You don’t always have to travel hours on end to reach the countryside. There are numerous major American cities that are located close to hiking trails and campgrounds. These are six of the best cities for outdoor adventures.
1. Nevada – Las Vegas
While Sin City may be famous for its casinos, resorts, golfing, and entertainment, some of the best desert scenery lies just a few miles outside of town. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the best. Here you’ll see some gorgeous red-rock canyons, peaks, and cliffs where you can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. One of the most popular hikes starts at Sandstone quarry and takes you to Turtle Head Peak. It’s five miles return and takes you past flats, yuccas, and Joshua trees. At the Peak, you’ll get a tremendous view of Las Vegas from 6,300 feet high.
2. Oregon – Portland
Portland is surrounded by rainforest and is known as a hiker’s paradise. There are numerous trails around the city which range from being quite easy to quite hard. The scenery is breathtaking as you’ll see the coastline, forests, Columbia Gorge, mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and meadows. One of the best trails is Triple Falls. This is a three-mile route starting at Horsetail Falls Trailhead. It follows a wooded canyon and overlooks the mighty Columbia River. There’s a beautiful waterfall along it and it’s just 30 miles outside of town.
3. Arizona – Phoenix
Phoenix is home to the 17,000-acre South Mountain Park, which is the world’s biggest municipal park. There are close to 60 miles of trails here to explore and you might be sharing the paths with coyotes and javelinas. You’ll be walking through cholla cacti, spindly ocotillos, and saguaros along the way. One of the best hikes is the 14-mile long National Trail. It will offer take you to South Mountain and Camelback Mountain where you’ll get spectacular views of the region.
4. California – San Francisco
San Francisco is an ideal location for hiking, camping, biking, kayaking, and climbing. One of the most popular spots is Mount Tamalpais State Park. This piece of land is 6,300 acres in size and features some beautiful wildflowers, redwoods, chaparral, and grasslands and it’s just 20 miles north of town. Some of the best trails are Steep Ravine, Dipsea, and Matt Davis trails. If you reach the peak of Mount Tamalpais you’ll get some exceptional views of city, bay, and coastline.
5. Utah – Salt Lake City
If you drive just 20 minutes outside of the city you’ll come across 10,000 foot high mountains and just 30 miles out of town is Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is one of the state’s top hiking destinations. One of the best hikes begins at the Brighton Ski Resort and it takes you along Brighton Lakes over to Lake Mary. You’ll see some of the best countryside in the nation, such as peaks, valleys, and lakes and everything’s within an hour of Salt Lake City.
6. Washington – Seattle
Seattle sits on Puget Sound and is just next door to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. A popular hiking spot is Mount Si, where you’ll get a breathtaking view of the local green wilderness and Mount Rainier. It’s about 40 miles to the east of town and requires you to climb about 3,700 feet. The hike is four miles in length and you’ll pass by Pacific Northwest fir and conifer forests, as well as wonderful streams and valleys.