Take a Hike: Treks Within Reach of Big Cities
September 12, 2011 | Permalink
So, one of you loves the bustle of the metropolis, and the other craves nature’s solitude and peace. How do you plan a vacation destination that appeals to both of you? Or maybe your business travel always takes you to big cities, but you’d sure like to be able to get away from it all and into the wilderness after two and a half days of nonstop meetings. What are your options? Finding the answer to both questions is easier than you might think. Most major metropolitan areas are within easy distance of great day hikes, and there are a number of hiking guides tailored to such excursions.
FalconGuide’s Best Easy Day Hikes and Best Hikes Near series cover cities and regions all over the country. Each guide focuses on a particular place (e.g., Salt Lake City, Chicago, San Diego) and then provides trail maps, directions, difficulty levels and information about dozens of hikes within easy reach (no more than a couple of hours driving distance). Much more than just maps or lists, the small books also include all sorts of details in regards to local history, flora and fauna. A similar series is 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, written by Christopher and Catherine Brooks, with titles covering over a dozen metropolitan areas including Minneapolis-St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nashville and New York City.
Guides to Kid-Friendly Trails
Moon Press also has a near-the-city series of hiking guides, Take a Hike (Washington D.C., Portland, Boston, etc.), written by experienced outdoor enthusiasts for hikers of all ages and abilities. Each of their books includes a collection of best hikes to take with kids in the area. And for fully kid-focused guides, check out the Best Hikes with Children series. Though not solely focused on hikes within or near big cities, the state- and region-specific books do include many easy-to-reach sites. Each includes tips for helping kids, even as young as toddlers, enjoy the whole hiking experience, as well as fun facts about the specific trails and areas.
For more tips and strategies for hiking with kids, the Internet is also, of course, a great resource. A couple of recommended sites are outdoor equipment retailer REI’s page on “Kids and Hiking” (including tips shared from parents as well as pros) and “Just Jeff’s Hiking Page,” which is “just” a parent sharing lots of great experience and ideas.
Guides for Trekking with Canine Companions
Traveling with a dog means making sure he or she gets plenty of exercise (which isn’t such a bad thing for us, either), and sometimes, that’s tougher when you’re staying in a big city. Your fellow dog lovers have come to the rescue, though, with in- and near-city hiking guides that detail trails and locales especially suited to canines and their families.
By hiking all over the city, Long Island and the Hudson Valley with her own dog, Sienna, Tammy McCarley’s Best Hikes with Dogs: New York City and Beyond is one such book, chockfull of what she, a canine travel company owner, has learned about the best trails (at varied levels of difficulty) as well as useful equipment and first aid information. Other volumes in the Best Hikes with Dogs series cover more than a dozen other cities, regions and states, including Arizona, Southern California, Oregon, Boston and the Texas Hill Country. Another series to check out is the thirty-plus-volume Doggin’ collection, on such locations as Cleveland, Pittsburg, Massachusetts and the Carolina coast.
Remember, too, that many hiking guides are available in electronic form, so if your gotta-take-along items include a Kindle, Nook, smartphone or tablet, you can have all this information almost weightlessly at your fingertips.
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