Spring Onto the Trail: 5 East Coast Hikes to try this season


In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s springtime, gentlemen! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the painfully long baseball season is well underway, and there seems to be some sort of political whatnot on all the televisions. But you don’t much care about RBI or ERA stats, or watching a bunch of politicians who want to “serve the United States of America” blab away on TV; you care about feeling the surge of manful enthusiasm that comes from enjoying the outdoors, right? Right.

Related: NYC Area Hikes

And you live in or are visiting the northeast, yes? Good, we’re actually getting somewhere, then. For today we’re talking about 5 great east coast hikes, each of which happens to be conveniently located (relatively) near a major metro area of the northeast. Just a short drive from downtown DC, Metro NY, and Boston, MA, for example, can be found more opportunities for outdoor exploration and exercise than you might expect. So without further adieu, let’s stop using the passive voice and start talking about excellent east coast springtime hiking!

Let’s work our way from the north to the south. If you’re looking for…

BLUE HILLSA Great Hike Near Boston – Blue Hills Reservation

With more than 7,000 acres of preserved land and hills rising as high as 635 feet (that’s rather high for the coastal areas of the east, FYI), the Blue Hills Reservation offers a wonderful escape from busy downtown Boston, which is located mere miles away. The area has been protected from development since 1893, so you’ll get a genuine sense of the region’s ecology as you enjoy miles of trails, camping opportunities, and even cross-country skiing, provided you go in the right season and provided you can actually enjoy this exhausting activity. The reservation features more than 125 miles of trails, with some loops of only a mile’s length, others which will require long hours of trekking.

LIME ROCKThe Best Hike Near Providence – Lime Rock Preserve

There are plenty of other hiking opportunities near Providence, RI, so where do I get off calling this one the best? The word near is the operative; it’s located about 10 minutes from the state capitol’s downtown, so you’ll be there by the time that next Morning Edition segment wraps up. You can fully explore this petite but lovely 130 acre preserve in a single day, and you can enjoy its easy trails for as little as an hour or a whole morning or afternoon.

DEVILA Hard Hike Near New York – Devil’s Path

If you thought you had to go west to get your ass kicked by a hike, try heading a bit upstate, instead. Just a two hour drive from the bustle of NYC, this savage day hike through the Catskill Mountains will try the mettle of even the serious mountain man. This trek requires near technical clambering and climbing in some portions, and will see you traverse 9,000 feet worth of elevation (gain and loss – the high point is just 3,880 feet in actual elevation) during the 24 mile adventure. Bring lots of water, plenty of food, boots that protect your ankles, and check the damn forecast before you head out!

SUNFISHYes, There’s Hiking In New Jersey – Sunfish Pond

And in fact not only does the Garden State have hiking, it even has glacial lakes at 1,000 feet above sea level. Who knew!? Well, lots of people, you now among them. Anyway, the hike to and around Sunfish Pond is a 5.5 mile loop that’s sure to please most trekkers during the warmer months. (In winter, the area boasts ice climbing opportunities, FYI.) Part of the loop lines up with the famed Appalachian Trail, so if you’re not above flagrant misrepresentation, once you’ve hiked around Sunfish Pond, you can say you’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail.

SKY MEADOWSHiking Near Washington DC – Sky Meadows State Park

Once you break free of Beltway traffic, you can reach Sky Meadows State Park in a little over an hour (this by car, not foot, for the record). There you’ll find a nature preserve sprawling over nearly 1,900 acres of pristine woodlands, pastures, and wetlands teeming with avian and mammalian life. There are trails for hiking and horseback riding, areas for overnight camping, and a monthly amateur astronomy night. And as you might expect given the area’s name, there are plenty of wide open meadows affording stunning vistas of the rolling hills and miles of forestland.