Touristy hiking destinations - Emerald Bay State Park in Lake Tahoe

I have come up with a few of my favorite touristy hiking destinations 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 (in touristy areas) 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), little wildlife, free parking, free yoga
Cons: Crowded on weekends, not shaded (hot and sunny – bring sunglasses and sunblock!)

Runyon Canyon in LA

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, little wildlife, difficult hike despite the short distance
Cons: Hike is a bit too short, no shade

Views of the Hollywood sign from the Griffith Observatory hike in Los Angeles

Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr  Los Angeles, CA 90027

White Mountains National Forest – New Hampshire

Views: Beautiful mountains
Pros: Quiet isolated trails, 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

Greeley Ponds trail in New Hampshire
The summer months are a great time to check out one of the White Mountain National Forest’s trails.

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: Plenty of different trails, breathtaking views of Mt. Battie, beautiful trees
Cons: Small parking fee, walking downhill on the rocks can be challenging

Gorgeous views via the Mt. Battie trail at Camden Hills State Park in Maine

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, lots of black bear activity

Views from the Vikingsholm hike at Emerald Bay State Park in Lake Tahoe

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 from 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

Trail at Crystal Cove State park in Laguna Beach, CA

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, Lots of diverse cactus plants to take your picture next do, great workout!
Cons: You need to watch out for snakes!

Hiking Camelback Mountain in PHoenix

Address: 5700 North Echo Canyon Parkway Phoenix, AZ 85018

Top places I want to hike: Arches National Park in Utah, Arcadia National Park in Maine, and Glacier National Park in Montana.

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

Update: I have completed many wonderful hikes in the past few years. Here are a few great touristy destinations to plan hiking adventures:

Best hikes in gorgeous Flagstaff

12 incredible hikes in Sedona

Waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains

10 Moderate Waterfall Hikes near Asheville

Easy hiking at Zion National Park