REI Co-op’s adventure travel company has introduced the first of its active trips offerings in Shenandoah National Park, and is also announcing new trips in Norway and Slovenia.
“We intentionally design every active adventure to connect with local communities in a meaningful way that only REI can offer,” said Mark Seidl, REI divisional vice president of Experiences. “By doing so, we want our guests to gain a broader perspective of the world and be transformed through the experience.”
National park expansion: Shenandoah and Grand Canyon
Created in 1925, Shenandoah National Park was one of the first national parks in the eastern United States. Three REI itineraries are now available – a multisport Shenandoah National Park Adventure, Hiking and Shenandoah National Park Weekend Cycling. All trips are four days in length – safe and perfect for busy business travelers who just want to get away for it all for a few days in a done-for-you escape. This month, REI adds a four-day Shenandoah backpacking trip to the collection.
On REI’s multisport trip, guests hike to Shenandoah’s highest point and through deep caverns with streams, zipline through the treetops, and float down the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. Star-filled evenings at camp are complete with hearty meals to refuel guests. The company’s lodge-to-lodge itinerary hikes a section of the Appalachian Trail from the doorsteps of iconic lodges that boast unique histories. The company’s cycling weekend stays at charming inns and lodges, providing a welcome reward from vigorous daily rides of 40 to 60 miles along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
For those who would rather hit The Canyon, the company recently added six itineraries for a total of 14 adventures Grand Canyon National Park that range from three to eight days of hiking, backpacking and cycling. With so many options, adventurers can confidently select a trip based on his/her available time, interests and ability.
For longer breaks the company is introducing its first international itinerary to explore the undiscovered heart of Patagonia’s remote and rugged beauty.
On Backpacking Patagonia – Fitz Roy and Los Glaciares National Park, the eight-day adventure starts in the small outpost of El Chalten known as the region’s trekking capital. Guests hike through meadows and lenga forests, across moraines and glaciers, and up to breathtaking vistas. A trip highlight is a trek past iceberg-laden bays and over high passes to reach the unparalleled views of the second-largest non-polar ice mass in the world.
The co-op now offers seven itineraries in Patagonia ranging in length from seven to 13 days for hiking, cycling, kayaking and volunteer trail maintenance to protect the famous “W” trail.
Norway and Slovenia
Known as the “land of the midnight sun” because one-third of the country is in the Arctic Circle, REI is expanding its classic Norway offering with the launch of two more itineraries – Norway Lofoten Islands Hiking and Norway Fjords Cycling. The nine-day archipelago hiking trip offers unparalleled beauty as guests hike up glacier-carved mountains and kayak through remote fishing communities. Highlights also include a cruise through one of the country’s steepest and narrowest fjords in search of Europe’s largest eagle, a visit to the outermost and wildest islands of Værøy, and plenty of opportunities for traditional cold-water swims.
On REI’s Slovenia Hiking – The Alps to the Adriatic trip guests venture into the quiet solitude of the Julian Alps and more. The rugged Julian Alps are as inspiring as their Swiss and French cousins, with a big difference: far fewer hikers. For eight days, participants marvel at high limestone peaks and dense spruce forests; raft the Soča River and swim in its pools and waterfalls; take a private tour of the subterranean chambers of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Škocjan Caves; and discover the region’s wine, olive oil and local cuisine with visits to a prosciutto producer and local beekeeper farm. For such a small country, its beekeepers produce up to 2,500 tons of honey a year.
Last year REI doubled its cycling itineraries to more than 40 fully guided tours around the world. On its GAP Trail and C&O Canal Gravel Riding trip, guests cycle and camp for six nights along two iconic trails that comprise the longest off-road, easily bikeable trail system in the nation. Highlights of the car-free route include visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house, experiencing the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in historic Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., and learning the important history of Civil War and Revolutionary War sites.
REI’s Richmond to Colonial Williamsburg Weekend Cycling tour offers guests four days of laid-back cycling on quiet country roads to some of the nation’s most charming towns and important cultural sites. Riders visit the Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Williamsburg and Chippokes Plantation; explore the first successful English settlement in North America founded in 1607; and camp nightly in Virginia’s historic triangle.