Six Best City Hikes

The gear experts at, a partner of, know the outdoors like the back of their hands. Here they guide you to six great city hikes across the country, with gear recommendations for each spot included.
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Mount Tamalpais State Park, California
Mount Tamalpais State Park, California  (iStockphoto) has partnered with to offer adventurers exclusive savings to 150+ online stores including REI,, Patagonia, and EMS. Use Active Junky to earn up to 20 percent cash back on all the gear you need for your next adventure. Membership is completely free. Simply sign up and never pay retail again on your online gear purchases.

Ever feel like being surrounded by concrete is bad for your mental (not to mention physical) health? We all get that suffocating feeling when the only noise we hear is honking horns, sirens, and people shouting out their Starbucks order. Everyone needs an escape, so we’ve found the best hikes that are close to some of the nation’s most populated cities. Plus, Active Junky lends some gear tips to boot.

Boston, Massachusetts
Skyline Trail, Middlesex Fells Reservation
Although this scenic seven-mile loop is located a mere nine miles north of the city, it feels as if you have escaped into total wilderness. But the feeling of forest enchantment doesn’t last too long (don’t worry, this time that’s a good thing). As you gain 1,000 feet in elevation, the Skyline Trail (wait for it…) offers an epic view of the Boston city skyline. The hike takes about four hours and leads you through rugged forest terrain with steep rocky sections. The park closes at sunset, and the gates lock promptly, so start early enough to avoid being trapped.

TRAILHEAD: Take exit 33 for Middlesex Fells when heading north out of Boston on I-93. Go halfway through the first roundabout and take the first exit on the right; it will be a sharp turn. The parking lot for this trail will be a quarter mile down the road on the right.

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Salt Lake City, Utah
Mt. Olympus Summit
Probably one of the most popular summer hikes in the Salt Lake area, this route is just as accessible and frequented during the winter months. While hikers going in the chilly months should have proper gear, snow shoes aren’t necessary. This hike is an up and back trip, 7.5 miles altogether. After climbing 4,100 feet to the summit, you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and surrounding area.

TRAILHEAD: From 4500 south, drive south on Wasatch Boulevard for about 1.6 miles and you will see the parking area. A sign identifies the lot as Mt. Olympus Trailhead.

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San Francisco, California
Mt. Tamalpais
The city of San Francisco, home to thousands of active junkies, neighbors one of the greatest outdoor playgrounds in the country. With Mt. Tamalpais, Muir Woods, and plenty of hidden beaches, the hiking (and adventuring) is endless. Want the shortest, steepest burn? The Temelpa Trail hike is a two-mile ascent to the top of Mt. Tamalpais, and to one of California’s greatest views. If you’re looking for a longer excursion, dozens of trails cut through the beautiful forests of Mt. Tam connecting from this one.

TRAILHEAD: Heading out of San Francisco, cross the Golden Gate Bridge and follow 101 until you see the exit for Highway 1. Take this exit and go west. At the fork, bear right onto Miller Avenue. Then turn left onto Throckmorton to Old Mill Park, then a right on Olive, left on Lovell, and right on Summit. At the end of Summit Ave., turn onto Fern Canyon road and you will see the trailhead.

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Published: 28 Sep 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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