It’s summer, and the longer days means that it’s the perfect season to go on a hike. But what if you’re not an experienced trekker? Are you doomed to look at beautiful lakes and lush trees secondhand through your friends’ Insta posts?
The answer is simple: No way! The United States has plenty of hiking trails that will let newbies experience the great outdoors without feeling like they're a contestant on Survivor. We’ve put together a list of American hiking trails for beginners to get you started.Travel with HomeExchange
Sloan Gorge in Woodstock, NY
If you’re looking for a short hike to start, Sloan Gorge has what you need! Between lush greenery, babbling brooks, and fresh air, this trail is the perfect place to begin your hiking journey. If you watch the ground carefully, you can see harmless snakes, newts, chipmunks, and other small wildlife. The route is about a 1.3 mile-long hike, which can be completed in about half an hour. If you want to bring your dog for company, then don't forget to grab a leash before you head out, as all dogs must be leashed at all times.
Twin Falls Trail in North Bend, WA
If you plan on spending some time in Seattle, this beginner-friendly hiking trail is located only 45 minutes outside of the city. There, you can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and visit one of Washington’s most well-known trails. At an elevation of 500 feet and a round-trip length of 2.6 miles, you’ll pass by a gorgeous green river, mossy trees, and eventually the trail’s namesake itself, Twin Falls. Don’t forget to take time to catch your breath and to marvel at the Twin Falls waterfall.Visit Washington
Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ
If you don’t mind the heat too much, then try traveling to the Southwest to hike Horseshoe Bend. An easy, 0.75 mile-long one-way trek, Horseshoe Bend boasts a beautiful desert view. Remember to take plenty of water and try to start your hike in the morning or early evening, since temperatures can get extremely hot in Arizona.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Trail in Naples, FL
Animal lovers and beginning hikers alike will enjoy this 2.5 mile-long trek through this Floridian swamp. Located in the western Everglades, this trail is filled with wildlife native to Florida like alligators, deer, egrets, turtles, and more. If you’ve got 2-3 hours to spare, carve some time to explore this natural haven.
Coyote Valley Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
If you’re going to start hiking, you may as well start with one of the most recognizable American mountain ranges: The Rocky Mountains. This trail is a simple one for beginners, but as you can see from this list, simple does not always mean unremarkable! The views of the Rocky Mountains are second to none, especially from spring until fall. The road on the trail is paved, which means it is also a great walk for people with kids and/or strollers, so take the whole family with you on this easy hike!Explore the Rocky Mountains
Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park, CA
Take a hike through this national park to see the biggest trees in the world, sequoias. In fact, Congress Trail hosts the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman tree, which stands at 230 feet tall and has a base of over 36 feet in diameter. At just 2 miles long and an elevation gain of 230 feet, this park’s paved roads make this an easy hike to take children on. Set up the stroller, grab your kids’ sneakers, and head out for a gargantuan family adventure!
Coastal Trail to Ocean Lookout in Cutler, ME
Take in the stunning views of Maine’s shores with this 2.7 mile-long hike. The trail should take about an hour to complete, but could be longer if you want to go bird watching or if you simply want to take your time to enjoy the hike. If you want to take your adventurous dog with you, you are more than welcome to as long as they are leashed! If you’re ready to plan your trip, try to go around April through October for the best experience.Discover HomeExchange
After reading through this list of recommendations for hiking trails in the U.S. for beginners, hopefully you feel ready to go on an adventure. Remember to bring plenty of water with you, dress appropriately, and research hiking safety tips before you set out on your trek! If you decide to turn your adventure into an overnight or multi-day trip, HomeExchange will be there to provide accommodations for you to relax in after a long day of hiking.