You can find hiking trails near you with the many resources available online. A Google search will give you so many selections; it will take you forever to figure out the best. We gathered our hiking friends and did some polls and research to get you the best information possible.
Trail maps and possibly a trail guide are some of the essentials besides the gear you should have. We will talk more about accessories later, let's get you the information you want now.
Whether the mountains are calling or you're in a new scenic area just begging you to explore it. There will always be the one question that is bound to come up: Are there hiking trails near me? Here are a few ideas to make the hunt for nearby hiking trails a little easier.
Somethings Old Still Work
Grab a topographical map of your local recreation area and state you will be hiking in. Having a paper map in your backpack is very important. You can not always rely on your cell phone GPS and cellular signals far in the backcountry.
Benchmark maps are one company that makes excellent topographical maps for all the national parks. They also provide an APP if you are interested, we have not tested it to the fullest but will be providing some alternatives in future articles.
Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside. The word walking, used for shorter, unusually urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word "walking" is acceptable to describe all forms of walking.
After all, Hiking is one of the greatest things you can do for your health, both mental and physical:
- It's a fantastic way to get up and explore your surroundings.
- It's a great date idea for the right person!
- It's a great reminder that this world in which we live is pretty amazing.
- It requires next to nothing to get started.
- It's a high bonding activity with friends, family, and significant others.
- You already have everything you need to get started.
Five Hiking Trail Adventures You Will Never Forget
Going on a hike doesn't always have to be amazing. If you live near any of these locations or are lucky enough to be visiting nearby, they are sure to fascinate you without a doubt. The hikes have been sorted by difficulty from Easy (Green), Intermediate (Blue), Advanced (Black). When going on any hike, make sure to stay hydrated and have the necessary hiking supplies.
Difficulty: Easy (Green)
Type: Out and back
Distance: 0.2 miles
The falls are a quick hike from the parking area on Ochs Highway - a comfortable half mile. You will start down a gradual hill that has sound footing, passing a trail that branches off to the left. Continue on the main path; it will cross a narrow (sometimes dry) creek and then begin a gradual ascent to the falls.
If it has been raining, you'll hear the falling water. The falls can be magnificent after a good rain; in the dry season, the water gets hidden in a secret nook.
Cross the wooden bridge and hike up the stone steps, through the small tunnel in the rock, and explore the creek above the falls. After you've thrown sticks or rocks and explored the upper pools, you can retrace your steps and drive down to Sanders Road. On Sanders Road, there is a picnic area with bathrooms and a drinking fountain.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Utah
Difficulty: Moderate (Blue)
Type: Out and back
Distance: 6.1 miles
There is an incredible wave formation at Top Rock. The bands of red, pink, yellow, and white Navajo sandstone that arc up, down, and around ancient stone chutes are unlike anything you've ever seen. Be patient, though: There are only 20 people allowed out each day.
You have to enter a daily lottery for four months in advance if you want a permit. It is possible but rare to walk into the GSENM Visitor Center in Kanab to try to secure one for the next day.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico
Difficulty: Moderate (Blue)
Distance: 3.1 miles
The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The National Monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, includes a national recreation trail. The trail ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. It is for foot travel only and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation, and plant identification.
The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. The volcanic eruptions left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Massive explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a pyroclastic flow.
Perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks, and are disintegrating. While relatively uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.
Underhill State Park, Vermont
Difficulty: Hard (Black)
Distance: 5.2 miles
Mount Mansfield is the most frequently visited mountain in Vermont with nearly 40,000 visitors walking its upper reaches every year. This use has severely affected its fragile ecosystem.
Mount Mansfield is one of two places in Vermont where there is Arctic Tundra; the other site being Camels Hump. There are about 200 acres of Arctic Tundra on Mount Mansfield; Camels Hump only holds a few acres.
The weather on Mount Mansfield can be very different from the lower surrounding areas. In winter, blowing snow and clouds are common conditions on the summit. Above the tree line, complete whiteouts leading to disorientation may occur; be very cautious when ascending in these conditions.
Visibility may be only 20 feet, so it is easy to get lost while ascending or descending from the summit. Useless exposed routes in these conditions, for example, use Laura Cowles trail instead of Sunset Ridge.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Difficulty: Hard (Black)
Distance: 2.5 miles
This trail is unique: It's less like an actual trail and more like a situation. You hike into The Great Sand Dunes, spot the highest dune, and make your way toward it. (The tallest dune in America is the towering Star Dune, BTW, so keep an eye out.) It's also why the short distance gets rated "hard" (it's not exactly easy to trudge through sand).
Still, adventure seekers will love this place - you can rent sandboards and sleds and ride your way down the dunes for an added thrill.
During the spring and summer months, the snowmelt creates a unique water flow. Medano Creek is a favorite seasonal stream enjoyed by all ages. Late May is near the peak of Medano Creek's annual flood. While it is still springtime and winds may arise, especially in the afternoon.
May temperatures are generally moderate, with highs in the 60s-70s F. Snow is still possible at this elevation in May! Trees and bushes along with the creek leaf out. There may be some "no-see-ums" (tiny biting gnats), but mosquitoes are rarely out in May.
What Do I Need To Go Hiking?
Hiking equipment is determined based on where and how long your hike is going to be. If you are going for a stroll around your local park, bring some water, and you are good to go. If you plan to go backpacking for a day trip or overnight we would suggest a sound water transport system so you can stay well hydrated.
Using a nice walking stick helps more than you would think. Some non-perishable foods like jerky or dehydrated fruits and nuts are natural to store and very nutritious.
A beautiful pair of walking shoes with excellent support will help on uneven terrain. Try on different brands and sizes at your local shoe store to make sure they are comfortable. A flashlight will always come in handy if you get lost at night.
If you live in an area where there are insects, make sure to research the type of bugs in your area. Insect control is crucial, especially when it comes to TICKS. Always make sure to check yourself or if you are lucky enough to have a partner check for you after every hike, for any signs of bugs. Remove them and put the insect in a clear plastic bag if you are not sure what it is and ask your local Dr. if bitten.
Maps and Apps are good to use, and remember paper maps do not need a cellular signal to show you the way. So grab a map or download a good app for your phone that doesn’t require mobile access to use the maps.
We will do a future article on our favorite outdoor apps in the future. If there is something, you would like to learn more about, leave us a comment below, or help a friend by sharing this information. Happy Hiking.