10 Scenic Hiking Trails for an Inspiring Day Outdoors
After being cooped up during the winter months, the warm days of June make it one of the best months for a nature hike. And yet, it’s not quite as hot as it will be later in the summer. Make the most of the beautiful weather with a hike through wooded, mountainous, or flower-filled trails! Check out this list of top scenic hikes, vetted by our local market experts and located nearby our residents’ cities.
Middlesex Fells Reservation
A convenient, beautiful retreat for Bostonians is Middlesex Fells Reservation. It’s located less than 10 miles north of the city. More than 100 trails are dotted along 2,575 wooded acres, with plenty of ponds and lakes for relaxing. Other activities include fishing and canoe/kayak rentals. Pick up the trail map here.
Part of the Boston Harbor Islands, World’s End is a tranquil peninsula with 251-acre park designed by the famed Frederick Law Olmstead. Its 4-mile trail is considered an easy route that takes about an hour and a half to finish. Views include deep green hills, shorelines and the Boston skyline. You can plan your visit here.
This breath-taking 2500-preserve is known for its eponymous waterfall, but you’ll also find 11 miles of mapped trails through prairies, savannas and oak-maple forests. A vibrant preserve, it is home to 740 native plants and more than 300 animal species. Waterfall Glen is located about 30 miles southwest of Chicago, in Lemont, Illinois. Learn more here.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is the largest island in the archipelago called the Chicago Wilderness. About half of the 19,000-acre preserve is open to the public, offering 33 miles of trails. It’s the perfect place for birding and a haven for wildflowers. You might even see bison – they roam a large portion of the prairie after being introduced in 2015. Get more information here.
About eight miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, Griffith Park spans 4,210 acres of evergreen forest and landscaped parkland. Here you’ll find more than 53 miles of trails. Considered one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S., it borders the Santa Monica Mountain Range. Besides hiking, other attractions at Griffith Park include the L.A. Equestrian Center, Griffith Observatory, Greek Theatre and Los Angeles Zoo. Learn more here.
Inspiration Loop (Will Rogers State Historic Park)
This 4-mile hiking trail loops between Inspiration Point and Will Rogers State Park. It offers ocean and city views, stretching from the Santa Monica Bay to downtown Los Angeles, but is considered a moderately challenging hike. You can read up on this trail and park here.
Pine Meadow Trail (Harriman State Park)
This 10-mile loop trough Harriman State Park will take you all the way around the beautiful Pine Meadow Lake, but you can cut it to five miles if you stop at the lake and turn back to your starting point. This popular trail is known for its serene forest setting. If you’re interested in other routes, Harriman State Park does offer 200 miles of hiking trails – it’s the second-largest state park in New York. For more information, click here.
Storm King Mountain
Storm King Mountain is another popular spot for hiking, thanks to its stunning views of the Catskills and Hudson Valley. The moderate, 2.5-mile hike opens with some steep, rocky sections, but then turns to a flat forest trail with a smooth mountain ascent. The views at the top are well-worth the climb, and the hike back down is relatively easy. Learn more about Storm King here.
Lands End Trail
Considered one of the best hikes in San Francisco, the Lands End Trail is a four-mile loop offering clear views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Pacific Ocean. You’ll navigate ocean cliffs and enjoy shady outposts of cypress and eucalyptus trees. This trail is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, making it a convenient day trip. Read more about Lands End Trail here.
Tomales Point North Trail (Point Reyes National Seashore)
The Tomales Point Trail, known for its rolling hills of wildflowers and coastal bluffs, gives you a choice of three distances, depending on the sites you’d like to see. There are two-, six- and 10-miles routes. However since it’s an out-and-back trail, meaning there’s only way out (the way you came), you have the ultimate flexibility in deciding how long you’d like to stay. Get more details here.
Great Falls Park
Head 20 miles northwest of DC for beautiful waterfall and river views as you hike. The 800-acre park offers 15 miles of trails, with options that take you through woods or along the Potomac River. Some of the trails will take you through ruins of historic, abandoned towns. Learn more about the trails at Great Falls Park here.
Prince William Forest Park
A bit further from the District’s center, Prince William Forest Park is 40 miles away in Northern Virginia. An impressive 15,000 acres, this national park offers 37 miles of interesting, peaceful trails. Choose from 12 different hikes, whether you’d like to experience mature forests, babbling creeks, water-crossings or even an abandoned pyrite mine. See the list of trails here.
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