- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 1, 2001

Walking has become the most popular form of exercise in the United States, and more than 47 million Americans hike some of the 30,000 miles of national trails at least once a year, according to OneDayHikes.com.

This Web site specializes in highlighting hiking paths across the country and around the world, helping visitors who are looking for the perfect vacation or a way to stay fit while admiring our

OneDayHikes.com

Site address: www.onedayhikes.com

Creator:

NeoCom Consulting, an electronic business management company, started the site in January.

Creator quotable:

"We created this site to share with others all the wonderful places around the world that are accessible to hike and that cannot be appreciated through the window of a car," says Carla Brown, co-founder of OneDayHikes.com.

"We specifically concentrated on hikes that can be completed in one day, something that will appeal to a large cross section of people, including families. We include a huge range of hikes, from long, strenuous routes to shorter walks achievable by anybody. But all of them share a common characteristic: They are spectacular, allowing hikers to see amazing scenery, fascinating places of interest and wildlife in their natural environments."

Word from the Webwise:

OneDayHikes.com provides pointed information on more than 100 leisure stops and gives the experienced walker as well as the semifit couch potato the information needed to plan a hiking vacation. What makes this site unique, though, is that each of its listed hiking routes can be traversed in one day.

The cyber-stop is an ever-evolving database of resources and destinations, from the White House trail in Canyon de Chelly, Ariz., to the Rob Roy Glacier in New Zealand.

Making it easy to find a specific destination, the trails are listed by region "North America," "Europe, Middle East and Africa," "Asia Pacific" and "Latin America" with a state or country breakdown added when applicable.

Each trail is introduced with a brief synopsis and a link to a page complete with a breathtaking photo, trail name, summary, fact file and trail description. This description provides a first-person review of the hike, including an almost step-by-step walk on the trail and suggestions on where to stop for the best views and the best time to hit the particular area.

For example, the breakdown for the trail to Sharp Top off Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway one of the site's "Top Ten Hikes" locations offers a staggering amount of detail, including trail length, elevation, conditions, where to find the huge boulders of Buzzards Roost, camping potential and even where bus roads are crossed.

Because these hikes are all less than a day, the "Nearby Hikes" listed for every trail helps visitors plan for extended stays in a region by linking to trail pages on other one-day hikes in the area.

Another area I found helpful, "News Stories," will keep visitors informed on the state of the world's environment. Articles explore the foot-and-mouth epidemic in Britain and the possibility the Bush administration may propose using Utah's Kaiparowits Plateau as a source for coal mining. This decision could destroy some of the land protected under the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Ease of use: OneDayHikes.com makes navigation a breeze with slick drop-down menus, plenty of lists and a detailed search engine that allows for queries by country, trail length, duration, type and ratings. I would like to see more pictures, but I guess visiting the hiking trails makes more sense than looking at a photograph on a computer screen.

Don't miss:

A "Travel Features" section contains detailed descriptions of some of the premier travel and tourist destinations in the United States and abroad. Visitors can read about topics as varied as Mount Rushmore, the killer whales seen in the waters off Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the flight of the Andean condor over Peru's Colca Canyon.

Family activity:

More than 80 million acres of scenic land are protected in more than 50 national parks in the United States. A few of these destinations, such as Arizona's Grand Canyon, California's Yosemite Valley or Hawaii's volcanoes are perfect tourist destinations. Instead of another jaunt through Disney World, the entire clan can get serious about enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer this summer.

Cyber-sitter synopsis:

Students get a great overview of the world and plenty of resources for help with a research paper. Younger children may appreciate the pictures and learn a few facts about other places; for example, Sweden has the oldest population on the planet 18 percent of its residents are older than 65.

Overall grade: A

Remember: The information on the Internet is constantly changing. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it's accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your own physician. Have a cool site for the family? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message (joseph@twtmail.com).

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