Shorter trails can still mean plenty of adventure, and the US has tons to choose from! We’ve compiled a list of seven hiking trails in various locations that we think you should consider for your next weekend getaway. Most of these trails will take you two or three days to comfortably complete allowing you time to rejuvenate in the beauty and serenity of nature as you hike.
Batona Trail, New Jersey
Batona Trail, is one of the longest hiking trails in New Jersey stretching 53.5 miles from Brendan T. Byrne State Forest across Franklin Parker Preserve, Wharton State and Bass River State Forests.
According to a Pinelands National Reserve brochure, the “trail derives its name from the words BAck TO NAture.”
It was built in 1961 by the Batona Hiking Club based on an idea from Dale Knapschafer of connecting the Lebanon State Forest (later renamed the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest) and the Wharton Forest with a trail. Morris Bardock, then president of the Batona Hiking Club, contacted the New Jersey Department of Conservation and Economic Development to receive approval for the project. He also is credited with having chosen pink blazes to mark the trail.
In 2012, the Batona Trail was rerouted in several locations to move it away from paved roads and power lines. These changes lengthened the trail from its original distance by approximately two miles resulting in the length it is today.
Batona Trail is a moderate hike, climbing 196 feet in elevation from its lowest point in Harrisville to its highest point at Apple Pie Hill. There is a 60 foot fire tower at the top of Apple Pie Hill making it a destination spot for many interested in observing the inspiring panoramic views.
There is a variety of foliage and wildlife to see when hiking this beautiful trail. The most prevalent tree species are Pine and Oak. There are also many animal species to look for including: beaver, fox, raccoon, mink and white-tailed deer.
You should also take precautionary measures to safeguard against mosquitoes, ticks and venomous snakes as they are more prevalent during late Spring and Summer.
Timberline Trail, Oregon
Timberline Trail is a 40.7 mile hiking trail that loops the base of Mount Hood in Oregon.
Work on the trail began in the early 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. They did most of their work in 1934. But a group of hikers helped finish the last 36 miles of trail in 1938. They completed the work in 47 hours, bringing awareness to the trail by making the local news.
The Timberline Trail is one of the more popular and picturesque trails in Oregon. As you hike you will see magnificent glaciers, refreshing waterfalls, lush forests, and wildflower meadows.
There is a 9000-foot change in elevation throughout the hike. Often, this change is most noticeable near canyon crossings so you’ll want to pace yourself.
You can complete the trail comfortably in three, four, or five days. But some more driven hikers complete the trail in less time.
The Timberline Trail allows informal camping for backpackers outside of meadows and at least 200 feet away from bodies of water. It is rerouted every so often due to washouts and to avoid sensitive high alpine meadows.
It is important to exercise extreme caution when crossing streams and other bodies of water as they can cause death if you are not careful.
Greenstone Ridge Trail, Michigan
Greenstone Ridge Trail is the main hiking trail on Isle Royal, an island in Lake Superior, in northern Michigan. It is 40 miles long and connects Rock Harbor on the island’s east side to Windigo Harbor on the island’s west side.
The trail is named after Chlorastrolite, or “Greenstone,” which is the gem stone for the State of Michigan. It is a semiprecious green stone that can be found on the island including in pebbles on the shoreline.
What makes Greenstone Ridge Trail so unique is how remote it is.
Isle Royal is part of the Isle Royale National Park. There are no bridges connecting the island to land. The main transportation on and off the island is by boat. Furthermore, there are no traditional roads on the island. So Greenstone Ridge Trail serves as the primary land passage from one end of the island to the other.
There is much to see hiking Greenstone Ridge Trail. While traversing the island ridge you will cross Mount Dosor. This is the highest elevation on the island and offers wonderful panoramic views. You may also see signs of wildlife on the trial. The island is home to both moose and wolves; and although these are naturally shy creatures they are seen from time to time.
One word of caution though… To avoid extensive bug bites, it is best to stick to higher ground away from the lower wetlands heavily infested by misquotes. It also is helpful to plan your trip for mid-August through late September.
Tecumseh Trail, Indiana
The Tecumseh Trail is a 42-mile trail in Indiana that was built by the Hoosier Hikers Council in 1998-2002. It begins at Morgan-Monroe State Forest Headquarters near Martinsville and ends near Monroe Reservoir in Brown County Forest.
While there are many large hills on this trail, their ascents are manageable for a moderately-seasoned hiker. Elevation changes from 100 to 300 feet are commonplace.
Depending on when you hike the Tecumseh Trail, you’ll be treated to a variety of foliage and wildlife. During the Spring, Star Chickweed can be readily seen covering portions of ground near the trail. Also, Wild Geraniums are visible during moderately warmer weather months. Too, beaver and other forest creatures can be seen at various times throughout the year.
It is highly recommended that you download the Hoosier Hikers Council “HHC Tecumseh Trial Guide” when planning a hiking or backpacking trip on this trail. This guide will help you identify various logistics of your trip including: parking locations, camping information, and access to water supply.
Also, be sure to check the HHC website and the Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe DNR websites before you start your hike to make sure there are no trail closures or re-routes that might throw a wrench in your plans.
Trans-Catalina Trail, California
The Trans-Catalina Trail is a 38.5 mile hiking trail which travels east and west across Santa Catalina Island near the southern California coast. The trail connects Parson’s Landing on the west side of the island to Avalon on the east side of the island.
The Trans-Catalina Trail is a beautiful hike with magnificent views from many different vantage points. It’s a winding trail which twists and turns, up and down, as it traverses the island countryside. High vistas along the way provide panoramic ocean views hard to explain.
There are many species of wildlife on the island including: bison, horses, sea lions, mule deer, snakes, bald eagles, and bats just to name a few. One should take extreme caution when near these wild animals. Should you encounter bison on the trail, it is important to keep a 150 foot distance between you and the animals.
You may travel to Santa Catalina Island either by boat or by air. Be sure to bring the necessary gear for your trip with you as there are limited supplies on the island to purchase for interior travel. Also, although there are five campgrounds near the Trans-Catalina Trail you need a permit to stay at them – so plan ahead.
Wild Azalea Trail, Louisiana
The Wild Azalea Trail is approximately 31 miles end to end. It is located near Woodworth, Louisiana and is designated primarily for foot and bike traffic. It is rated a moderate difficulty level.
The Wild Azalea Trail is clearly marked by yellow paint blazes. It is not a loop. On one side, the trail begins at the Woodworth Town Hall, and on the opposite side, the trail begins at Valentine Lake Recreation Area. It is intersected near its midpoint by State Highway 488. This makes it easier for hikers to enjoy portions of the trail without needing to thru-hike the entire distance.
The trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service because of its spectacular beauty. The Wild Azalea Trail (or “WAT” for short) meanders its way across rolling hills covered with pine and hardwood trees. Wild Azaleas and other wild flowers are visible along the trail. There is also plenty of forest wildlife to enjoy. Even wild bobcats can be seen at times.
Although streams near the trail are not suitable for drinking, there are facilities that do provide drinking water along the way.
West Rim Trail, Pennsylvania
The West Rim Trail is 30.5 miles long and follows Pine Creek through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, which is a National Natural Landmark.
It opened in 1982 with only 21 miles of the trail completed. Later, in 1985, the remaining 9 miles of trail were were finished.
‘The West Rim Trail was chosen by Outside Magazine as its “Best Hike in Pennsylvania” in April, 1996.’
The trail is known for its numerous vistas and scenic overlooks which look out over the canyon.
The West Rim Trail runs north and south and is clearly marked by bright orange blazes. The southern terminus of the trail is at Rattlesnake Rock and the northern terminus of the trail is at Colton Road, near Ansonia village.
The highest elevation of the West Rim Trail is 2,080 feet near Gundigut Hollow. At its southern end, the elevation drops 1, 040 feet over the last 2 miles of trail. This incentivizes many hikers to travel the path in a north to south direction.
The elevation changes of this hike are likely what give it a moderate difficulty rating. Known hazards of this trail are: poison ivy, bear, and severe weather.
So there you have it…seven hiking trails that are perfect for your next weekend getaway!
Of course, none of these adventures would be complete without your nCamp Gear. It’s always more enjoyable to go backpacking when you have warm food and hot drink to bring with you. Your nCamp “Kitchen To Go” is perfect for these moments, supplying you the proper tools for quick and easy prep of your next hot meal.
Now get a jump on Summertime and planning your next backpacking trip. Hopefully by doing so you’ll be ready to fully embrace the warm weather when it arrives.