Hiking Day Trips Outside 5 of America’s Busiest Cities

Hiking Day Trips Outside 5 of America’s Busiest Cities

Hiking Day Trips Outside 5 of America’s Busiest Cities


Do you live in one of America’s biggest cities?

Sure, living in a city is nice. You have access to a lot of things that other people don’t. Unfortunately, if you like spending a lot of time hiking or outdoors, it’s hard to get out whenever you want. (Unless you live in a city that’s specifically catered to outdoorsy people.) Luckily, LTBC is here to help. If you live in one of these cities and you’re just craving to be more connected with nature, then check out these destinations.

Here are some excellent hiking trips close to five of America’s biggest cities.

hiking day trips

1. New York City

If you’re living in NYC, then you are one lucky individual. (Or, unlucky, depending on how much you love nature and the great outdoors.) The good news is if the atmosphere feels too crowded in the five boroughs, then you can still easily access some hikes “upstate” via public transportation. The hikes along the Hudson Valley are absolutely breathtaking, and you’ll probably forget you were in the city in the first place. Here they are:

  • Sections of the Appalachian Trail. Don’t worry, you don’t have to hike all of it. (Unless you want to, of course.)
  • Long Path in Fort Lee Historic Park.
  • Franny Reese State Park in Poughkeepsie.
  • Bear Mountain State Park.
  • Breakneck Ridge Trail at the Breakneck Ridge stop.
  • And, let’s not forget High Line Park!

hiking day trips

2. Philadelphia

Another great city that’s a little less crowded than NYC is Philly. Like NY, Pennsylvania is a huge state with A LOT to do, as long as you know where to go. From tons of state parks and outdoorsy sites, the options are endless. If the City of Brotherly Love has you feeling a bit congested, then head out to these hiking spots.

  • The Pinnacle in Hamburg, PA has great views of Lehigh Valley.
  • Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton is great for birdwatching.
  • Glen Onoko Falls Hike in Jim Thrope is great for waterfalls.

hiking day trips

3. Chicago

Now that we’ve gotten into the midwest, things are starting to look up a bit. This is the kind of city you want to live in if you already know you want access to the outdoors more often than not. But, even in the Windy City, things can start to get…repetitive. If you need a change of scenery or just a breath of fresh air, then try to get to these destinations.

  • Starved Rock Trail is a 4.3-mile, flat loop, close to Chicago in Utica, IL and has waterfalls, canyons, and beautiful scenery.
  • Shallow Cliffs Woods in Southeast Chicago is full of hiking trails, including the Shallow Cliffs 9.6-mile out-and-back hiking trail.
  • Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Dupage County, IL, has prairies, savannas, and diverse oak-maple woodlands.
  • Glacial Park Conservation Area in Ringwood, IL has over 3,000 acres of wetlands, providing great scenery filled with a network of hiking trails.

hiking day trips

4. Houston

If you live in Houston, Texas, then you’re probably already well aware of the fact that cold-ish weather isn’t really for you. Though the warm weather is certainly a one-up from the other cities on this list, hot weather and large cities like Houston are a lot to handle. Therefore, it’s important you get away from that humidity into open spaces as much as possible. If you live in Houston, check out these nearby hiking places.

  • Lake Houston Wilderness Park has 12 miles of wooded trails, some of which lead to the shore.
  • Memorial Park Purple Trail is a relatively easy 2.5-mile loop that will take you through trees and creeks.
  • Houston Arbortoreum Outer Loop is close by Memorial Park and provides hikers with five miles of trails across wildlife, sycamore trees, and amazing views.

hiking day trips

5. Los Angeles

L.A is a unique city that’s unlike any others on this list. Though it is busy and traffic is a headache, Los Angeles is definitely surrounded by some pretty incredible hiking spots. And, since the weather is amazing here all year round, there’s really no limit as to what you can do. That is, of course, if you can actually make your way out of the city!

  • The Hollywood Sign. You’ve seen it in movies, but have you ever been behind it? This nice trail will let you see the hills of Hollywood in a relatively easy hike.
  • The Bridge to Nowhere Hike along the San Gabriel River is a famous one. It’s a ten-mile hike that offers great views and an insight into the area’s history.
  • “Canyon Hikes.” Surrounded by the San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Monica Mountains, and many others, L.A is also home to many beautiful canyon hikes and mountain peaks. Check out Corral Canyon Backbone Trail, or head to Beachwood Canyon for The Wisdom Tree Hike in Griffith Park (past the Hollywood sign).

These are just a few of the hiking destinations in L.A. Though L.A. is a big city, it’s a great one if you love to get out and hike!

Do you live in one of these big cities or another city not mentioned here? Then tell us where your favorite hikes are to get out of your city for a day!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.