Top trips for groups, from Utah to Maine

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 18-24, 1996
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Block Island: Your funky, affordable Nantucket
Activities on Little Cayman Island
Backcountry in Arizona's Petrified Forest
Top trips for groups, from Utah to Maine

Top trips for groups, from Utah to Maine
Question: I'm looking for an economical group outdoor adventure experience with my 18-year-old nephew as a high school graduation gift. Dates he's available: May 24-31 or August 16-30. Ideal location in May would be drivable from Houston. In August, ideal location would be somewhere in New England.

Bonnie Day
Cambridge, MA
[email protected]

Maine's Allagash River is the ultimate New England canoe trek: moose, loons, and all the scenery you can handle.
Adventure Adviser: Wow, lucky guy! I'm not sure how far you're willing to drive, but if you're up for a longish haul, look into a combination raft/bike adventure in Utah's Canyonlands National Park. Sierra Club Outings runs a May 25-31 trip that starts with a 70-mile fat-tire spin along White Rim Trail, followed by a whitewater run on the infamous Cataract Canyon section of the Colorado River. When not negotiating hair-raising rapids, you'll have time to explore nearby ruins, petroglyphs, and natural rock spires and arches. Cost is $1,160 per person, including all meals, trip transportation, and equipment. Call 415-923-5630 for more details.

In August, consider a seven-day canoe trip down the Allagash River, one of New England's best bets for paddling that cuts a wide slash through north-central Maine. Allagash Canoe's group-camping trip runs from August 18-24. You'll enjoy a wide range of river conditions, from flatwater to Class II rapids. Camping each night is in remote sites along the banks. Keep your eyes open for moose, loons, osprey, deer, and eagles. Be prepared for late-August Maine weather, which can mean anything from 80 degrees and sunny to 40 degrees and rainy. Bring a warm sleeping bag, since it's not unusual for nighttime temps to drop below freezing. For $625 per adult and an ultrareasonable $475 for 18-and-under paddlers, Allagash Canoe Trips will supply all equipment (except sleeping bags), food, shuttle transportation, and instruction. Call 207-695-3668 more information or visit their Web site at

Another New England possibility is Backroads' five-day cycling trip through southeastern Vermont's West River and Connecticut River valleys. You'll pedal out of Ascutney on August 25 and spend five nights camping in state parks en route to Queeche Gorge and its network of Green Mountain hiking trails. Average daily mileages top off around 55 miles. Expect to shell out $698 per person, including meals; call 800-462-2848 for more information.

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