I know we aren’t alone when we say 2021 can’t get here fast enough. It’s as though the whole world is holding its breath...counting down the seconds until 2020 is in the rearview mirror and the future suddenly becomes the present.
We wanted to give you something to look forward to in the new year and decided to compile a list of dreamy hiking locales full of breathtaking views and soul-inspiring vistas. Let’s take a look and get inspired.
Glacier Point Trail (easy) - Yosemite National Park, California
This half mile loop is suitable for hikers of all ages and offers tremendous bang for your hiking buck. This hike offers one of the best views of the Yosemite Valley. It is beat only by hiking to the top of Half Dome, a strenuous, all-day trek. When you reach Glacier Point, you’ll have a panoramic view of the Valley and Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America.
The Watchman Peak Trail (moderate) - Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
This is a 1.8 mile out-and-back hike with a 375ft elevation gain and multiple switchbacks. You have the option of enjoying a lower view of Crater Lake around the .3 mile marker, but do yourself a favor and continue up to the top of Watchman Peak. The views there are nothing short of breathtaking, with a full 360-degree view of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Night hikes to the peak can be scheduled with park rangers, offering you the unique experience of stargazing on the mountaintop. Make sure you’re equipped to climb safely to the peak by carrying a top-notch flashlight. We love the Guardian Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight (see below) for its rugged durability and blazing illumination capabilities.
Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail (easy) - White River National Forest, Colorado
This 2 mile out-and-back trail is utterly enchanting and one of the most photographed locations in Colorado. You’ll hike through alpine meadows, skirting Maroon Lake and taking in breathtaking views of wildlife (you’ll hike right by an active beaver dam).
The best time of year to hike this trail is fall, when foliage color is at its peak...but, no matter what season you visit, you’ll fall in love with this dreamy hiking location.
Mount Mansfield Loop Trail (hard) - Underhill State Park, Vermont
Mount Mansfield is the highest peak in Vermont and this 7.3 mile loop trail provides a challenging hike to the summit. Be prepared for a few rock scrambles, a bit of rock climbing and jumping a 6ft chasm (no joke). But, if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with a hike through Alpine tundra and fields of beautiful wildflowers.
McAfee Knob via Appalachian Trail (hard) - Jefferson National Forest, Virginia
This rigorous 8 mile out-and-back hike offers an 1,800 ft elevation gain and rewards you with Instagram-worthy photo ops at the end thanks to McAfee Knob. Sit on the precipice and float above the Shenandoah Valley...if heights don’t make you squeamish. Like other hikes mentioned here, making the trek in the fall offers you views of breathtaking foliage color—but spring and winter are equally lovely.
We hope this list has provided inspiration to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in the new year. And, if none of these trails are near you, get out there and find the ones that are. Soak up the beauty of the land on which you live. We guarantee there’s beauty to be seen...you just have to find it.
Here’s to enjoying what’s right outside your door in 2021!