Southern Utah. Aug. 27-Sept. 4.
The stunning canyons and otherworldly rock formations of southern Utah’s Red Rock Country are home to five national parks—Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. Explore all five with REI Adventures’ nine-day Utah National Parks Adventure, a new “Signature Camping” (read: glamping) trip that features iconic hikes—like Bryce’s Fairyland Loop and the Zion Narrows—by day and gourmet meals and posh digs by night. From $3,999.
Good to Know: You’ll work up a big thirst on desert trails, but alcohol’s not included in the trip price (so plan accordingly).
Henry Hagg Lake, Gaston, OR. July 15-16.
One-up your Ironman friends by doing the Oregon “Double Anvil” Ultra Triathlon, which is twice the distance of their more pedestrian Ironman, with 4.8 miles of open-water swimming, a 224-mile bike ride, and a 52.4-mile trail/road run.
Good to Know: Bring a 500-plus lumen bike headlight to light the pitch-black night portions.
Winnsboro, SC. July 23.
Owned and run by Navy SEALs, the Bone Frog Challenge isn’t your typical lollygagging 5K mud run, but a hilly 9 to 12-mile course littered with more than 36 notoriously tough obstacles to test your strength and stamina. Completing it places you among an elite few.
Good to Know: Bone Frog is the only obstacle-course race owned and operated by military vets.
North Bend, WA. July 31.
Easiest way to clock a new marathon best? Run downhill. And Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon—which descends through the 2.3-mile Snoqualmie Tunnel and along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail—hits the sweet spot of gentle grade and soft surface (dirt road) to spare your legs a pounding.
Good to Know: Swap the racing flats for better-cushioned, lightweight road or trail shoes.
Kenai Peninsula, AK. All July.
For fishing, few rivers are as legendary or beginner-friendly as the salmon-rich Kenai, an achingly lovely meltwater river that drains the glaciated Kenai Mountains. In July, king, sockeye, coho, and pink salmon converge on the river, along with trophy-sized rainbow trout, steelhead, and Dolly Varden. Catch them all crowd-free on a float trip with guides from Kenai Riverside Lodge, one of Alaska Wildland Adventures’ all-inclusive lodges.
Good to Know: Book the two-lodge combo for an unforgettable trip that includes a couple nights at the boat-in-only Kenai Backcountry Lodge.
Watford City, ND. Aug. 6.
Though technically a mountain bike race, the Maah Daah Hey 100 is, for most riders, more a chance to prove their grit against the ruggedly beautiful, alien landscape of North Dakota’s Badlands. This one-day expedition travels the entire 106-mile Maah Daah, one of America’s wildest and most iconic single-track trails. Temps are scorching, water’s scarce, the hills are monstrous, and mechanicals are guaranteed. Have you got what it takes?
Good to Know: Bring tools, tubes, and lots of water. Think you’ve got enough? Bring more.
Tinit, Greenland. Aug. 6-14.
Move over, Africa! Natural Habitat Adventures has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund on a deluxe new safari-style camp, Base Camp Greenland on the Greenland ice sheet. Explore the deep fjords and wind-scoured islands of this incredibly remote arctic wilderness on walks and boat excursions where you’ll see whales, glaciers, and ancient Eskimo ruins—then come back to chef-prepared meals and a comfy bed.
Good to Know: The entire Base Camp, save for a small storage shed, is taken down at the end of summer to reduce its impact on the pristine environment.
Imst, Austria. July 17-23.
Mountain biking across the jagged, snow-capped Alps is a bucket list adventure that’s every bit as difficult—and jaw-droppingly gorgeous—as you’d expect. Join hundreds of amateur two-person teams in the Bike Transalp, a weeklong 323-mile stage race from Austria to Italy’s Lake Garda that climbs nearly 60,000 feet over speedy gravel double-tracks and breathtaking alpine trails.
Good to Know: Bring your GPS unit and Garmin will upload the route for you.
Groveland, CA. Mid-July through Labor Day.
Just above Yosemite National Park, the “Cherry Creek run” serves up 15 Class V+ rapids in less than nine miles, making this stunning stretch of water the most technically challenging rafting river in the country. Local experts All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting can guide you safely through the boulder-choked maelstrom—as long as you respond to orders and are willing, quite literally, to paddle for your life.
Good to Know: Combine Cherry Creek with a two-to-three-day Tuolumne River trip (picture riverside camping in the golden Sierra foothills) for an even bigger wilderness adventure.
Casper, WY. July 10.
If you’re not quite ready for Wyoming’s long, grueling expedition-style Cameco Cowboy Tough adventure race, try tackling its burly little brother, the 12-hour, 38-mile Casper Strong. You’ll run up 8,130-foot Casper Mountain, perform challenges like bow-and-arrow target shooting, bomb downhill on your bike, and catch a tube down the frothy North Platte River, all the while enjoying the expansive Wyoming views.
Good to Know: Eat and drink often or you’ll bonk pre-finish.
Havana, Cuba. July 2-10.
With U.S.–Cuba relations thawing, tourism will soon change this time-capsuled island forever. You could go indie—through Mexico, with a legal “people-to-people” exchange—or you could save the hoop-jumping and join Intrepid Travel on a sweeping cultural exploration from Havana’s crumbling Malecón to Afro-inspired colonial Trinidad.
Good to Know: Bring foreign cash—euros or pounds are best—to avoid a 10% fee when buying Cuban pesos for local spending.