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Day Trip Hikes

Pathloom's Picks for our Favorite Hiking Areas Near Major Cities

Owl Trail, 30 minutes north of San Francisco - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue


Want to get out of town for the day, but need to be back home in time for dinner? Eager to shake things up a bit from the quarantine routine? Have a few hours to kill during a layover?(You know, when traveling is a regular thing again..) Whether by yourself, or with your friends, family, or significant other - sometimes we all just need to get out of the city and get a little more nature into our lives. That can often seem like quite the endeavor, easier said than done - but it doesn't have to be! There are so many beautiful natural areas located just outside cities across the country, that provide ample opportunity for outdoor recreation without needing to travel for miles to get there - just hop in the car and go!

We're here to help! Here's a list of some of the Pathloom community's favorite getaways, all within an hour's drive of a major city!

Have a hike near your hometown you'd like us to add to the list? Let us know about it, and we'll get it on here! Have a story from one of these hikes you'd like to tell? Have a different local recommendation than what we've listed below and would like to share it with the community? E-mail us, or click here to find out how to get in contact with us!


Austin, TX

Pedernales Falls State Park

Johnson City, TX

(45 minutes from downtown)

Vibrantly colored water collects into an endless array of pools, stepping their way down the hillside. Can get busy on the weekends, be sure to make a reservation!

Photo credit: Joyce Cano


Boston, MA

Middlesex Fells Reservation

Stoneham, MA

(20 minutes from downtown)

Beautiful in all 4 seasons, often busy but large enough to never seem crowded, with tons of dogs and bonus views of the Boston skyline from the hilltops.

Photo credit: Bryan Donoghue


Chicago, IL

Indiana Dunes National Park

Chesterton, IN

(1 hour from downtown)

Wooded trails open up to expansive sand dunes on the banks of Lake Michigan - just what you'd expect in Indiana!

Photo credit: Josh Beaulieu


Las Vegas, NV

Red Rock Canyon Nat'l Conservation Area

Las Vegas, NV

(20 minutes from downtown)

13 mile driving loop with plenty of hiking and climbing areas, featuring stunning rock formations full of vivid colors and striations.

Photo credit: Bryan Donoghue


New Orleans, LA

Bayou Barataria

Jean Lafitte, LA

(40 minutes from downtown)

Flora and fauna you just can't find anywhere else in the country. Watch out for gators!

Photo credit: Bryan Donoghue


New York City, NY

Prospect Park

Brooklyn, NY

(20 minutes from 'downtown')

Not exactly 'out of town', but if you don't live in Brooklyn, chances are you haven't been here in years. Fix that.

Photo credit: Bryan Donoghue


Phoenix, AZ

Superstition Mountains

Youngberg, AZ

(45 minutes from downtown)

Take one of the most scenic drives in AZ down the Apache Trail, pull off at any one of a number of great spots for quality desert hiking.

Photo credit: Bryan Donoghue


Portland, ME

Peaks Island

Portland, ME

(30 minutes from downtown - by ferry!)

Beautiful ferry ride through the Harbor to explore forts, batteries and beaches. Standoffish Secret Society Seagulls. Great views of the sun setting over the city.

Photo credit: Bryan Donoghue


Raleigh, NC

William B. Umstead State Park

Raleigh, NC

(20 minutes from downtown)

300+ year old forest with plenty of beautiful trails, lakes, and creeks winding throughout the trees.

Photo credit: Noah MP Halpern


San Francisco, CA

Fort Funston

San Francisco, CA

(20 minutes from downtown)

Walk along the beach or the ridgeline for amazing ocean views, dogs everywhere, tons of wildlife, hang gliders, succulents... and the occasional pile of horse poop.

Photo credit: Bryan Donoghue


Seattle, WA

Lewis Park

Seattle, WA

(10 minutes from downtown)

A tiny park in the middle of Beacon Hill that gets eerily quiet even while so close to the city, especially during the wintertime.

Photo credit: Zack Edwards


Washington, DC

Great Falls Park

McLean, VA

(30 minutes from downtown)

Hike for miles along the Potomac, skirting rapids, gorges, and both Great and Somewhat-Less-Great waterfalls.

Photo credit: Chase Hahn


Check out these other articles by Pathloom which you may find helpful:

Very Superstitious: Phoenix in the Fall

Cold Weather Camping & Hiking

How to Recreate Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Leave No Trace Principles

5 Essentials For a Day Hike

8 Essentials For Backpacking

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Pathloom is a Bay Area-based technology startup on a mission to get more people outdoors, more often by reimagining the way people discover the outdoors.


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