Local Hikes: Midwest

See moose, bag a high-desert peak, and sample a quiet long trail. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)

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(Map by Andrew Matranga.)


(Maps by Andrew Matranga.)

1. Weekend: North Country Trail

This easy 6.4-mile point-to-point runs the length of the Rainbow Lake Wilderness. Camp at Lake Bufo and listen for wolves.

2. Wildlife: Craig Lake SP

Pack binocs and hit the unnamed (but maintained) seven-mile trail around the lake—a watering hole for loons, bears, and moose.

3. Best week: Superior Hiking Trail

Sample the SHT on a 67-miler from Gooseberry Falls to the Caribou River. This weeklong highlight reel features piney ridgetop views of Lake Superior, cascading rivers, and a string of lakes with primo camping.

4. Favorite falls hike: Richland Creek Wilderness

Pick up Richland Creek Trail near the campground on FR 1205 and hike two miles to the 100-foot-wide, 8-foot-tall Richland Falls. From here, swing north .5 mile to Twin Falls’ dual 20-foot cascades.

5. Best campsite: Ouachita NF

Four miles in on the Little Missouri Trail, a bluff overlooks turquoise pools on the Little Missouri River.

6. Best views: Guadalupe Mountains NP

Summit the region’s highest peak—8,749-foot Guadalupe Peak. The 8.4-mile round-trip hike skirts limestone cliffs and juniper-studded hillsides. On top, get views of salt flats and a chain of neighboring 8,000-footers.

Best basecamp: Big Bend NP

Link the Pinnacles and Boot Canyon Trails for a 4.5-mile hike to backcountry sites near 7,825-foot Emory Peak.

Quick City Escapes

Amazon’s best-selling guidebook authors choose killer dayhikes near…

Chicago from Susan Post

Hiking Illinois, Human Kinetics, $20

> Tupelo Trail, Cache River State Natural Area

> Sentry Bluff Trail, Bell Smith Springs RA

> Little Grand Canyon, Shawnee NF

Columbus from Susan Finch

Best Easy Day Hikes Columbus, Falcon, $10

> Blackhand Trail, Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

> Conkles Hollow Rim Trail, Hocking Hills SP

> Grandma Gatewood Trail, Hocking Hills SP

Minneapolis from Jake Kuliu

Take a Hike: Minneapolis and St. Paul, Moon Outdoors, $18

> Inspiration Point Trail, Whitewater SP

> Quarry Loop, Banning SP

> Crow River Loop, Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Dallas from Kathryn Hopper

Best Easy Day Hikes Dallas/Fort Worth, Falcon, $10

> Wood Duck Trail, Heard Sanctuary

> Trinity River Audubon Center Trails

> Fort Worth Nature Center Trails

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