Hiking and jogging in downtown USA

By Doug Williams
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View of Hollywood from Griffith Observatory. Author: Boqiang Liao - CC BY-SA 2.0
 
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Visiting the USA is on almost everyone’s bucket list. The thought of jogging in Central Park in New York, walking down Rodeo Drive in LA, perhaps enjoying the hustle and bustle of Disney World, or the cool jazz sounds of New Orleans can be really exciting.

If you’re used to a quieter life, though, you may find that you yearn for a peaceful walk in natural surroundings. But where would you find such a walk in any of the major metropolitan cities of the U.S.? Well, take note, as there are quite a few opportunities to get out and stretch your legs away from the concrete and crowds.

Los Angeles, California

Fryman Canyon Hiking Trail

Fryman Canyon Hiking Trail. Author: Beatrice Murch – CC BY 2.0

This three mile long, shaded hiking trail is an easy all-weather walk. The trail is wide and well maintained, with parts of it being paved.

The trail parking area is off Laurel Canyon Boulevard, and parking is free. While this trail is commonly known as Fryman Canyon, it is often shown as Wilacre Park on many maps, and the trail is officially known as the Betty B. Dearing Mountain Trail. It is an enjoyable walk with many spurs leading off the main trail to viewpoints with lovely views over the city.

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Park

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, CA, USA, downtown LA in middle distance. Author: Jeremy Miles – CC BY-SA 2.0

The entry fee of $6 for this park is a small price to pay to be able to visit this gem. The entrance to the park is off La Cienega. The park has man made lakes and ponds that are well landscaped, as well as several hiking and jogging trails that weave their way around the park. There are also picnic spots, children’s playgrounds, and lots of grass to rest on afterward.

Griffith Park

View of Griffith Park

This is one of the largest urban parks in the US, at just over 4,300 acres in size. There are several hiking opportunities and hikers, runners, and cyclists can use any of the trails, fire roads or bridle paths that are in the park. The most popular trail runs from the parking area at the Observatory to the summit of Mount Hollywood. This is the highest point in the park and you will be rewarded with magnificent views over the entire Los Angeles basin.

As this is such a large park, there are many attractions within the park itself. Two that may be of interest are the horse ranch where you can hire horses for riding in the park and the bike shop that has mountain bikes for hire. Be aware that this park does have a fair amount of wildlife such as foxes, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and deer, as well as many birds.

Portland, Oregon

The Intertwine

Baseball field at Turner Creek Park in Hillsboro, Oregon. Author: M.O. Stevens – CC BY-SA 3.0

This city has an abundance of wonderful natural places for you to visit. The one facility that you should become acquainted with is The Intertwine. This is an alliance of over 150 organizations from the public and private sectors that are working together to integrate nature into the Portland metropolitan area. Through the alliance, you have access to over 150 miles of trails in over 15,000 acres of natural space.

Using this facility, you can access the hiking trails in the 5,000 acre Forest Park, or Tryon Creek State Park with all its beautiful streams and waterways, plus any of the other beautiful natural spaces that abound in the area. The maps include many of the attractions found in each natural space such as the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, the Hoyt Arboretum, and the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary.

San Francisco, California

Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Golden Gate Park

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Author: Markus Laber – CC BY-SA 3.0

This beautiful parkland consists of over 73,000 acres of sand dunes, gardens, playgrounds, hiking trails, many horticultural treasures, camping spaces and a eucalyptus forest. The parkland hosts a variety of wildlife including deer, bobcats and many species of birds.

Chicago, Illinois

Bloomingdale Park and Trail

Bloomingdale Trail, the 606, Chicago. Author: Victor Grigas – CC BY-SA 4.0

This city has gone all out to accommodate cyclists and offers over 180 miles of protected cycle lanes around the city. Built on the shores of Lake Michigan, you can cycle through man made canyons and marvel at the skyscrapers that line your route.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there is a lovely walk, the Chicago Riverwalk, along the shores of the lake.

Denver, Colorado

The amphitheater at Red Rocks in Colorado. Author: Scapler – CC BY-SA 3.0

This city lies at the feet of the Rocky Mountains so the opportunities for adventure are practically limitless. A visitors favorite is the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, a spectacular boulder park that is tailor made for hiking and for listening to music under the stars at one of their scheduled concerts.

Boulder Creek Path

Boulder Creek Bridge, State Highway 119 at milepost 39.13 Boulder. Author: kevin – CC BY-SA 3.0

This 3.4 miles long, well maintained and shady path runs along Boulder Creek. It is a very popular recreational area for hiking, jogging, rollerblading and skateboarding. In summer you can also cool down in the creek. The trail offers access to many seasonal attractions, such as a museum, a library and the University grounds.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta BeltLine

Public art on the Atlanta BeltLine. Author: Robert Neff – CC BY 2.0

The Atlanta BeltLine is a project that will link 45 neighborhoods by using 22 miles of historic railroad lines, creating trails for hiking and cycling along with public parks and other multi-use spaces.

Many of Atlanta’s best restaurants face onto the trail so you can stop along the way to sample some local gastronomic delights.

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