Getting outside is a great form of exercise and a great way to learn about the natural world. It also just makes you feel good. Luckily, there are beautiful natural areas nearby to explore no matter where you live. North America, for one, is home to so much natural beauty that no one person can see it all, but there are certain places that everybody should try to see before they die. Once you’ve checked out these treasures within the U.S. National Parks, try these hikes:
Mount Mitchell Trail
At nearly 7,000 feet, Mount Mitchell near Asheville, North Carolina is the highest peak east of the Mississippi and it’s not to be missed. It’s an 11-mile hike with a 3,600-foot elevation gain, making it one of the toughest climbs in the area. The views from the summit are spectacular in any season.
The summit is accessible to vehicles, so if you don’t want to share your summit views with a bunch of people, pick a bad weather day or a day when the road is closed.
The 14 to 16 mile round trip hike is not for the faint of heart. You will be gaining elevation (4,800 feet in total) for most of your hike. But it’s well worth the effort. Along the way, you’ll take in views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome and views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. It takes most hikers 10 to 12 hours to complete, so an early start is a must.
The most famous part of the hike is the metal cables, which make the last 400 feet of the ascent possible.