14 of the Most Convenient Hikes From Major American Cities
City dwellers can get to any of these trails in two hours or less.
Living in a city doesn't have to mean giving up access to nature. Sure, your daily environment might be more concrete jungle than actual jungle, but odds are, excellent hiking is just a short drive (or even train ride) away. You don't need to stock up on fancy hiking gear and plan for a weeklong trip to a remote destination: A supportive pair of sneakers or boots with good grip and one of these easily accessible trails conveniently located near major U.S. cities will do the trick. Before you head out, make sure you eat a hearty meal like one of Pacific Foods' new ready-to-serve hearty soups and plant-based chilis to keep you going. All that's left to do is fill your pack with plenty of water and hit the trail.
Cold Spring, New York
This three-mile loop trail includes several rocky scrambles, but the climb is well worth it for the payoff: panoramic views of the Hudson River and Hudson Highlands. If you're feeling ambitious, you can even extend the hike to the nearby town of Cold Spring by connecting to the Notch Trail. New York City dwellers can take Metro North to the trailhead in Breakneck Ridge in just an hour and a half — about the same amount of time it would take to drive there without traffic.
Los Angeles, California
L.A. has no shortage of Instagram-famous hikes — from influencer-bait Runyon Canyon to the touristy trek to the Hollywood sign — but Cahuenga Peak in Griffith Park stands out from the pack. After ascending more than 800 feet, you'll be rewarded with views of Downtown L.A. to the west and Burbank to the north. Don't miss the spur to the Wisdom Tree, a lone pine overlooking the city that's been used as a geocaching site.
Pacific Palisades, California
Prefer ocean views over downtown L.A. cityscapes? Head to Temescal Canyon Trail in Temescal Gateway Park. After walking a little over a mile into the canyon, you'll enter Topanga State Park and cross a bridge over a small waterfall. Keep climbing up to the ridge for sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean —and a much-appreciated ocean breeze.
One of the best things about hiking is that it's incredibly approachable. No special skills are required — even the least sporty person can enjoy taking a walk in the woods. Really, all you need to bring are the essentials: lots of water, sun protection, and a first aid kit, just to be safe.
The other hiking essential? Fueling your body before you hit the trail with something hearty and satisfying, like one of Pacific Foods' new ready-to-serve hearty soups and plant-based chilis. Whether you go for Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Tomato Bisque, or Plant-Based Fire Roasted Vegetable Chili, these tasty organic soups will help you prepare for whatever the day has in store.
About a half-hour drive from Chicago, this forest preserve includes more than 11 miles of hiking trails — ideal for a hiker who loves to ramble. For a full afternoon hike, take the Waterfall Glen Trail Loop. Yes, it's a 9.3-mile route, but the gently rolling hills keep it from becoming too challenging. Looking for something shorter? Start at the Waterfall Parking Lot and take the Rocky Glen Trail to Sawmill Creek Waterfall before turning back.
San Francisco, California
Abandoned saltwater pools, a rock labyrinth, views of the Golden Gate Bridge — the trail network within Golden Gate National Recreation Area at Lands End has everything. These meandering coastal trails have seemingly endless historic sites and natural beauty to admire, making for a truly enjoyable afternoon by the bay.
Sandy Springs, Georgia
Ten miles outside midtown Atlanta, the East Palisades Trail follows the Chattahoochee River for a very enjoyable four-miler. The pinnacle of the hike is the view from the bluffs, where you can fully admire the dramatic angles of the river rocks.
With 16 miles of trails to choose from, Alderfer and Three Sisters Park offers something for every kind of Colorado hiker. Still adjusting to the high elevation? Maybe opt for the tame Wild Iris Loop. Ready for a bit of a challenge? Tackle the Sisters Trail for views of three unusual rocky outcroppings. The park is just 45 minutes outside Denver, so it's easily accessible as a day trip.
In 1890, famed Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed a residential subdivision for the land that would eventually become World's End. The project never came to be — other than the drives Olmsted planned, which form the preserve's walking trails. Today, you'll find saltwater marshes, gentle glacier-formed hills known as drumlins, meadows, and sweeping views of the Boston skyline from this preserve 45 minutes outside the city.
Nothing embodies the Pacific Northwest lifestyle quite like driving 20 minutes from Seattle to mature second-growth forests in the Issaquah Alps. Cougar Mountain Park Regional Wildlife Park offers some exceptional vistas, such as the eye-popping look at Mount Rainier from Debbie's View — though the nearly 7-mile, 1,600-foot climb is certainly a challenging hike. For something more low key, try the Cave Hole Trail.
It's almost hard to believe that this 26,000-acre wetland preserve is just half an hour from the French Quarter. Walk the Marsh Overlook boardwalk trail to spy alligators, turtles, and wading birds in the bayou, or take the Old Barataria Trail for a lesser-known route through dwarf palmetto groves.
You don't even have to leave the city to find nature near Stumptown: just head to the city's Northwest district to enter Forest Park. From the Lower Macleay Park Trailhead, you'll hike into the dense woods to connect to the Wildwood Trail at the Stone House, an abandoned restroom that's slowly being overrun by nature. Continue following the trail for another 2.5 miles, and you'll arrive at Pittock Mansion. The overlook at this historic home turned museum offers a breathtaking view of the city.
Drive half an hour east of Tucson into the Coronado National Forest and you'll find Tanque Verde Falls, a popular 1.8-mile out-and-back hike. The reason why it's such a big draw? Hikers can cool off in the 80-foot waterfall and swimming hole at the end of the trail — a perfect treat on a warm Arizona day.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Because the trailhead is only 15 minutes from the center of Salt Lake City, the Living Room Trail has become something of a gathering place for outdoorsy folks. You're almost guaranteed to see other hikers on the trail — a bonus if you like sharing a friendly wave or chit chat as you work your way up the 900-foot climb. The top of the mountain reveals unique rock formations that not only look like living room furniture, but also make a perfect perch for taking in the view.
Key Biscayne, Florida
Miami may not be a particularly hiking-centric city, but there is plenty of natural beauty on the surrounding keys. Take Bear Cut Preserve for example: this natural habitat next to Crandon Park Beach includes more than 3 miles of hiking trails through tropical trees and along the waterfront. Don't miss the viewing point of the fossil reef.