Vermont
posted by Redstart at 9:43 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Highline Trail in Glacier National.
Halfdome. Yosemite is one of my best times.
Mt. Whitney. Highest point in Lower 48.
Hawaii. I haven't been yet, but the Awaawapui Trail is on mine.

Banff is as well.
posted by brent at 9:58 AM on June 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

There are various (relatively) long distance walks in the UK; I think the ones which are most bucket-listy are probably the Pennine Way, the West Highland Way and the South West Coast Path. They are much more modest projects than the Appalachian Trail or the PCT, though. Walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats (i.e. one end of the UK to the other) is a traditional feat, but it’s more like something people do for charity.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:59 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by fedward at 10:32 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Bike tour following the Oregon Trail.

Bike coast to coast.

Do my crazy Eurasian bike ride (basically Hong Kong to UK on bike)

I also read an article about a guy who goes offshore fishing in a kayak. Hooks the fish, lets it tow him until it gets tired, and then paddles back to shore. Sounds fun!

Scuba dive in the Ningaloo Reef, Maldive, do a weeklong liveaboard.
posted by astapasta24 at 10:52 AM on June 27, 2019

New England Fifty Finest - peaks with topographic prominence
posted by exogenous at 11:29 AM on June 27, 2019

Taking all of the Great Walks in New Zealand is a not-too-uncommon thing people do.
posted by eotvos at 11:34 AM on June 27, 2019

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail (there are a lot of trails with this designation) is a 200-mile hiking trail that runs through Ozark National Forest.
posted by box at 12:41 PM on June 27, 2019

Some states (such as my own, Virginia) have programs where you get pins, badges, or stickers for visiting or hiking different state parks, and a badge/memento for visiting all the parks in the state.
posted by shortyJBot at 12:57 PM on June 27, 2019

visit bio-luminescent organisms - in a cave or in the water (Japan, South America)
see a volcano (Philippines, Hawaii)
bungee jump in the jungle (Thailand)
jump off a cliff in one of those fly suits (U.S., probably others)
posted by jander03 at 12:57 PM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Among boating people in general, there is the Great Loop.

Sailors, in particular, have plenty of choices. I guess the most iconic is rounding Cape Horn, about which the best I can say is that it's easier than sailing around the world. Other more modest goals would be crossing the Atlantic, or just cruising in some particular waters such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean.

For private pilots, a goal might be to fly to Oshkosh Airventure.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:00 PM on June 27, 2019

It's not a formal bucket list item for me, but visiting all the US and Canadian National Parks. Maybe the Trail of Tears?
posted by theora55 at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2019

Seeing the Northern Lights.
posted by annieb at 1:37 PM on June 27, 2019

Surfing Lake Superior is kind of a rare and special thing. You can only do it when the waves are biggest in like, February, so you really gotta want it.
posted by padraigin at 6:43 PM on June 27, 2019

On my personal bucket list is hiking into the crater at Mount St. Helens with the Mount St. Helens Institute.
posted by brookeb at 8:30 PM on June 27, 2019

Depending on why you ask, it may (or may not) be more productive to think in terms of activities and skills rather than specific destinations. E.g.,
  • Be capable of spending a warm and dry night outdoors in inclement weather
  • Learn how to competently self-rescue from adverse scenarios that are common in your favored type(s) of outdoor recreation
  • Safely plan a backcountry trip, including destination selection, using only topo maps and your existing knowledge of an area’s climate/ecology/geology/etc.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, “Hey, I want to see Antarctica before I die,” and paying to go on a cruise. But my most personally meaningful “I’m glad I am alive and I am glad I am alive to do this” moments in the outdoors have been as much about the subjective experience as the place.

I think for many people, the presence of certain destinations on a bucket list (such as 14ers, the PCT, state high points, etc) represents an aspiration to learn/refine/use new skills. To be clear though, I think it’s totally excellent and commendable to just want to visit a place for no other reason than it seems like an amazing place.
posted by compartment at 8:52 PM on June 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Boundary Lakes Wilderness

Boat as much of the US's Wild and Scenic Rivers as possible. Raft various rapids (e.g., Cataract Canyon).

Lost Coast point to point backpacking
posted by salvia at 2:33 AM on June 28, 2019

Some winter bucket list ideas:

* Mush your own dog team
* Climb a frozen waterfall
* Hut-to-hut ski trip
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 6:58 PM on June 28, 2019

The Sheltowee Trace is a wonderful 323(ish) mile trail that goes through Tennessee and Kentucky, mostly through the Big South Fork National Recreation Area and Daniel Boone National Forest. I have section-hiked the entire thing before over the course of a year, and blogged about each section (not linking here due to MeFi rules but happy to send information over direct message).

A lot of people who live in KY/TN/OH hike it, and then end up using it as a training springboard to go do bigger hikes like the AT or PCT.
posted by mostly vowels at 11:48 AM on June 29, 2019

If you go to any National Park Service managed unit, you'll see "passports" for sale in the gift shop. You can get these stamped at each NPS unit (which isn't just national parks - if you include things like NPS historical monuments, it's something like over 400), and then join likeminded passport holders who are on a quest to try to get all of the stamps.
posted by mostly vowels at 11:50 AM on June 29, 2019

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