Discover the path to longevity. Reducing the likelihood of heart disease, obesity and anxiety, hiking can help increase your quality of life. The heart healthy and therapeutic activity of exploring nearby hiking trails is the perfect way to spend a weekend. Forget about your worries. It’s time to take a breather and slow down.
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
The Top 5 Nearby Hiking Trails
Black Mountain Loop at Lake George
Length: 7 miles
Located in: Lake George, N.Y., 75 minutes north of Albany and four hours north of NYC
Highlights: The moderate hike up Black Mountain rewards with breathtaking views that overlook the northern portion of Lake George. To the south, mansions and resorts dot the shoreline, and to the north, there are spectacular views of Anthony’s Nose preserve and the rugged peaks of Tongue Mountain. Detour from the main path and venture off on one of the trails leading to the south or east, where three small ponds (Black Mountain, Lapland and Millman) rest within a mile of the summit. At the summit awaits one of the few remaining fire towers in the Adirondacks.
Don’t miss: Take a hot air balloon up over the water.
Length: 8 miles
Located in: Northeast Piscataquis, Maine, 3 1/2 hours north of Portland
Highlights: Considered the “Grand Canyon of the East,” the Gulf Hagas Trail rests in one of the most remote sections of the Appalachian Trail. With no bridge at the trail crossing point, travelers should be prepared to get wet at Pleasant River, which spans 150 feet wide. Along the trail, beautiful cascading waterfalls and deep, mesmerizing gorges are the main attractions. Watch your footing; the path can get a little wet. And be sure to visit Hermitage, a stunning old growth pine stand owned by the Nature Conservancy, or gaze at Screw Auger Falls.
Don’t miss: Bring a friend, a map and a plan. This trail, while beautiful, is extremely remote. Be careful and wear well-draining shoes for river crossings.
Length: 9 miles
Located in: Albany, Pa., 90 minutes northwest of Philadelphia
Highlights: Out of the entire 230 miles of Appalachian Trail cutting through Pennsylvania, this 9-mile stretch offers two of the best views around Pulpit Rock and Pinnacle Rock. Moderate on the difficulty scale, this hike is fine for most adventurers and at the summit, seemingly endless views of Leigh valley make it well worth the trip. Travelers can expect sprawling views surrounding hills and patchwork of farmland. Beautiful year round, the view comes alive during the fall.
Don’t miss: The chance to get there early! This hike is popular and on busy weekend afternoons large crowds detract from the peaceful view.
Length: 3.5 miles
Located in: Newport, R.I., 45 minutes south of Providence
Highlights: The first National Recreational Trail in New England, this walk has history. It winds past the cliffs of Sheep Point Cove, showing off rocky shoreline, and travels the gilded age architecture of Newport’s Historic District. Along the way, wildflowers and birds add to the scenery. Further south, trailgoers scramble from rock to rock on a more natural and rugged path. So, be sure to wear the proper shoes.
Make sure you: Visit the Colonial architecture and the local museums. The White Horse Tavern, which is the oldest U.S. tavern still serving drinks, is also a neat spot to visit.
Length: 13 miles
Located in: Salisbury, Conn., 90 minutes north of Bridgeport and 75 minutes southeast of Albany
Highlights: Go for the hike, stay for the scenery. The quiet trek up Lion’s Head along the Appalachian Trail is a short (but difficult) hike with an amazing view. The highest peak in Connecticut, Bear Mountain overlooks a sprawling and breathtaking landscape. From the top of the summit, hikers can watch as sections of southern Connecticut fan out wide, with rolling Litchfield Hills. Due east, the Twin Lakes. And north, views of Massachusetts and the interspersed mountainsides, farmland, woodlands, and small towns.
Don’t miss: The 22-foot stone pyramid at the top of Bear Mountain and enjoy views of the Catskills.
There’s nothing better than a little one-on-one with nature or a quiet hike with family or friends. During autumn, these nearby hiking trails offer beautiful blazing color. Head off on a new adventure!
Need some motivation? Read about one AAA member’s ultimate hike along the Appalachian Trail.
What are some of your favorite nearby hiking trails? Let us know in the comments below. And for more local outdoor exploration check out these walking and running trails.
This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.