The most important thing to remember when searching for the best U.S. spring hiking spots is that every town and city in the country will have a park and some fine hiking trails nearby. As a good photographer would tell you, the best camera to use is the one you have on you, the same goes for hiking spots. You don’t need to wait for National Take a Hike Day in autumn to lace up your boots! Even if you're enjoying a staycation this spring, head outside to your local trail for some great spring hiking with fewer bugs than during the summertime. But, if you do happen to have the desire and means for something grander, like traveling to Arizona’s Bridal Wreath Falls Trail or visiting Maroon Lake Scenic Trail near Snowmass Village, Colorado, here are 7 of the best U.S. spring hiking destinations to experience this year.
1. The Appalachian Trail
You can avoid the summer crowds and literally walk with spring on the Appalachian Trail by picking any starting point in the South and heading up north to 'walk with spring' and watch the natural world unfold, bloom, and color this glorious part of America. If hiking with kids, be sure to download the Okee Dokee Brothers Grammy nominated album, Through The Woods, recorded as the two best friends (not actual siblings) Joe and Justin hiked this very same trail in 2013. As far as spring hiking goes, none of the best US spring hiking spots are better!
2. Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI
Don’t let the mileage fool you! Yes, this roundtrip spring hiking trail will only put 3.5 miles on your smartphone’s health app fitness tracker but the strenuous hike that starts with the Dune Climb and ends at Lake Michigan, will provide quite the workout. What makes Sleeping Bear Dunes one of the best US spring hiking destinations is the 2-4 hours you’ll spend among the grasses, shrubs and wildflowers of the majestic, other-worldly sand dunes. While you’re out spring hik-ing, start thinking about the summer fishing and camping destinations you’d like to visit this year.
3. New River Gorge National Park, WV
This new national park has no entrance fee so hiking the many trails, including the picturesque Endless Wall Trail loop and its absolutely stunning lookout points over 2,000 feet above the gorge and river below, won't cost you a penny. Parking lots near the trail heads make taking the whole family out to one of the best US spring hiking spots even easier.
4. Billy Goat Trail, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, MD
The Billy Goat Trail is a moderate 4-mile spring hiking spot located in Maryland, just minutes from Washington, D.C. You will experience the raging Potomac River and the rocky crags of Great Falls as you stretch your legs and escape the hec-tic nature of the National Mall in the capital.
5. Acadia National Park, ME
Spending 3-4 hours on the 5-mile Jordan Pond Loop inside Maine’s masterpiece of a National Park provides a challeng-ing spring hiking experience that will have your hiking boots traversing steep slopes, iron rungs, and making a strenuous climb up Sargent Mountain. Once up there, you have panoramic views from two summits and will see Jordan Pond nes-tled between the mountains down below. There are many other trails, of various lengths and degrees of difficulty, on of-fer as well as a plethora of fantastic fishing spots in Acadia to catch everything from Brook trout to Striped bass.
6. John Muir Trail, CA
When it comes to the best U.S. spring hiking spots for serious hikers, those ready to head out for a couple of weeks of trekking, backpacking, and camping, few U.S. spring hiking destinations are more gorgeous and glorious to complete, challenging, and sought after than the famed John Muir Trail in California, a long point to point trail near Yosemite Valley.
7. Valley of Fire State Park, NV
You’ve been cooped up all winter and want an outdoor adventure! Some of the best spring hiking can be found less than one hour from Las Vegas in the Valley of Fire State Park. What is so great bout this natural wonderland of fiery red rocks is the plethora of short, easy trails 3 miles and less that let you stretch your legs, see beautiful sights, and get back to the fun on offer on (and off) the famed Vegas Strip! It’s a great day out for spring hiking and it beats staying home!
Check out these fun outdoor activities and new hobbies worth trying this spring and summer!