How to Find the Best Hikes Near Me (for Digital Nomads & Regular Travelers)

by | Jan 12, 2023

If you love to hike and are traveling the world on the lookout for some of the best hiking trails, or are simply on vacation and would love to find an awesome hike near you, there are many more ways to find awesome hiking spots than simply heading to google and searching ‘hikes near me’.

Whether you’re a digital nomad, a regular traveler, or just someone looking to get some fresh air, finding the best hikes near you can be simplified with a few quick tips.

This article will guide you through some awesome resources to help you locate the most suitable paths and trails, as well as general tips on how to stay safe and enjoy your outdoor adventure.

With a bit of preparation and research, you’ll soon be finding the best hikes close by and embarking on your own exciting journey.

hikes near meKhamkhor | Unsplash

How to Find the Best ‘Hikes Near Me’ – TL;DR;

  1. Use the AllTrails App
  2. Use Gaia GPS
  3. National Parks Website
  4. Ask Around Locally
  5. Facebook Groups
  6. Hiking Forums
  7. Local Information Center
  8. Google Earth Pro
  9. Buy a Map!
  10. Hire a Guide
  11. Google is Your Friend
  12. Go Exploring

12 Ways to Find the Best ‘Hikes Near Me’

1. Use the AllTrails App

Gone are the days of pouring over maps and guidebooks to find the perfect hike near you. Thanks to the AllTrails app, finding the best hikes near you is a snap.

AllTrails is the ultimate hiking tool, allowing you to search for hikes near you based on your desired location, length, hiking difficulty and more. Whether you’re traveling across the globe as a digital nomad, are a regular traveler, or just a local hiker, AllTrails can help you find the perfect trail.

hikes near me - Alltrails app

Searching is easy. Enter your desired location and filter for specific criteria, such as difficulty, suitability or attractions and within minutes, AllTrails will provide dozens of recommended routes tailored to your specifications.

hikes near me

In addition to the suggested routes, AllTrails also contains detailed information about each hike, including difficulty, trail length, elevation gain, activity type, and directions. It even offers an interactive map that makes it easy to see where you’re going.

AllTrails app

The AllTrails app also lets you add photos and comments to each hike, so you can share your experiences with other users, and post tips and tricks for other hikers. It has a built-in blog, so you can stay up to date on the latest hiking news, plus you can download maps for offline use, so you can explore without needing a phone signal.

AllTrails is the perfect tool for digital nomads and regular travelers who love exploring new places. Whether you’re searching for short and easy hikes in the local area, or an intense adventure in the wilderness, thanks to AllTrails, finding great hikes near you has never been easier.

2. Use Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a powerful GPS application for smartphones and devices. With its access to millions of miles of trails and waypoints worldwide, it’s easy to discover unique adventures, see where to go, and even plan your own personalized route.

Gaia GPS is targeted more at the map readers amongst us. After downloading the app, enter your current location or the area where you want to find the best hikes. Gaia GPS will then search for hiking trails within the specified area. Once a list of trails appears, you can analyze them by elevation gain, trail distance, and other noteworthy features.

Gaia GPS on mobile

Gaia GPS also features an interactive map that helps you identify areas that you want to explore further.

Gaia GPS route

These features add a unique layer of convenience to discovering undiscovered hikes, as you can view route info and make adjustments simply by using your phone or device. Up-to-date maps help you stay on track and can be downloaded to use offline. You can also make notes and add photos to maps, plan future trips, and record your stats if you want to track your progress.

Gaia GPS is an excellent choice for both frequent and occasional hikers. Although I have to be honest, out of the two apps, I find AllTrails easier and more user intuitive.

3. National Parks Websites

One of your best resources when searching ‘hikes near me’ is the Global Alliance of National Parks website.

Not only do they have listings of National Parks across the globe, but they also have maps, guides, highlights of the area and trail suggestions for each park, no matter where you are in the world.

Used in conjunction with the AllTrails app, you can find the best National Parks near you and then search for the best trails within.

hikes near me - National Parks websites

If you’re in America and looking for hikes within National Parks across the US, the National Park Service website is a fantastic resource.

Either explore the site via your laptop or download their app for access at any time on your mobile phone.

The website and app offer a variety of search tools. Look for a specific park or search by state. Get all the information you need about the park including address, directions, opening hours, activities, maps, fees, alerts etc.

Alagnak website

You’ll also find interactive topographic maps that show clearly marked trails, key elevation changes, and landmarks. You can zoom in on a specific area and check out detailed descriptions of each trail. On top of that, they also provide user reviews, evaluations of the trails, permit requirements, camping options, and other essential information. You’ll know exactly what to expect if you go out for a specific hike.

4. Ask Around Locally

Whenever you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to ask locals and other travelers who have been to the area all sorts of information, not just about hikes!

For example, having lived in Phuket for 10 years, there’s so much more I know about local places to visit, than you’ll ever find on a website or app.

The best hikes aren’t always well known or popular, sometimes they can be hidden gems and local businesses, tourist information offices or simply someone you meet in Starbucks, will be familiar with the area and can give you leads.

Social media is invaluable. Reach out to digital nomads and other travelers who have previously visited the area and ask their advice and tips about the local trails.

Visiting local parks or outdoor stores is a great way to find out about the area, and pick up more detailed maps of trails. Make use of all the sources of information available to you; you’ll be surprised how much you can find out about some truly unique and incredible trails.

5. Facebook Groups

hikes near me - Facebook groups

Facebook Groups are a great way to find the best hikes near you.

With their searchable database, it’s relatively easy to find out which hiking trails are close to you. Start by searching for local Facebook Groups that contain keywords such as “hikes near me” or “local hikes.” From here, you can narrow down your search by location and time of year.

You’ll be able to read posts from fellow hikers who have done the same hikes or may even have a personal experience shared. You can also connect with other hikers in your area who can provide you with trip recommendations, tips, and advice about the best hikes in your area.

In addition to active group discussions, there may also be photos or videos posted about hikes near you. This is a great way to get a sense of the hiking terrain and get a feel for what the trail looks like before you even leave the house.

By searching Facebook Groups, you’ll find an array of resources to help you find the best hikes nearby.

6. Hiking Forums/Reddit Groups

Hiking forums - reddit community

Hiking forums are a great way to find the best hikes.

These online communities are full of experienced hikers who have experienced many different trails and have advice to share.

On these forums, you can find out about the best trails in your area, any closures, and tips for tackling specific trails. You can even post your own questions and receive advice from fellow hikers who know the area.

You can also use these forums to connect with other local or visiting hikers who may want to join you for a hike. Hiking forums and subreddits are an invaluable resource for anyone looking to explore nature in and around their area.

7. Local Information Center

hikes near me - local information centerPhilip Strong | Unsplash

If you’re looking for the best hikes near you, one of the best resources you can turn to is your local information center. Often found in tourist offices, libraries and other public venues, these centers are great places to start your search.

At the information center, you can find out what trails and paths are in the area, get recommendations from locals and take advantage of their special insider knowledge.

Many information centers have staff members who are experts on the region and can advise you where to go. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The information center can also provide you with a range of guides and maps, so you can plan your hike accordingly. They can even point you towards other activities in the area if you’re looking for something different or if you want to spice up your trip.

8. Google Earth Pro

Google Earth Pro

Google Earth Pro is a powerful tool to help you find the best hikes nearby.

As a digital nomad or regular traveler, using Google Earth Pro will ensure you have the most up-to-date information about the trails in your area.

With this tool, you will be able to view Earth from a variety of angles, satellite photographs and 3D aerial images, and search for nearby hiking trails.

Plus, you’ll be able to save and measure the distances of the hikes you decide to take. This can be extremely helpful when planning a multi-day trip.

You can explore the terrain using the 3D view and draw a circle around a hiking location to get an even more detailed look. Google Earth Pro is an incredibly powerful tool that makes finding the best hikes near you easy and efficient.

9. Buy a Map!

I know it’s old school, but when researching the ‘best hikes near me’, a good old fashioned map won’t let you down!

Maps provide you with vital information about the terrain, walking trails, and safety hazards. They also help you plan outings depending on the difficulty level and type of hike you want.

Buying a map at a local bookstore or tourist information center will help you find several good options, as it typically contains detailed information about the region.

The most important thing when buying a map is to get one that has updated information, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar area. Make sure to buy a map with access roads, trails, and points of interest like camping areas, viewpoints, and other landmarks.

If you’re looking for hikes that are suitable for beginners, make sure the map indicates the difficulty level of the trails. Maps should also include any restrictions that are present in certain areas, especially if it’s an area with protected wildlife.

Additionally, it’s beneficial to own a compass or GPS device when out hiking, as even the best maps don’t always offer accurate directions. Learn how to use the compass or device to avoid getting lost in the backcountry.

10. Hire a Guide

hikes near me - guided tourMChe Lee | Unsplash

For many, the thought of going on a hike can be intimidating, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. It can be nerve-wracking going alone or with a small group of friends, as you’re not sure of the terrain or what you might encounter along the way.

Sometimes I’ll hire a guide simply because they know the area and will be able to show me the best spots, and viewpoints etc.

If this describes how you feel when it comes to finding the best hikes near you, you may want to consider hiring a guide.

Not only can a guide provide important local knowledge about terrain, plants and animals, but they can also help you find the most scenic and challenging routes.

When looking for a guide, you’ll want to find one who specializes in the kind of hiking you’re looking to do. Do you prefer more strenuous routes and longer hikes, or would you like to take a more leisurely approach? Depending on your own preference as well as the region in which you’re hiking, you’ll be able to find guides catering to both.

When researching guides, look at reviews. You’ll either find a guide on a group, forum, or even a planned trip on something like getyourguide.com or Airbnb experiences. Many experienced guides also have websites where they list their qualifications and the kinds of hikes they specialize in.

 

All sites will have an area for reviews and checking these out will ensure you pick a guide who can keep you safe and make the trip super enjoyable.

You want to be sure you’re dealing with a reputable guide who will be able to provide the best experience possible. As such, you should ask potential guides about the kinds of hiking they offer – what terrain is covered, how long the hikes are, and any safety precautions that need to be observed. Equally important is to learn about the guide’s insurance and what services they provide should something go wrong.

Finally, make sure you’re comfortable with the pricing structure of the guide. Services often come in packages that include the cost of the guide’s services as well as accommodation and transportation. Don’t forget to ask the guide what kind of accommodation they provide and if they have an emergency plan.

Hiring a guide is an ideal way to make your hiking experience more enjoyable and safe. Not only can they help you find the best hikes near you, but they can also provide valuable information and support should something go wrong.

Be sure to research potential guides thoroughly, ask about their experience and qualifications, and discuss pricing and safety precautions prior to booking. With the right guide, you’ll undoubtedly have an unforgettable hiking experience.

11. Google is Your Friend

hikes near me - google search

It would be remiss of me not to mention google as there are so many articles and posts written about some of the best hiking trails near you, depending on where you are when you conduct your search.

First, type in “hikes near me” into the search bar. Doing this will show you a list of popular hikes and trails in the vicinity of your current location. Make sure to check the reviews of each hike before choosing one. Pay attention to other users’ tips, such as the difficulty of the trail, the amount of time it typically takes to complete, and any amenities that may be available.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can use Google Maps to zoom in and get a better idea of the terrain. If you’re looking for more detailed information, such as wildlife viewing opportunities or whether the trail is part of a national park, simply type in a more specific search query.

Google often pulls up national park websites, which can be a great source for up-to-date information.

12. Go Exploring

Finally, exploring the great outdoors is one of the best ways to find gorgeous hikes near you. After all, how do you think all these trails and hikes were discovered in the first place?

Whether you’re a local or just passing through, taking the time to explore your surroundings can lead to some truly wonderful discoveries.

With all the technology at our fingertips these days, it makes sense to start somewhere that’s a path well trodden, but with safety in mind at all times, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path and find your own trails! You never know what you might find!

hikes near me - breath-taking viewOndrej Machart | Unsplash

How to Find the Best Hikes Near Me – Summary

No matter where you are in the world, there is so much to be discovered, that your issue isn’t going to be finding great hikes, it’s going to be choosing which ones you want to do!

Personally, my best strategy to find the best hikes near me is a combination of the AllTrails App, the National Park Websites, google and online forums.

This way I can plan to experience the best hikes in the areas I’m traveling too, by assessing location, difficulty, attractions, reviews, opening hours and ensuring I’m fully prepared.

Whether, like me, you’re a digital nomad seeking out the best adventures, a regular traveler, or a local looking for some more exciting hikes to do at the weekends, your options for finding great hikes are endless.

I hope this article on how to find ‘the best hikes near me’ has helped! Safe travels and happy trails!

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