By Leah Rambadt, American Forests

As the weather gets warmer, you’ll probably look for activities that let you stay outside longer and let you enjoy nature. Here are some hiking trails that’ll help you get psyched for spring and the outdoors!

For those who aren’t hiking enthusiasts, let’s define the three types of trails that are listed below:

  • Loop Trail: Brings you back to your starting point without walking on the same path.
  • Point-to-Point Trail: Designed for you to walk from one place to another, and is too long to return to the starting point.
  • In and Out (or Out and Back) Trail: You follow the trail to its end, and then walk back the same way to the starting point.

Hite Cove Trail, California

Hites Cove Trail in Yosemite
The first two miles of the trail features wildflower views from March through mid-May. Credit: Bernadine Diele/

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 6.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 980 feet

Best Time to Use: Accessible year-round (wildflower walk: March–mid-May)

Hite Cove Trail is located near Mariposa, California. It’s an out and back trail that leads down to the abandoned Hite Cove mining settlement. The trail is accessible year-round, and used for hiking, walking, nature trips and birding.

Lily Mountain Trail, Colorado

Lily Mountain Trail in Colorado
Check out interesting geological features as you climb up Lily Mountain Trail. Credit: Gary Tindall/

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 1240 feet

Best Time to Use: March–September

Lily Mountain Trail is an out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado. It’s used for hiking, walking, nature trips and birding, and you’ll also see beautiful wildflowers. The first part of the trail is a gradual climb through pine forests, which then steepens as you climb the mountain. It goes over the summit, though the last ¼ mile of the trail may be harder to follow. From the summit, you can see Longs Peak, Estes Park and Twin Sisters Peak.

Battle Creek Falls Trail, Utah

Battle Creek Falls in Utah
The trail’s difficulty increases after crossing Battle Creek on a small, wooden bridge, as the trail narrows and steepens. Credit: Tracee Brown/

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 2.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 1236 feet

Best Time to Use: March–October

This out and back trail is located near Pleasant Grove, Utah. It follows Battle Creek as it goes up the canyon, and you can choose to continue past Battle Creek Falls. You’ll see a couple of more waterfalls, and enter a steep climb that reaches a junction where you can transfer onto Curley Springs Trail and head towards Dry Creek Canyon.

Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte, Tennessee

Alum Cave Trail has interesting geological features, such as Arch Rock. Credit: Dwayne Allen/

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 10 miles

Elevation Gain: 2854 feet

Best Time to Use: March–November

Alum Cave Trail is located near Twin Creeks, Tennessee. It’s an out and back trail that features views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge, The Eye of the Needle and Myrtle Point. There is also a lodge and cabins near the top of the mountain – if you’re interested, you can make a reservation and stay the night!

Pine Creek Trail, Pennsylvania

Pine Creek Trail in Pennsylvania
Wildflowers blooming along Pine Creek trailside. The trail is well-maintained and covered with finely crushed limestone. Credit: PJ Wetzel/

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 61.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 908 feet

Best Time to Use: March–November

This point-to-point trail is located near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. It has numerous trailheads, comfort stations, campgrounds and small towns along the route, which allows you to plan for short and long excursions. There are many access points to the trail with parking lots that you can use.

Bear Lake Trail, Florida

Bear Lake Trail in Florida
Bear Lake Trail takes you through pine flatwoods and bluff forests full of southern magnolia and hickory trees. Credit: Jason Flynn/

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 55 feet

Best Time to Use: Year-round

This is a loop trail that’s good for all skill levels. It’s located near Munson, Florida, and goes around an impounded reservoir that flows into Sweetwater Creek. In addition to hiking, it’s also an excellent spot for birding. You may see a swallow-tailed kite on your hike!

Remember, these are just suggested hiking trails to get you started. Choose any trail you’d like, close by or far away, and hike out!

Also, if you share #WhyIHike with our partner, Eddie Bauer, you could win one of three hiking destinations!