8 Hidden Gem Hiking Spots For Beginner & Experienced Hikers
An invigorating hike can transform your state of mind, giving you an amazing blend of confidence and serenity. However, these effects are somewhat muted when your favorite route is packed with other hikers.
It's great to see so many people hitting the trail, but what if you want a secluded experience? You may need to commit to additional research to uncover less-visited trails or do your homework, and you'll find a whole world of hidden gems worth exploring. We've highlighted just a few of these fantastic trails below:
Warner Point Nature Trail
If you love national parks but hate crowds, this is the trail for you. While most national parks are currently seeing record attendance, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison retains its hidden gem status.
The Warner Point Nature Trail is definitely one of the more visited routes in the park, but it remains decidedly quiet as compared to similarly gentle trails from other national parks. If you want more of a challenge, feel free to hit up the Oak Flat Loop Trail or the North Vista Trail.
Santa Elena Canyon Trail
Another excellent hike for national park fans in search of solitude, this brief route is perfect when you're short on time but want to see the best of Big Bend National Park's iconic desert scenery. The dramatic canyon views beckon you to take plenty of photos. Shade is minimal, so you'll want to arrive equipped with a good hat and plenty of sunscreen. Better yet, arrive early in the morning, when the trail remains cool and quiet. Water shoes can be helpful, as the trail involves a fun river crossing.
Another short hike can be enjoyed nearby on the Dorgan-Sublett Trail, which involves a half mile of meandering among the remains of farm structures. Sometimes referred to as the ultimate hidden gem of Texas, Big Bend also offers a variety of excellent paddling and horseback riding opportunities.
This New Mexico trail has a fascinating origin story: it began as an Eagle Scout project. It's located near Los Alamos ? an easy day trip from Santa Fe. The main trail ascends 1,500 feet en route to Guaje Ridge. The return trip is particularly scenic, so take your time and enjoy the pristine panorama. If you desire a longer hike, you can continue along the Perimeter Trail.
This Oregon gem is worth checking out for the name alone. The trailhead can be easy to miss, but you'll quickly find the effort worthwhile once immersed in this lush coastal forest. After a few delightful miles, you'll arrive at a secluded beach that feels like pure magic. Set aside an hour or two to explore; you'll find tide pools, dunes, and plenty of seashells.
One of several underrated trails from the Uwharrie National Forest, this route meanders by a quaint farmstead. It's a favorite among local birdwatchers. Be sure to bring plenty of repellent, as this trail attracts more bugs than people. Even if you take your time, this trail can easily be completed in under two hours.
George Washington Pines
Finding a secluded trail can feel all but impossible when you visit Minnesota's North Shore during peak tourist season. If you're desperate to avoid the crowds at the local state parks, try the George Washington Pines trail near Grand Marais. Although better known as a ski trail and winter recreation area, the hike remains accessible during summer.
Mt. Woodson Trail
Crowds are guaranteed when you spend most of your time along the coast in San Diego. However, if you're willing to head inland, you can find remarkable scenery along the Mt. Woodson Trail. Sometimes referred to as the "Potato Chip Hike," this trek will introduce you to some of the area's most intriguing geologic formations.
While it's popular among locals on the weekends, this trail is nearly always quiet during the week. Spanning over six miles, this excursion can feel rigorous at times - but your physical exertion will lead to the ultimate reward: a mesmerizing view.
Burnt Meadow Mountain
This steep trail is about as rocky as it gets, but you only need to commit to a mile of strenuous hiking. You'll thank yourself for tackling this challenge, as the scenic rewards are amazing. Visit in August, and you'll enjoy access to wild blueberries. If you want to extend your journey, feel free to check out the nearby Twin Brook and Stone Mountain trails.
At home or on the road, you should have no trouble finding trails that deliver stunning views. When in doubt, try the less-traveled routes - there, you'll find a beautiful escape from the stresses of the real world. Look to today's top outdoor magazines for further inspiration. Check out our vast selection at Magazines.com; subscribe to several, and you'll never be short on ideas.