With the semester coming to an end, it’s time to make plans for those summer adventures and getaways. This summer, instead of hitting the beach like every other summer, take a trip to a nature trail or park. Hiking is a great form of exercise that you can do with your friends, and you’ll be so distracted by the amazing views that you won’t even notice you’re working out. The following 10 hiking trails from around the country, ranging from easy to hard, all offer absolutely breathtaking views guaranteed to have a powerful effect on your mental and spiritual well being.
1. Cascade Mountain — Keene, NY
Cascade Mountain is perfect for beginner hikers and more casual hikes. You can expect waterfalls at the mountain’s base (hence the name) as well as stunning views of New York’s Green mountains on this 4.2 mile hike.
2. Mt. Tammany — Worthington State Forest, NJ
Overlooking the Delaware Water Gap, this mountain offers multiple different hiking paths, all within eagle-watching territory. The longest trail is only 3.5 miles, but the trail is steep, making it a workout for sure.
3. Jay Peak Long Trail North — Jay, VT
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
This section of Long Trail is the most interesting part because it is the most rugged — sure to keep any hiker interested. Dubbed the “footpath of the wilderness,” the entire path, from Massachusetts to the Canadian border, is the oldest long-distance trail in the U.S.
4. Torreya Challenge Loop — Bristol, FL
Although this trail is mostly flat land, the loop is 7 miles long, making it more than just a walk in the park. The path is made up of marshy forest terrain (what else would you expect in Florida?) and goes across ridges and deep gorges.
5. 30-Mile Wilderness, Appalachian Trail — Monson, ME
Perhaps one of the most scenic sections of the Appalachian Trail, this semi-rugged route includes waterfalls, rocky rivers, maple forests and panoramic views of the backwoods of Maine.
6. John Muir Trail — Yosemite Valley, CA
For an all-around great hiking experience, this is the best section of the Pacific Crest Trail. It crosses Yosemite and Kings Canyon, with plenty of sequoias and wilderness to see.
7. Snowmass Wilderness, Maroon Bells — Aspen, CO
Difficulty: Moderate – Hard
This hike is a popular one because the view is said to be Colorado’s most photographed mountain. The six peaks, standing at over 14,000 feet each, make a perfect hike for experienced hikers.
8. Old Rag Mountain — Shenandoah National Park, VA
Difficulty: Moderate – Hard
One of the most popular hiking destination in the U.S., this mountain draws its crowd for the danger aspect. With its rugged terrain full of bare rocks and boulder fields, this 8-mile hike is for those seeking a risky adventure.
9. Angels Landing — Zion National Park, UT
Angels Landing is not your average hiking experience. From scaling cliffs to negotiating a narrow rock fin with steep dropoffs, this is definitely for the dare devils out there.
10. The Lost Coast — CA
Even though this trail is alongside the ocean, don’t let the soothing view fool you. This hike is a tough one. Named for its tendency to be buried by California’s tide, the path is 20 miles long one-way, making it a perfect week-long challenge for experienced hikers.
So get out, get moving and explore what the earth has to offer this summer, collegiettes!
Photo credits: Usatoday.com, Theactivetimes.com