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Local Hikes: Extend Your Season

Cooler days mean fewer crowds and bugs—and riots of leafy color. Here are 38 fall-weekend classics near you.

Albany, NY
Tongue Mountain Loop

Traverse three 1,500-foot Adirondack peaks on this 11.5-mile peninsula loop above Lake George. En route, you’ll dabble along an evergreen-lined lakeshore and glimpse cobalt waters from the heights. Trip ID 8346

Asheville, NC
Guion Farm Loop

Cascading mountain streams and migrating bluebirds, chickadees, goldfinch, and other songbirds on layover serenade this mellow 7.5-mile route. You’ll also see a fern-laced Civil War-era cemetery deep in 10,400-acre DuPont State Forest. Trip ID 262247

Atlanta, GA
Red & White Blaze Loop

Hike 6.7 miles through Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” a network of 150-foot-deep red-clay gullies. Trip ID 20782

Atlanta, GA
Cohutta Mountain Loop
Trace some of Georgia’s highest ridges in its second-largest wilderness on this 15.5-mile loop, topping out on 4,151-foot Cowpen Mountain. It’s a roller coaster with 6,000 feet of elevation change through kaleidoscopic groves of oak, hickory, and hemlock en route to a riverside campsite. Trip ID 36478

Boise, ID
Watchman Trail Loop

Climb into the sagebrush foothills just northeast of downtown on this 9.4-mile circuit with views of the state capitol dome and the 5,000-plus-foot Danskin Mountains—30 miles southeast—as an enticing backdrop. Trip ID 343031

Boston, MA
Ponkapoag Pond Loop

Circumnavigate a white cedar bog lined with carnivorous pitcher plants on this 4.2-mile path; it’s just 15 miles south of downtown. Trip ID 23149

Boston, MA
Skyline Trail to Cross Fells Loop
Gain Atlantic views—and 2,600 feet of elevation—on a 12.1-miler through the rumpled hills and reservoir shores of Middlesex Fells Reservation. Hike from oak forests to wetlands in this 2,575-acre pocket wilderness. Trip ID 7747

Chicago, IL
Deer Grove Forest Preserve

Just 30 miles from Wrigley Field, this 9.3-mile figure eight meanders through 1,800 acres of limestone ravines, meadows, hardwoods, and wetlands. Listen up: 300 species of birds live or pass through here. Trip ID 459627

Chicago, IL

Shabbona Lake
Cross gently rolling meadows on a 4.8-mile lap around this renowned Illinois muskie fishing hole. Trip ID 342901

Dallas, TX
Cleburne State Park Loop

Circle bright blue, spring-fed Cedar Lake on this wooded, 5.5-miler featuring fall yellows. Trip ID 58510

Denver, CO
Barr Lake

Close to 350 bird species and a 200-nest rookery make this 9.3-mile trip around a buffalo wallow-turned-wildlife refuge one of Colorado’s best birding hikes. One local celebrity pair of bald eagles has nested in the large cottonwoods lining the 1,900-acre reservoir since 1989, successfully raising at least 40 young. Trip ID 452659

Denver, CO
Apex Loop
Follow a 150-year-old gold miners’ route up Denver’s grassy, conifer-topped foothills to city skyline views on this 4.3-mile circuit. Trip ID 23833

*Trip ID: Get free maps and GPS data by adding the Trip ID to backpacker.com/hikes/_______.

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