Tips On Finding Less Traveled Trails
If you’ve already hiked all the popular trails in your area, or even if you just prefer exploring the lesser known and lesser traveled trails, you may wonder how to find these options. Try the following tips to find little known hiking trails that are worth your time:
Do Initial Research Online
Research online, looking for hikes that are listed on the second, third, and fourth pages of Google search results. Google State Park hikes, National Park hikes, and private hikes, conducting separate searches for each of those keyword phrases with local town names, city names, region names, and state names. Make note of hikes that have reviews, and compare the list you compile with whatever hikes you’ve already explored. Print out maps, reviews, and descriptions until you’ve compiled a list of possible options.
Invest In A Few Local Hiking Guidebooks
Compare the list you compiled from online resources with trusted guidebooks that focus on the area you want to explore. Avoid hiking guidebooks that cover too wide of an area—they’ll be less likely to have information about the lesser known hiking trails. Look for guidebooks that focus on a small area or region and provide a lot of details. Some of my favorite hiking guidebooks are the Lonely Planet Hiking Guidebooks.
Talk To State And National Park Employees
Once you’ve identified the region you want to explore, make a few calls to people who work in the state and national park systems. These people know the areas inside and out and can direct you to some great hikes. They’ll know if the lesser known hikes are worth exploring or if the hiking trail is a dud. They’ll also know how difficult the trail is to traverse and can give you tips regarding how to tackle the hike.
Exploring Hikes In Privately Owned Nature Preserves
In some states, you’ll discover there are privately owned hiking trails that are well worth exploring. In many cases you’ll have to pay a fee to enter the private preserve. Because privately owned trails are not subject to the maintenance standards the state and national park trails are subject to, you will want to proceed with caution, realizing the trail may be dangerous, unkempt, or poorly marked.
Preparing To Hike A Little Known Trail
If the trail is not well known, you’ll want to take the following precautions before hiking it.
• Let a friend or relative know where you’re going and when you intend to be back.
• Take along a dog or friend for protection.
• Stash a few extra safety items into your backpack (a reflective, heat-retaining blanket, a rain poncho, a compass, a flare, a set of waterproof matches, a canister of pepper spray, and a couple of power bars should do the trick).
• Bring along a reliable map and a mode of communication.
It can be very exciting to explore a little known hiking trail, especially if you are lucky enough to be one of the few people who have ever traversed the trail. Have fun and stay safe!