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Backpacker Magazine – October 2009

Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

by: Adrienne Saia Isaac

Hohokam Petroglyphs, Phoenix's South Mountain (Jon Mancuso)
Hohokam Petroglyphs, Phoenix's South Mountain (Jon Mancuso)
San Diego, CA (Brett Holman)
San Diego, CA (Brett Holman)
Coastal Trail, Golden Gate Recreation Area (Ed Callaert)
Coastal Trail, Golden Gate Recreation Area (Ed Callaert)

The Wild Edge: Exploring Portland's Forest Park
When urban trails blend with raw wilderness, the sum is much greater than the parts. By Bill Donahue

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Online or via your cellphone these trips are ready to be downloaded and explored.

Phoenix | San Diego | San Francisco | Boston | New York | Philadelphia | Chicago | Seattle | Los Angeles | Austin

Chicago, IL
Paddle to solitude on the Windy City's big river.

The lakefront is great for people-watching, but local paddlers know that the city's sweetest escape is the Chicago River, whose willow- and maple-lined banks provide habitat for muskrats, blue heron, cormorants, and snapping turtles–and plenty of mellow water for canoes and sea kayaks. For a quick getaway, put in at the 3400 N. Rockwell launch (just west of the soccer field) and cruise north through a verdant channel. You're heading toward Lake Michigan, but you'll be paddling upstream; engineers reversed the river's flow in 1900 to divert polluted water away from the city. Turn around at the dam at mile 2.3. Looking for a longer adventure? Put in at the Skokie Lagoons (20 miles from downtown) and explore seven miles of interconnected pools and marshes. Note: Avoid paddling right after heavy rains, when the Chicago River can contain high levels of bacteria. chicagoriverpaddle.com




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READERS COMMENTS

Eric
Nov 18, 2009

I think you forgot Portland.

gordon larson
Nov 12, 2009

that's the very area i like to hike when i'm in nyc after some appalachian tr hiking. get to nyc a day before your departure flight, the hostel's only a half mile from the park. a few blocks from the subway. perfect.

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