Spending time outdoors has tremendous benefits. Countless studies show that getting fresh air and a dose of sunshine (with sunscreen!) can do wonders for your health, including improving the respiratory system, building strong bones and lifting your spirits. Spending time in the great outdoors also benefits the environment, as it allows us mere mortals greater appreciation for nature, its power and its fragility.
One of the best ways to spend time outdoors is hiking any one of our nation’s many remarkable trails. Read through a few of our favorites, then lace up your walking shoes for an unforgettable adventure.
- The Appalachian Trail: Perhaps our country’s most famous outdoor pathway, the Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia and is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. You can attempt the entire trail (thousands do every year!) or pick a section of it for a more manageable excursion.
- Mist Trail: This hiking trail located in Yosemite National Park takes you around two stunning waterfalls that spray its visitors with, well, mist – and lots of it! As you ascend, however, the jaw-dropping views make the outdoor shower well worth it.
- Ewoldsen Trail: Most everyone would agree that the Big Sur region of California is one of the country’s most awe-inspiring. The Ewoldsen Trail, located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, offers visitors a sample of Big Sur’s beauty, including redwood forests and those famous cliffs and ocean views.
- Withlacoochee State Forest Trails: With Florida’s notorious lack of elevation, it’s a shock there are actual hiking trails anywhere in the state. The Withlacoochee State Forest, however, is home to about a half-dozen unique trails where hikers can camp, ride horses, cycle and go caving.
- Royal Arch Trail: Located in Boulder, Colorado, this trail makes our list due to its famous Royal Arch at the summit. The hike is slightly less strenuous than some others on this list, but no doubt just as rewarding.
Wherever the trail takes you, be sure to stay hydrated, apply environmentally friendly sunscreen and pack some sustainable snacks (nuts and dried fruits make terrific hiking treats that provide both energy and fuel). And clean up after yourself! Mother Earth loves an eco-friendly hiker.
For more news on the environment, climate change and living a sustainable lifestyle, visit the terrapass Footprint Blog, where each week we’re posting new articles to keep you updated and informed. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, where we’re always sharing tips and information on living in eco-friendly, green style.