Hike One Of These Amazing Secret Trails In America This Summer.

Hiking is an excellent way to get exercise and enjoy all the benefits of working out in nature. There are plenty of places to go hiking and these are some of the most beautiful and hidden gems around.

With hiking you're exercising almost every part of your body. You'll be exercising your body and nourishing your mind. Hiking will put you in a good mood and release some of that stress and anxiety that's built up. Make sure you bring and drink plenty of water during the hike. Remember to keep your breathing in pace with your movement.

If you're new to hiking just go out for a shorter hike and gradually work up to the longer and more difficult trails. Don't push yourself too hard in the beginning because you don't want to injure yourself. Get comfortable in your body and be aware of the new muscles you're waking up.

The places listed in this article are a little more out of the way and offer you an opportunity to discover some new and gorgeous places. There's 43 trails to choose from so you should be able to find one you can get to!

Share your experiences below if you've hiked any of these trails.

 

43 Hikes Across America

 

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Sure, hiking the Appalachian Trail is an experience no one ever forgets. But the United States is a pretty big place, with tons of opportunities for hiking and camping in spots that don’t attract millions of tourists every year. For those who like the feel of going where (almost) no man has gone before, or for those looking for a little peace and solitude, we’ve got just the solution.

This list includes 43 trails that are “hidden,” either because they’re physically hard to find or because not many people know they exist. Newbie hikers can take a stab at some of the mile-and-under strolls, while more experienced folks will love the long-distance treks. We’re talking breathtaking views of the sunrise, chilling with local wildlife (please don’t feed the animals!), and the chance to learn more about the natural environment. So lace up those hiking boots, buy a map, and most importantly, pack a sense of adventure.

 

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1. Hidden Creek Trail, Soldotna, Alaska
Length: 1.5 miles
Skill level: Easy

Okay, so the first part of this trail isn’t so spectacular. But hikers say once you get to the loop, you’ll find Hidden Creek (literally hidden in a grassy marsh), glistening Skillak Lake, and a breathtaking view of the Kenai Mountains—no manmade stuff in sight. It’s a pretty family friendly hike, too, since it’s relatively easy and there’s a bunch of fishing spots around the creek. Looking for more adventure? Start on one of the other trails off Skillak Lake Road.

2. White Cloud Mountains, Custer County, Idaho
Length: 32.5 miles
Skill level: Difficult

The Sawtooth Mountains usually steal the spotlight, but this lesser-known range offers equal opportunities for scenic long-distance treks. Forty years ago, a proposal to create a national park where the mountains currently stand failed. Today, it’s a place for ambitious hikers to catch a glimpse of the animal kingdom, including elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bears, and gray wolves.

3. Eagle Cap Wilderness, Enterprise, Oregon
Length: 41 miles
Skill level: Difficult

Beat the heat and hike by a serene lake surrounded by Indian paintbrush, sego lilies, and bluebell flowers (they bloom in July). Most hikers visit the Wonderland trail, so leave the masses behind and check out the 5,000-foot tall granite peaks that dot this hike hidden in Oregon’s largest wilderness.

4. Squak Mountain Connector Trail, Seattle, Washington
Length: 0.7 miles
Skill level: Moderate

The name “Squak Mountain” comes from the sound of the herons that visit here during the spring and fall. Any time of year, it’s a great place to bring the fam and even the dog for an afternoon of peace, solitude, and the chance to take in the beauty of the natural landscape.

 

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5. Dripping Cave Trail, Orange County, California
Length: 0.75 miles
Skill level: Easy

Take a hike through history on this multi-use route (open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians). The trail passes right by Dripping Cave, an area that was likely used as a refuge for Native American hunter-gathers and as a hideout for the Juan Flores gang of robbers. It’s one small part of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, a designated wildlife sanctuary that sprawls across 30 miles of trails and features a whole range of endangered animal and plant species.

6. Girdner Trail, Sedona, Arizona
Length: 4.5 miles
Skill level: Moderate

Ditch the daily grind and instead take a tour through Arizona’s amazing natural landscape. Hikers start out passing through lush forests and juniper groves with views of sandstone cliffs, then walk underneath sycamores until they reach a pink-tinged rockscape.

7. Mount Galbraith, Golden, Colorado
Length: 4.25 miles
Skill level: Moderate

There’s never a dull moment on this four-mile stretch that features trails, forests, and meadows. There will likely be some heavy breathing on the hike up to the loop, but once you get there, it’s an easy stroll with breathtaking views on both sides. Those craving more adventure after the hike ends can continue on to (possibly more well-known) trails in Golden Gate Canyon and Eldorado Canyon State Parks.

 

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11. Indian Creek Bike and Hike Trail, Overland Park, Kansas
Length: 17 miles
Skill level: Moderate

Hikers, bikers, joggers, and dog-walkers are all welcome on this flat, paved trail. Veteran hikers say the path feels more woodsy than urban, and it’s generally pretty empty, especially on weekdays. The trail also connects to parks with ball fields, tennis courts, and playgrounds.

12. Siyeh Bend to Logan Pass, Kalispell, Montana
Length: 92 miles
Skill level: Difficult

Hike this less-trodden trail (part of Glacier National Park) in one long trip, or break it up into smaller treks. Either way, it’s a great chance to camp at a site surrounded by waterfalls and spot some wildlife. But beware: Bears have been known to make an appearance on the trail.

13. Caprock Coulee Trail, Medora, North Dakota
Length: 4.3 miles
Skill level: Moderate

Everyone’s heard of Teddy Roosevelt, but his namesake park is less commonly known. Hikers on the Caprock Coulee Trail wend their way through water gulches and ascend a hill to a grassy butte, where they can marvel at the spectacular views before making their way back down.

14. McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area Trail System, Atoka, Oklahoma
Length: 23 miles (total)
Skill level: Moderate

These trails are designated a “quiet-water zone,” and visitors need a (free) permit to hike there. The trail system is also home to a bunch of wildlife, so expect some four-legged company on your journey.

15. Sage Creek Unit, Rapid City, South Dakota
Length: 20 miles
Skill level: Difficult

There aren’t actually any trails in the Badlands’ Sage Creek Unit, so hikers need to develop a good sense of direction before trekking along this route. The key is to make like the animals, following a bison path to another area where deer, antelope, and raptors like to play. Summer’s the perfect time to visit, especially for a more romantic experience—flowers bloom in June and the Perseid Meteor Shower is visible in August.

16. McKittrick Canyon to Pine Springs, Culberson County, Texas
Length: 24.1 miles
Skill level: Difficult

This trail, part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, keeps hikers on their toes, winding through terrain as varied as desert lands, canyons, and mountains. Camp overnight and snag a sunset view of the highest peaks in the McKittrick Ridge. The only (potential) problem is there’s no water available, so backpackers have to lug their own.

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17. Southern Tetons, Jackson, Wyoming
Length: 30.5 miles
Skill level: Difficult

This trail starts at Death Canyon Trailhead in Grand Teton National Park. Sure, the name sounds scary, but starting from Death Canyon is actually a great way to beat the crowds and still snag spectacular views of the Teton spires below. Elk and moose will make up most of your companions on this journey, which features canyons, mountains, and hosts of wildflowers.

 

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26. The Walls of Jericho, Huntsville, Alabama

Length: 3.5 miles
Skill level: Difficult

This trail isn’t too far from Huntsville, but it feels like it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. So slap on those waterproof boots and prepare to feel the burn as you trek downhill and then all the way back uphill through a muddy trail marked by caves and waterfalls. Legend has it a traveling minister named the hike more than two centuries ago when the nearly 200-foot walls reminded him of a cathedral.

27. Creek Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Length: 4 miles
Skill level: Varies

We love Disney World, but not all of Florida’s that crowded. Forgo the fifteenth ride on Space Mountain and check out this combination of forest footpaths, paved trails, and bridges over wetlands. Don’t worry about bringing a portable fan, either: A canopy of trees (including the “titi” tree) keeps things cool throughout the trek. (Note: Parts of the trails are also suitable for biking.)

28. Benton MacKaye Trail, Fannin County, Georgia
Length: 300 miles
Skill level: Difficult

Say “so long” for at least a few weeks if you plan to hike the whole thing. This 300-mile trail passes through the backcountry of North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, and includes parts of the Appalachian Mountains. There are also lots of options for shorter hikes along the way, passing through several federally designated Wilderness Study Areas. Try hiking from Three Forks to Springer Mountain, if only to marvel at the views of the southern Georgia Mountains at the end.

29. Linville Gorge Wilderness, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
Length: 22 miles
Skill level: Difficult

It takes at least three days to make the full circuit, so prepare for some hardcore camping. But it’s hard to prepare for what it feels like to stand on the edge of a cliff and look down at the gorge below. A thicket of hemlock stands, rhododendrons, and mountain laurel, plus a waterfall, make this trail feel simply magical.

30. Guignard Clay Quarry Loop Trail, Cayce, South Carolina
Length: 2.7 miles
Skill level: Easy

Though this trail is pretty close to Columbia, it’s the literal path less traveled, with minimal traffic throughout the year. The overgrown wetlands area actually used to be a quarry for a brick plant; today it’s a spot where hikers and their pooches can come for some solitude.

31. Crabtree Falls, Nelson County, Virginia
Length: 4.4 miles
Skill level: Options for easy, moderate, and difficult

Look up! The beautiful waterfall at the end of this uphill hike is the highest vertical-drop cascade east of the Mississippi River. Those afraid of heights (or who really have to pee) can take the trail past a series of lower falls.

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38. Midstate Trail, Worcester County, Massachusetts
Length: 92 miles
Skill level: Moderate

Revamped in 1972, this trail is the product of teamwork between government officials and outdoorsy volunteers. Today, hikers can make the trek from Rhode Island to New Hampshire, winding their way through fields, forests, hills, and towns along the way. Of course, choosing just a portion of the trail to hike is also more than acceptable.

39. Falls in the River Trail, Pittsburg, New Hampshire
Length: 2 miles
Skill level: Moderate

This family-friendly trail runs beside the Connecticut River, and the sounds of rushing water greet hikers as they make their way along the path. Wildlife and waterfowl call this place home; otherwise you’ll find few distractions from peace and solitude.

40. Pochuck Mountain, Sussex County, New Jersey
Length: Variable
Skill level: Difficult

Talk about living history—the rocks that form this mountain are over a billion years old. And summiting them is no small challenge, either: The mountain peak stretches 1,149 feet into the sky. The name “Pochuck” literally means “out-of-the-way place” in the Lenape language, but don’t be fooled: The Appalachian trail runs over the top of the mountain, so this trail does see a bit more foot traffic than some of the other hikes on this list.

41. Walking Dunes Nature Trail, Napeague, New York
Length: 0.75 miles
Difficulty: Easy

If you like makin’ love at midnight, in the duuuunes of Long Island, this trail is for you. Or if you’re just into spectacular views as seen from between 40-foot-tall dunes, we recommend checking this place out.

GET THE FULL LIST HERE

 

SOURCE: Shana Lebowitz at Greatist.com

IMAGES: ARTICLE1,  ARTICLE2 by Paul on Flickr, ARTICLE3 by Howard Ignatius on Flickr, HEADER by Erin McGuire on Flickr, FEATURED by Ranch Seeker on Flickr

Author: Peter Tiedemann

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