I get tired of just watching people on TV living their dreams of a nomadic life, so I’m telling work to take a hike! Well, on my day off, that is. I’ve still got to put the kids through college. But you can feed your taste for the wild by planning a trip to one of these tremendous trails to fish, hunt and leave the working world behind to regain your freedom.
You don’t always have time to plan an extraordinary outing, trekking the hills and valleys for days on end. But if your wife can have her few hours of “me time,” then taking a day or two to venture out can’t be such a bad thing. These trails are great if you find yourself short on time but still need to get away.
West Maroon Creek Trail in Colorado offers waist-high wildflowers in warmer weather and snow-topped peaks the rest of the time. The trail connects the Aspen and Crested Butte areas. You can ride a shuttle or helicopter back to civilization after your 13-mile out-and-back hike.
You don’t have to be a turkey to climb Turkey Mountain in Tulsa, Oklahoma — although you might see a few on your hike. Oklahoma’s only urban wilderness, Turkey Mountain is in the middle of the city, but when you’re on one of the many trails, you’d never know it. Deer are a common sight on the 10+ miles of the west side, and lakes provide plenty of fishing.
No list of great adventures would be complete without Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs. Put your charcoal bags in the pack and head up the mountain for a 26-mile round trip. Easy-peasy after dealing with paperwork all week, right?
Well, there really isn’t a question of whether or not you should in Washington, because the entire state is covered in trails. Meander Meadow lets you do just that if you want to let your mind wander over the land. This 16-mile loop is a true no-brainer.
If counting Benjamins is your thing during the week, you can get to know the presidents up close and personal when you roam the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. While some choose to tame the ten peaks in a single day, you might want to take a little more time and spend the weekend exploring this 23-mile mountain trail. Michael Lanza of The Big Outside calls this a “Death March,” but I’ll let you conduct your own presidential debate on that one!
Weekend getaways are great, but sometimes you have to ditch the office and get back to the real meaning of roaming — and not the cell service kind. These beautiful and historic trails can help you get your hike on when you’ve got some vacation time to cash in. Take a little time to plan your trip on these trails for a real back-to-nature adventure.
Get your headlamp ready for this one, because it’s 272 miles of muddy fun! The Long Trail, completed in 1930, runs all the way from the Vermont-Massachusetts border to the Vermont-Canada border and comes complete with aptly-named sections such as “Profanity Trail” and “Bad Weather Bypass.” Make sure you have your dry bag handy, because there are 53 named mountains that can test your wandering spirit to 3,500 feet and higher.
The name says it all for the Lost Coast of California. The only stars you’ll see here are the ones in the sky when you backpack through the redwood forests and along the untouched coastline. There are over 100 miles of ancient trees and salty seas for you to track wild animals and fish to your heart’s delight.
Phillip Werner at Section Hiker calls the Maine section of the Appalachian Trail “simply divine.” The 100 mile+ trail really does provide simple excitement through woods, mountains, mud and lakes. Don’t be surprised if you see moose, bear and even a mouse or two peeking out from behind your lantern if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Deep in the Cohutta Wilderness Area of Georgia and Tennessee, there’s a place where the Conasauga and Jacks Rivers meet. Locals call it Big Frog, but with 87 miles of trails, I’m sure you’ll see more than just amphibians. This mountain area is one of the oldest in the world, and trees form such a thick canopy that you might even need additional light to find yourself. Make sure your travels on these trails cross the majestic waterfalls so you can rest your feet while you fish.
Hayduke Trail’s Hurrah Pass in Moab, Utah is a sweet treat if you enjoy mountains, deserts and wide open spaces. This trail gives you over 800 miles to explore and gives you access to six national parks throughout Arizona and Utah. You can roam where you want to, but just don’t get lost — temperatures at night can get colder than your office after you’ve ticked off your boss.