After saying good riddance to 2015 and ringing in the new year, we’re all left with our 2016 resolutions staring us in the face. What’s topping your list, and what have you promised you’ll work on this year?
Curious about your goals, we hosted a Twitter #ExpediaChat on January 6. We opened up the discussion to our 342,000 followers, and, not surprisingly, traveling more and getting into shape were some of the most talked-about initiatives. The conversation led to the ways you stay healthy while traveling, and the majority of you replied that vacation hiking is your go-to wellness secret.
To help you tackle two resolutions at once—scratching that travel itch and sticking to your healthy routine—we listed 10 of our favorite hiking trails, where you can cross off your bucket-list destinations and burn some calories while you’re at it.
1. West Maroon Creek Trail
If the thought of hiking around Aspen, Colorado, conjures up images of snow-covered terrain, then it’s time to venture to West Maroon Creek Trail. When the temperature warms up, between June and September, this Rocky Mountain trek meanders through wildflower-laden fields with legendary views of the Maroon Blues and Maroon Creek.
2. Harding Icefield Trail
Feel the burn on the Harding Icefield Trail, where you gain approximately 1,000 feet every mile. This 7-mile hike in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, snakes around the Exit Glacier to a summit that overlooks the Harding Icefield. It’s a 6- to 8-hour journey, but the views of the epic sheet of ice, which is home to more than 35 glaciers, is well worth the trek.
3. Precipice Trail
Looking to cross Maine’s Acadia National Park off your hiking vacation bucket list? Lace up your hiking boots and hoof your way around Precipice Trail, a challenging, 1000-foot vertical climb up Champlain Mountain. Due to its steep nature and exposed rocky areas, this trail isn’t for the fainthearted.
4. Angels Landing Trail
Intrepid hikers flock to Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah. Over the Virgin River and along the canyon’s spine, this strenuous trail features chains and carved steps to help you reach the top. After a good five or six hours of clambering your way up, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the sandstone canyons.
5. Kalalau Trail
When in Kauai, Hawaii, beeline to the best place to go hiking. The 11-mile Kalalau Trail passes through five coastal valleys. Starting at Ke’e Beach, you’ll tramp along sea cliffs with views of the ocean, and then round out the journey at Kalalau Beach. While this remote island trail is full of photo ops, it’s a difficult stretch and generally reserved for experienced hikers.
6. Mooney Falls
If you get a thrill out of burrowing through tunnels and facing your fear of heights, then Mooney Falls in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, is the adventure for you. The trail begins at the top of the waterfall, 190 feet above the swimming hole, and leads you through narrow passages and steep terrain to the base of the falls. After conquering the hike, take a dip in the refreshing waters and saunter around the wild grapevines.
7. Rock Bridge Trail
You don’t have to be a hiking rock star to hit the trails in Clifty Wilderness, Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Ranked as a moderate hike, the short Rock Bridge Trail is just under a mile and a half long. Amble across the creek and look out for Creation Falls and Rock House along the way. The path, shaded by hemlock and magnolia trees, ends up at a whimsical natural rock bridge that was carved out by a waterfall.
8. The Highline Loop
Flickr/Creative Commons/Kate Brady/Via/https://flic.kr/p/am5J5d
Highline Loop trail is a tricky hike that winds through Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, Montana. While colorful wildflowers sprinkle the trail, you’ll probably be too focused on safely inching across the narrow Garden Wall shelf that has daunting 100-foot drop-offs to notice. Once you brave the ledge, you’ll be spoiled with views of Mount Cannon and Heavens Peak to the west, and a scenic spot at Haystack Pass to catch your breath.
9. John Muir Trail
Flickr/Creative Commons/Miguel Vieira/Via/https://flic.kr/p/73qcTP
Spanning 211 miles, from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, John Muir Trail isn’t the kind of hike you do in an afternoon. This lengthy hike is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, crossing through some of the country’s most celebrated terrain, including Ansel Adams Wilderness and Sequoia National Park. It takes roughly three weeks to cover the entire journey, but you can always hop on shorter sections for a taste of the trail.
10. Greenstone Ridge Trail
The Greenstone Ridge Trail in Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, is another long path. The island ridge, which stretches 42.2 miles through swamps and woods along Lake Superior, usually takes hikers three to five days to complete. Kick off the adventure at Rock Harbor and venture west to Windigo, keeping an eye out for wolves and moose during the trek.
Wherever your 2016 hiking adventures take you, pack your boots, and explore paths less traveled.
Looking to catch the next #ExpediaChat? Join us every Wednesday at 11 a.m. PST, and you could win a $500 travel voucher for participating.
What hiking trails are on your 2016 list?