On paper, hiking sounds like something we can all get behind. It’s like walking the block but with minimal air pollution, no overly-friendly neighbors, and the opportunity to realign your soul with Mother Nature. You can lace up your sneakers, slip into your leggings, and whip out that backpack that has been gathering dust since that year you went to Coachella.
After all, it’s about time you used your SUV to do something other than park in the grass at your neighborhood farmer's market. That is, until 5 miles from the trailhead your phone loses reception, a puddle stains your pants, and you attract all kinds of creepy crawlies.
We understand that many things are good but only in moderation and low effort-high reward situations are nothing to be looked down upon. We have collected the most gorgeous hikes for people who want to be able to take a hot shower and hit happy hour afterwards without feeling like they’re going to die. You’re welcome.
1. The Watchman Trail, Zion National Park
Our first hike is found in the breathtaking Zion National Park, Utah. The Watchman Trail is a fairly flat, 3-mile round-trip hike that is more than worth it. Your photo backdrop will be a valley bursting with vibrant green trees that hug the shore of a winding blue river. One pro/con (depending on personal preference) to take into account is that the majority of the trail is in direct sunlight. So opt for a tank top and sunscreen or long sleeves to avoid the dreaded farmer's tan. When you get back to your car, head over to Perks at Zion for a healthy smoothie to round out your wholesome aesthetic or Bit & Spur for a marg - you deserve it.
2. Taft Point, Yosemite National Park
Heading over to Yosemite Park in California, we find a hike that’s just over 2 miles that offers a million-dollar view. Not ideal for those with a fear of heights, Taft Point overlooks the Yosemite Valley from 7,503 feet above. Revel in the views for a bit—after all, you earned a respite for your work. When you're done, head over to Yosemite's Mountain View Restaurant & Bar to continue the sightseeing out of their floor-to-ceiling windows.
3. 'Iao Needle, Maui
Aloha Hawaii! The lush ‘Iao Valley State Park is home to ten-minute “hike” up paved stairs that gives an amazing view of the ‘Iao needle. Despite the lack of effort needed to arrive, the view will have you saying “Maui Wowie!” If you want a little more adventure throw on a bathing suit so you can take a dip in the refreshing stream below. End your day at Paia Fish Market for a casual atmosphere and cold beer. Bonus: It’s located on a street with many cute storefronts to explore.
4. South Kaibab Trail, Arizona
Jagged orange cliffs are the trademark of the one and only Grand Canyon. While this natural wonder can keep an outdoors fanatic busy for decades, it is also home to some low-key hikes that can be completed in an hour or two with no special equipment needed. South Kaibab Trail is 1.8-mile round trip and features multiple plateaus and a constant 180-degree view of the canyon. When you arrive at “ooh-aah” point (just under a mile in) enjoy the wide open spaces before you head back up. The Roughrider Saloon is home to a patio with stunning views, prop your feet up and treat yo self to a well-earned cool down.
5. Flattop, Alaska
Overlooking Anchorage, with stunning views of the surrounding Chugach Mountains, Flattop is an easy and accesible hike and one of the most popular in Alaska. There's an easy shuttle that will take you from downtown to the trailhead, so that when you're done with your hike you can find yourself with your feet propped up in one of the city's many local bars.