5 City Parks for Urban Hiking

You wouldn't lace up your hiking boots for a walk through the city. That is, unless you're in one of these five places, where you can hike, not just walk, without leaving the city limits. Whether you live in one of these urban hiking oases or are just visiting, be sure to step off the pavement and onto the trail for a unique view of the city.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wissahickon Valley Park

Walking these trails, hikers are in the midst of a forest so engulfing that it seems impossible to be entirely within the city limits of Philadelphia." - Friends of Wissahickon

Wissahickon is just 1,800 acres of Philadelphia's 10,500-acre park system, which is considered one of the largest urban park systems in the world, according to their website. This beautifully wooded park has over 50 miles of urban hiking trails, ranging from easy to hard. If you want to do a strenuous hike, trek along one of the creek to ridge trails. Or try White Trail, which runs 9 miles out and back, traversing the Wissahickon Gorge, and crossing Creshiam Creek.

Los Angeles, California

Griffith Park

"Griffith Park is located in east LA, which immediately offers a removal from LA's white noise. Not only do you have a variety of scenic trails to choose from, but you can also take a trip to the Griffith Observatory. A must see. Plus, a view of the Hollywood sign." - Alex Matthews, Los Angeles resident

There are few cities more congested than Los Angeles, so if you're dying to take a break from the traffic and city streets head to Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America. With more than 53 miles of trails, you have a variety of options to choose from. Follow the Griffith Park Trail 10K route for a challenging hike with amazing views of the Hollywood sign and downtown L.A. reminding you that you're never far away.

More: Active City Spotlight: Los Angeles

Seattle, Washington

Discovery Park

"The role of Discovery Park is to provide an open space of quiet and tranquility away from the stress and activity of the city, a sanctuary for wildlife, as well as an outdoor classroom for people to learn about the natural world." - Seattle.gov

This 534-acre park sits on stunning Magnolia Bluff, overlooking Puget Sound. A quiet, winding trail system offers plenty of opportunities for you to explore, weaving through the lush forests and open meadows. Try the South Beach Trail for a moderate hike that allows you experience a little bit of each ecosystem in this park including forest, meadow and beach.

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Burlington, Vermont

Ethan Allen Park

"[At Ethan Allen Park] you feel like you're really far away. It's secluded and relaxing but right in your backyard. The view at the top of the tower is beautiful, you can see all of the north end of Burlington with the mountains in the background." - Kelsey Bara, Burlington Native

This small park offers just enough urban hiking opportunities for the 42,000 residents of Burlington, Vermont. Nearly 4 miles of rustic trails weave through the dense forest of towering trees, with a park down below and historical Ethan Allen Tower at the top. Take a paved path to the tower where views of Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks and The Green Mountains await. Or, for a more traditional hiking experience, veer off onto one of the unpaved paths.

Phoenix, Arizona

Papago Park

"It is truly a park within the city and you feel like you can get away from it all for a day or so ? You can get up early in the morning, before the heat takes over, and walk the hills and mountains. The rocks are just beautiful, maybe the most beautiful in all of the area." - Terry H., Yelp.com

The Sonoran Desert is home to this urban hiking park with a variety of trails to choose from. Most of the trails stay at a steady elevation, making it ideal for families who want to get away from city life for a day, without taking on a strenuous day of hking. There are four main trails to try, ranging from the one tenth of a mile Hole-In-The-Rock-Trail, which leads hikers to a popular park landmark, to the 4-mile West Park Loop Trail, a dirt path that offers spectacular views of the big buttes.

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About the Author

Jessica Sanders

Jessica Sanders is the former online editor for ReserveAmerica.com. After many years of camping and hiking in the Northeast, she's exploring what the West has to offer and sharing all of her knowledge with you. She's a s'mores master, campsite connoisseur, writer, runner and lover of all things outdoors. Follow her on Google+

Jessica Sanders is the former online editor for ReserveAmerica.com. After many years of camping and hiking in the Northeast, she's exploring what the West has to offer and sharing all of her knowledge with you. She's a s'mores master, campsite connoisseur, writer, runner and lover of all things outdoors. Follow her on Google+

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