Enjoying the outdoors is not only for spring, summer and fall. A winter hike can reveal a beauty not seen otherwise.

Here are five trails for all types of hikes: whether it’s thru-hiking the entire trail, a weekend section hike or a short day hike. The adventure is yours to choose.

1. The Long Path Trail (LP, 357 miles total) | Easy

A hidden gem for city dwellers seeking a footpath that is not a paved sidewalk. Although, the LP starts on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge, and continues along the Hudson River, after 14 miles, it crosses the NJ/NY border back onto New York State, where it stays the rest of the way. You can access the George Washington Bridge on the New York City side between 178th and 179th streets.

2. The Mountain to Sea Trail (MST; 1,175 miles total) | Easy

When I lived in Asheville, NC, my morning hikes with my dog were on the MST. This is a undemanding footpath ranging almost 1,200 miles across the entire length of North Carolina from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks. A majority of the MST runs parallel with the Blue Ridge Parkway.

3. The Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT, 288 miles total) | Moderate to Difficult

I once did a weekend hike on the BMT. It runs nearly 300 miles in the Appalachian Mountains. It goes through three states, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

4. The Long Trail (LT, 273 miles total) | Difficult

The LT is one of my favorite trails. The first 100 miles or so of the trail is also part of the Appalachian Trail, and then it splits off, and continues up through the entire length of Vermont.

5. Craggy Pinnacle Trail (1.2 miles out and back) | Easy

 This trail runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. It’s the shortest trail on this list, but the expansive view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is worth doing a mellow Sunday stroll.

Derick Lugo with the Long Trail hiking trail mark in Vermont.


Derick Lugo

Derick Lugo

Out on the trail, and sometimes in NYC

Storytelling is Derick Lugo’s forte; he’s the author of the popular book, The Unlikely Thru-Hiker, a humorous memoir of his 6-month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. He has written several pieces for outdoor magazines, short stories for various books and is currently working on two new books, including a children’s picture book, and a second memoir detailing his 5-month thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail.