From luxury tent-camping to glacier hiking, here are the best ways to have fun in the Western wilderness
Be sure to bring: Tent, sleeping bag.
Bring this too: Camera with extra-large memory card.
• Walk on a glacier. Why should polar bears have all the fun? Strap ice-gripping crampons to your feet with MICA Guides and tiptoe on Alaska’s pristine Matanuska Glacier (pictured), where you’ll come to know a serac from a crevasse from a bergschrund on one of the West’s most exotic hikes (from $45; micaguides.com). Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site; $15 tent sites; 1.usa.gov/hTngiO
• Soak in a hot spring. All that geothermal rumbling beneath southwestern Colorado makes for some mighty mellow hot tubbin’ in the Rocky Mountains. Start with a soak in Ouray’s million-gallon magma-heated town hot pool ($10; ourayhotsprings.com), then stroll to more natural hot pots nearby. Amphitheater Campground; $18; bit.ly/fVKISW
• Bathe in a waterfall. Seven months after devastating floods washed away the campground, improbably blue-green desert water is running clear again in Arizona’s Havasu Canyon, a red-walled branch of the Grand Canyon, and the tribal reserva-tion is reopened for campers ($60 entry fee; 1.usa.gov/hNJUPB). The payoff for a 10-mile hike, mule ride, or chopper flight? Aquamarine showers. Camping $17.