Finding a Trail:
If you are just starting out and want something you can do during the week, look to some of your local parks. Around most cities there is a wide range of options from city parks to county parks. These parks are offer a variety of options from a 5 mile trail run to a short, ½ mile stroll. Even if you are looking for a big adventure it is always good to check out your local parks because I guarantee that, at some point, you will want a place that you can go on short notice to reconnect with nature for a couple of hours. I have several local favorites that are perfect for a few miles in the woods when I haven’t gotten to hit the trail in a while. Visit several of them, you may find one that is perfect for you.
Not everyone is satisfied with a great local park. I get it. You are looking for something bigger, more adventurous. I would suggest starting to look within your state. Look around for opportunities in your state parks or forests, or even a wilderness area. Every state has some hidden gems that are remote and quiet that you can explore. Some states have a lot of options! These areas can offer day long, overnight or even all weekend adventures. Here is a breakdown of where to begin depending on your level of skill:
No Experience Needed – Start by looking at your local city and county parks that are closest to you. If you don’t like the ones around you, start to branch out a little. You can usually find one that is close to you and within a short drive or bus ride. These parks are usually well taken care of (depending on the city) and have great paths to walk on so you can enjoy yourself and accessibility isn’t an issue.
Average Joe – I would look to city and county parks for you, as well. County parks can get you into some great areas with views with minimal effort. It may take a little longer to get to some of these parks since they may not be as centrally located, but sometimes it is well worth an evening stroll along the river in a quiet forest compared to a little busier city park. You can also find more diversity of landscape in your county parks compared to city parks.
Weekend Warrior – State Parks, forests and rec areas are great and many states have done a nice job of keeping up with the increased usage of these areas. If you are lucky, look to see if there are any National Parks or National Forests close to you that you can take advantage of on the weekends. Wilderness areas are another option in most states. With that said, all of these parks have different rules and regulations from whether you can bring you furry friends on the weekend trip or where you can set-up camps and if you have to book a camp site in advance. You will want to look at each area to make sure you know before you go. There are a few really great websites to find camping sites with reviews of each location. The Dyrt is one of our favorites! You can find their link below
Wilderness Adventurer – National Parks and Forests are great and offer the best adventuring out there, but don’t discount wilderness areas or state parks. Some will also have tremendous views and opportunities for getting outdoors and getting lost (don’t get lost literally, please). Like the weekend warrior advice, know the area and rules so you aren’t left out in the cold and without a spot to lay your head for the night. Dispersed camping always seems to be a favorite of adventurers we run into, since it gives you some flexibility and you don’t have to plan ahead as much.
Explorer Extraordinaire – A lot of people in these categories will be world travelers and have visited, or planned on visiting, places like Nepal, Patagonia, the North or South Pole and places that aren’t very accessible to the average person or even wilderness adventurer. I’ve seen some trips where the planning is incredibly in depth with getting permits and securing the correct paperwork to even enter the area they want to explore. If you are interested in how some of these explorers go about planning their expeditions, most of the people mentioned in the first blog post of this series have their own websites and books to help you out.
If you need help finding you next adventure here are some of our favorite websites and apps.
For Trails: AllTrails
For Campsites: The Dyrt
For Overall Adventure:
1.) The Outdoor Project
2.) Yonder - An App you can find for Android or iOS
3.) Roots Rated