Trip Finder: Stay-Dry Spring Hikes

Stay dry on spring treks in Minnesota, New Mexico, and more.


Canyonlands National Park, David H. Collier


Porcupine Mountains Wilderness, Forrest Netzel

California | Southwest | East


San Gabriel Mountains – 2 Days

Ignore the name: Spring conditions in the Devils Punchbowl couldn’t be more inviting. This easy 6-mile overnighter in Los Angeles County brings you through funky sandstone formations on the northern foot of the San Gabriels to a series of dry-as-dust canyons. Grab one of 21 tent sites (first come, first served) at the South Fork Campground, then hike 3.1 miles up the steep Burkhart Trail to Devils Chair, a rock ridge overlooking the punchbowl. (661) 296-9710

Ohlone Wilderness – 3 Days

Swap car horns for coyote yips on this 19.4-mile traverse through the heart of the Ohlone Wilderness, 28 miles northeast of San Jose. Its grassy, rolling hills get less than an inch of spring rain, on average. Drop a shuttle car at Del Valley Regional Park, then set off from Sunol Visitors Center. Camp at Sunol Backpack Area and tree-lined Stewart’s Camp. Follow the trail markers with a white oak leaf in a brown circle.

Big Sur – 4 Days

Ventana Double Cone hovers 4,853 feet above the jagged Pacific coastline and commands wide-angle views of the Ventana Wilderness and Mt. Pico Blanco. The approach hike, a steep, lung-taxing 15 miles through sword ferns and redwoods, begins at Bottchers Gap Campground. Camp at Little Pines and Lone Pine camps on the way, summit on day three, and retrace your route 15 miles downhill on day four.

California | Southwest | East

California | Southwest | East


Gila National Forest, NM – 2 Days

Follow the aptly named Catwalk Trail down the mile-long, elevated steel walkway from Whitewater Picnic Ground through a volcanic canyon. After a mile, it widens to reveal sycamore and cottonwood groves lining Whitewater Creek, a popular rainbow trout fishing spot. Several shaded campsites surround the Deloche-Winn Canyon Trail junction, just upstream, 2.3 miles from the trailhead. Watch for rattlesnakes sunning themselves.

Canyonlands National Park, UT – 3 Days

Hit the 30.7-mile Golden Stairs and Sweet Alice Loop in the Maze District for an ambitious, insiders-only trek through hidden grottos and redrock pinnacles on a, well, maze of faint trails. Start from the Golden Stairs trailhead (4WD only), and hike along the Standing Rock jeep road to Mother and Child Pinnacles. Then head east through Sweet Alice Canyon. For photos and a track log, go to

Grand Canyon, AZ – 4 Days

In April, spring temps in the Big Ditch are moderate and rainfall averages only an inch. And summer crowds are still months away. Combine the New Hance and Grandview Trails for 24 rough miles of solitude and breathtaking canyon scenery, including Horseshoe Mesa and Cottonwood Creek. The route is unmaintained but easy to follow; campsites have water sources.

California | Southwest | East

California | Southwest | East


Appalachian Trail, WV – 2 Days

You can’t ditch your rain jacket (hey, it’s spring in the East), but in Harper’s Ferry, where it rains less in April (3.3 inches) than during any month all summer, you might not have to unpack it. Follow the AT north for a steep climb to Ed Garvey Shelter, 6.3 miles from town. Set up a tripod at 800-foot-high Weverton Cliffs, a short blue-blazed side hike one mile south of the shelter, for cherry-picker views of the Potomac River.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness, MI – 3 Days

April melt may raise the Upper Peninsula’s Little Carp River from a lazy trickle into churning whitewater, but you can expect only 2 inches of rain here. Pack gaiters for the 20.2-mile clockwise loop on the Little Carp, Lake Superior, Big Carp, and Correction Line Trails in the heart of the Northwood’s “Porkies.”

Superior Hiking Trail, MN – 4 Days

The finest lakeside camping in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is along this section from Castle Danger (40 miles NE of Duluth on MN 617) to Beaver Bay. The 31.4-mile trek skirts 130-foot-high cliffs peppered with killer views on Breadloaf and Christmas Tree ridges. Making good time? Explore Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry falls.

California | Southwest | East