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Local Hikes

Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.

HIKES IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST

Albuquerque, NM
Gila Crest South to Hummingbird Saddle
While nearby desert valleys are pushing 90°F, you’ll likely still find snow on this 9.8-mile out-and-back that slices through aspen groves en route to its 10,500-foot high point. Pack your favorite drink mix to make your own snowcone through mid-June. Tent up at mile 3.2 to make a weekend of it. Trip ID 56438

Boise, ID
Birds of Prey Trail

Pack binoculars for this 11.6-mile trek through the tawny meadows of the Snake River Canyon. The cliff faces house North America’s highest concentration of nesting raptors. Spring offers the best opportunity to spot fledgling hawks, eagles, and falcons taking their first flight; look above the “white wash” to pinpoint active nests. Trip ID 40414

Denver, CO
Eldorado Canyon Trail

Venture into a canyon carved from 300-million-year-old sandstone—and do it before summer’s heat and vacationing crowds kick in—on this 5.6-mile out-and-back. You’ll gain 1,000 vertical feet up the canyon’s north wall for views of sheer cliffs—a draw for rock climbers—that were sculpted by South Boulder Creek when the Rockies uplifted 65 million years ago. Trip ID 31725

Great Falls, MT
Windy Mountain Loop

The relatively low-elevation Highwood Mountains open up sooner than Big Sky Country’s higher peaks. In the early season, follow this 7.1-mile, streamside loop for yellow goldenrod (May and June) and periodic views of 7,670-foot Highwood Baldy, the range’s high point. Wear waterproof boots for the numerous creek crossings. Trip ID 56416

Phoenix, AZ
Hackberry Spring Loop

Classic desert vistas await on this 5.2-mile loop past rocky mesas and stately saguaros. The ubiquitous cactus is crowned with ivory-yellow blossoms during the mild nights of late spring. Hit the trail early, before the blooms close as the day heats up. Trip ID 23141

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

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