In honor of National Trails Day (June 1) and the fact that sometimes gym workouts just don’t cut it, organize a day hike with your S.O. and some friends.
Hiking, biking or trail running quenches your need for exercise while soaking up the sun and fresh air. To make a day of outdoor activity go smoothly, do an internet search of the trails are in your area before you depart on your hike or bike ride. It’s always a smart idea to call the park to make sure the trail is open that day too and there are no major events that would crowd the trail (like bike races).
Here are some good places to search for trails:
This site is operated by a nonprofit that seeks to use old railways and turn them into trails for public use. Use the “search trails” box to find trails near you, or search by trail name or keyword. A bubble will appear on a map for each trail. Click on the bubble to read the distance of the trail and what type of surface the trail is (dirt, asphalt), and possible see some photos. Click the trail name to read more information about the park the trail is located in and how to access it.
This is the hiking version of MapMyRun. To access routes, click “Discover” then “find routes.” From there you can enter you zip code and find a trail.
There’s a social aspect in that you can share your results on Facebook and with other MapMyHike users — perhaps keeping you accountable if you set a goal. When you click on a hiking route you can see how many time you’d have to do it to become the “guru” of that particular climb. Find out other useful information, like “best time” to drum-up some competition between you and other hikers on the site.
I signed-up for MapMyHike and downloaded the app. What I like most about MapMyHike is that it keeps track of your past hikes and you can view all that data overtime to get a comprehensive view of your treks.
Using the app, along with your smartphone’s GPS capabilities, you can also track the duration and route traveled on an interactive map. Also, if you wear Wahoo or Garmin devices to monitor your steps taken, you can sync this information to your account, otherwise you have to estimate. To sign-up for the site is free. You can also log your workouts and keep a food journal on the site.
When I’m eager to head out the door and just find a good trail that’s not too far from me, Trails.com is an easy to use, no fuss site. Enter in your zip code or city to see tons of trails in the area. This site is one of the best at listing all trails available. The little bubbles on the map indicate where trails are located and what activities are permitted — hiking, biking, sight-seeing, etc. The site is free to use, but for $50 you can sign-up for a one-year subscription. With the subscription you can download hi-res trail maps on your mobile device and trail guides that cover all the activities in the area.
Explore more than 40,000 trails, and connect with other hikers on this site to read their reviews of trails and see their photos. You can save a list of trails you want to hike in the future, as well as a list of trails you’ve done. Browse trails near you or click on your city.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, BrewBooks