Not every outdoor experience needs to be about bagging the next peak, paddling Class V rapids or spending a week in the woods. Sometimes, you just want to pack a picnic and hit the trails.
For those seeking a fun day trip, we’ve created a list of easy-to-moderate hikes from around the United States and Canada. They range from jaunts through the forest to more challenging uphill trails and offer amazing rewards—dramatic views, beautiful wildflowers, wildlife, rock formations and other incredible features—for relatively little work. In fact, one of the trails is even accessible by public transportation, meaning you’ll have more time to put your feet up before and after the hike.
Of course, this isn’t to say that each one is a cake walk. Although they’re easier than that 50-mile backpacking trip you considered, these hikes are not always short and can still require some solid effort. For instance, we’ll tell you about a scenic trail twice the length of the Appalachian Trail where you can find a 20-mile hike covering some the wildest, more beautiful areas of the Great North. We’ll also share which 2-mile trail boasts 1,000 more steps than the Empire State Building.
These hikes also shatter the stereotype that the easiest rated trails are the most boring. Rather than following flat, monotonous paths, several of these hikes take you on an adventure through rugged terrain. One of our favorites has hikers navigating narrow paths just inches from huge drop-offs on other sides. While it may sound sketchy, the view from the top makes it all worthwhile.
With the help of this list, even your day trips will have enviable stories and photographs. To see the full list of our favorite day hikes, click here.