Most of us sit at a desk in front of a computer screen for most of our days, and there comes a time when we all need to unplug and get our heart racing. Whether it’s near your home or close by on a weekend getaway, taking a hike on a local trail can be just what you need. But do you often find yourself asking, “How do I go about finding hiking trails near me?”
When you set out to go experience nature and explore some hiking trails, where can you go to find the best ones for you? Some trails take more skill than others, and you need to make sure you set out on a trail that is perfect for your level of ability. You want to make the best memories out of your adventure, not torture yourself!
Below, Ranger Mac will go over some websites you can use to find the right hiking trails for you, based on your level of experience, personal taste, and location:
The AllTrails site has the most information in one place. This site lets you search by location and then allows you many more filter options to narrow down your search by factors such as the length of the trail, its skill level, and more.
After you have gone through and picked out and set your options, you can then select which location interests you. Each trail you look at has a profile and a rating along with reviews and comments others have made about the trail. Once you have walked that trail, you can then go back and create a profile on the site and leave your own review of the trail for future trail hitters. This is basically a social media site of hiking trails, and is an amazing resource!
Trails.com is another great option. As with AllTrails, you can go on this site and leave reviews about the trails you hike on and view reviews made by others. However, it does have a couple of features that sets it apart:
The first feature is that you are able to view and print topographical maps of the area you want to hike. These are great to have if you are unfamiliar with the area and are good at reading this type of map.
The second feature is the ability to upload GPS coordinates from your hike. These allow you to plot out the hike on a map, and is also a great way to track where you have been. There are many tracking apps that are available for your smartphone. If you use this type of system, you can then export those trails that are tracked from the dedicated GPS device onto Trails.com to track your trails there as well.
EveryTrail calls itself a 'GPS Travel Community.' What this means is that EveryTrail is built from scratch using GPS imports from actual hiking experiences. What makes this appealing is that each trail is real, and you know that someone else has already hiked and tracked the trail before you. What makes this a little lackluster is that the site itself is less comprehensive than the ones listed above, and it may lack data on the smaller local hiking trails near you.
One thing that does set this site apart is the feature of its mobile application that allows you to track your trail and save directly to the site, complete with pictures and video you take along the way. EveryTrail has an app for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, as well as Blackberry. EveryTrail is also international, meaning it includes hikes uploaded from all over the world.
Have you ever tried to search for local hiking trails using a simple Google search? There are filters on the website that show you where trails are located around your area. You may even find links to the parks that contain these trails. Overall, Google Maps won’t give you a ton of information on hiking locales, but it can help you quickly find a nearby trail based on your current location.
TraiLink is a unique site that centers itself on the project of rails-to-trails conservation. This means that the site mainly consists of tracking old railroad tracks that have been converted into trails. These trails are good for light walks and biking, since they had to be relatively flat for trains to use. You also know if you walk one of these trails that you will have a connection to another location, as old railroads connected to multiple stations.
If you are looking for hiking trails in a specific area, Backpacker may be a valuable site for you to check out. It’s a US-only site and has guides for many trails. While not as comprehensive as some of the other sites in the trails it has logged, it does have nice extra information about local events in the same areas.
Traildino is a large database for hiking trails. It does not track the trails themselves, but works like a directory to links of other websites for many trails. This site is international, allowing you to find trails all over the world.
Traildino contains links to many of the most famous trails, but does not have a very extensive list of smaller local trails.
MapMyHike is more of a social fitness site that connects groups of individuals together who are looking to get to a similar physical fitness goal. MapMyHike has a free personal fitness app that also lets you track your hikes, bikes, walks, and more. If you are setting a physical fitness goal as well as searching for good hiking locations to help with those goals, this could be the site for you!
No matter which site you use or which trail you decide to take, there are tons of options out there. If all else fails, you can simply put on your walking shoes and head out your front door. Taking a walk around your neighborhood or community can give you endless numbers of miles to track. You do not always need to find a dedicated hiking trail to unplug and clear your head. Sometimes a walk around the block may be just what you need!
If you want more information on hiking, keep an eye out for future Ranger Mac blogs. In the meantime, you can check out our Mesa Verde National Park Spotlight here!