In 2015, the RootsRated editorial staff and its dedicated team of writers produced over 1,500 stories from over 30 outdoor communities across the country. Here, we look back on some of our favorite reads, from epic adventures to unforgettable destinations, to conversations with some of the most influential outdoorsmen and women around. Join us on our brief walk down memory lane!
Our Most Read Stories
1. 21 Amazing Places to See in Colorado | The RootsRated Editors
Everyone and their mother knows that Colorado is a place of unending beauty and incredible topographic diversity. Here are some of our favorite places in The Centennial State.
2. 5 Georgia State Parks That Offer Yurt Camping | Alexa Lampasona
Glamping doesn't get any better than this. These funky, circular dwellings, built out of flexible wood lattice and wrapped in canvas, have been used by Central Asian nomadic cultures for thousands of years.
3. Strange and Unusual Adventures in Western Carolina | Melina Coogan
Abandoned airstrips turned into mountain biking trails. The Lost Society of Hazel Creek. The Road to Nowhere. These are Western Carolina's strangest and most fascinating adventures.
Our Most Interesting People
1. A Look into Trevor Gordon's Nomadic Life of Adventure | Ethan Stewart
This 25-year-old Santa Barbara native has perfected the art of wandering.
2. Eric Larsen: The World's Preeminent Polar Explorer | Avery Stonich
At one point, Larsen was content to be a dog musher for the rest of his life. This was after he’d been a whitewater canoe guide, logger, maple-syrup maker, log-cabin builder, backcountry ranger, bike mechanic, environmental educator, and base camp manager. Today, he's the world's preeminent polar explorer.
3. Alone on the Wall with Alex Honnold | Samantha Larson
Despite his radical audacity and superhuman athleticism he is, in fact, a real person. Here, we spoke with Honnold about ex-lovers, death-defying climbs, and whether he still gets scared while climbing.
Our Dreamiest National Park
1. The Enchanted Valley of the Olympics | Douglas Scott
The trail to Enchanted Valley is a rite-of-passage, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of the Olympics. To most who visit it, it is a sacred destination, a place for meditation and a place to reconnect with true wilderness.
2. Hiking Cub Peak: The Steepest Trail in Olympic National Park | Douglas Scott
Rarely visited, yet accessible year round, Cub Peak, in the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park boasts one of the toughest hikes in the Pacific Northwest.
3. The Magical Rainforests of Olympic National Park | Douglas Scott
With towering old growth forests, jungles of moss hanging from maples, and neck deep ferns hiding herds of Roosevelt elk, the rainforests of Olympic are seriously magical. And wet! Very, very wet.
Our Favorite Road Trips
1. 800 Miles in 7 Days: A Quintessential Colorado Road Trip | Sean Guidera
Combine the glory of the open road with the solace of the mountains with this comprehensive guide to one of the best Colorado adventures you can have: a week-long road trip through the state.
2. Cruising the California Coast: 13 Places You Should Stop Along Highway 1 | Brian Bates
Highway 1 is, without potentially offending any other highway lovers, quite possibly the most beautiful highway in the country.
3. 21 Awesome Places to See in the Southeast | Ry Glover
On May 1, 2015, two lucky members of the RootsRated team set off on a 20,000-mile road tour across the United States. These were their all-time favorite stops in the Southeast.
Our Most Intriguing Local Histories
1. The Fascinating History Behind South Carolina's Timeless Daufuskie Island | Zach Bjur
With thousands of years of human history, tales of spirits, and an isolationist mentality, Daufuskie exists on the fringes of a paradox. Books have been written, movies filmed, and a rock star even built a private retreat on the island—and yet it’s also relatively unheard of.
2. East Tennessee's Forgotten Mountain Biking Trails | Jeff Bartlett
Ten years ago, this was the place to mountain bike near Chattanooga. So why is no one there now?
3. The Amazing Story of Lookout Mountain's Forgotten Incline Railway | Rodger Ling
An untold tale of deceit, war, and a woman scorned; a story whose legacy still shapes Chattanooga's Lookout Mountain to this day.
Our Underrated Gems
1. A Tale of Two Colorado Summits | Avery Stonich
Two mountains. Two vastly different personalities. Each spectacular in its own right. This is the tale of Longs Peak and Mount Sopris.
2. Mount Mansfield: The Man, the Moose, the Legend | Suzanne Loring
This is the complete story of Vermont's tallest, most legendary, most-manlike mountain.
3. An Adventurer's Guide to the Most Scenic Highway in Oregon | Matt Wastradowski
From the Pacific Ocean, to the pastoral Willamette Valley, to the breathtaking Mount Hood National Forest, and beyond, few roads in Oregon showcase the state’s incredible geography better than U.S. Route 26.
One to Grow On
1. 23 Cities You Need to Visit If You Love the Outdoors | The RootsRated Editors
From the rolling mountains of the Southeast, to the jagged peaks of the West, the Continental U.S. is home to a lifetime’s worth of places to visit and things to do. Let this story be your ultimate travel guide in 2016.