Special Report

Best American Cities for Hiking in 2022

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The physical health benefits of hiking are well known: It strengthens muscles and bones, improves heart health, and decreases the risk of certain respiratory ailments.

Hiking in nature has additional mental health benefits, according to a 2015 study by researchers at Stanford University. They concluded that people who take a 90-minute walk in nature, away from suburban sprawls and concrete jungles, show measurable decreased activity in the brain associated with depression.

To compile a list of the best American cities for hiking in 2022, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking formulated by LawnStarter, a lawn care start-up that frequently conducts research into city and state amenities. The ranking considers the largest 200 cities in the U.S. by population, and is based on 13 differently weighted metrics in five categories – hiking access, hiking quality, hiking supplies access, climate, and safety. 

LawnStarter sourced data from eight governmental and non-governmental sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, and AllTrails. Scores for the five categories indicate each city’s place out of the 200 cities considered. Overall scores, averaged across the 13 weighted metrics, are out of a possible 100 points.

Click here to see the best American cities for hiking in 2022.

While it’s relatively easy to commune in nature almost anywhere in the country, it turns out that most of the best U.S. cities for hiking are located west of the Mississippi River, especially along the geologically and environmentally diverse West Coast and amid the spectacular mountain and desert vistas of the American Southwest. (These are America’s 50 most active cities.)

Among the cities with the top ten overall ratings, three are in California and two are in Arizona. Eight other Western states – Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii – each have a high-ranking city for hiking, too. Outliers are found in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Virginia. (Check out the best summer destination for outdoor fun in every state.)

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

50. Pasadena, CA
> Hiking access: 103
> Hiking quality: 46
> Hiking supplies access: 158
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 140
> Overall score: 49.1

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49. Bellevue, WA
> Hiking access: 39
> Hiking quality: 77
> Hiking supplies access: 82
> Climate rank: 56
> Safety rank: 30
> Overall score: 49.2

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

48. Henderson, NV
> Hiking access: 55
> Hiking quality: 50
> Hiking supplies access: 57
> Climate rank: 49
> Safety rank: 120
> Overall score: 49.2

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images

47. Anchorage, AK
> Hiking access: 16
> Hiking quality: 42
> Hiking supplies access: 13
> Climate rank: 100
> Safety rank: 200
> Overall score: 49.4

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Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

46. Fullerton, CA
> Hiking access: 86
> Hiking quality: 55
> Hiking supplies access: 158
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 98
> Overall score: 49.6

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

45. Huntsville, AL
> Hiking access: 26
> Hiking quality: 28
> Hiking supplies access: 57
> Climate rank: 169
> Safety rank: 168
> Overall score: 49.6

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44. Arlington, VA
> Hiking access: 14
> Hiking quality: 112
> Hiking supplies access: 136
> Climate rank: 79
> Safety rank: 74
> Overall score: 49.7

43. Garland, TX
> Hiking access: 142
> Hiking quality: 7
> Hiking supplies access: 82
> Climate rank: 126
> Safety rank: 64
> Overall score: 49.8

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

42. Eugene, OR
> Hiking access: 27
> Hiking quality: 62
> Hiking supplies access: 44
> Climate rank: 71
> Safety rank: 73
> Overall score: 50.0

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

41. Chula Vista, CA
> Hiking access: 113
> Hiking quality: 66
> Hiking supplies access: 95
> Climate rank: 5
> Safety rank: 46
> Overall score: 50.4

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

40. Anaheim, CA
> Hiking access: 76
> Hiking quality: 45
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 108
> Overall score: 50.8

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39. Fontana, CA
> Hiking access: 59
> Hiking quality: 47
> Hiking supplies access: 158
> Climate rank: 31
> Safety rank: 54
> Overall score: 51.2

Source: Art Wager / E+ via Getty Images

38. Oceanside, CA
> Hiking access: 114
> Hiking quality: 39
> Hiking supplies access: 95
> Climate rank: 5
> Safety rank: 89
> Overall score: 51.7

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

37. San Bernardino, CA
> Hiking access: 60
> Hiking quality: 22
> Hiking supplies access: 136
> Climate rank: 31
> Safety rank: 146
> Overall score: 51.9

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36. San Antonio, TX
> Hiking access: 24
> Hiking quality: 61
> Hiking supplies access: 5
> Climate rank: 112
> Safety rank: 18
> Overall score: 52.1

Source: The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division / Public Domain

35. Orange, CA
> Hiking access: 72
> Hiking quality: 44
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 63
> Overall score: 52.1

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34. Moreno Valley, CA
> Hiking access: 40
> Hiking quality: 23
> Hiking supplies access: 158
> Climate rank: 31
> Safety rank: 142
> Overall score: 52.6

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

33. Hayward, CA
> Hiking access: 48
> Hiking quality: 54
> Hiking supplies access: 158
> Climate rank: 9
> Safety rank: 66
> Overall score: 52.7

Source: Juanmonino / iStock via Getty Images

32. Hialeah, FL
> Hiking access: 187
> Hiking quality: 1
> Hiking supplies access: 136
> Climate rank: 101
> Safety rank: 28
> Overall score: 52.7

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31. Rancho Cucamonga, CA
> Hiking access: 65
> Hiking quality: 16
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 31
> Safety rank: 93
> Overall score: 53.9

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30. Austin, TX
> Hiking access: 11
> Hiking quality: 63
> Hiking supplies access: 11
> Climate rank: 98
> Safety rank: 100
> Overall score: 54.3

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29. Scottsdale, AZ
> Hiking access: 15
> Hiking quality: 15
> Hiking supplies access: 66
> Climate rank: 184
> Safety rank: 128
> Overall score: 54.6

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28. Glendale, CA
> Hiking access: 73
> Hiking quality: 13
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 101
> Overall score: 55.2

Source: photoquest7 / iStock via Getty Images

27. Reno, NV
> Hiking access: 12
> Hiking quality: 35
> Hiking supplies access: 18
> Climate rank: 63
> Safety rank: 175
> Overall score: 55.3

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26. Palmdale, CA
> Hiking access: 77
> Hiking quality: 9
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 96
> Overall score: 55.7

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25. Santa Clarita, CA
> Hiking access: 61
> Hiking quality: 24
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 33
> Overall score: 55.7

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24. Salinas, CA
> Hiking access: 64
> Hiking quality: 5
> Hiking supplies access: 136
> Climate rank: 3
> Safety rank: 194
> Overall score: 55.8

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

23. Corona, CA
> Hiking access: 33
> Hiking quality: 10
> Hiking supplies access: 82
> Climate rank: 31
> Safety rank: 123
> Overall score: 56.0

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

22. Irvine, CA
> Hiking access: 69
> Hiking quality: 18
> Hiking supplies access: 82
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 45
> Overall score: 56.0

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21. Oxnard, CA
> Hiking access: 129
> Hiking quality: 1
> Hiking supplies access: 158
> Climate rank: 4
> Safety rank: 193
> Overall score: 56.1

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

20. Fremont, CA
> Hiking access: 38
> Hiking quality: 32
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 9
> Safety rank: 44
> Overall score: 56.2

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19. Pomona, CA
> Hiking access: 108
> Hiking quality: 1
> Hiking supplies access: 136
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 165
> Overall score: 56.2

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

18. El Paso, TX
> Hiking access: 51
> Hiking quality: 21
> Hiking supplies access: 33
> Climate rank: 48
> Safety rank: 6
> Overall score: 56.3

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

17. Albuquerque, NM
> Hiking access: 9
> Hiking quality: 52
> Hiking supplies access: 44
> Climate rank: 61
> Safety rank: 115
> Overall score: 56.4

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16. Santa Ana, CA
> Hiking access: 139
> Hiking quality: 1
> Hiking supplies access: 71
> Climate rank: 16
> Safety rank: 98
> Overall score: 57.3

Source: Art Wager / iStock via Getty Images

15. Escondido, CA
> Hiking access: 18
> Hiking quality: 34
> Hiking supplies access: 136
> Climate rank: 5
> Safety rank: 81
> Overall score: 57.7

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14. Honolulu, HI
> Hiking access: 25
> Hiking quality: 26
> Hiking supplies access: 13
> Climate rank: 2
> Safety rank: 197
> Overall score: 58.9

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

13. San Jose, CA
> Hiking access: 17
> Hiking quality: 25
> Hiking supplies access: 44
> Climate rank: 9
> Safety rank: 110
> Overall score: 59.1

Source: ibsky / iStock via Getty Images

12. San Francisco, CA
> Hiking access: 31
> Hiking quality: 29
> Hiking supplies access: 5
> Climate rank: 9
> Safety rank: 11
> Overall score: 60.2

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11. Santa Rosa, CA
> Hiking access: 28
> Hiking quality: 6
> Hiking supplies access: 71
> Climate rank: 1
> Safety rank: 184
> Overall score: 60.3

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

10. San Diego, CA
> Hiking access: 13
> Hiking quality: 43
> Hiking supplies access: 4
> Climate rank: 5
> Safety rank: 81
> Overall score: 61.5

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9. Las Vegas, NV
> Hiking access: 6
> Hiking quality: 20
> Hiking supplies access: 8
> Climate rank: 49
> Safety rank: 166
> Overall score: 62.0

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8. Boise, ID
> Hiking access: 8
> Hiking quality: 17
> Hiking supplies access: 21
> Climate rank: 62
> Safety rank: 43
> Overall score: 63.0

Source: Ron and Patty Thomas / E+ via Getty Images

7. Los Angeles, CA
> Hiking access: 10
> Hiking quality: 14
> Hiking supplies access: 25
> Climate rank: 30
> Safety rank: 152
> Overall score: 63.2

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

6. Salt Lake City, UT
> Hiking access: 4
> Hiking quality: 19
> Hiking supplies access: 11
> Climate rank: 85
> Safety rank: 173
> Overall score: 64.6

Source: Melpomenem / iStock via Getty Images

5. Oakland, CA
> Hiking access: 7
> Hiking quality: 12
> Hiking supplies access: 115
> Climate rank: 9
> Safety rank: 87
> Overall score: 66.0

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4. Colorado Springs, CO
> Hiking access: 3
> Hiking quality: 36
> Hiking supplies access: 9
> Climate rank: 69
> Safety rank: 69
> Overall score: 67.0

Source: 4kodiak / E+ via Getty Images

3. Phoenix, AZ
> Hiking access: 1
> Hiking quality: 8
> Hiking supplies access: 18
> Climate rank: 184
> Safety rank: 171
> Overall score: 67.3

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

2. Tucson, AZ
> Hiking access: 2
> Hiking quality: 30
> Hiking supplies access: 30
> Climate rank: 60
> Safety rank: 97
> Overall score: 67.6

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

1. Portland, OR
> Hiking access: 5
> Hiking quality: 49
> Hiking supplies access: 1
> Climate rank: 45
> Safety rank: 29
> Overall score: 68.4

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