The least-congested hiking trail in every state
The mental health and immune system benefits of being outside are pushing more Americans towards nature, especially as usual summertime activities remain limited. But as some states see a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, there is still a need to follow social distancing guidelines.
Insider worked with AllTrails to identify each state’s least-congested hike so people can spend time in nature while also being safe.
AllTrails’ app has added features to help users navigate less-trafficked hikes. Hikers can search for “Trails Less Traveled,” which identifies hikes less frequented by users. Trails can also be sorted by length and difficulty, and longer and more challenging trails tend to attract fewer hikers, especially young children.
Here are the best hikes in every state that allow for social distancing.
ALABAMA: Deer Skull Falls and Wolfpen Falls Loop near Double Springs
“Great hike, had a blast and the best thing … solitude. Friday before Memorial Day, clear skies and temps in the 70s and we were the only ones on the trail from 11am-4pm. I didn’t see another person on the trail or any cars at the trail head when we started or ended,” wrote AllTrails user Dwight Collins.
Learn more about Deer Skull Falls and Wolfpen Falls Loop here.
ALASKA: Resurrection Pass Trail near Cooper Landing
“This was my first trail to ever backpack and it didn’t disappoint. The trail is beautifully maintained and the sights are gorgeous. We did the approximate 40 miles in 3 1/2 days. We started at the north trail head in Hope, AK and hikes to the southern trailhead in Cooper Landing, AK. An amazing time!” wrote AllTrails user Lisa Yates.
Learn more about Resurrection Pass Trail here.
ARIZONA: Ellison Creek Cascades near Payson
“Nice little trail … kids and dog loved the creek. Spent a couple hours catching crayfish and swimming in the cool water. Not many people at all. Went on a Thursday. Will go back soon,” wrote AllTrails user Ray Hill.
Learn more about Ellison Creek Cascades here.
ARKANSAS: Mirror Lake Trail near Mountain View
“Very beautiful sights to see here and plenty to do. There is a couple places to swim, fish and hike. Beautiful lake and waterfalls. Some paved trails and some not. We did the loop around the lake and loved it,” wrote AllTrails user Jackie Menke.
Learn more about Mirror Lake Trail here.
CALIFORNIA: Hanging Rock Trail near Three Rivers
“Wow!! I’ve passed this trail many times but finally decided to do it and was glad I did. Short and steep. It has an excellent view of Moro Rock right away. Once you get up to Hanging Rock the view is excellent..but don’t stop there..the trail extends a little higher to an electricity station that has even more views. Moro Rock was super crowded on this day…0 people on this trail,” wrote AllTrails user Josh McClintock.
Learn more about Hanging Rock Trail here.
COLORADO: Flat Top Mountain and Fern Lake Trail near Grand Lake
“Overall the hike was amazing. Fantastic views, a fairly well maintained trail, and lots of water access below the highest designated camp sites. We hiked the loop in 3 days / 2 nights and finished in the same place we started. This loop is definitely NOT for the inexperienced hiker this time of year due to exposure at altitude and snow cover,” wrote AllTrails user Michael Estes.
Learn more about Flat Top Mountain and Fern Lake Trail here.
CONNECTICUT: Cat-Hole Pass to Castle Craig near Meriden
“This is a good hike. It’s really moderate and not hard. There’s really only one part that has a few small uphills in a row. It’s usually low on traffic except when you get to the tower,” wrote AllTrails user Kris Bellmare.
Learn more about Cat-Hole Pass to Castle Craig here.
DELAWARE: Woodlawn Trail near Wilmington
“This trail was beautiful – great scenery, nice trail, overall pretty easy. Some areas were pretty muddy but that’s expected the day after rain,” wrote AllTrails user Colleen Henry.
Learn more about the Woodlawn Trail here.
WASHINGTON, DC: Garden Passage, Garden, Turkey and Main Trail Loop
“Nice relaxing walk through nature. There are a couple adjoining paths on this trail. A lot of wildlife to be observed from deer to wild turkeys,” wrote AllTrails user Dimone Long.
Learn more about Garden Passage, Garden, Turkey and Main Trail Loop here.
FLORIDA: Daubenmire Trail near Leesburg
“Another beautiful day at Flat Island. One of my favorites and today was perfect weather. Trails are marked well and kept cleared. Great for kiddos,” wrote AllTrails user Ashleigh Shinn.
Learn more about the Daubenmire Trail here.
GEORGIA: C, Ovenbird, Bluff, and A Trail Loop near Lookout Mountain
“Awesome trail! Easy to follow map! Only complaint is ticks!! Pulled 3 off me and 8 off my dog! Spray down before you go! Otherwise very beautiful!” wrote AllTrails user Britt Broadway.
Learn more about C, Ovenbird, Bluff, and A Trail Loop here.
HAWAII: Wai`anapanapa Coast Trail North near Hana
“This is a dramatic walk across lava rocks with one amazing view after another. A Monk Seal was basking on the beach adjacent to the black sand beach. Birds included Warbling White Eye, Chestnut Munia, and Black Noddy (close to the campground). The rock formations and crashing waves are the stars of the show. We stopped often to take in the view and examine things up close (that is, very slow) and it took us about 2 hours,” wrote AllTrails user Jeff Larson.
Learn more about Wai`anapanapa Coast Trail North here.
IDAHO: Elk Creek Falls near Elk River
“Basically a loop trail. Went to lower falls, hit the middle falls, then upper falls. It was a 2.5 mile loop, with around 900 elevation decline and gain. Roots and rocks are on the trail and incline/decline can be a little steep at some spots. Was a great hike with some amazing views,” wrote AllTrails user Austin Reagan.
Learn more about Elk Creek Falls here.
ILLINOIS: Inspiration Point Trail near Wolf Lake
“The trail is easy to follow, maintained. The views are great. Please be careful up there. Lots of small rocks. easy to slide,” wrote AllTrails user Holly Vironda.
Learn more about Inspiration Point Trail here.
INDIANA: Portland Arch Nature Preserve near Attica
“Fantastic trail, very easy to follow. Well worn dirt path for most of the way, a few times you may have to step over a rock or two. The geologic features are really cool and worth visiting. The place was very clean and I’m glad we went,” wrote AllTrails user John Gray.
Learn more about Portland Arch Nature Preserve here.
IOWA: West Lake and East Lake Trail Loop near Dundee
“West Lake Trail is one of my favorites in this part of Iowa. Very scenic hike along the low bluff under a canopy of maples and oaks,” wrote AllTrails user Andy Laurent.
Learn more about West Lake and East Lake Trail Loop here.
KANSAS: Mahaffie Creek Trail near Olathe
“Some nature, but lots of walking through neighborhoods. Lovely walk,” wrote AllTrails user Cortney Jonas Burnos.
Learn more about Mahaffie Creek Trail here.
KENTUCKY: Carter Caves Cross Country Trail near Olive Hill
“Awesome views and awesome trails, some of the best I’ve been on. We did the trail in reverse, not that it matters I guess because beautiful either way! Some good shoes are recommended as with any hiking but traction is a must if it rains while there…. There is one creek crossing you have to do so keep them paws dry!! Would love to go back and repel the cliffs,” wrote AllTrails user David Swimm.
Learn more about Carter Caves Cross Country Trail here.
LOUISIANA: Sugar Cane Trail near Minden
“Easy trail. Lots of beautiful woods and a wonderful view of the lake for part of it. The part I went on was clean and clearly marked,” wrote AllTrails user Heather Story.
Learn more about Sugar Cane Trail here.
MAINE: Mount Zircon Trail near Peru
“Perfect picnic hike. The 2+ miles on the well maintained dirt road were easy then 0.7 of a mile straight up to the top. Gorgeous view! We had strong winds so absolutely no black flies. In & out in roughly 2.5 hours including time @ the top,” wrote AllTrails user Jody Dixon.
Learn more about Mount Zircon Trail here.
MARYLAND: South Branch Patapsco River Trail near Sykesville
“Really great trail, easy to follow with the map on this app. Walk through grassy area was nice, lots of nice areas of water. would definitely do again!” wrote AllTrails user Miranda Bower.
Learn more about South Branch Patapsco River Trail here.
MASSACHUSETTS: Glendale Falls Trail near Huntington
“Went here yesterday with my boyfriend and we had a great time! The weather was perfect! Going back with our family this upcoming week!” wrote AllTrails user Nexis B.
Learn more about Glendale Falls Trail here.
MICHIGAN: Nordhouse Dunes Extended Backpacking Loop near Ludington
“Good trail if you really want to get some backcountry or off trail hiking in. Make sure to bring a compass because once you go off the ridge trail in the state park you have to use a compass to make sure you’re going the right direction. Sand is difficult to walk in, so expect it to take a little longer,” wrote AllTrails user Neil Young.
Learn more about the Nordhouse Dunes Extended Backpacking Loop here.
MINNESOTA: Mazomani Trail near Jordan
“Loved it. Mud and mosquitoes galore! The trail is really muddy, overgrown, with tons of itch weed, and hard to follow. Definitely not for the faint of heart. I loved every minute of it though! I made it all the way to the farm so it can be done. It also rained a lot last night so be prepared. The road just north of the farm is washed out though so you’re going to have to take the long way around.” wrote AllTrails user Brian B.
Learn more about Mazomani Trail here.
MISSISSIPPI: Fontainebleau Nature Trail near Ocean Springs
“Trail was great! totally open to the trail end. A few new bridges have been built and new Lookout platform. Trail seems in great condition. Excellent for a short trek through the woods,” wrote AllTrails user Jeffrey McCoy.
Learn more about Fontainebleau Nature Trail here.
MISSOURI: Rocky Falls via Klepzig Mill Trail near Winona
“Good little trail. We took our 3-year-old and parked at Klepzig Mill, hiked in to Rocky Falls and back out the next day. There aren’t any absolutely spectacular views, but it’s not a bland hike either… plenty of places to stop and throw rocks in the water. It’s a great hike to take your kids and take your time,” wrote AllTrails user Isaiah Martin.
Learn more about Rocky Falls via Klepzig Mill Trail here.
MONTANA: Leigh Lake near Libby
“Wonderful hike, not too difficult at a steady pace, and lots to look at. The roads on the way were paved and we even came upon a moose and her baby. Lots of amazing scenery and at one point saw a mountain goat. Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done,” wrote AllTrails user Reagan Schiewe.
Learn more about Leigh Lake here.
NEBRASKA: Indian Cave Trail near Falls City
“A trip on the south trails is well worth the view on the hilltops, and the cave with petroglyphs at the riverside. I ran into a couple snakes and a lot more insects the closer I got to the water, so watch your step on the way down. The north trails have some old structures and challenging twists, also with good views and some wildlife to view, so two trips here (one in fall, one in spring) were a good combination of color and exploration,” wrote AllTrails user Tyson Poskochil.
Learn more about Indian Cave Trail here.
NEVADA: Lagomarsino Canyon Trail near Sparks
“Think of this as an adventure rather than a hike! Beautiful scenery! The petrogyphs are neat too! There isn’t much of a trail to follow but you can’t really get lost because you are just following the flow of the canyon. That being said, you will be crossing water over and over and jumping and climbing on rocks pretty much the whole time. Bring a couple pairs of socks, leave your kids at home! Get in touch with your inner child and go on this crazy adventure!” wrote AllTrails user Faith Denson.
Learn more about Lagomarsino Canyon Trail here.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Mount Whiteface and Mount Passaconaway Loop Trail near Wonalancet
“Pretty tough but fun trail. Lots of steep rock scrambles going up Passaconaway and again going down Whiteface. A bit wet but doable. Our dog did well but it would definitely be pretty tough for some pups. There are a few streams along the way which helped conserve our water. There was still some snow/monorail between the peaks but didn’t end up using spikes. Great view spots all along the way, especially once you get over to whiteface,” wrote AllTrails user Rita O’Donnell.
Learn more about Mount Whiteface and Mount Passaconaway Loop Trail here.
NEW JERSEY: Otter Hole, Wyanokie Crest, Highlands and Hewitt-Butler Trail near Ringwood
“Saw a big black snake on the trail BUT hike was great!! So worth the hike to high point! We did the green trail to yellow trail then white and ended with blue! Total was 7.5 miles and super fun! It was 87 degrees today so maybe that’s why the bugs were out but I recommend it!” wrote AllTrails user Sabah Kazmi.
Learn more about Otter Hole, Wyanokie Crest, Highlands, and Hewitt-Butler Trail here.
NEW MEXICO: Sheepshead Peak and Trampas Lakes Trail near Chimayo
“Hiked this trail and summited the peak. We took the wrong approach to summit but it ended up okay. It was super beautiful!” wrote AllTrails user Mikayla Pulliam.
Learn more about Sheepshead Peak and Trampas Lakes Trail here.
NEW YORK: Mount Haystack Trail near Keene Valley
“Another beautiful hike! … Clear day with beautiful views. Climb both little haystack and haystack in our snowshoes. Summit was little icy but nothing that our snow shoes couldn’t handle,” wrote AllTrails user Hireni P.
Learn more about Mount Haystack Trail here.
NORTH CAROLINA: Mac’s Gap to Devil’s Elbow and Panthertown Valley Loop Trail near Glenville
“This trail was fantastic! I would rate as moderate and lots of it was easy. Varied terrain, a few easy water crossings, gorgeous views and a couple awesome swimming holes,” wrote AllTrails user Alison Mann.
Learn more about Mac’s Gap to Devil’s Elbow and Panthertown Valley Loop Trail here.
NORTH DAKOTA: Maah Daah Hey Trail near Amidon
“Late May I hiked seven miles (total) across the Little Missouri from cottonwood campground in TRNP. Marker posts are great to find as the trail is fairly overgrown in this area. Great views. As a birder I hiked slow and found Lazuli Bunting, Spotted Towhee and more. Hoping to come back and hike or backpack longer sections this fall,” wrote AllTrails user Patrick Heyn.
Learn more about Maah Daah Hey Trail here.
OHIO: Lyons Falls, Hemlock Gorge, and Pleasant Hill Trail Loop near Perrysville
“I live between Mohican and CVNP and this is my favorite hike I’ve found so far… by far. 2 waterfalls, a covered bridge (twice), a fire tower, and miles of trail next to the sound of running water by the river,” wrote AllTrails user Bill Musolf.
Learn more about Lyons Falls, Hemlock Gorge, and Pleasant Hill Trail Loop here.
OKLAHOMA: Black Mesa trail near Kenton
“This was an awesome hike! I started around 9am and finished by 12:30pm. I would have liked to have started an hour earlier because it was HOT and there is no shade. I’m so glad I wore my sun shirt or I would have burnt to a crisp. I drank at least 3 liters in those 3.5 hours. There is also one bathroom at the trailhead, which was nice. Altogether great hike,” wrote AllTrails user Hannah E.
Learn more about the Black Mesa trail here.
OREGON: McKenzie River National Recreational Trail: Clear Lake to Trail Bridge near Blue River
“We ended up hiking 13 miles in total. It was really fun! The waterfalls were great and the blue pool at the end was cool. On a hotter day swimming in the pool would’ve been nice, but the water is very cold. Trail is easy to follow and well-marked,” wrote AllTrails user Grace Borden.
Learn more about McKenzie River National Recreational Trail here.
PENNSYLVANIA: Loyalsock Trail near Laporte
“Amazing hike that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should. Lots of elevation gain and quite the fun workout with a full pack on. Thankfully all the waterfalls and vistas make the steep ascents/descents worth it. First mile is pretty steep, so be prepared. Trail was a little swampy in parts, but that made it all the more fun! Happy hiking!” wrote AllTrails user Sawyer Bressler.
Learn more about Loyalsock Trail here.
RHODE ISLAND: Wickaboxet Loop near West Greenwich
“Lovely warm day to take in this great trail. Lots of shade from the trees as well as photo opportunities near the lake and rocky outcrop!” wrote AllTrails user James Bagshaw.
Learn more about Wickaboxet Loop here.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Chau-Ram Falls Trail near Westminster
“Awesome family friendly area. Nice waterfall that is directly across from the parking area. Amazing river views, clearly marked trails, a sandy beach area for swimming, very well maintained park with staff onsite. $2 parking fee,” wrote AllTrails user Scott Stone.
Learn more about Chau-Ram Falls Trail here.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Lost Cabin Trail near Hill City
“If you want to avoid the crowds and have a challenge this is the way to go,” wrote AllTrails user Jim Chastain.
Learn more about Lost Cabin Trail here.
TENNESSEE: Appalachian Trail: 19E to Hump Mountain near Roan Mountain
“Beautiful hike. A little strenuous – would rate as moderately strenuous. Awesome area for camping and a place to get water up too before you cross into NC. Visibility can be low with fog at times (both times I’ve been have been rainy/blustery) but still awesome views. Windy during January & March months when I hiked/camped. Definitely recommend this hike!” wrote AllTrails user Kelsey Stout.
Learn more about the Appalachian Trail: 19E to Hump Mountain here.
TEXAS: Colorado Bend State Park River Trail near San Saba
“This trail was nice for my daughter and me. she loved all the dogs here and the people on the trail were very nice as well. the scenery was fantastic and the routes were well marked worth the drive here,” wrote AllTrails user Justin A. Pritchett.
Learn more about Colorado Bend State Park River Trail.
UTAH: Coyote Gulch Loop near Lake Powell
“Hike took 6 hours and we spent our time admiring the canyon and took a few breaks. The trail goes through the creek in the canyon so I would recommend bringing hiking sandals or other shoes to wear in the canyon and then your regular shoes to hike the rest. Lots of loose sand outside the canyon so that slows you down some too. Still highly recommended,” wrote AllTrails user Dallin Hatch.
Learn more about Coyote Gulch Loop here.
VERMONT: Baker Peak Trail near Danby
“We had a perfect day for hiking. Started out at 7am and got to Baker Peak around 9:15. Enjoyed the view from there then hiked down the AT/LT to Griffith Lake where Bob went swimming. It was very peaceful with only the sound of the birds and bull frogs. Saw lady slippers, trillium and honeysuckle. Very enjoyable and just enough hiking for folks in their 60s!” wrote AllTrails user Deborah Hamel.
Learn more about Baker Peak Trail here.
VIRGINIA: Mount Rogers and Appalachian Trail Loop near Troutdale
“Truly amazing trip. Well blazed and easy to follow, minimal mud. Plenty of elevation gain, but most of it long and steady instead of steep. Mt Rogers summit was a little anticlimactic. Plenty of water for us, as it rained a few days before we went, except for the Wilburn ridge section,” wrote AllTrails user Andrew Grant.
Learn more about Mount Rogers and Appalachian Trail here.
WASHINGTON: Lake Constance Trail near Brinnon
“It is tough, but by no means an expert climber hike. I am in my mid fifties and not the biggest fan of heights and this trail wasn’t bad at all. It is just all up hill with few recovery areas until you reach the top. In the end you are rewarded with a beautiful waterfall and then a peaceful lake to recover your legs. … Great hike! It isn’t scary. It is definitely beautiful!” wrote AllTrails user Don Griffis.
Learn more about Lake Constance Trail here.
WEST VIRGINIA: North Fork Mountain Trail: Out-and-Back from Route 33 near Riverton
“This trail was awesome. Difficult in the sense of you’re going up hill and lots of rocks on the trail, but if you take your time you’ll have no problem! Lots of look outs along the trail, making for beautiful views. The hike up to the rocks is steep but so worth the views,” wrote AllTrails user Megan Macfarlane.
Learn more about North Fork Mountain Trail here.
WISCONSIN: Levis/Trow Mounds Trail near Neillsville
“Loads of ticks but amazing views and well maintained trails. Some of the best hiking in Wisconsin. If you’re into mountain biking this is the place for you but also very easy to hike on the trails as well. So not overdominated by MTBikers,” wrote AllTrails user Noah David.
Learn more about Levis/Trow Mounds Trail here.
WYOMING: Wind River High Route near Dubois
“The high meadows are amazing and you pass peaks that are awesome. We spent 9 days to keep the mileage to 10-12 miles a day while trying to carry a pack for 8-10 hours a day,” wrote AllTrails user Breck Tuttle.
Learn more about Wind River High Route here.
Source: Read Full Article