What better way to explore the outdoors than to hit the trails? Adventure awaits in the woods, and with mother nature on the brink of showing off for Spring, there’s no better time than now to tug on the hiking shoes and get outside. Pack a picnic and bring the kids, or grab a friend and catch up as you trek the paths that relax your mind, refresh your soul, and take your breath away.

1. Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina

The Shining Rock Wilderness is the largest wilderness area in North Carolina. As part of the Pisgah National Forest, there are several diverse hiking trails to choose from. Two of the main access points are Art Loeb and Investor’s Gap (moderate and easy, respectively), which are both well-traveled trails, but have incredible views. The Art Loeb makes the ascent up the side of Cold Mountain where the Cold Mountain trail itself takes you all the way to the peak. It’s a strenuous hike – about 11 miles round-trip to the peak and back – but once you see the view from the top, you’ll be too amazed to feel tired.

2. DeSoto State Park, Alabama

One of the best places to go for a hike in Alabama is DeSoto State Park. The park is located on Lookout Mountain with gorgeous ridges, amazing waterfalls and a peaceful river. There are over 25 miles of hiking trails ranging anywhere from easy to expert. Take the DeSoto Scout Trail, a historic 16 mile trail with exits along the way. It follows along Little River all the way to Little River Canyon National Preserve, where you can find some of the most breathtaking waterfalls you’ve ever seen.  Don’t forget to bring the camera – you’ll kick yourself if you don’t.

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