Geopin­ion: Left Be­hind

Pack your binocs on th­ese day trips along fall mi­gra­tion paths.

Backpacker - - CONTENTS - BY KRIS­TEN POPE

Is it al­ways rude to dash off as soon as slower hik­ers catch up?

Cape Flat­tery Trail MAKAH IN­DIAN RESER­VA­TION, WA

Test your iden­ti­fi­ca­tion skills at the Lower 48’s north­west­ern­most cor­ner, where more than 300 avian species stop over each year. In fall, keep your eyes peeled for black oys­ter­catch­ers, mar­bled mur­relets, sooty shear­wa­ters, pelagic and Brandt’s cor­morants, and rhi­noc­eros auk­lets (pic­tured). For your best chances at spot­ting th­ese guys, tackle the 1.5-mile Cape Flat­tery Trail on the Makah In­dian Reser­va­tion, which tra­verses prime bird habi­tat, from the for­est to the rocky shore­line. Pick up a day-use park­ing per­mit ($10), and start hik­ing through stands of Sitka spruce and across board­walks to the shore. Add on short spurs to see sea caves ( sec­ond turnout) and Ta­toosh Is­land and Lighthouse (fourth turnout). On clear days, you can spot the Cape Flat­tery reef to the north and the Kes­siso Rocks to the south. CON­TACT makah.com

Goat Cliff-Hick­ory Loop PERE MAR­QUETTE STATE PARK, IL

Hun­dreds of bald ea­gles win­ter in this park be­gin­ning in Novem­ber. Find them perch­ing on out­crop­pings and tree­tops through­out the pre­serve, but snag a bird’s- eye van­tage above them on the Hick­ory Trail, which winds across the steep bluffs. The best way to get there is by mak­ing it the cen­ter­piece of a 3.5-mile cir­cuit be­gin­ning on the Goat Cliff Trail. Climb to Illi­nois River views be­fore merg­ing with the Hick­ory Trail and loop­ing around the cat­walk-like bluffs to scan for ea­gles. ( If you strike out, don’t worry: Some 230 other bird species call this 8,000-acre park home.) When you re­turn, check out the visi­tor cen­ter’s ea­gle cam, which broad­casts life in an ea­gle nest. CON­TACT bit.do/pere-mar­quette-sp

Four Birds-Wild­cat Ridge Loop

FARNY NAT­U­RAL AREA AND WILD­CAT RIDGE WILDLIFE MAN­AGE­MENT AREA, NJ This trail passes through mixed hard­wood for­est that pro­vides habi­tat for A-list birds like north­ern goshawks, barred owls, and the en­dan­gered red-shoul­dered hawk (pic­tured). Head out this fall dur­ing peak mi­gra­tion, where you’re all but guar­an­teed sight­ings on the 12-mile lol­lipop-loop of the Four Birds Trail and Wild­cat Ridge. From the south­ern end of Four Birds, trek 2 miles to the Hawk Watch Over­look, a ledge with a van­tage across the Rock­away Val­ley (scan for hawks rid­ing ther­mals). More than 10,000 rap­tors have been recorded pass­ing through here in a sin­gle fall sea­son. On the lat­ter half of the route, see the re­mains of Civil War- era Split Rock Fur­nace and glacial er­rat­ics. CON­TACT bit.do/far­ney-sp

Spy Kes­siso Rocks at the end of the Cape Flat­tery Trail.

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