If you’re like me, you love finding hikes while you travel. Sometimes it’s frustrating to see so many opportunities for hiking but to not know where to look for an actual trail. Finding a hike can be difficult, especially finding the right one. The more obvious trails are usually crowded. Maybe you’re okay with crowded trails too, but no matter what your preference is here are five ways I use to find a hike absolutely anywhere.

  1. Ask the locals. This can be a jackpot. Chances are, locals will be able to find a hike unknown to google maps or a trails app. They probably haven’t been recorded at all if they are remote enough. Locals have lived in the area long enough that they have most likely heard about and been to the best hikes. I asked one Idaho man what hikes were around the area, and he gave me a list of at least a dozen places to try that I had never heard of — and I’ve lived in the area for two years. People that have lived here their whole lives always know of the best places to go.
  2. Google state parks. State parks are a great place to start and may lead to other trails and hikes. Most of the time, there are also smaller parks nearby you may not have noticed before. Type into google “[your state] state parks.” There might be a government page or another page as one of the first results that will hold a plethora of ideas. I typed in “Idaho State Parks” and found 27 results on the government page. They also had it set up to select the activity like hiking, climbing, etc. You can find out restrictions for activities as well and important information like camping fees.
  3. Websites. One of the first places I looked on the internet for hikes in Rexburg was a website made by a local. The entire website was devoted to outdoor activities around Rexburg. This is especially nice if you don’t like asking strangers about hiking opportunities. You can do that in the seclusion of your own home. The great thing about this site, though, was the extra information. They had directions for difficult-to-find hikes and helpful tips for trail specific issues.
  4. Brown signs. Look out for the brown signs on the highway that signifies a place to get out nearby. There have been many times that I’ll pass a sign and come back to explore later. I think the key is finding the adventure in anything.
  5. Guidebooks. This is probably the resource I use the least. My dad uses this all the time, however. I find that they contain practically the same information as the government websites. If you can find a guidebook written by a smaller group of people or locals, you will have a better time of finding great hikes. I have found that government-written guidebooks stick to bigger, well-known hikes. If that’s your cup of tea, stick with it.

There are a lot more resources out there for finding a hike. Stay open to ideas. Let me know what other resources I’m missing. Now get out there and find a hike.