Summer Hiking Guide: Five Scenic Trails in the U.S.

Couple Hiking

By Annemarie Tompsen

Millennials, put down the TV remote and grab your hiking boots because hiking season is here! That’s right, summer’s around the corner and it’s time to get your hike on. A beloved pastime, hiking remains one of America’s most enjoyed outdoor activities. To join the fun this summer, immerse yourself in some of the most beautifully scenic hiking trails across the United States. Here are a few you should try:

Long Trail, Jay Peak Long Trail North, Jay, Vt.

Appropriately named Long Trail, this Vermont favorite is one of the oldest trails in the United States, running along the length of the state. With a total mileage of about 272 miles, this is an adventurous hiking trip suitable for any hiker. For a shorter hike, experts recommend a specific area of the trail – Jay Peak North, also known as “the footpath in the wilderness.” The short 3.5 mile hike is easy for beginners, but also suitable for moderate hikers searching for a scenic, easy climb.

Cohutta Wilderness, Jacks River Trail,Epworth, Ga.

From Georgia to Tennessee, the Cohutta Wilderness is 40,000 acres with various hiking trails slithering throughout. Also known as the Big Frog Wilderness, this hiker’s paradise holds one of the most popular trails– the Jacks River Trail. Located along the Jacks River, the trail is roughly 16 miles and provides a lush scenic experience with access to swimming holes and local camping spots. The perfect weekend getaway, this trail is worth the drive south.

Cascade Mountain, Keene, N.Y.

Nestled in the Adirondack Park, New York State is the Cascade Mountain trail. The trail is found in the town of Keene, settled upon one of the 46 Adirondack mountain peaks. As a bonus, the trail offers a detour to the Porter Mt. summit, an additional 1.4 miles of New York beauty melded into the original 14.2 mile trail. Additional detours make this trail  suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Just make sure to bring your wind gear. The Cascade Mountain is known for its windy tendencies, perhaps caused by its location near Lake Placid.

The Lost Coast, CA

Stretching along the coast of California, this 53 mile trail is named for its mysterious ability to slip beneath the pacific tide.  A coastal trail, this scenic find may look easy, but don’t be misled. Editor-in-Chief of BackPacker, Jonathan Dorn explains his experience, “We saw storm-driven swells that were running five to six feet above the normal highest tide along with horizontal rain that made walking difficult. Stream crossings got so tricky that some of us came within inches of being swept out to sea.” But despite the difficulty of this trail, the Lost Coast is, as he says, “the purest expression of solitude you can experience in the Lower 48, with sea breezes, mystical fogs, and campsites.” A sure favorite among locals and visitors, this trail is a must see for seasoned hikers looking for a challenge.

Beacon Heights Trail, Linville N.C

Located beside Highway 221, the short and sweet Beacon Heights trail is a beginner’s paradise. Only .25 miles, this trail is family friendly with a gradual climb suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels. For hikers interested in something more challenging, this trail branches off to larger hikes like the 13.5-mile Tanawha Trail. But, it’s the breathtaking view of Rough Ridge Overlook and Grandfather Mountain that makes this short hike a preferred spot for daytrippers. Bring a friend, enjoy the panoramic view of Mt. Mitchell, top it off with a picnic lunch and be home before dinner.

About the Writer:

annemarieAnnemarie Tompsen currently studies Publishing and Writing at Emerson College, where she also works part time at the Lacerte Family Writing & Academic Resource Center.  A New Englander at heart, she’s recently moved to the Boston area from the small coastal town of Milford, CT. In her spare time she frequents local Boston coffee shops and has taken an interest in finding the diviest diners around. With the summer approaching she looks forward to exploring Boston and traveling along the coast any chance she can. Annemarie hopes to use her love for the written word to pursue a profession in the publishing industry and to further develop her writing career. Follow here on twitter.

Feature Image Couple Hiking via Shutterstock.

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