Definition: Leaf Peeper – a person who takes pleasure in viewing fall foliage.
Are you a leaf-peeper, looking for that perfect fall foliage? What better way to peep that spectacular fall foliage than to go hiking. However, locating an optimal hiking trail can sometimes be the downfall to a day’s outdoor adventure. Where to go? Are there trails near me? How long is that trail, and will it take hours to hike it? Will my kids be able to go the distance?
Don’t let these question stop you from experiencing the colorful fall foliage this weekend, or from heading out on the trails any other weekend. With the help of these two favorite outdoor adventure resources, you can find that optimal hiking trail now, and be hiking in no time.
My Two Favorite Trail Finding Resources:
AllTrails.com and Trails.com can answer your trail finding questions. Both websites are chock-full of helpful information suitable for all levels of hiker abilities. So whether you are hiking with the kids, or on an all day adventure with your uber-hiker friends, these websites have trail recommendations for you. Each website provides the following basic features and information:
- No fee charges for basic trail information.
- Easy to use website designs.
- Searchability by zip code and by city/metropolitan area.
- Trail specifics, including level of difficulty, length of trail, and driving directions.
- Basic topographic trail maps.
- What other trails are nearby.
- Trail reviews and photos.
Which one do I use? Both! I recommend that you take a few moments to poke around each site and determine which, or both, site best fits your trail hiking search needs.
Join over one million outdoor enthusiasts every month who find their next outdoor adventure at AllTrails.com. Explore over 40,000 different trail options, read reviews from other hikers, find the tools and information you need to get outdoors, then record and share your adventures with family and friends, all with AllTrails.com.
Why AllTrails.com? Because of it’s free, comprehensive online databases of outdoor recreational activities. And because you can find so much more than “just” hiking trails. AllTrails can locate your next outdoor adventure in any one of 22 different activities including hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, and horseback riding.
A Search Feature Favorite: Locate trails based on how far you want to drive to get to the trailhead, by the length of the trail, and the duration it might take to complete that trail. Another handy search criteria – you can narrow the trail choices based upon the level of difficulty.
Found the trail you want? Click on it and find practically everything you might need to know about that trail, and even some things you didn’t know you wanted to know! Find reviews from other hikers, determine the difficulty of that trail, check out what other outdoor activities are offered at that location. Locate other trails in the area, just in case one trail isn’t quite enough for you!
Check out Wissahickon Creek Gorge Trail to see what kinds of information AllTrails.com provides on a particular destination.
Another feature I like: AllTrails shows you the weather for the next few days via the integrated Wunderground weather website. Now that’s an oh-so-handy feature. Don’t get caught out in the rain!
Wanna go Pro? AllTrails’ partnership with National Geographic makes it a powerful outdoor enthusiast’s resource. For $49.99 a year, join AllTrails Pro and have access to National Geographic maps, verified routes, points of interest, and elevation points.
With the help of outdoor non-profit organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club, Trails.com’s dedicated staff of outdoor enthusiasts have created a website that delivers detailed information on hiking trails as well as other outdoor activities. These enthusiasts have explored trails across the region, providing first hand experience and advice to help you get the most out of your time on the trails.
Ready to find that trail? Trails.com has an easy to use Trail Maps to find that perfect hiking trail, biking path, or backpacking adventure. Icons depicting a specific outdoor activity visually helps you quickly identify where you want to go. Trails.com also lets you search by key word and by outdoor activity.
Trails.com also includes trails in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
What I like: The way Trails.com displays the initial search results. Just enter your zip code, or use the Find Me option, and within seconds have a complete list of hiking trails mapped out front and center. Trails.com provides a very nice interactive mapping display of trails and other nearby outdoor activities. Move the map, and it refreshes with activities in the new map zone.
Found your trail for the day? Open up the detailed information page, and find out what you need to know. Trails.com provides a topographic map, activities offered at this location, level of difficulty, length of trail, photos and reviews.
Check out Creek Road Trail, Brandywine Creek State Park to see what kinds of information Trails.com provides on a particular destination.
Not into hiking but still want to get outdoors? Browse by 24 different outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, birding, waterfalls, and even surfing. Find suggestions for campgrounds, state and national park trails, and a list of Trails.com’s Top 100 trails, just in case you need inspiration.
Not sure what you want to do? Perhaps Trails.com’s Outdoor 101 can inspire you. Find helpful information on a wide variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, water sports, and snow sports.
Want Trails on the go? Download the Trailfinder and GPS mobile app for Apple devices.
Need more advanced features? For $49.95 a year, subscribe to Trails.com and have complete access to Pro Trail Guides and USGS Topo Maps, as well as a host of other members-only benefits.
Three More Helpful Hiking Resources:
The American Hiking Society – For the past thirty years, The American Hiking Society has been hard at work maintaining and preserving hiking trails across the United States. Get the most out of your next hike with the helpful information found on the Hiking Resources page, loaded with articles on gear, safety, outdoor skills, and more. Use the Helpful Links page to guide you to a hike-worthy trail nearby.
LocalHikes.com – The Local Hikes website provides hiking trails near both large and small metropolitan areas of the United States. Select an urban area closest to you, and find trails within that region. Or, search by zip code or other specific hike details such as difficulty and length. LocalHikes are contributed from volunteer LocalHikers who have hiked these very trails.
NatureFind.com – Find some of nature’s best places to visit as well nature-based events through the NatureFind website. NatureFind is dedicated to bringing you the best information available about nature-related places and upcoming events in your area. Search by zipcode to locate your next outdoor find events. Have a nature-based event of your own? Post it on NatureFind.
So go on, get outside this weekend. Let Mother Nature amaze you!
Are you leaf peeping this weekend? Do you enjoy hiking? What websites or apps do you use when you hike? Let us know in the Comments section below.