Exploring Your Own Back Yard

Exploring Your Own Back Yard
Most of us hikers dream of the big trips: hiking the Grand Canyon, Machu Pichu, or Camino de Santiago in Spain. Yet, all around us are excellent hiking opportunities. There are National Parks to explore across the country, State Parks, and even local community parks near where we all live.

While the desert southwest where I live is surrounded by excellent hiking opportunities (Red Rock, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead) come summer time, the heat is generally too oppressive to do any major hikes. So, instead of day hikes, I wait for the sun to set, and hike some of the urban locations. Las Vegas has lots of different neighborhoods to explore, not to mention local parks that offer hiking trails, walking tracks, and even rock walls. Getting out on a regular basis, even to the local parks, keeps us in shape for the bigger hiking opportunities during the cooler times of the year.

Here are a few tips to help you find some local hiking opportunities:

Begin your search in your own backyard. Most City websites provide a list of parks and recreation opportunities in your area. In addition to organized sports and activities, these lists will also usually include the local parks and the prospects your parks have for walking and hiking. It’s also worth looking for any hiking events that are planned for your area.

Meetup.com provides events and groups doing all sorts of activities all over the country. It’s free to set up an online account and then you can search for hiking and backpacking groups near your home. Lots of these Meetup groups are very active and plan local hikes and overnight backpacking and camping trips.
State Parks are the next great offering. Every state in the nation boasts at least one State Park. Most states actually have many. Get online and search for your parks and give them a visit.

27 States have National Parks. Hopefully, you’re lucky enough to be in one of those states. Or, have the time to visit them around the year. The US National Parks are amazing lands filled with opportunities to hike, walk, picnic, camp, and relax. Not to mention taking in amazing scenic views.

No matter what time of year, there are plenty of walking, hiking, and camping opportunities. Many of them not far from your own backdoor!

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