Everyone is capable of getting themselves into hiking shape. The problem is, a lot of beginning hikers pick trails that are way too difficult for them. Whether it’s distance, elevation, or simply time spent on the trail, the new hikers get discouraged and quit before they’ve ever gotten to the really good parts. If they’d only picked hikes that can show them the beautiful rewards of hiking without breaking their spirit. In that spirit, here are four mountains beginning hikers can summit.
Lassen Peak | California
The 2.5 mile (one-way) hike to Lassen Peak is a favorite for visitors to Lassen Volcanic National Park, so you’re not going to have the trail to yourself. If you’re just getting started hiking, that’s kind of how things are going to be for a little while. Besides, this trail brings you to the top of an active volcano, which should be enough to get you hooked on the high (pun intended) of the places hiking can take you. At the top of the mountain, you’ll smell the gases that prove this volcano’s dormant but still active, and the view is a great place to see what happened the last time it erupted.
Lookout Peak | California
Lookout Peak in Sequoia National Park is a shorter trail, only about a mile, that’s best hiked when you need a lighter day but still want to get out and explore. You get excellent views of the surrounding landscape, with its forested mountains and valleys, on a trail that’s not going to snap your ankles the first time you head out. It’s an offshoot of the Don Cecil Trail, a trail that’s known to be a perfectly average hike. It doesn’t take you through any mind-blowing areas, but it’s a nice walk through the woods and you can use Lookout Peak as your reward for taking the longer walk.
Lost Peak | Texas
We’re getting into the harder hikes here, with Lost Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park being the midpoint of a six and a half mile hike and the end of a 1,540 foot elevation gain. The gain’s spread over a decent chunk of trail, but you’re still looking at some hard work. Beginning hikers should treat this trail as a test of their abilities. If you can finish this one, you’ll know that you’re well on your way to becoming a competent hiker and it’s not just an outdoorsy phase you’re going through.
Mount Scott | Oregon
Plenty of people go to Crater Lake National Park for the eponymous lake, but an alternative way to appreciate the scenery is to climb a mountain that’ll give you a view that sets the lake in the landscape. Mount Scott is the highest point in the park and only moderately difficult to climb. It’s a 4.2 mile round trip, a perfectly achievable distance for an afternoon’s hike. At the end of it, you’ll get to see Crater Lake, a unique feature of American geography, and its national park in all its glory.