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Exclusive | Top 5 Outdoors Cities

Exclusive | Top 5 Outdoors Cities

When you want the excitement and glamour of the city, as well as the calm and quiet of the great outdoors, make tracks for these five stimulating cities.

Who says that you can?t have the best of both worlds? Check out these hot, fit cities that offer fantastic accommodations, thrilling restaurants, and pulsating nightlife, as well as a surfeit of outdoors opportunities within city limits and on their doorsteps.

Seattle
Like its outdoors adventure-focused neighbors, Portland and Vancouver, Seattle is a city obsessed with going out to play. Local papers run Hike of the Week columns, mountain bike ownership is practically obligatory, and when summer fades, Seattleites gamely swap their trail running shoes for snowshoes and hit the slopes.

What to Pack: Running gear, hiking boots, climbing gaiters, skis, snowboard, snowshoes, mountain bike, fishing rod, deck shoes, PFD.

Make Tracks: Run or bike in the fresh Pacific breeze along the city?s 75 miles of trails through parks and across sandy beaches. Kayak or sail Lake Washington or Lake Union, or head out into the Puget Sound for stunning skyline views. Head north to Mount Baker, east to Snoqualmie, or south to looming Mount Rainier for incredible hikes and climbs among alpine flowers in summer. In winter, Mount Baker and Snoqualmie offer spectacular slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Going Clubbing: It?s no surprise that Seattle has a slew of LGBT outdoors clubs. If you want to join other like-minded types, contact Out Ventures and head out hiking, climbing, backpacking, horseback riding, kayaking, biking, and scuba diving.

San Francisco
San Francisco is a perfect urban playground with a plethora of parks to play Frisbee in, an abundance of natural wonders within easy reach, and think of the exercise you?ll get just by hiking up those hills.

What to Pack: Wetsuit, running gear, hiking boots, climbing gaiters, chalk bag, mountain bike, fishing rod, deck shoes, PFD.

Make Tracks: Pedal over the Golden Gate Bridge and head left for the three-mile climb up to the headlands to glorious city views. Also across the bridge, Mount Tamalpais is the perfect spot for hiking, running, or just picnicking. Ocean Beach, in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a top spot for surfing.

Going Clubbing: The city has dozens of gay sports and outdoors clubs. Contact San Francisco Gay Hiking Club (www.sfhiking.com), Different Spokes, or San Francisco Gay Outdoors Club and hit the road.

Phoenix
Among its dramatic red buttes and striking rock formations, Phoenix offers some utterly spectacular outdoors opportunities.

What to Pack: Running gear, hiking boots, mountain bike, chalk bag.

Make Tracks: Home to petroglyphs and a natural rock crevice, South Mountain Park is the world?s largest city park. Hike, bike, run, climb, or horseback ride its 16,500 acres. For cliffs, caves, and Dr. Seuss-esque rock formations, head to Camelback Mountain. The views from the summit make the arduous 2.32-mile climb worthwhile. The glowing red volcanic mountains of Papago Park, on the border of Phoenix and Tempe, make excellent options for less experienced hikers.

Going Clubbing:Desert Adventures organize camping, hiking, and other outdoors adventures for the LGBT community.

Part One | Part Two

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