Explore Go Lists

Day Hikes for Weekend Warriors

We define a "weekend warrior" as someone who must spend all week indoors, but gets outside and physical on the weekends! If you’re a weekend warrior, the perfect trail might be one that provides great scenery or even a physical challenge, yet is not too far from home. You’ll experience the solitude of wilderness, spot wildlife in a natural setting, feel the satisfaction of reaching a mountaintop or a secret fishing spot and still be home for supper!

Learn more about trail tips, outdoor safety and practicing Leave No Trace ethics. Happy trails!

Search by state: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Alabama

Pinhoti National Recreation Trail

Pinhoti National Recreation Trail
Pinhoti National Recreation Trail

Outside of Birmingham, the Pinhoti Trail covers over 100 miles in Alabama, some of those miles meandering through the mountains and valleys of the Talladega National Forest, a forest rich in history and legend. The trail winds through rugged pine and hardwood forests, runs along ridge tops and passes through shady hollows and mountain streams. If you’re looking for solitude, the Pinhoti Trail is an excellent choice.

Learn More...

Alaska

Campbell Tract National Recreation Trail

Campbell Tract
Campbell Tract

Located in Anchorage, the Campbell Tract Loop Trail can be found in the forested 730-acre Campbell Tract Special Recreation Management Area. The 3.4-mile easy Loop Trail consists of well-maintained trails open to year-round, non-motorized recreational activities such as mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, equestrian use and hiking. Trail users experience numerous opportunities to view Alaskan wildlife species, including black and brown bear, lynx, moose, bald eagles, owls, coyotes and the occasional wolf.

Learn More...

Arizona

Bear Canyon Trail

Bear Canyon
Bear Canyon

Outside Tucson, this trail system offers access to the dramatic landscape of the Santa Catalina Front Range, famous for its deep canyons and soaring ridges. The trail reaches a dramatic climax at Seven Falls. This fantastic cataract tumbles across stair-stepped drop-offs, and magnificent saguaros rise on all sides. A spur trail drops to the edge of the lowermost plunge pool.

Learn more...

Arizona

Devil’s Bridge Trail

Devil’s Bridge
Devil’s Bridge

This popular hike has attractions for both casual hikers who lack the desire or the stamina to stray too far from civilization, and the more adventurous outdoor enthusiasts. Devil's Bridge is considered the largest natural arch in the Sedona area. It is 54-feet high, has a thickness of five feet and spans over 45 feet. From atop the cracked and fractured sandstone arch are dramatic views of the canyons, mountains and red rock cliffs. The trail, originally built for jeep travel, is smooth and clear and leads you through washes filled with juniper and prickly pear cactus.

Learn more...

Arizona

Fossil Springs

Fossil Springs
Fossil Springs

The trail to Fossil Springs follows a steep, dusty old jeep road two miles down past an old gravel pit. On a daytrip from Phoenix or Flagstaff you’ll discover a little Shangri La where you can swim, picnic, study fossils, or explore the waters of travertine pools along the creek. You will also find over 30 kinds of trees and bushes as well as over 100 species of birds.

Learn more...

Arkansas

Hunt’s Loop Trail

Hunt's Loop
Hunt's Loop

In just over an hour, hikers can escape the urban life of Little Rock and enter the South’s oldest national forest – the Ouachita National Forest. Here, hikers can experience the Hunt’s Loop Trail. This 4.3 mile loop traverses terrain ranging from easy to difficult, encompassing Short Mountain, parts of an interpretive trail and even a section of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. Those who are interested in geology and amazing views – this is the hike for you!

Learn More...

California

Carson Pass Trailhead and the Pacific Crest Trail

Carson Pass
Carson Pass

Located on scenic Highway 88 at the summit of Carson Pass near South Lake Tahoe, visitors from the Sacramento area can easily reach the Carson Pass Trailhead or the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in less than two hours. Both trailheads can be found at Carson Pass – the Carson Pass Trailhead on the south side and the PCT trailhead is on the northern side of Highway 88.

The Carson Pass Trailhead offers a hike into the majestic Mokelumne Wilderness with views of the surrounding ragged Sierra Nevada peaks as well as picnicking opportunities at several high alpine lakes. This easy route heading south from Hwy 88 will wind hikers through forests of both pine and aspen – lovely in the fall with warm colors as the aspen leaves transform and the summer when wildflowers blossom and take over the meadows.

Learn More...

 

If hiking the PCT is your goal, travel north from the Highway 88 trailhead and wind into the Meiss Country Roadless Area on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. The picturesque meadows and surrounding mountains will certainly be worth the effort.

Learn More...

Colorado

Arapaho Pass Trail

Arapaho Pass
Arapaho Pass

Within driving distance of Denver or Boulder, this is a moderately steep trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The trail passes through an area of dense summer wildflowers, past the long-abandoned Fourth of July Mine, then above timberline to a fantastic vantage point at the pass. In addition to the stunning views, this trail connects with many other great trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Learn more...

Florida

Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST)

Florida National Scenic Trail
Florida National Scenic Trail

The Clearwater Lake Trailhead outside Orlando provides access to the southernmost segment of the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest. Day hikers will enjoy walking north into rolling hills topped with tall longleaf pines. This trail, established as Florida's first backpacking trail, is blazed with orange markers north from Clearwater Lake and is about 6.5 miles from Allatoona, Georgia.

Learn more...

Georgia

Jarrard Gap/Slaughter Creek Trails

Lake Winfield
Lake Winfield

Within a reasonable drive from Atlanta, this trail loop begins in the scenic Lake Winfield Scott Recreation Area. Follow along Slaughter Creek and access the Appalachian Trail and Blood Mountain Wilderness. This trail passes through rhododendron and deciduous forest, a staple of the north Georgia mountains, and offers wonderful vistas, particularly in the fall and winter.

Learn more...

Hawaii

Supply Trail

Supply Trail
Supply Trail (NPS photo)

Heading to Maui? If you answered yes, then prepare yourself for an adventure like no other as you hike in the cinder desert landscape that is Haleakala National Park. Visitors from Kahului can reach the Summit Area of the park in about 1.5 hours’ drive time. Once there, day hikes abound including the Supply Trail to Halemau'u Trail which begins at the Hosmer Grove parking area just one mile below the Headquarters Visitor Center. Explore native alpine shrub land and keep your eyes peeled for honeycreepers – native forest birds which can be spotted regularly.

Learn More...

Idaho

Mores Mountain Interpretive Trail

Mores Mountain
Mores Mountain

Mores Mountain Interpretive Trail will get you quickly out of Boise and offers incredible views of the surrounding Boise National Forest and Sawtooth Mountains. Located just 21 miles north of Boise past Bogus Basin Ski Area, this three mile trail is a great way to get outside and enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch along the way. The only ones in a hurry around here are the squirrels preparing for winter. Take your time, enjoy the fresh mountain air, towering pines and escape from the city.

Learn More...

Illinois

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Trails

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Escape the urban jungle and explore Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. With over 32 miles of trail for recreationists, 10 of those are just for hikers yearning to experience a prairie ecosystem and grassland wildlife. Trail users are welcome to use the open areas every day of the year, one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. There are several options for day hiking at Midewin – from Explosives Road Trailhead to Turtle Pond, hikers will be treated to easy and moderate hikes that allow you to observe wildlife and discover the silence and peace that comes with prairie life.

Learn More...

Massachusetts

Woodland Trail Network

West Hill Dam
West Hill Dam

The Woodland Trail Network at West Hill Dam is a five-mile loop trail through riparian and upland mixed forests, wetlands, and restored grasslands. The trail is also open for beginner or intermediate mountain bike riding and makes a great trail for families. From Uxbridge, follow State Route 122 about a mile to Hartford Avenue and then look for the Army Corps of Engineers signs that will lead you to the dam and trailhead.

For weekend warriors who crave additional miles, the Woodland Trail connects with the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park's trails, just one mile from the West Hill Dam trailhead parking lot. While you’re on the area’s trails, visit Lookout Rock for one of the most spectacular views in the Blackstone River Valley National Corridor, and be sure and stop at the Rice City Pond, a great place to watch wildlife. Woodland Trail is open year-round but amenities are seasonal May through September (the State Park offers a year-round visitor center).

If you tire of biking or hiking, get on the Blackstone River in a canoe, kayak or tour boat, or head to Purgatory Chasm State Reservation, popular with rock climbers or Wachusett Mountain State Reservation. It’s a 40-minute drive, and offers even more hiking and mountain biking.


Michigan

Ferguson Bayou Trail

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

If you’re in the Saginaw area and looking to reconnect with nature, try the Ferguson Bayou Trail in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. Located on the south side of the refuge, this day hike offers over 4.5 miles of trails. The trail follows graveled roads on the tops of dikes and offers views of croplands, sloughs, forests, fields, wetlands and pools. Two observation towers, equipped with spotting scopes, are located along this trail so you can take a closer look at ducks, geese, deer and other wildlife.

Learn More...

Minnesota

Bluff Trail

Bluff Trail
Bluff Trail

This trail offers surprising solitude for a place within two miles of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. It skirts the base of the bluffs along the Minnesota River, weaving in and out of forest and ending near a historic bridge closed to traffic. Watch for waterfowl, songbirds, woodpeckers, bald eagles, wetland birds such as egrets and herons. A trail spur leads to an observation overlook that juts out into a river-fed marsh.

Learn More...

New Hampshire

Wapack Trail

Wapack National Wildlife Refuge
Wapack National Wildlife Refuge

Within two hours of Boston, MA, and less than an hour from Manchester, NH, the Wapack Trail is one of the oldest trails in the region, dating back to 1923. This trail heads up to the peak of North Pack Monadnock and offers great views of the surrounding area and the higher Mount Monadnock to the west. As a bonus, take a spur off the Wapack Trail onto the Cliff Trail that has a talus slope with granite outcroppings and spectacular views of Miller State Park to the south. The trail is a great spot to watch hawks and eagles migrating down the ridge in the fall.

Learn More...

North Carolina

Neusiok Trail

Neusiok Trail
Forests of North Carolina

Looking for an adventure near Jacksonville that includes history, modern-day trekking and a true Carolina experience? The Neusiok Trail offers cypress swamps, hardwood ridges, longleaf pine savannah and pocosin-shrubby bogs common to the Carolina coast and winds more than 20 miles from a sandy beach on the Neuse River to a salt marsh on the Newport River. As part of the 900-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail that begins in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ends in Jockey Ridge State Park at the ocean, this section of the trail will offer easy to intermediate hiking which is best done from October to May.

Learn More...

Oklahoma

Charon’s Garden Trail

Charon's Garden Trail
Charon's Garden Trail

Within a two hours’ drive from Oklahoma City, this trail in the Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area climbs into the heart of the Wichita Mountains. Along the way a boulder field tests your sense of direction, adventure, and quality of shoe. After traversing some narrow gaps and rocky terrain, you come around the mountain to find small streams and waterfalls and stunning mountain views. Charon's Garden Mountains are estimated to be 300 million years old. Elk, white-tail deer, bison, prairie dogs, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and bald eagles can be found in the area.

Learn More...

Oregon

Eagle Creek Trail #440

Columbia River Gorge National Recreation Area
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

A popular trail in the Columbia River Gorge, Eagle Creek Trail is relatively easy and winds 13 miles one-way through the forest and on paths carved into the basalt cliffs. Easily accessed from the Portland area, the trail offers visitors spectacular viewpoints and waterfalls as you explore the Gorge. On parts of this trail, there are sheer cliffs with no guard rails, so this hike may not be suitable for children or those afraid of heights.

Learn more...

South Dakota

Castle Trail

Castle Trail
Castle Trail

Surrounded by unique geologic formations and rugged beauty, there are good times to be had in the Badlands. Castle Trail, the longest trail in the park, begins at the Door and Window parking area and traverses to the Fossil Exhibit Trail to view the scenery so many early explorers likened to “castles” in the sky. Just outside of Rapid City, hikers of all abilities will enjoy this moderate round-trip trek of 10 miles.

Learn more...

South Dakota

Hell Canyon Trail

Hell Canyon Trail
Pasqueflowers, Jewel Cave National Monument

Located near Rapid City, Hell Canyon Trail will be worth your effort.Enjoy a 5.3-mile loop hike with outstanding views of Hell Canyon. Plan an early start to your day to include this strenuous to easy hike that starts with a half-mile climb. Later, the trail contours around the limestone cliff bands offering spectacular views of Hell Canyon and the expansive regenerating landscape (following the Jasper Fire in 2000).

After exploring Hell Canyon, consider a visit to nearby Jewel Cave National Monument to check out the third longest cave in the world! Its splendor is revealed through fragile and unusual formations. The national monument is also home to a variety of plants and animals, and has a fascinating wildfire history.

Learn more...

Utah

Cecret Lake Trail

Cecret Lake
Cecret Lake

Cecret Lake Trail is an easy, popular daytrip from Salt Lake City. This hike in Alta’s Albion Basin is well known for its abundant wildflowers, where over 120 different species bloom throughout the summer months. It's also spectacular in early autumn when the leaves have changed color. A variety of wildlife, including moose and deer, roam the area, and hikers often spot mountain goats on rugged Devil’s Castle just south of Cecret Lake.

Learn more...

Utah

Silver Lake Loop Trail

Silver Lake
Silver Lake

Silver Lake Loop Trail is an easy daytrip from Salt Lake City. The trail circles Silver Lake at Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Silver Lake is home to beautiful mountain scenery, an abundance of wildlife including moose and deer, and many varieties of vivid summer wildflowers. The trail features plenty of shady, wooded areas as well as sunny, open stretches from which to enjoy the area's spectacular views. Hikers can also find a variety of wildlife, including moose and deer, and often spot mountain goats on rugged Devil's Castle just south of Cecret Lake.

Learn more...

Wyoming

Interpretive Nature Trail

Silver Lake
Interpretive Nature Trail

South of Casper, the easy two-mile Interpretive Nature Trail provides an opportunity for the entire family to get out and get moving! Bring a picnic lunch and experience forest, sagebrush and grasslands that provide habitat for blue grouse and fox, as well as deer, antelope and elk. Along the way, interpretive signs will guide and share information about this special 700-acre natural area. Two overlooks located on the trail provide a unique view of the valley below.

Learn more...