Dismal Trail Loop, Caesars Head State Park: Cleveland, South Carolina
While those who can stand the heat could do worse than hiking in the southern half of the country in the middle of the summer, adventurers not glutton for punishment will be duly rewarded with a visit to Caesars Head State Park just outside of Greenville, a great base for exploring the region. The Dismal Trail Loop is an 8.8-mile loop with some challenging terrain, making it a formidable option for advanced hikers. A suspension bridge and scenic view of Raven Cliff Waterfalls encourage breaking for pictures and giving the legs a rest from all the switchbacks and steep climbs.
Haystack Mountain Trail: Wilmington, Vermont
There’s no danger of running out of hiking and trekking options in the Green Mountain State, but while The Long Trail, all 237 miles of it, tends to get all the attention, curious kinds will no doubt delight in the affable Haystack Mountain’s 5-mile out-and-back trail. Vermont’s mud season, which occurs just after the ski resorts hang up their poles for the year, slowly gives way to lush summer greenery and wildflowers galore, and those in the know agree the best time of year to visit is fall. A trek up to Haystack’s summit at this time of year rewards visitors with pops of burnished reds, oranges, and yellows.