Best Hiking Trails Outside of Alaska

MountainsWhen you’re just starting out on your first hiking adventures, you look forward to the challenges but you also want to know that you’ll be safe and that you’ll be able to cope with the terrain, the conditions and the skills required for the sport.

This country is teeming with some of the world’s most amazing hiking trails, some for beginners and others for extreme sports enthusiasts. Even if you’re a beginner, there is plenty to see and lots to experience, from mountains and oceans to waterfalls and snowfields. Here are just a few ideas.

Maine
If you’re looking for ocean vistas and gently sloping hills, you’ll find them in Maine where the hiking trails range from the seriously easy to the very serious. For country atmosphere, start in Augusta where the Nature Education Center welcomes beginners to their five miles of hiking trails through 175 acres of woods. Wind your way through picturesque streams and meadows and inhale that fresh air as you explore the network. The Center is located a mere ten minutes from downtown Augusta yet is filled with the sounds of nature instead of the noise of the city. The trails are regularly maintained and updated and maps are available, making this a very pleasant and easy to navigate area indeed.

Take the kids along with you for exhilarating oceanside hiking trails on the southern coast, near Biddeford Pool. The trail itself is an easy hike and the ocean looms magnificently as you make your way through trees and shrubbery then around the perimeter of the local golf course. Be vigilant and keep your eyes peeled for poison ivy but also look forward to spotting the Wood Island Lighthouse. The terrain is at times grassy and other times rocky and if you like the idea of paddling a little in the ocean, take along suitable attire.

California/Nevada

Don’t miss Lake Tahoe‘s hiking trails for cold weather expeditions. Trudging through snow can be a challenge even for experienced hikers so be sure to drop into the visitors’ center and grab maps and up-to-the-minute weather reports. To avoid hazards, the best time to hike here is when snow is at a minimum. There are some wonderful hikes designed for families to take together and while there is some uphill walking involved, you can take your time and go at your own pace.

Honolulu

Puu Pia Trail is Oahu’s easiest so it’s perfect for beginners. At just 2.4 miles, it’s a great way to test your endurance if you’re really unfit or just want to try hiking as an alternative to sweating it out in the gym. Why would you use a treadmill when you can experience an emerald green hiking trail under brilliant sunshine?

Washington

For sparkling waterfalls and hiking trails that are well marked and maintained, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildlands Park offers fifty miles of hiking enjoyment, complete with bobcats, bears and coyotes for company. Beginners are welcome and guided tours are very popular.

Wyoming

While Grand Teton National Park boasts 200 miles of hiking trails of varying degrees of intensity, beginners can happily while away some time exploring Lake Solitude and other beautiful attractions. Spot a brown bear family or seek out the sparkling waterfalls. Be mindful of the weather here because it can change with unnerving irregularity.

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