Mount Snow, VT
Obstacle racing season heats up nationwide along with the weather, making freeze-your-balls-off courses like Arctic Enema 2.0 and Cage Crawl slightly more bearable. Still, there’s plenty of pain to go around at this popular Mudder, which traverses a dozen miles of Green Mountain steeps interspersed with 20-plus equally sadistic obstacles (see: 10,000-volt Electroshock Therapy). It’s like a gorgeous trail run, but on steroids.
Test yourself on this 142-mile stage race through Peru’s spectacular Manú National Park, one of the planet’s most biodiverse places. Starting high in the Andes cloud forest, you’ll descend 10,500 feet into the depths of the Amazon rain forest, where you’ll battle stifling heat, ford rivers, navigate mud-slicked trails, encounter local tribes, and, if you’re lucky, steer clear of jaguars, black caiman gators, and—less lethal but more demoralizing—biting ants.
JUNE 5, 13, 19, or 27
Technical rock, snowfields, ice—these are the harsh Alpine elements that defend big-mountain summits and separate mere hikers from grizzled mountaineers. This month, master them among the glaciated stratovolcanoes of the Cascade Range. The American Alpine Institute’s six-day primer sets you up with the skills—rock/ice climbing, crevasse rescue, fixed line travel, belaying—which you’ll use to scale Mt. Baker’s 10,778-foot summit.
This broad-ranging four-day fest is the Colorado mountain community’s celebration of all things outdoors, and includes wild, take-all-comers pro-am contests in bouldering, mountain biking, climbing, rafting, trail running, and whitewater kayaking. Here you’ll compete against dirtbags and elite athletes alike, taking time between events to enjoy music concerts and witness the oddball carnage of full-contact kayaking, dubbed the NASCAR of the sport.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Even our most-visited national park has its wild corners—you just have to know where to find them. Hit the Great Smoky Mountain trails on a guided three-day backcountry trip to explore lush old-growth forests, drink from pristine streams, and ogle the Technicolor rainbow created by the park’s 1,500-plus flowering plants, which erupt from deep forest floors to high, airy balds this time of year.