Hiking is one of just a few sports that doesn’t require a gym membership or a pile of expensive gear. That being said, one necessity for an exceptional hike is beautiful scenery. Traversing green forests and taking in breathtaking views along the way makes for an unparalleled experience, and each state has at least one town that’s home to a handful of picturesque trails.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed trail database and online guide Hiking Project, which lists close to 150,000 miles of trails across the country. 24/7 Wall St. ranked the town or town equivalent with the most trails running through it as the best place to hike in each state.
Not surprisingly, a majority of the towns on this list are located near state parks, nature preserves, or central to iconic hikes that pass through a number of states, such as the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. For example, the longest trail passing through Stehekin, Washington is section L of the Pacific Crest Trail, specifically the part that runs from Rainy Pass mountain in Washington to Manning Park, British Columbia. This 71-mile hike is the final stretch of the 2,650-mile long trail.
Not all states are designed for hiking. Therefore, the best place to hike in one state may not even make the top 50 places in another state. The best place to hike in Nebraska, a state primarily made up of miles of grasslands, is Omaha, where the longest known trail is not even a full mile long. Omaha only has a total of 12 trails running through it, the most of any other place in Nebraska according to the Hiking Project database.
At the other end of the spectrum is California, where hiking trails are abundant, and the number of towns is much greater. The census designated place of Yosemite Valley, California, though, ranks highest with an impressive 3,372 trails coursing through it.
Some of the longest trails that run through the best town in each state, also run through the majority, if not the entirety, of the state. For instance, the Long Trail in Vermont, which goes through Pittsfield, the best place to hike in the state, covers some 150 miles, which is the length of the entire state.
To identify the best towns for hiking, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed trail database and online guide Hiking Project. The best place for hiking in each state has the most trails running through it. Data on the number trails, and miles of the longest trail also come from Hiking Project. Some of the locations on this list are not incorporated towns, but are rather cities, census designated places or other populated areas considered places by Hiking Project.