The park’s most exciting hike is the trek to the High Peaks, a series of jagged pinnacles that can be seen from miles away. The highest of the High Peaks sits at 2,720 feet/829 meters, which may not seem like much until you’re on top looking down. Though you can reach the peaks from either the east or west entrance station, the trek is shorter from the east side at Bear Gulch (6-mile/9.7-km round-trip, depending on which trail you take). Either way, you’ll climb about 1,400 feet and be amazed by the final mile of trail: a feat of very creative trail building by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The path wanders through a rocky labyrinth, tracing along a series of narrow passageways, and ascending over, around, and in between a maze of boulders. Handholds and footholds are blasted into the rock; steel guardrails are embedded for safety. (If you’re not crazy about heights, take the alternate Tunnel Trail.)
When you reach High Peaks’ summit, look down and across at the park’s huge expanse of undulating grasslands and rock monoliths. Look up for condors too—you might be closer to them here than anywhere else in the park.