Whether you're a seasoned hiker or brand new to it, finding new places to go can be a serious challenge. I know that I often find myself going to the same places but find them to be over crowded and lacking that same luster that made me always want to go there. In this week's post I go over some of the ways I find new places to hike and get away from the crowds.
All trails is my go to website since I started hiking. Their site is extremely easy to use and is loaded with all the information you will need! If you have a particular area you're looking at going to, all you have to do is type it in the search bar and it shows you all the trails in that area. When you click on a particular trail it gives you reviews from others who have hiked it, the trail length, difficulty, and the weather forecast for the next few days. I find that the reviews are extremely helpful in gauging how difficult the hike is. Just be aware that the ratings that all trails gives can be grossly underestimated!
My favorite part about all trails is that they have a mobile app for apple and android users. You can pick a trail and the app tracks your progress throughout your hike. It gives you your distance traveled, the amount of time you’ve been hiking, and the amount of elevation gained. This is extremely helpful when on a trail you're unfamiliar with. It has the same search capabilities as the website and you can save trails to your list within the app. Without a doubt, all trails is a helpful tool for all hikers, just know its limitations and work around them.
2. State Conservation Department
Every state in the US has a conservation department that oversees the state owned lands in their particular state. Depending on your state this site can be a treasure trove of information or extremely disappointing. Where I am in New York they have a section of their website devoted to hiking. Which is packed with helpful hiking tips and great hikes across the state for every season. The real treasure is under the recreation lands section where it has a list by county of all the state forests. These are great places to get away from the crowds. There are so many different forests you can hike in, each with their own trail systems.
3. County/Town/State Parks
Going for a hike doesn’t have to be a grand adventure into a pristine wilderness area, it can be right around the corner. Parks can be hidden gems for hiking. For a piece of land to be turned into a park there usually has unusual natural landscape. These trails are perfect for beginner hikers. They are usually well marked and well traveled so if you get turned around and are unsure of which way the trail goes you can ask someone who is on the trail. They will typically have a wide range of trail lengths so if you don’t have a lot of time you can still get a quick hike in. A downside of parks is that they can be very crowded at times so I recommend going during off times, or doing some research on the park to find trails that aren’t as well known.