Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

We adventure travelers sometimes think we are pretty big after we come back from a long hiking trip or a several country escapade, but we have nothing on the monarch butterfly. The monarch butterflies captured in these photos are about to embark on a 2,000 plus mile journey to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico.

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly at Montrose Beach bird sanctuary in Chicago

Monarch butterflies west of the Rockies migrate to southern California.  Some in Canada actually travel as far as 3,000 miles. It takes them up to two months to complete the journey.

This journey is as long as the Appalachian Trail. A few humans hike the Appalachian Trail once or perhaps twice in their life. The monarch butterfly migrates this distance twice a year.

Monarch butterfly

The monarch butterfly migration route – Wikimedia commons

There are many birds that migrate just as far or even farther, but they can fly a lot faster than a monarch butterfly. Although monarchs do not fly fast, they use wind currents to help them along and can fly an impressive 50-100 miles a day. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the farthest recorded one day travel for a monarch butterfly was an incredible 265 miles.

Some of the strategies they use to fly back and forth are amazing. They cluster on peninsulas when crossing large bodies of water. They somehow know the tip of the peninsula is the shortest route across the water. They then lay in wait for a gentle breeze blowing in the right direction to help them across.

Next time you hike a measly 10-15 miles in a day or managed to make two border crossings in Asia, just remember the monarch butterfly and their two amazing journeys each year.

Monarch butterfly

Another shot of the city dwelling monarch at Montrose Beach

These monarchs were photographed either in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie or in the Montrose Beach Bird Sanctuary in Chicago. For another nice monarch shot, check out this blog post from the Mad Traveler.

Stay tuned,


The goal of Traveling Ted TV is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).