How To Find The Best Places to Hike Near You

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My top tips to find the best places to hike near you whether you’re looking for an easy hike or a multi-day hike.
hiker in Glacier National Park, Montana

This summer many of us are feeling the need to get outdoors more than ever after spending so much time indoors and hiking is a great way to do so. Hiking has had such an impact on my life that I go for a day hike almost every weekend and do a multi-day hike at least once a year. 

But if you’re new to hiking, and looking for an easy hike, it can be daunting to know where to go. Here’s how you can find the best places to hike and the best hiking trails near you – no matter where you are in the world.

Related Reading: The Best Hiking Backpacks of 2021.

How to Find The Best Places to Hike Near You in Europe

Hiker Laurel Robbins in the Ammergau Alps of Bavaria
Me hiking in the Ammergau Alps in Bavaria, Germany

First of all, I’d recommend checking out our Hiking in Europe Facebook Group. It’s an interactive community of over 1800+members. You’ll get lots of inspiration and can ask other hikers for their recommendations.

I’m a huge fan of these types of groups that foster a community of like-minded hikers. You can get so much valuable information and create real connections. 

You can also find lots of information on our blog.

Multi-day hikes  in Europe:

Related Reading: Day Hiking Packing List

Apps To Find the Best Places to Hike From Easy to Difficult Hikes Near You

explore cinque terre on our self-guided walking tourHiker in Cinque Terre, Italy

Outdoor Active (Europe)

Outdoor Active is both a website and app. You can use it to search for trails by area and can search by length,  difficulty and/or elevation gain.  There’s a free version and a pro version. The free version used to have more features. However, it’ss now limited so I’d recommend searching their website instead of using the app directly. 

AllTrails.com (Worldwide) 

AllTrails.com offers users a similar experience to Outdoor Active. You can both search and track your hikes. You can also customize your search. Ie. if you’re looking for the best dog-friendly or wheelchair compatible hike near you, this app is an excellent choice.

Gaia GPS (Worldwide)

Gaia GPS lets you search for hikes by location. What I love most about this app are its topographical maps. Having said that, I usually use another site to find a hike that has better search functions. Then, I import the GPS tracks into Gaia GPS and use it to navigate. 

Kamoot (Worldwide)

Kamoot is another great hiking app that helps you find, plan and record your adventures. You can plan every part of your hike on the built-in planner. The planning function lets you plan everything even the type of surface you want to hike. 

Each app has its pros and cons but all have a free version so download a few of them and see which works best for you. 

Related Reading: How to Convince Your Reluctant Partner to Go Hiking

Join Local Hiking Groups to Find Hikes Near You 

guide to finding hikes
Local hiking groups are one of my favourite ways to discover amazing hiking trails near you, especially day hikes. The best ones (in my opinion) are a mix of online and actual hiking. Look for a group where you can get information and also sign up for actual hikes. It’s a great way to meet other hiking buddies and learn from more experienced hikers. 

You’ll find many of these groups on Facebook. Do a search for “hiking in your location). If you’re looking to go on actual hikes with people, check out Meetup.com. Do the same search and you’ll likely find a hiking group that organizes hikes you can join.

Another great group to join is the local chapter of your alpine club. You’ll find lots of experienced members that you can learn from. In addition, many chapters host educational events and hiking and mountaineering events. If an alpine club isn’t listed in the link above, do a search in Google for “alpine club in your location” or search for “hiking club in the Canadian Rockies” and see what comes up.

Related Reading: 5 Best Hikes Near Las Vegas

Do a Google Search to Find Easy Hikes Near You

easy hike
I often find hikes near me by doing a Google search for “best hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen”, or “easy hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen”. Then several different sites will come up. Often those sites have their own search filters so I can choose a hike based on the difficulty, length and elevation gain. 

I live in Germany and a few of the sites I frequently use are Bergtour-Online.de, Bergfex.com, Hoehenrausch.de. They usually include GPS tracks so I’ll download the GPS tracks and import them into Gaia GPS which you can do for free. 

Insider Tip: If you’re doing a Google search in a country where English isn’t the official language, do the search in the local language. You’ll find way more options. If you don’t speak the local language, use Deepl.com and type in something like “best hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen” and it will show “beste Wanderungen in Garmisch-Partenkirchen” in German. The results will be in the local language. From there, use Google Translate to get the details. 

Related Reading: Best Hikes Near Seattle

Visit Tourism Boards or Official Park Sites To Find Easy Hikes Near You

Dolomites hiking walking holiday europe-57-L

Tourism boards and official park sites can be a great way to find the most scenic hiking trails near you. This is especially true if you’re looking for an easy hike since they almost always include a few very accessible hikes. For example, when you visit the National Park Service for Yosemite, you’ll see they have a range of hikes for all levels.

Related Reading: Best Gifts for Hikers

Crowdsource on Social Media To Find the Best Hiking Trails

hikers doing a coastal hike in Costa Brava
Hikers in Costa Brava, Spain

This is one of my favourite ways to find places to hike when I’m going to a new place. I’ll post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, something like “I’m going to Costa Brava in Spain. What are the can’t-miss day hikes there?” You may be surprised at the number of responses you get and it’s a great way to get recommendations from locals.

Related Reading: The Best Hiking Leggings

Keep Track of Where You’ve Hiked

I recommend using a hiking logbook. That way you can remember where you hiked and all the details. I do this for every hike and it’s a great way to remember hikes that you want to do again or if you want to recommend one to another hiker. I believe in tracking your hikes so much that I created my own hiking logbooks. Check them out:

hiking journal and logbook
women's hiking logbook and journal in purple and fuschia
record your hikes in this log book and hiking journal

Keep Track of Places You Want to Hike in the Future

When you’re researching where to hike, you’ll likely come across more than one that looks interesting. I bookmark these in Pocket and tag them for easy reference. I live in Bavaria, Germany so I use tags like “Easy Hikes Bavaria”, “Difficult Hikes Bavaria”, etc. This saves me a TON of time.

Try these tips and you’ll soon have a list of places to hike near you that will give you something to look forward to every weekend.

 
 

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