Spring is right around the corner and some states have already started blooming. With some of the best weather all year round (depending on what you like, of course), it’s the perfect chance to get outside again and enjoy the sunshine and the flowers. If you’re not ready to “spring” full on into the hiking just yet, then try these beautiful day hikes to get you in the mood.
1. Cove Hardwood Self-Guided Nature Trail, Tennessee
The Cove Hardwood Self-Guided Nature Trail is one of the best places to see wildflowers in the entire country. Located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is one of the many trails that offer hikers a spring outing that they’ll never forget. Once you finish this ¾ mile trail, consider hiking the Porters Creek Trail or the Middle Prong Trail, which are two easy and pleasant day hikes. You can do the Cove Hardwood trail anytime in the spring, but if you’re around in mid-April, make sure to attend the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.
2. Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, California
This spring day hike destination is truly a rare gem that everyone should experience once in their lives. There are no specific trails in the reserve, though the various paths stretch out to be about 7 miles altogether. You can make your hike as easy or as hard as you’d like. As you venture through the park, you’ll be surrounded by its main attraction: California poppies, which are the state flower. The sea of orange here is perfectly natural, which is why they’ve been preserved so well. Come see this amazing sight for yourself at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.
3. Boulder River Hike, Washington
Those who live in Washington or have at least been hiking in this state, know that the amount of hiking trails here are endless. Trying to choose where to go for a scenic spring day hike can be rather overwhelming. In order to help you narrow down your choices, why not try the Boulder River Hike? Those with children will find this trail to be very family-friendly. Located in the North Cascades, the Boulder River Hike is an 8.6 mile loop. Along the way, you’ll see colorful spring flowers, pass by secret waterfalls, and get a good workout all while you soak up the rays of springtime.
4. Back Creek Gorge Wildflower Trail, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is absolutely stunning in the springtime. Many people venture to this state for all kinds of hikes, but it’s no question that the best time to visit is now. The park offers countless day hikes that are perfect for flower viewing, and each trail is unique in the vibrant arrangements you’ll see. The Back Creek Gorge Wildflower Trail is super easy at a little over a mile, and goes along a railroad bed. You’ll be sure to see some wild geraniums, Solomon’s seal, and other wildflowers native to the area. This trail is also known for natural limestone spring.
5. Breakneck Ridge Trail, New York
The Breakneck Ridge Trail in Hudson Highlands State Park is a day hike meant for experienced hikers. The 9.6 mile trail has a lot of rock scrambling and rugged terrain, but your hard work will be met with some amazing spring scenery. Beacon, where the park is located, is a great place to check out spring flowers from now through the summer. The lookouts offered from this trail are unlike any other, and are even more satisfying when the vistas below are well in bloom.
6. Lost Palms Oasis Trail, California
The Lost Palms Oasis Trail in Joshua Tree National Park is famous for its Joshua trees and palm trees, but don’t let those overshadow this place in the springtime. Though many people think a desert would be the last place to see some gorgeous spring flowers, you’ll be in for a real treat here. It’s not a mirage. Come in April and May to see the desert dandelions, blooming claret cup, and hedgehog cactus. The little pops of color here and there will be a sight to see on this 7.5 mile hike. Just make sure you bring enough water!
7. Maroon Lake Scenic Trail, Colorado
As the snow starts to melt on the peaks in Aspen, it provides a gorgeous scene for hikers coming for the day. The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is only about a mile and a half one-way, but gives you more to see than most trails do in ten miles. This amazing trail will take you past the Maroon Bells, two breathtaking peaks in the Elk Mountains. See Pyramid Peak, or have a picnic among the wildflowers. Walk by the glistening lakes and streams, and do so all while leaving your winter jacket back at home. The trail is not a complete loop, so you’ll walk one way there and one way back. The trail starts at the Maroon Lake parking area.
There are spring hikes and wildflower trails all over the country. If you only have time to see a few, make sure you head to these destinations for a beautiful day hike you can only experience a few times a year.