Maybe you’ve just moved to a new area, you’re on vacation and feeling whimsical, or you are just getting into hiking. How do you find awesome hiking trails? What is the hidden way to figure out where to go hiking near me?
Well, it turns out there are many different resources you can use to find a beautiful hiking trail near you. Let’s discuss the best, and worst, ways to find a hike near you.
Finding Hikes Near Me with Google
The first, and most obvious, choice for finding a hiking trail is to use the good old internet. However, there are excellent resources, and utter shit resources out there. The first and most obvious thing is to Google the following:
- Hikes near me
- Specific hikes near me. For example “hikes near me with waterfalls,” “bike trails near me” or even “hikes near me with dogs.” The more specific you are, the better your results will be.
- Best hikes near me. If you’re not using private browsing, then Google will ping your IP address location and automatically filter results for you.
- “Best hikes near X.” Replace the X with the nearest town or city, noting the state if it’s a popular name or you find that different results from other states are popping up.
Improve your hiking skills with these handy resources:
- The Ultimate Guide to Hiking
- Leave No Trace Basics for Not-So-Basic Hikers
- Acclimatizing Safely in High Altitude
- What Gear Do You REALLY Need to Hike? (coming soon)
The Best Apps and Tools for Finding a Hiking Area Near You
Alternatively, if you’re more of an app person, you can download a few really handy apps that will help you find the best places to hike.
The website/app duo AllTrails is an amazing resource for finding incredible hiking trails near you. To sign up, all you need is an email, and you can search your heart out for amazing hikes right at your fingertips. You can save your favorite trails, read recent conditions, and upload your own reports and photographs. There’s a “directions” button that will open the navigation app of your choice, and I find the information on AllTrails to be extremely accurate.
Also a website/app combo, Hiking Project is an REI-owned app that allows you to search for hikes near you and get updated information on conditions, difficulty, and notable waypoints. It’s not quite as good or as inclusive as AllTrails, but it will typically have a hike you’re looking for if AllTrails doesn’t. Use the two in tandem to get the most info on your next hike.
Mountain Project, Summit Post, and More
If you’re looking for mountain hikes or technical summits, check out the info on Mountain Project, Summit Post, and other regional-based websites dedicated to mountain hiking. Also, it helps to add “trip report” to your Google search to see what others have done on the route you’re looking to hike or climb.
Outdoor and Hiking Blogs
I can’t resist the shameless plug here, but hiking blogs truly are excellent resources for finding nearby hikes. I use them all the time to read up on what a tricky hike might be like, or to discover amazing places to hike near me. Usually, I’ll use a list of hikes on a blog as a reference to find lesser-known trails nearby.
If you like hiking the “best of” of an area, hiking blogs are an incredible resource. If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path hikes, use the areas described in hiking blogs to find similar (and sometimes more beautiful) hikes nearby.
Looking for inspiring hiking trails? check out these posts:
- Amazing Day Hikes Near Denver for Any Ability
- Sedona, Arizona’s Best Hikes
- 6 Epic California Hikes for Your Bucket List
- The Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
- Epic Views and Hikes in the Grand Canyon
Websites to Avoid When Finding Hiking Trails
There are a lot of websites that pop up in the Google search bar when you’re looking for a hike. Those that are new to hiking might think that highly authoritative sites, like Trip Advisor, are good for finding hikes. Let me be clear, a website that focuses on travel, should not be used to plan a hike. Here’s a look at what websites to avoid when searching for hikes near you:
- Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor specializes in reviews for travel-related services. Hiking is not a travel-related service. You are going to get advice from amateurs that might be incorrect, ill-advised, or just plain wrong. Not to mention, Trip Advisor is written by tourists, not locals, so you aren’t going to get local advice here.
- Yelp. Yelp is a platform for reviewing services typically found in civilization. Hiking is not a service, it’s an activity. Avoid Yelp for hikes, use it for restaurants and hair stylists instead.
- Any travel magazine or website such as Travel + Leisure, Fodors, Thrillist, and more. Again. These services specialize in travel, not hiking. You’re likely to find “Best of” lists here, and sure they may have some solid recommendations, but you won’t get the information you really need to complete the hike.
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Now you’re armed and ready to find your own amazing hiking trails near you! Remember to analyze information carefully and stay safe while hiking this season! Happy trails!