Monday, November 21, 2016

5 Great Day Hikes Amid Majestic Trees

Joshua trees on Boy Scout Trail in California.
General Grant Tree Trail
Kings Canyon National Park
Your family will feel like hobbits walking through scenes from “The Lord of the Rings” movies on the General Grant Tree Trail at Kings Canyon National Park. The 0.5-mile trail heads through the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias. More than 120 sequoias in the grove exceed 10 feet in diameter and most towering several stories over your head.

Middle-West Manitou-Misquah-Yellow Birch Loop
George H. Crosby Manitou State Park
Day hikers can enjoy rustic North Shore landscapes on a scenic loop at Minnesota’s George H. Crosby Manitou State Park. The 3.3-mile Middle-West Manitou-Misquah-Yellow Birch Loop combines four trails as it winds through the highlands overlooking Lake Superior. Along the loop, day hikers can experience a river rumbling over ancient rock and an old growth forest boasting centuries-old trees. 

Boy Scout Trail
Joshua Tree National Park
Day hikers can enjoy a walk through a large Joshua tree forest in the desert above the Palm Springs area. A segment of the Boy Scout Trail at Joshua Tree National Park runs through a grove for a 2.4-mile round trip.

Cades Cove Nature Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Day hikers can walk through what used to be a grove of majestic chestnut trees. The Cades Cove Nature Trail runs 1.4-miles round trip trail (from the parking lot) and sits in Cades Cove, an isolated mountain valley that is a popular destination thanks to many well-preserved structures from pioneer days.

Damnation Creek Trail
Redwood National Park
Hiking families can enjoy a trip into what feels like the forest primeval on a segment of the Damnation Creek Trail in Redwood National Park. For those with younger children, a 1.2-mile round trip through just the redwoods section of the trail makes for more than a fantastic walk.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks series.