So you just love hiking through unspoiled nature but you call the big city home, ey?
Well buck up, buddy! Just because you live in a large city doesn’t mean the great outdoors are all that far away. In fact, many major metropolises (shouldn’t that be “metropoli?” Damn you, English language) like Los Angeles, Boston, and New York are relatively close to excellent hiking opportunities. You just have to know where to look.
Today, we’re going to cover a few great day hikes that will sate your need for fresh air and wild country yet still have you home in time for dinner. Let’s pick three cities at random and go with, oh, say… Los Angeles, Boston, and New York!
Mt. Baldy – The Highest Mountain in LA
To be clear Mt. Baldy, as the peak properly known as Mt. San Antonio is usually called, is in Los Angeles County, not the city itself. But it’s just a 46-mile drive from Downtown LA, and offers year-round recreation. In the winter, Mt. Baldy offers a few ski trails that will scratch the alpine itch. In all other seasons, its 10,064-foot high summit beckons hikers from all across Southern CA to take one of its two major routes as they ascend this highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. The round-trip loop is a bit more than 11 miles long, and it’s a moderately strenuous hike; certainly not a great choice for beginners. Best of all, of course, is that (if traffic cooperates) you can drive from LA, hike to the summit, and be home again all in a single day.
Mt. Washington – Watch Out for Weather
New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington is about a 4-hour drive from Boston. That may seem like a long haul for a day hike, but once you reach the mountain, you can decide how much time you want to spend on your ascent. Its trails vary in length, with many coming in at just 4 or 5 miles in length. (And of course you can always just drive to the top of the mountain, too, if you really want to phone things in.) Mt. Washington is the tallest mountain in the northeast, and it offers breathtaking views, skiing in the winter, and weather so volatile it can be highly dangerous to be anywhere near its summit. So check the weather reports and plan your trip carefully.
Verkeerderkill Falls Trail – Escape from New York
Just over 100 miles north of downtown NYC you can find land so unspoiled you’ll forget all about those artisanal bread shops, bike messengers, and um… cell phones. The trail leading up to Sam’s Point, the highest elevation of the Shawangunk Ridge, takes you past a wonderful variety of natural splendor. The 7-mile route wends near a waterfall, past ice caves where snow can be seen well into the summer, and affords striking views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is at times both steep and narrow and is rated as moderate to strenuous. Dogs are welcome, but keep ’em on a leash.