This 51-miler on the New England National Scenic Trail follows the 200-million-year-old Metacomet Ridge north past Revolutionary War sites, Connecticut River views, and basalt (“traprock”) cliffs formed by ancient magma flows. From the southern terminus near Berlin, follow blue blazes along an increasingly untrafficked trail toward the 761-foot traprock specimen Ragged Mountain, a favorite among climbers: Try the Broadway route (5.8) up the Main Cliff. newenglandnst.org
SHORELINESCranberry Lake 50, NY
For lakeside shoreline, traipse through the Adirondacks’ Five Ponds Wilderness on a 50-mile loop around 7,000-acre Cranberry Lake. Gillian Scott (above) suggests starting in Wanakena and traveling counterclockwise for an easier first day, when your pack is heaviest. Along the loop you’ll see beaver ponds, sandy beaches, evergreen islands, and winding Oswegatchie River oxbows—but not a lot of people. “We went in July and didn’t see anyone,” Scott says. cranberrylake50.org
RIVERVIEWSPine Creek Rail Trail, PA
See the Pine Creek Gorge—aka the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon—from bottom to top on a 50-mile loop. Pick up the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Ansonia, and follow the rushing creek to Rattlesnake Rock, 19 miles south. Meet the 30-mile West Rim Trail for a more rugged and remote return. En route, peer 800 feet down into the gorge and 2,000 feet across the airy gap to the opposite rim. Walk 1.5 miles north and east along Colton Road and US 6 to return to your car. dcnr.state.pa.us
THE EXPERTS Katie Levy, 26, who lives in Philadelphia, recommends Pennsylvania’s 63-mile Conestoga Trail for its high-and-low views of the meandering Susquehanna River.
Husband-and-wife team Herb Terns, 41, and Gillian Scott, 37, spend 50-plus days a year in the ’Daks. A good day: skijoring with their dog, Rocky, near undeveloped Pharaoh Lake.