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Backpack & Budget

New Hosteling Places to Hang Your Hat In

June 16, 1996|LUCY IZON

Three new American youth hostels have recently opened, one near the site where the Wright brothers made their first powered flight, a second in Utah's "Red Rock Country" and a third near former Gold Rush towns in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just 40 miles from Yosemite National Park.

The HI-Outer Banks hostel is located in Kitty Hawk, N.C., gateway to the 100-mile string of barrier islands on the Atlantic Coast. From the new hostel's location it's only a four-mile trip to Kill Devil Hills, the site of the first flight and a museum that commemorates the event. If you want to take to the air yourself, it's just eight miles to the dunes where you can take beginner hang-gliding lessons or a 40-mile journey down the coast (almost to Cape Hatteras), where you can challenge the winds on the water by windsurfing at the infamous Canadian Hole.

The HI-Outer Banks hostel is in a former 1920s schoolhouse on 10 wooded acres with a picnic area, parking, volleyball and shuffleboard court. It has 53 beds, including couples and family rooms. Discounts for local services, such as cycling and riding, are available to HI (Hostelling International) members. Other services, such as canoe and kayak rentals, will be available for hostel guests. Overnight fees for HI members are $15.

You can find the HI-Outer Banks hostel at 1004 W. Kitty Hawk Road, Kitty Hawk, NC 27049; telephone (919) 261-2294.

The region near the new HI-Hurricane hostel (also called the Dixie Hostel) is known as a hiking and mountain biking paradise. It's just 20 miles from the massive red sandstone cliffs and arches of Zion National Park, and near Grafton Ghost Town, where "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was filmed.

Guests at the 28-bed hostel have parking and laundry facilities, plus a complimentary continental breakfast. Bike rentals are nearby. The overnight fee for HI members is $15; private family or couples rooms are available for $40.

The address is HI-Hurricane, 73 S. Main St., Hurricane, UT 84737; tel. (801) 635-8202.

The new HI-Sonora is located on the Columbia College campus, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It's near the Gold Rush towns of Sonora and Columbia. Swimming and other water sports are available on the New Melones Reservoir, just five minutes away. In the winter, skiers can drive to Dodge Ridge or Bear Valley Ski areas.

This is a 36-bed hostel that offers 24-hour access, and private family/couples rooms, laundry facilities, a mini-mart and well-equipped recreation room. The overnight fee for HI members is $12.

The address is HI-Sonora, 11800 Columbia College Drive, Sonora, CA 95370; tel. (209) 533-2339.

These hostels are affiliated with the worldwide organization, Hostelling International. There are no age restrictions. Nonmembers are charged an additional guest fee averaging $3 per night. Accommodation is in separate men's and women's dormitory rooms. There are self-service kitchens, dining areas and common rooms for relaxing.

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