Special Report

The Best American Cities for Hiking in 2021

MargaretW / iStock via Getty Images

Hiking has always been a popular outdoor activity, and recently it has become even more so. As many people learned in 2020, getting out into the fresh air and experiencing the serene settings of the natural world can greatly improve mental health and quality of life. During the extreme isolation of the pandemic, hiking became a crucial outlet for many Americans. According to the American Hiking Society, 2020 saw a 200% increase in trail usage compared to 2019.

Using a ranking formulated by LawnStarter, a lawn care start-up that frequently conducts research into city and state amenities, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 50 best U.S. cities for hiking. The ranking is based on 11 weighted metrics including number of hiking routes, number of camping stores, sunshine, monthly precipitation, and air quality. (Hiking isn’t the only enjoyable outdoor activity, of course. Here’s a list of the best summer destination for outdoor fun in every state.)

Nearly all of the best cities for hiking are in the West. The region tends to have more trails, more camping stores, and a better climate than most of the eastern part of the country. Half the top cities are in California, in fact, which scored well not only for its trails and suppliers of camping equipment but also for its generally mild climate.

Click here to see the best American cities for hiking in 2021

Actually, though, Californian cities don’t actually have the most access to hiking trails. The cities with the most hiking routes are, in this order, Phoenix, Tucson, Colorado Springs, Portland (Ore.), and Salt Lake City. 

Many of the hiking trails in or near these cities and elsewhere are in regional or national parks, national forests, or nature preserves. Here are the National Parks that have grown the most in popularity since 1980.

50. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
> Hike recommendation: Salem Lake Park Trail


Source: 142289055@N04 / Flickr

49. Austin, Texas
> Hike recommendation: Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail

Source: Photo by Bo W. via Yelp

48. Tampa, Florida
> Hike recommendation: Red, Yellow, and Blue Trails Loop in Cypress Creek Nature Preserve

Source: BethanyFank / iStock via Getty Images

47. Spokane, Washington
> Hike recommendation: Trail 25 to Centennial Trail in Riverside State Park


Source: Photo by Sabrina P. via Yelp

46. Mesa, Arizona
> Hike recommendation: Pass Mountain Trail in Usery Mountain Regional Park

45. Tacoma, Washington
> Hike recommendation: Swan Creek Park Trail


Source: Photo by Ari D. via Yelp

44. San Antonio, Texas
> Hike recommendation: Restoration Way Trail in Friedrich Wilderness Park

43. Oxnard, California
> Hike recommendation: Harbor Island Trail

Source: Photo by Xia Y. via Yelp

42. St. Paul, Minnesota
> Hike recommendation: Holland and O’Brien Lakes Trail in Lebanon Hills Regional Park


Source: Photo by Jacqueline A. via Yelp

41. Greensboro, North Carolina
> Hike recommendation: Piedmont Trail at Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway

Source: Photo by Dirk D. via Yelp

40. Boise City, Idaho
> Hike recommendation: Mores Mountain Loop in Boise National Forest


Source: westernlandscapes / Flickr

39. Vancouver, Washington
> Hike recommendation: Salmon Creek Trail in Salmon Creek Park

Source: sanfel / iStock via Getty Images

38. Henderson, Nevada
> Hike recommendation: Black Mountain Trail in Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

37. Salt Lake City, Utah
> Hike recommendation: Avenues Twin Peaks from Terrace Hills Trailhead


Source: caspari / iStock via Getty Images

36. Minneapolis, MN
> Hike recommendation: Minnehaha Falls Lower Glen Trail in Minnehaha Regional Park

35. North Las Vegas, Nevada
> Hike recommendation: Fire Wave Trail in Valley of Fire State Park


Source: adogslifephoto / iStock via Getty Images

34. Scottsdale, Arizona
> Hike recommendation: Sunrise Trail in Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Source: Wolterk / iStock via Getty Images

33. Santa Clarita, California
> Hike recommendation: Whitney Canyon Falls Trail in Whitney Canyon Park

Source: Chris LaBasco / iStock via Getty Images

32. Sacramento, California
> Hike recommendation: Miners Ravine Trail in Roseville


Source: Photo by Dave S. via Yelp

31. Elk Grove, California
> Hike recommendation: Laguna Creek Trail from Jack E. Hill Park

Source: Photo by Vahagn K. via Yelp

30. Glendale, California
> Hike recommendation: Beaudry Loop Trail in the Verdugo Mountains


Source: sphraner / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

29. Honolulu, Hawaii
> Hike recommendation: Manoa Falls Trail in Round Top Forest Reserve

Source: Photo by Nikki S. via Yelp

28. Santa Ana, California
> Hike recommendation: Peters Canyon Loop Trail in Peters Canyon Regional Park

27. El Paso, Texas
> Hike recommendation: Aztec Cave Trail in Franklin Mountains State Park


Source: Karl Weatherly / DigitalVision via Getty Images

26. Seattle, Washington
> Hike recommendation: Lighthouse Loop Trail in Discovery Park

Source: amygdala_imagery / E+ via Getty Images

25. Albuquerque, New Mexico
> Hike recommendation: South Piedra Lisa Trail in Sandia Mountain Wilderness


Source: Photo by Elyse W. via Yelp

24. Santa Rosa, California
> Hike recommendation: Western Trail in Taylor Mountain Regional Park

Source: Photo by Justin W. via Yelp

23. Fontana, California
> Hike recommendation: Mary Vagle Nature Center Trail in Martin Tudor Jurupa Hills Regional Park

22. Ontario, California
> Hike recommendation: Gale Mountain Loop in Claremont Hills Wilderness Park


Source: Poly Isepan / iStock via Getty Images

21. Irvine, California
> Hike recommendation: Bommer Canyon Trail in Bommer Canyon Open Space Preserve

Source: Roy_Bartels / iStock via Getty Images

20. Chula Vista, California
> Hike recommendation: West Side Trail at Lower Otay Reservoir


Source: Photo by Colby S. via Yelp

19. Rancho Cucamonga, California
> Hike recommendation: Etiwanda Falls Trail in North Etiwanda Preserve

18. San Bernardino, California
> Hike recommendation: Daley Canyon Trail in San Bernardino National Forest

Source: MargaretW / iStock via Getty Images

17. Colorado Springs, Colorado
> Hike recommendation: Mount Muscoco Trail in North Cheyenne Cañon Park


Source: Photo by Karina M. via Yelp

16. Anaheim, California
> Hike recommendation: Weir Canyon Trail in Santiago Oaks Regional Park

15. Fremont, California
> Hike recommendation: Mission Peak Trail in Mission Peak Regional Preserve


Source: Gregory Clifford / iStock via Getty Images

14. Phoenix, Arizona
> Hike recommendation: Hidden Valley Trail in South Mountain Park

13. Las Vegas, Nevada
> Hike recommendation: Calico Tanks Trail in Red Rock Canyon

Source: Photo by NiNa X. via Yelp

12. Riverside, California
> Hike recommendation: Two Trees Trail in Box Springs Mountain Reserve Park


Source: Photo by Sunshine L. via Yelp

11. Oceanside, California
> Hike recommendation: Bluffs Beach Trail at San Onofre State Beach

Source: bradleyhebdon / E+ via Getty Images

10. Long Beach, California
> Hike recommendation: Dominguez Gap Wetlands Trail


9. Tucson, Arizona
> Hike recommendation: Bear Canyon Trail to Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Source: Photo by Tassanee A. via Yelp

8. Moreno Valley, California
> Hike recommendation: Terri Peak in Lake Perris State Recreation Area

7. Huntington Beach, California
> Hike recommendation: Brightwater Trail in Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve


Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

6. San Jose, California
> Hike recommendation: Church Hill Loop in Almaden Quicksilver County Park

Source: andipantz / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

5. Portland, Oregon
> Hike recommendation: Wildwood Trail in Forest Park


Source: ianmcdonnell / E+ via Getty Images

4. San Diego, California
> Hike recommendation: Kwaay Paay Peak Trail in Mission Trails Regional Park

Source: Nature, food, landscape, travel / iStock via Getty Images

3. Los Angeles, California
> Hike recommendation: Coldwater Canyon Park Trail

Source: Velvetfish / iStock via Getty Images

2. Oakland, California
> Hike recommendation: Huckleberry Nature Path in Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve


1. San Francisco, California
> Hike recommendation: Coastal Trail in Lincoln Park

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