Hiking News

Israel by Foot program makes country’s abundant, varied trails easy to find

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 @ 11:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Israel by Foot program makes country’s abundant, varied trails easy to find

Most tourists come to Israel either out of religious sentiment or because of an interest in the country’s abundant historical and cultural sites. Others come to enjoy the beaches and night life of Eilat or Tel-Aviv.

But aside from these known attractions, Israel is also a unique hiking destination. What makes Israel – a tiny country without high mountain ridges – attractive for hikers?

• Variety – This small area has the desert in the South, the Galilee mountains in the North and many historical and archeological sites that blend into the natural surroundings.

• Desert – The Negev is one of the most hiking-friendly deserts in world, and definitely the friendliest one closest to Europe. If you have not hiked a desert before, expect a truly unique experience.

• Wildflowers – In late winter and spring, wildflowers bloom in a variety of shapes and colors that will amaze and overwhelm your senses.

• History – While hiking, you will find ancient synagogues, Crusader fortresses, old monasteries and Nabatean towns blended into the landscape around them.

• Weather – The winter months, which present unfavorable hiking conditions in most northern countries, are the best months to hike in Israel

• Hiking Infrastructure – There are thousands of kilometers of wellmarked hiking trails in Israel covering the entire country.

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Pacific Crest Trail celebrates 50 years

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 @ 6:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Pacific Crest Trail celebrates 50 years

Thirty-six and a half miles east of Lake Isabella is the historic route discovered by Joseph Rutherford Walker in 1834 known as Walker Pass. Because the pass connects the Great Basin and the interior of California, it was only logical that when a walking and equestrian trail extending from Mexico to Canada was conceived, Walker Pass would be a vital section of that path.

It was 50 years ago this year that the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) was dedicated as a national treasure by President Lyndon Johnson. Part of the trail has actually been around since the 1930s and was used by the Boy Scouts, the YMCA and at the beginning was supported by American photographer Ansel Adams. Today, the section of the 2,659 mile long PCT that goes through this area is known as ‘Section G’ and is maintained by the Kern River Valley chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of America.

Fifty years ago, the founders of the PCT had hopes that their idea would be embraced by the outdoor enthusiasts of their time. Today, the trail is enjoyed annually by 200 to 300 thru-hikers, and countless other, partial trail hikers along with thousands of day hikers. Individuals and groups come from all over the country and the world in an attempt to conquer the trail.

Men and women come from thousands of miles away to add the PCT to their repertoire of difficult trails to traverse. Some even drive long distances just to walk the trail from Walker Pass to different destinations along the 50 mile stretch to Kennedy Meadows.

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Trekking on Turkey’s historic Ephesus-Mimas Route

Posted by on Apr 29, 2018 @ 12:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking on Turkey’s historic Ephesus-Mimas Route

An historic 709-kilometer route in İzmir, Turkey that connects ancient Greek Ionian footways awaits visitors who want to enjoy nature as well as learn of the culture and history in the region.

The main part of the route consists of six footways connecting ancient cities such as Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Klazomenai, and Erythrai.

The route starts in Ephesus in front of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World, and passes through Menderes, Seferihisar, Güzelbahçe, Urla and Çeşme districts and ends in Mimas, or Karaburun in Turkish.

Trek lovers can travel through paths and beaches by walking among colorful flora and are offered the chance to look closer at ancient history.

There are daffodils, artichokes, dates, and olives. On this route, you can also see endemic plants such as windflowers and mountain hyacinths. The Ephesus-Mimas Route offers both natural and historic beauty.



Hiking the Jordan Trail to Petra

Posted by on Apr 28, 2018 @ 12:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking the Jordan Trail to Petra

Billed as the “Inca Trail of the Middle East,” the 400-mile Jordan Trail runs from the Mediterranean-influenced villages of Umm Qais in the north to the coral-rich Red Sea in the south, passing through 52 villages en route, as well as two UNESCO-listed sites. The result of an eight year effort by 40-some volunteers, the route is primed to put the country on the radar of travelers seeking an adventure without the crowds.

Trekkers can tackle the 36-day hike in one go or choose one of eight 50-mile-long sections. The most established route is a flashpacker-friendly stretch from Dana to the “Rose City” of Petra.

Planning a trek is surprisingly easy: The Jordan Trail Association, an NGO formed in 2015 to help maintain and develop the trail, has created a website filled with information on everything from licensed tour operators and hiking companies to what to pack and how fit you should be for different trail sections.

Yet unlike the well-marked and trafficked trails of trekking meccas, such as Switzerland and Chile, trails in Jordan can be difficult to navigate alone. A guide is recommended and because adventure tourism is still in its infancy here, there are only a handful of licensed hiking guides in the country.

Until you walk across Jordan, you won’t grasp the diversity of its landscape. Leave Dana and descend 4,000 feet into the Dana Biosphere Reserve’s central valley, taking in four unique ecosystems. Lonely cypress trees give way to Martian-like rock formations. Then the landscape changes to bone-dry river beds lined with palms and oleander, before, finally, becoming rust-hued desert.

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Hiking groups do more than just hike

Posted by on Apr 28, 2018 @ 7:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking groups do more than just hike

When people think of hiking clubs, they probably envision groups that lead hikes in the forests and mountains — and they’d be right.

But Southern Oregon is home to a number of organizations that do a lot more than hike — they actually get their hands dirty keeping trails open, and in some cases they are building new thoroughfares in the backcountry.

Gabe Howe, director of the Siskiyou Mountain Club, knows trails don’t just happen on their own. Trail markers don’t jump onto tree trunks by themselves, and vandalized trail signs aren’t self-cleaning. Storm damage isn’t cleared by magic elves, and fallen trees from raging wildfires don’t move themselves.

So it’s a good thing Howe knows how to organize people interested in seeing that work gets done.

“We have more interest from the community than we can coordinate,” he says. “And it is something anybody can do.”

Hiking, like most outdoor activities, has its seasons, but the work to maintain trails goes on year-round. Siskiyou Mountain Club had volunteers out restoring trails throughout the winter. This year, a major focus of that work is cleaning up damage from last years’ wildfires.

Howe and several of his friends created the SMC in response to damage across the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, much of it from the 2002 Biscuit fire.

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New Fonta Flora State Trail system connecting Asheville to Morganton grows

Posted by on Apr 26, 2018 @ 12:13 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

New Fonta Flora State Trail system connecting Asheville to Morganton grows

  It was a sleepy little town where farmers worked the rich land along the Linville River. The Burke County, North Carolina town of Fonta Flora was also once home to a post office, the Rhyne School and Old Sardis Church of 1838.

But starting in 1916 the residents were dispersed and displaced to higher ground as the Catawba and Linville rivers and Paddy’s Creek were dammed to create Lake James and produce hydroelectric power for the growing region. A century later, the little lost town is being honored by the creation of the Fonta Flora Trail.

The newest unit of the North Carolina State Parks System, the Fonta Flora Trail aims to unify Western North Carolina towns from the foothills to the mountains, stringing together spots from Morganton to Asheville. The planned 70-80-mile foot and bike trail will bring back to life, if only in name, the little lost town.

The ambitious trail got closer to its goal with the addition of 90 acres of conserved land between Black Mountain and Old Fort in McDowell County. Foothills Conservancy, a nonprofit regional land trust based in Morganton, purchased the property.

The land is near the Heartbreak Ridge and Point Lookout Trail areas of the Pisgah National Forest. Acquisition of the Goodson property by Foothills Conservancy will ensure protection of scenic views along Old Highway 70 and water quality for Mill Creek and Jarrett Creek, both high-quality streams.

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The 7 national trails of the Pacific Northwest

Posted by on Apr 25, 2018 @ 11:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The 7 national trails of the Pacific Northwest

There are a ton of trails in the Pacific Northwest, but only a select few have earned the honor of being designated as national trails.

From thru-hikes to road trip routes, all are part of the National Trails System, created by Congress in 1968 to “promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation.” The act established three categories of national trails: National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails.

Each category brings a different experience. The scenic trails are long, multi-state thru-hikes; the historic trails are designed as road trips along historic routes; and the recreation trails are any number of local hiking trails, just with a separate designation.

While the original act helped establish some of the most prominent long-haul trails in the U.S., today the designation generally just means a little extra publicity and attention to existing trails and historic areas. And with the natural beauty and Old West history that abounds in the northwest, this is a perfect region of the country to showcase.

Learn more here…


Hiking in Croatia: How to Master Some of the World’s Rarest Views

Posted by on Apr 25, 2018 @ 6:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking in Croatia: How to Master Some of the World’s Rarest Views

The Velebit Hiking Trail or Velebitski planinarski put (VPP), is open throughout the year, though heavy snowfall makes winter trekking unwise. Prime hiking season is typically from May to October.

The markings are the typical European red-white-red stripes or a red circle with white center. The initials VPP often accompanies marking at trailheads. Because hiking can be slow, the trail is best attempted in eight or nine days at around 10 miles a day. Finally, water is always a top priority on Velebit. Check with ranger stations about the availability of sources during the period you are hiking.

For eight days along the Adriatic Coast, this 65-mile route leads south over rugged passes high above the shoreline and across the Velebit Range, the country’s largest and most challenging, to the final destination, the Dalmatian Coast.

These mountains serve as a window onto an old European lifestyle. For centuries, people lived in these highlands. They herded sheep. Traders provided a lifeline between villages and the sea. They survived changing empires and wars. This is more than a trail. This is a history lesson in the mountains.

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Tips to stay safe while hiking in the mountains

Posted by on Apr 24, 2018 @ 12:47 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking can also be dangerous and occasionally deadly if not properly prepared, especially in the mountains. The weather can change at a moment’s notice or you can fall and hurt yourself. That’s why it’s vitally important to be prepared for anything, even when out on a short hike.

A map and compass are just two of the ten essentials for safe hiking. Other items include extra water and a first aid kit.

If you get lost or become injured and cannot move, a personal locator beacon uses satellites and GPS to send an emergency message to search and rescue crews even in remote locations with no cell phone service.

Simple technology such as a flashlight and whistle can also be life-saving tools. If you have a whistle, blow the whistle. Three short bursts close together, that’s the universal SOS.

There’s no reason to fear if you stick to a strategy. Make a plan before you go, and stick to it. Always let someone know where you plan to hike and what time you expect to return home so then can contact emergency authorities.



Wilderness boost: Why hiking does wonders for your mind and body

Posted by on Apr 24, 2018 @ 6:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wilderness boost: Why hiking does wonders for your mind and body

  If you’ve ever had to catch your breath on an uphill stretch of trail or if your legs have felt sore after a hike, you know that hiking is a workout. You’ve also likely experienced some of the health benefits of hiking: improved cardiovascular performance, more endurance, stronger muscles and a better mood.

While many people hike simply for the enjoyment of it, there is no denying how beneficial a walk through the woods can be for your physical health.

In an age of trendy fitness studios, high-tech workout trackers and expensive personal trainers, it can be easy to forget that the simple act of hiking is an exercise powerhouse. However, scientific research and health professionals alike agree that hitting the trails is advantageous for all aspects of physical fitness.

For many people, the idea of burning calories is one of the first things that comes to mind when they think about working out. Our bodies use stored energy (calories) to support normal body functions and to fuel us during physical activity. While any type of physical movement will result in the body using its stored energy, the unique nature of hiking can result in greater calorie burn than other forms of exercise.

In fact, research from the University of Florida concluded that walking on uneven terrain, like that of hiking trails, causes the body to use 28 percent more energy than walking on flat, even ground due to the subtle shifts in the way your leg muscles must lengthen or shorten while hiking.

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Hiking the Garden of Eden – The Alpe Adria Trail, Slovenia

Posted by on Apr 23, 2018 @ 9:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking the Garden of Eden – The Alpe Adria Trail, Slovenia

From the moment you touch down in Ljubljana, Slovenia you know you’re about to experience a land of the Gods.

Rich green fields spread as far as the eye can see, only broken by a spattering of wild flowers like the sprinkles on a cake. The depth and lusciousness of these fields reduce remind one childhood, and feeling a primal urge to prance through them like fields in the Sound of Music.

This is the Alpe Adria Trail, which leads from the eternal ice glacier on the Grossglockner, to the azure blue of the Adriatic Sea – a journey of discovery between borders and cultures.

Crossing between three countries – Slovenia, Austria and Italy, this “easy-to-walk” pleasure leads you through rich alpine terrain full of stunning mountain lakes. It’s no wonder the trail is commonly referred to as “Hiking the Garden of Eden.”

Life here seems so perfect, hiding away from the world. Here two old souls were living in solitude, cooking in an outdoor wood fire, and drying their washing in the crisp mountain air. Smiling and waving, you can tell they’re content. This truly is the Garden of Eden.

Learn more here…


Women Hiking Solo: Staying Savvy and Safe

Posted by on Apr 22, 2018 @ 12:01 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Women Hiking Solo: Staying Savvy and Safe

Regardless of gender, as a solo hiker there are daunting factors: If you injure yourself or encounter a dangerous wild animal you’re bereft of support.

Yet, as a female solo hiker, the prospect of unwanted attention (or worse) whilst wandering in the wild can add an eerie element to a trek. Perhaps potential female hikers are even deterred from treading onto the trail; after all, extensive sections can be remote, and a quick internet search may produce sinister stories about lone female hikers.

However, badass athletes such as Sunny Stroeer (who in February 2018 became the first woman to circumnavigate and summit Aconcagua in a single push), Kristin Gates (the first female to traverse Alaska’s Arctic Brook Range solo on a route mapped out herself) and Heather Anderson (whom in 2015 became the first person to simultaneously hold the speed records for both the PCT and AT) flaunt that females are proving their prowess in the outdoors. Yet despite this piecemeal pluckiness, should solo female hikers progress with due caution?

Here is advice from long-distance lady hikers on how to stay savvy – and not be put off breaking trail alone.


The cloud forest in our backyard

Posted by on Apr 22, 2018 @ 6:52 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

The cloud forest in our backyard

On some mornings, the mountains across our valley radiate in the dawn light, but frequently they are coyly veiled by clouds. These are the highest peaks in the East — ancient mountains, among the oldest on the continent — and a tattered shawl of dark forest drapes over the ridge and its craggy shoulders. This high-elevation dark green forest is one of Western North Carolina’s unique natural features, the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest.

This plant community was once ranked as the second-most endangered ecosystems in America and is responsible for the names of iconic mountain ranges: the Blacks and the Balsams. For those who live in or visit the region, it is worth getting to know this bewitching habitat better. This forest’s story is compelling — the more you know, the more endearing these woods are.

If you drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike in Pisgah National Forest or on the Appalachian Trail, visit Mount Mitchell or the high elevations of the Smokies, you will find yourself in this forest, and you should know how singular it is.

Even more important than the quantity of rain is how frequently the mountaintops are blanketed by clouds. When immersed, cloud vapor condenses on the trillions of coniferous needles and drips onto mossy beds below.

This phenomenon, called fog drip, is most famous as the source of water for coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest. Similarly, fog drip is the mechanism that irrigates our high mountain forests — the headwaters of most of our mountain creeks and rivers. The spruce-fir really is a temperate rainforest, or more specifically, a cloud forest.

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Hiking rescues increase in Southern California; could social media be to blame?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2018 @ 11:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking rescues increase in Southern California; could social media be to blame?

As the weather warms up, more people will head outdoors to hiking spots throughout Southern California and elsewhere. However, more people outdoors means more mountain rescues.

“Last year our eight-volunteer Search and Rescue teams had a record 684 missions. In 2016, we had 593 and there has been a fairly steady rise over the last few years,” said Mike Leum, assistant director of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the department’s SAR group leader.

Other departments in the region saw a similar increase in rescues.

In 2016, Orange County SAR teams were called to 32 rescues involving a hoist, Sheriff’s Department data shows. That number nearly doubled to 58 in 2017 and in the first four months of 2018, teams have already conducted 17 missions.

Riverside County search crews see between 150 and 170 lost hiker rescues each year, according to Deputy Mike Vasquez. That number ebbs and flows over the years, he said.

In San Bernardino County, crews worked 371 rescues in 2017 compared to 265 in 2016, according to sheriff’s officials. That included a jump in helicopter hoist missions from 55 in 2016 to 73 last year.

This year, there have already been at least two deaths in Southern California wilderness areas.

While it’s hard to pinpoint why there’s been such a dramatic increase in rescues and deaths, several law enforcement officials have see one common denominator: Social media.

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Study: Hiking Makes You Happier

Posted by on Apr 21, 2018 @ 7:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Study: Hiking Makes You Happier

British and American scientists have published new research showing that group nature walks help us combat stress while boosting mental well-being.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England evaluated 1,991 participants in England’s Walking for Health program, which hosts nearly 3,000 walks per week for more than 70,000 regular participants.

They found that the nature walks were associated with significantly less depression in addition to mitigating the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress. The findings were published in the September issue of Ecopsychology.

Sara Warber, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and senior author of the study, said that the large sample was a defining factor.

“We observed behaviors of a large group, in which some chose to walk and some chose not to, instead of us telling them what to do,” she said. “After 13 weeks, those who walked at least once a week experienced positive emotions and less stress.”

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What does it take to hike the entire Appalachian Trail?

Posted by on Apr 20, 2018 @ 8:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

What does it take to hike the entire Appalachian Trail?

Itching for adventure and seeking a break from their D.C. jobs, Elise Mann and Will Stowe figured it was time to go for a walk.

In 2015, that’s exactly what the couple did, hiking roughly 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine through woods and mountains, snow and rain on the Appalachian Trail.

It took 146 days, four pairs of hiking boots each and more nonperishable food than either wants to think about, but the couple became two of the approximately 19,000 in history who have “thru-hiked” the trail, meaning they completed the entire length on foot.

To get prepared, they did a lot of Googling and finding forums online. There’s one called whiteblaze.net. There are a lot of former thru-hikers on there — Stowe used it a lot to figure out what equipment they should take.

They also took a day trip from D.C. out to Harpers Ferry, WV and visited the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Their favorite advice was, “Just don’t be stupid.” It was a lot of talking to people and hearing what their experiences were like. There’s a really great network to plug into.

Mann, 28, and Stowe, 30, shared the secrets of how they completed such an undertaking — and how you can, too.


Bill to Link Minnesota Hiking Trails to National Route Advances in US House

Posted by on Apr 19, 2018 @ 12:24 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Bill to Link Minnesota Hiking Trails to National Route Advances in US House

Legislation to declare several hiking trails in the Northland to be part of the North Country National Scenic Trail has passed a U.S. House committee.

The bill from Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) would incorporate the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route Trail, and the Kekekabic Trail into the national trail. The move would add 400 miles to the national trail, bringing it to 4,600 miles.

The bill, H.R. 1026, received unanimous approval by the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday and now advances to the full House for consideration. No funding is attached to the bill, and Nolan said it would not require taking any land through eminent domain or condemnation.

“The North Country National Scenic Trail stretches from the plains of North Dakota through Minnesota’s Arrowhead all the way to the forests of Vermont – and, when linked to the Appalachian Trail under our bill – as far north as Maine, and as far south as Georgia,” Nolan said in a news release. “It’s a system that combines environmental protection and stewardship and promotes good paying jobs, tourism and healthy recreation.”

Minnesota’s entire Congressional delegation has signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.



How to Clean Hiking Boots – A Quick Guide

Posted by on Apr 19, 2018 @ 6:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to Clean Hiking Boots – A Quick Guide

  If your hiking boots are as clean as a whistle, without a scuff or a scratch or a hint of dirt to be seen, then you’re doing it wrong. Hiking boots should only look pristine when they are brand new and have never once been worn on the trail.

After that, every scrape and stain on those boots is a badge of honor. While it’s fine for your hiking boots to look worn, it’s not OK for them to actually be dirty, at least not after each trek has ended.

Leaving boots damp, soiled with mud, or caked in dirt can lead to damage over time — the type of damage that goes beyond cosmetics and can impact performance and longevity.

There’s no reason to break out the shoeshine kit. However, you do need to learn how to clean your hiking boots.

If there are globs of mud all over your boots, get them off, man! Use a damp cloth or paper towel and wipe down the boots, taking care to work around and under the laces and to wipe off the eyelets and the hooks on the upper. Go ahead and scrape mud out of the treads with a stiff brush or slender rod.

You should remove as much mud, dirt, and bits of leaves and brambles as soon as possible, because the longer that stuff sits there, the longer it will keep the boots damp.

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Free entrance to all national parks is Saturday to kickoff National Park Week

Posted by on Apr 18, 2018 @ 12:14 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Free entrance to all national parks is Saturday to kickoff National Park Week

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced its kicking off National Park Week with free entrance to all national parks on Saturday, April 21, 2018. For one week each April, Interior joins with the National Park Foundation to celebrate America’s public lands.

The theme for National Park Week is “Park Stars,” which celebrates everything from starry skies to park features and resources.

Parks across nationwide are hosting a variety of programs and events. Dates below are additional commemorative occasions:

April 21: A Fee Free Day
National Junior Ranger Day
Volunteer Day (part of National Volunteer Week)

April 22: Earth Day
Let’s get out and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System and the Wild & Scenic Rivers System.

April 28: Military & Veteran Recognition Day

April 29: National Park Rx Day


Top Cincinnati Hiking Destinations

Posted by on Apr 18, 2018 @ 6:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Top Cincinnati Hiking Destinations

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 87 percent of their life indoors and another 6 percent in cars. That means humans are only outside for roughly 7 percent of their lives — a disheartening statistic.

But you can buck that trend: Greater Cincinnati, Ohio is home to a myriad of free parks with their own unique vibe.

And, if you need another reason to step outside, the outdoors increases serotonin levels and gives your immune system a boost — it’s a natural energizer. Got a dog? Walk it. Have kids? Tire them out. An old friend? Reconnect with them. Or, go Walden-style and wander alone to your heart’s content.

In French Park, pockets of grassy knolls lay hidden in the woods, and a large stream moseys behind the French House, a 1900s brick mansion perched royally on the hill. Second in size only to Mount Airy Forest, it is considered by many to be the city’s — and Cincinnati Park’s — best-kept secret. Considering its massive 275-acre size, you’d expect more hikers to busy the trails, but a jaunt here is frequently a quiet venture.

Sharon Woods, established 1932, is the oldest park in the Great Parks of Hamilton County network. Within its 730 acres are trails, a lake, a boathouse, pavilions, playgrounds, a golf course and Heritage Village, a “living museum” that recreates what Ohio life was like in the 1800s.

This handy guide of local parks is just a sampling of where you can go in the Queen City for an outdoor outlet, with a specific focus on hiking trails achievable for any fitness level.