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A generous smattering of meadows, open ridgelines, or desert make these day and overnight hikes the perfect venue for full moon romps. Headlamps optional.
Balitmore, MD: Patapsco Valley State Park
You’ll find two wooded creeks and plenty of solitude on this 2.8-mile lollipop loop nestled in the heart of Patapsco Valley State Park.
Shenandoah NP: Old Rag Mountain
Navigate switchbacks, boulder scrambles, and rock mazes on this 8.6-mile loop that ascends Old Rag Mountain, one of Shenandoah’s most famous peaks.
St. Louis, MO: Grant City State Park
This 9.8-mile loop covers the Shawnee National Forest essentials: lovely waterfalls, scenic sandstone cliffs, singing birds, and colorful wildflowers.
Denver: Apex Park Loop
Just a short ride from downtown, this 5.1-mile dayhike climbs loops around the panoramic ridgelines of Indian Mountain.
Great Falls, MT: Windy Mountain Loop
This 7.1-mile dayhike in Lewis and Clark National Forest loops through the Highwood Mountains, skirting several creeks and the broad summit of Windy Mountain.
Big Bend Ranch State Park, TX: Closed Canyon
Descend into Closed Canyon’s slot for a 1.4-mile round-trip trek from Big Bend’s scenic River Road toward the Mexican border and the raging Rio Grande.
Santa Fe, NM: Valle Vidal
Explore the “Yellowstone of the Southwest” on this 28.4-mile loop that links a series of meadows, creek crossings, and a canyon in New Mexico’s Valle Vidal.
Seattle: Hamilton Buttes
Grab shotgun views of four volcanoes on this lonely 6.2-mile out-and-back in Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Point Reyes: Mt. Wittenberg Loop
Hike to the highest point in Point Reyes National Seashore in this 6.4 mile loop hike to the top of Mt. Wittenberg along the Sky Trail, Z Ranch Trail and Horse Trail.
Yosemite NP: Half Dome by Moonlight
Let the soft light of a full moon guide your way to Yosemite’s most iconic granite peak on this 14.2-mile out-and-back.
Got your own favorite moonlight hike? Add it to the comments section, or a submit a tracklog at backpacker.com/postatrip