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Fitness

Hiking Guide: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Instead of pounding the pavement, opt for a workout on the less-beaten path. We'll show you how ridiculously simple it is to make your escape -- even steps from your city limits -- and get a whiff of nature's de-stressing effects. Ahh.
Red Rock Canyon Sandstone Quarry Hit the Trail

Prepared to get your boots dirty? Pick a path near you at Trails.com. "Stick to out-and-back routes," Discover Outdoors's Jessica Wolinsky advises all newbies. And when you're ready to take a few turns, check out these tried-and-true treks.

1. For the classic American experience...
South Rim Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Designed for hikers of all abilities, this route offers epic views of the canyon carved over the past 17 million years by the Colorado River. And with shuttle-bus stops along the way, you can walk as little or as long as you want.

Length: 2.8 miles
Difficulty level: Easy

2. If you love Dr. Seuss...
Cap Rock Nature Trail, Twentynine Palms, California

You'll see the odd trees that have inspired children's book illustrators and rock bands alike in the heart of Joshua Tree National Park. Plus you'll learn cool facts about the rock formations and ecology of the Mojave Desert from informational signs along the route.

Length: 1.7 miles
Difficulty level: Easy

3. When you need a quickie near Vegas...
Red Rock Canyon Sandstone Quarry, Las Vegas

Bored with blackjack? Try your luck on this stunning hike just outside Sin City and you'll win big: An incredible view of Las Vegas awaits you at the turnaround point of this out-and-back trail.

Length: 2.5 miles
Difficulty level: Medium

4. For those who want breathtaking scenery...
Ocean Path, Acadia National Park, Maine

Don't let the lack of elevation on this mostly flat out-and-back trail fool you into thinking there's nothing to see. You'll be greeted with amazing coastal views every step of the way to Thunder Hole, a rock formation against which the ocean crashes, making a loud boom and a majestic splash just below the trail.

Length: 4 miles
Difficulty level: Easy

5. When you're visiting the Big Apple...
Manhattan Adirondacks, New York City

Tucked into the northern end of Central Park, these winding, woodsy trails are reminiscent of those in New York State's Adirondack Mountains. It's an urban hiking experience that you won't find anywhere else.

Length: About 1 mile
Difficulty level: Easy

6. If you like climbing rocks too...
Old Rag Mountain, Luray, Virginia

Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day scrambling over boulders the size of cars on this gorgeous loop trail in Shenandoah National Park. It's a popular route, so expect to share the 3,268-foot summit with weekend crowds.

Length: About 8 miles
Difficulty level: Hard

If you're looking for a trail mate, go to TrekkingPartners.com to link up with a like-minded buddy for your outdoor adventures.

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