Twenty of our esteemed Adventurers of the Year share the wildest dream trips they've ever had—a dazzling list of feats around the globe. For the rest of us, consider their must-do adventures—and start planning. Plus: Don't miss their top gear picks. —Jayme Moye

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Picture of a person hiking in a dark cave, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

A hiker exploring a dark ice cave in Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Photograph by National Geographic

Nick Waggoner

Skier/Filmmaker

Nick Waggoner went on a solo 11-day trip through Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies at the age of 19 and recommends that every adventure seeker try a solo trip at some point in his or her lifetime, after receiving the proper training. “It’s scary,” he says. “But you’re a lot more resilient than you think. And in the end, I learned a lot about myself and what it means to be human.”

The beauty of solo expeditions is that they are geography-independent—they can be done anywhere on the globe—and they can involve any type of outdoor sport, whether you want to walk, hike, run, paddle, surf, or bike. The key is that the journey takes place in the wilderness, with as little human interaction as possible. Waggoner also recommends places without large predatory animals. “It's hard to relax and meditate on the human experience when you’re concerned with getting your head devoured,” he says.

Some of Waggoner’s favorite wilderness spots with minimal human contact include the Lost Coast in California, the Gore Range in Colorado, and Canyonlands National Park in Utah. “Just be prepared, take precautions, bring all the clothes, first aid, food, etc. for the worst case scenario,” he says. “And your journal.”

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Adventurer Bio

Photo: Nick Waggoner
Nick Waggoner

Skier/Filmmaker

Skier and filmmaker Nick Waggoner’s award-winning South American ski odyssey Solitaire premiered in Denver in 2011 to a sold-out theater. Shot in grueling conditions over the course of two years, Solitaire takes viewers from deep in the Amazon jungle to windswept Patagonia—and defines the art of skiing in the process. Read his Adventurers of the Year profile.

Nick Waggoner's Gear Pick

  • Picture of Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie

    Down Sweater

    “Depends adult diapers—it’s a scary world out there. Or maybe my Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody.”

See More Down Sweaters at REI.com »