The regular ski and snowboard season is over, and it’s time to begin trekking up the mountains instead of flying down them. Dust off your hiking boots, grab your dog or crew, and set your weekend plans on soaking up the sunshine as you set out in search of some of the best springtime hikes the United States has to offer.
1. Chautauqua Park — Boulder, Colorado
There’s nothing like springtime in the Rocky Mountains, and if you’ve been meaning to visit Colorado, there’s no better time than the present. Boulder’s Chautauqua Park is the perfect playground for a short, medium or long hike and will give you one tough workout along the way.
If you’re ready to challenge yourself, try taking the Royal Arch Trail, beginning on the main Chautauqua Trail. The hike begins winding through trees and then dirt and rock steps uphill. Along the way, you’ll gaze at Boulder’s famous Flatirons, so be sure to bring your camera. Once you arrive to the trail’s end, you’ll be greeted by the massive Royal Arch and you’ll leave with a sense of accomplishment.
2. Point Reyes National Seashore — Bay Area, California
If you’re California dreamin’ this spring and love both the mountains and the beach, head to Point Reyes, located just a few miles north of San Francisco. Point Reyes offers a multitude of easy beach hikes up to more challenging backpacking options and is a great destination for your next camping trip.
If you’ve never been, be sure to check out the lighthouse on the point, and don’t delay, the wildflowers, expansive views and chirping bids in the spring transform the park into a majestic nature wonderland.
3. Mount Katahdin — Baxter State Park, Maine
East Coasters, ready for a challenge this spring? Be sure you’ve got stable hiking shoes and head to Maine’s Mount Katahdin. As the tallest mountain in Maine, this trail is not meant for inexperienced hikers.
Once you arrive, you’ll may spot an abundance of the mountain’s wildlife, including black bear, deer, moose, Katahdin Arctic butterflies and a variety of songbirds. The Appalachian Trail ends at Mount Katahdin, so it’s a great place to join hikers in a celebration. Famous climbers include Henry David Thoreau and Theodore Winthrop, so you may also want to pack a notebook.
4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Border of North Carolina & Tennessee
If you’re seeking a milder spring hike but still want to take in all the wonders of the season, consider taking a trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its most popular trail, Cades Cove.
For hundreds of years, Cherokee Indians settled the area, but today you’ll primarily see remains of European settlements, including historic buildings and churches. In addition, springtime wildflowers will be in bloom, making the area a popular destination. You may even spot white-tailed deer with their young, black bears, coyotes, and other wildlife.
5. Grandfather Mountain — Linville, North Carolina
If you’ve never hiked North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain is the perfect place to start this spring. The mountain is famous for its rugged character, hidden caves and significant cliffs. Once you arrive, you’ll gaze out at rolling green hills, magic carpets of flowers and vibrant ecodiversity that will bring you to the present moment.
Whether you are alone or with the entire family, you’re bound to find a short or longer hike that’s perfect for your group.
Ready for a springtime adventure? Happy Hiking!