I have come up with a few of my favorite hiking spots for  those of you looking to do some hiking this spring. I love hiking because in addition to being great exercise, it allows you to actually surround yourself with nature as opposed to just driving past it. Hiking is a great way to get the most out of your visit to a new area; what better way to fully take in an area than hiking?

The views at the top of a hike are usually as good as it gets. I am a little nervous about running into wildlife (too many bear attacks in recent years), however, that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying a nice hike. Here are my top hiking areas (so far) ranging from urban to national parks.

Runyon Canyon Park – Los Angeles, California

Views: City of Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory
Pros: gorgeous views of Los Angeles, good workout (a few steep hills), no dangerous wildlife, free parking, free yoga
Cons: crowded on weekends, not shaded (hot and sunny – bring sunglasses and sunblock!)

Runyon Canyon hike

Address: 2001 N Fuller Ave Los Angeles, CA 90046

Griffith Park – Los Angeles, California

Views: Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles
Pros: Great spot for taking photos of the Hollywood Sign, not as crowded as Runyon Canyon, free parking, no wildlife, difficult hike despite the short distance
Cons: hike is a bit too short, not shaded

Griffith Park hike

Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr  Los Angeles, CA 90027

White Mountains National Forest – New Hampshire

Views: mountains
Pros: great isolated hiking, heavily forested with beautiful pine trees, clean, the air just smells fresher
Cons: there is no one else around if you get lost, saw a few bear prints (yikes!), small fee for parking

White Mountains hike

Address: Greeley Ponds Trailhead (parking lot on Kancamagus Highway NH Rte. 112

Camden Hills State Park – Camden, Maine

Views: Mt. Battie, ocean and mountain
Pros: strenuous hike, plenty of different trails, breathtaking views of Mt. Battie, beautiful trees, no wildlife
Cons: small parking fee, walking downhill on the rocks can be challenging

Camden Hills hike

Address: 280 Belfast Rd, Camden, ME 04843

Emerald Bay State Park – South Lake Tahoe, California

Views: Lake Tahoe
Pros: beautiful views, pretty streams, Vikingsholm castle, beaches along the way to stop at
Cons: pay for parking, parking difficult to find, short trail

Emerald Bay hike

Address: Parking located at Hwy 89 at Emerald Bay State Park, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Crystal Cove State Park – Laguna Beach, CA

Views: coastline, mountains
Pros: gorgeous desert scenery, peaceful (no large crowds), great escape fro the city, intense workout (very steep hills), free parking, fabulous views, you can head over to the beach after your hike
Cons: there have been lion attacks, you need to watch out for snakes, may be too isolated for some

Crystal Cove hike

Address: 8471 N Coast Hwy  Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (free parking can be found along side streets or in shopping plaza)

Camelback Mountain – Phoenix, Arizona

Views: Phoenix, surrounding mountain landscapes, desert
Pros: Great views of the city, Tall Cactus plants to take your picture next do,  great workout!
Cons: You need to watch out for snakes!

Views from Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ













Address: 5700 North Echo Canyon Parkway Phoenix, AZ 85018

Other great hiking areas: Rocky Mountain State Park (Colorado), Harriman State Park (Idaho)

Top places I want to hike: Arches National Park in Utah, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, and Glacier National Park in Montana.

In addition, check out this Discovery list of the 10 best hiking spots in the US.