20 Of The Best Parks And Hiking Trails Across The U.S.

20 Of The Best Parks And Hiking Trails Across The U.S.

April 29, 2024 by

By: Kat Bein By: Kat Bein

hiking shoes in a verdant field

Looking to explore the great outdoors while the weather is warm and the sun shines long? Whether you’re trying to take a hike in your own backyard or about to hit the trails on an interstate adventure, we asked our editors to choose their favorite parks, gardens and hikes in and around their cities.

See also: How To Host a Chic Summer BBQ With Gathered In Style

From sweeping California coastlines to urban oases, these are Modern Luxury’s top picks for best parks and hikes across the country.

Atlanta - Cascade Nature Preserve

2852 Cascade Rd. / Website

This nature preserve is known for its scenic landscapes, hiking trails and waterfalls, including Cascade Springs Cascade, a serene spot for park visitors. The park also features guided nature walks and educational programs for guests to learn more about local biodiversity and sustainability approaches. Discover more beautiful parks and hikes on Atlanta’s full list.

Aspen - Hunter Creek Trail

585 Cemetery Lane Aspen / Website

Hunter Creek is a relatively easy trail and offers creeks, rivers and immersion into the beautifully colored trees. Turn around at the top or follow the trail further and come down Smuggler. This hike is shady enough to provide some reprieve from summer heat without sacrificing a good outdoor workout. Enjoy even more of Aspen’s warm weather activities with a hike, picnic or day in the sun at one of the park’s on Aspen’s full list.

Boston - Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway; 617-524-1718 / Website

Spanning over 281 acres in the heart of Boston, Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum boasts one of the world’s most extensive collections of temperate woody plants–trees, bushes and more. This jewel in the Emerald necklace houses nearly 16,000 botanicals, heavily focusing on the floras of eastern North America and Asia. Forge through the lush landscapes and bask in the beauty of the arboretum’s azaleas, lilacs and bonsais. Explore more grand green space on Boston’s full list.

Chicago - Lincoln Park

500-5700 N. Lake Shore Dr. / Website

Chicago’s most famous park lies along the lake, spanning from Ohio Street Beach in the Streeterville neighborhood northward to Ardmore Avenue in Edgewater. The 1,200 acres are home to a zoo, conservatory, Theatre on the Lake, rowing canal, five playgrounds, the Chicago History Museum, nature sanctuary and archery range, among others. Visit the park for classic events like Wine Fest, Greek Fest and more. There are yet more urban gardens to get to know on Chicago’s full list.

Dallas - Klyde Warren Park

2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway / Website

If exercise is your favorite outdoor activity, join friends at the park for barre ballet, African dance, Pilates in the park or a jungle yoga flow for Earth Day. Not in the mood to move? Bring a book and find a sunny spot to soak up the 5 acres of oasis-like green space, or maybe grab some drinks and eats from beloved Tex-Mex institution Mi Cocina. Whether you’re trying to get your sweat on or not, the other parks on Dallas’ full list are worth a visit!

The Hamptons - Linda Gronlund Trail Loop

693 Rte 114, East Hampton / Website

The Linda Gronlund Trail Loop is a 3-mile hike in Sag Harbor through the Linda Gronlund Memorial Preserve. Also known locally as Barcelona Point, the loop features dune cliffs with vistas of the azure waters of Sag Harbor Bay and the historic Cedar Island Light, a charming lighthouse dating from 1839. One will also find verdant moss beds amid the tree roots along the path to the dunes, a perfect spot for lunch with a view. Dogs are welcome too, as long as they are leashed. Read even more about this and other wonderful park hikes on The Hampton’s full list.

Hawai‘i - Foster Botanical Garden

180 N Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu / Website

The “Central Park” of Honolulu, this garden oasis is nestled amid the busy downtown. The oldest of Honolulu’s botanical gardens, this attraction’s highlights include a conservatory and an outdoor butterfly garden surrounded by palm trees. Hawai’i is one of the most beautiful states in the country, so definitely do not miss a single park or hike on Hawai’i’s full list.

Houston - Buffalo Bayou Park

105 B Sabine St. / Website

There is never a dull moment at Buffalo Bayou Park—there is an abundance of activities, whether you wish to break out your skateboard at Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark or view the wetlands and native Texas prairie at Tapley Tributary. The 160-acre property contains The Water Works at Sabine St., a major destination that houses a grassy lawn with an incredible view of the downtown Houston skyline. Immerse yourself in Houston history along the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, one of the City of Houston’s first underground drinking-water reservoirs. As a restful and relaxing reset, the cistern houses periodic art installations and is home to weekly sound healing meditation sessions. Explore even more of Houston’s great open spaces on the city’s full list.

Las Vegas - Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs Trail at Lake Mead

601 Great Basin Highway, Boulder City / Website

Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs Trail trek is strenuous and spans 6 miles, but the reward is grand. Challenge yourself, then unwind with a dip in a warm, mineral-rich hot spring. Get off the Strip and see even more natural beauty on Las Vegas’ full list.

Los Angeles - Runyon Canyon

2000 N Fuller Ave. / Website

With a striking view of the Hollywood sign, the greater L.A. area and even the ocean, Runyon Canyon attracts plenty of visitors per day to trek the winding course inside this 160-acre Eastern Los Angeles park. Only slightly challenging, this is a great hike to take beginners on or to treat out-of-town guests to a slice of the city’s wellness culture. L.A. is a great spot for hiking, so be sure to check the rest of the parks on the city’s full list.

Miami - Bayfront Park

301 Biscayne Blvd. / Website

From stunning ocean views of the Biscayne Bay to a sparkling Ferris wheel, Bayfront Park offers 32 acres perfect for relaxation and entertainment all in one. Lie down on one of the park’s many grassy areas or take a stroll on the bay walk and enjoy the beautiful waters of Miami. A great option for families and people of all ages, Bayfront Park offers various activities such as the Bayside Market. If you need some more activity, spend time at the local shops and delicious restaurants that the park has to offer. Find more off-beach fun at the rest of the parks on Miami’s full list.

New York City - High Line Park

Gansevoort St. to 30th St. / Website

Escape the city's hustle and bustle at this iconic location. The High Line is a haven elevated above the crowds where you can take in a magical sunset while sitting beside the historic freight rail line. Make sure to visit after dark on Tuesday nights (April 2 - Oct. 29) for stargazing at the High Line. Visitors are provided telescopes, free of charge. Stargazing begins 30 minutes before park closure. There are actually a ton of parks to discover in the Big Apple, so be sure to read NYC’s full list.

Orange County - Pines Park

34941 Camino Capistrano, Capistrano Beach / Website

Perched atop a coastal cliff, Pines Park offers ocean views, playgrounds and grassy spaces. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., guests can enjoy picnic tables and barbeques surrounded by pine trees, water fountains and a lit, paved path. Orange County is a natural wonderland, so be sure to check the other parks on the area’s full list.

Palm Beach - Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

4000 Morikami Park Rd, Delray Beach / Website

Wander through a world-class bonsai collection and hike alongside lakes teeming with koi and wildlife. This stunning center is dedicated to Florida’s 100-year-old connection to the turn-of-the-century Japanese pioneers of the Yamato Farming Colony. The principal museum hosts a 225-seat theater and exhibitions with a collection of 7,000 art objects and 200 textile pieces. Enjoy monthly tea ceremonies performed in the Seishin-an tea house (October through May), as well as traditional Japanese festivities celebrated throughout the year. See what else there is to see on Palm Beach’s full list.

Philadelphia - The Barnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph’s University

50 Lapsley Lane, Merion; 610-660-2802 / Website

Husband and wife Dr. Albert and Laura Leggett Barnes manifested their passion for art and beauty into the largest ornamental fern collection in the mid-Atlantic region. Stroll through the couple’s cultivation this spring at the 12-acre arboretum that flourishes with peonies, lilac, hostas and more. The botanical beauty inspires and educates in collaboration with Saint Joseph’s University. Spend every lovely day outside at one of Philly’s other parks on the full list.

San Diego - Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla / Website

A wilderness island in an urban sea, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve on Torrey Pines Road is home to the nation’s rarest pine tree, Pinus torreyana. Not only does the park preserve the trees, but it’s also one of the last waterfowl refuges and salt marshes in the Southern California area. Hike one of a number of trails, take a guided tour through nature, visit the on-site museum, try your hand at geocaching or get involved in a family program. Southern California is just a gem, so explore the other parks on San Diego’s full list.

San Francisco - Barbary Coast Trail

Southern entrance downtown on 5th and Mission Streets / Website

The Barbary Coast Trail is San Francisco’s official historic walking tour, connecting some of the city’s most important historic sites from the Gold Rush to the 1906 earthquake and beyond. Explore 20 historic sites, five history museums, sailing ships, lively pubs and cafes, and stunning Victorian and Edwardian architecture. We all know Bay Area folks love a good hike, so don’t miss the other trails on San Francisco’s full list.

Scottsdale - Cholla Trail

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jose Ochoa (@jochoa15)

5150 N Invergordon Rd, Paradise Valley / Website

Explore Camelback Mountain’s stunning vistas via Cholla Trail, a 3-mile out-and-back hiking route that both locals and visitors love. The challenging route, marked by blue markers, includes a rock scramble and extreme elevation, so come prepared with plenty of water and supplies. Make the most of Arizona’s painted deserts by heading to all the incredible parks on Scottsdale’s full list.

Silicon Valley - Alviso Marina County Park

1195 Hope St., San Jose / Website

Located along the Alviso slough and next to salt ponds and marshes sits the Alviso Marina County Park. The land has multiple trails, plus it's beautiful at sunrise and sunset. The park also fun activities like the Alviso Boat Tour and self-guided kayaking. Tech City has more afk escapes, so read up on Silicon Valley’s full list.

Washington DC - Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral

3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-537-6200 / Website

Built into the south side of Mount St. Alban, Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral attracts thousands of tourists and residents alike. The 59-acre Cathedral Close—formerly the home and garden of George Washington’s registrar of the United States Treasury—provides a beautiful sanctuary with breathtaking views. Aside from the Bishop’s Garden, the Cathedral’s grounds consist of the Olmsted Woods, a flourishing forest of oak and beech trees. Our nation’s capital is bursting with public spaces, so check the other wonderful gardens and green spaces on DC’s full list.

Fuel up before or after your hike with a nice feast at one of our favorite brunch spots across the country, too!













20 Of The Best Parks And Hiking Trails Across The U.S.

April 29, 2024 by By: Kat Bein

hiking shoes in a verdant field

Looking to explore the great outdoors while the weather is warm and the sun shines long? Whether you’re trying to take a hike in your own backyard or about to hit the trails on an interstate adventure, we asked our editors to choose their favorite parks, gardens and hikes in and around their cities.

See also: How To Host a Chic Summer BBQ With Gathered In Style

From sweeping California coastlines to urban oases, these are Modern Luxury’s top picks for best parks and hikes across the country.

Atlanta - Cascade Nature Preserve

2852 Cascade Rd. / Website

This nature preserve is known for its scenic landscapes, hiking trails and waterfalls, including Cascade Springs Cascade, a serene spot for park visitors. The park also features guided nature walks and educational programs for guests to learn more about local biodiversity and sustainability approaches. Discover more beautiful parks and hikes on Atlanta’s full list.

Aspen - Hunter Creek Trail

585 Cemetery Lane Aspen / Website

Hunter Creek is a relatively easy trail and offers creeks, rivers and immersion into the beautifully colored trees. Turn around at the top or follow the trail further and come down Smuggler. This hike is shady enough to provide some reprieve from summer heat without sacrificing a good outdoor workout. Enjoy even more of Aspen’s warm weather activities with a hike, picnic or day in the sun at one of the park’s on Aspen’s full list.

Boston - Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway; 617-524-1718 / Website

Spanning over 281 acres in the heart of Boston, Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum boasts one of the world’s most extensive collections of temperate woody plants–trees, bushes and more. This jewel in the Emerald necklace houses nearly 16,000 botanicals, heavily focusing on the floras of eastern North America and Asia. Forge through the lush landscapes and bask in the beauty of the arboretum’s azaleas, lilacs and bonsais. Explore more grand green space on Boston’s full list.

Chicago - Lincoln Park

500-5700 N. Lake Shore Dr. / Website

Chicago’s most famous park lies along the lake, spanning from Ohio Street Beach in the Streeterville neighborhood northward to Ardmore Avenue in Edgewater. The 1,200 acres are home to a zoo, conservatory, Theatre on the Lake, rowing canal, five playgrounds, the Chicago History Museum, nature sanctuary and archery range, among others. Visit the park for classic events like Wine Fest, Greek Fest and more. There are yet more urban gardens to get to know on Chicago’s full list.

Dallas - Klyde Warren Park

2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway / Website

If exercise is your favorite outdoor activity, join friends at the park for barre ballet, African dance, Pilates in the park or a jungle yoga flow for Earth Day. Not in the mood to move? Bring a book and find a sunny spot to soak up the 5 acres of oasis-like green space, or maybe grab some drinks and eats from beloved Tex-Mex institution Mi Cocina. Whether you’re trying to get your sweat on or not, the other parks on Dallas’ full list are worth a visit!

The Hamptons - Linda Gronlund Trail Loop

693 Rte 114, East Hampton / Website

The Linda Gronlund Trail Loop is a 3-mile hike in Sag Harbor through the Linda Gronlund Memorial Preserve. Also known locally as Barcelona Point, the loop features dune cliffs with vistas of the azure waters of Sag Harbor Bay and the historic Cedar Island Light, a charming lighthouse dating from 1839. One will also find verdant moss beds amid the tree roots along the path to the dunes, a perfect spot for lunch with a view. Dogs are welcome too, as long as they are leashed. Read even more about this and other wonderful park hikes on The Hampton’s full list.

Hawai‘i - Foster Botanical Garden

180 N Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu / Website

The “Central Park” of Honolulu, this garden oasis is nestled amid the busy downtown. The oldest of Honolulu’s botanical gardens, this attraction’s highlights include a conservatory and an outdoor butterfly garden surrounded by palm trees. Hawai’i is one of the most beautiful states in the country, so definitely do not miss a single park or hike on Hawai’i’s full list.

Houston - Buffalo Bayou Park

105 B Sabine St. / Website

There is never a dull moment at Buffalo Bayou Park—there is an abundance of activities, whether you wish to break out your skateboard at Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark or view the wetlands and native Texas prairie at Tapley Tributary. The 160-acre property contains The Water Works at Sabine St., a major destination that houses a grassy lawn with an incredible view of the downtown Houston skyline. Immerse yourself in Houston history along the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, one of the City of Houston’s first underground drinking-water reservoirs. As a restful and relaxing reset, the cistern houses periodic art installations and is home to weekly sound healing meditation sessions. Explore even more of Houston’s great open spaces on the city’s full list.

Las Vegas - Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs Trail at Lake Mead

601 Great Basin Highway, Boulder City / Website

Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs Trail trek is strenuous and spans 6 miles, but the reward is grand. Challenge yourself, then unwind with a dip in a warm, mineral-rich hot spring. Get off the Strip and see even more natural beauty on Las Vegas’ full list.

Los Angeles - Runyon Canyon

2000 N Fuller Ave. / Website

With a striking view of the Hollywood sign, the greater L.A. area and even the ocean, Runyon Canyon attracts plenty of visitors per day to trek the winding course inside this 160-acre Eastern Los Angeles park. Only slightly challenging, this is a great hike to take beginners on or to treat out-of-town guests to a slice of the city’s wellness culture. L.A. is a great spot for hiking, so be sure to check the rest of the parks on the city’s full list.

Miami - Bayfront Park

301 Biscayne Blvd. / Website

From stunning ocean views of the Biscayne Bay to a sparkling Ferris wheel, Bayfront Park offers 32 acres perfect for relaxation and entertainment all in one. Lie down on one of the park’s many grassy areas or take a stroll on the bay walk and enjoy the beautiful waters of Miami. A great option for families and people of all ages, Bayfront Park offers various activities such as the Bayside Market. If you need some more activity, spend time at the local shops and delicious restaurants that the park has to offer. Find more off-beach fun at the rest of the parks on Miami’s full list.

New York City - High Line Park

Gansevoort St. to 30th St. / Website

Escape the city's hustle and bustle at this iconic location. The High Line is a haven elevated above the crowds where you can take in a magical sunset while sitting beside the historic freight rail line. Make sure to visit after dark on Tuesday nights (April 2 - Oct. 29) for stargazing at the High Line. Visitors are provided telescopes, free of charge. Stargazing begins 30 minutes before park closure. There are actually a ton of parks to discover in the Big Apple, so be sure to read NYC’s full list.

Orange County - Pines Park

34941 Camino Capistrano, Capistrano Beach / Website

Perched atop a coastal cliff, Pines Park offers ocean views, playgrounds and grassy spaces. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., guests can enjoy picnic tables and barbeques surrounded by pine trees, water fountains and a lit, paved path. Orange County is a natural wonderland, so be sure to check the other parks on the area’s full list.

Palm Beach - Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

4000 Morikami Park Rd, Delray Beach / Website

Wander through a world-class bonsai collection and hike alongside lakes teeming with koi and wildlife. This stunning center is dedicated to Florida’s 100-year-old connection to the turn-of-the-century Japanese pioneers of the Yamato Farming Colony. The principal museum hosts a 225-seat theater and exhibitions with a collection of 7,000 art objects and 200 textile pieces. Enjoy monthly tea ceremonies performed in the Seishin-an tea house (October through May), as well as traditional Japanese festivities celebrated throughout the year. See what else there is to see on Palm Beach’s full list.

Philadelphia - The Barnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph’s University

50 Lapsley Lane, Merion; 610-660-2802 / Website

Husband and wife Dr. Albert and Laura Leggett Barnes manifested their passion for art and beauty into the largest ornamental fern collection in the mid-Atlantic region. Stroll through the couple’s cultivation this spring at the 12-acre arboretum that flourishes with peonies, lilac, hostas and more. The botanical beauty inspires and educates in collaboration with Saint Joseph’s University. Spend every lovely day outside at one of Philly’s other parks on the full list.

San Diego - Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla / Website

A wilderness island in an urban sea, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve on Torrey Pines Road is home to the nation’s rarest pine tree, Pinus torreyana. Not only does the park preserve the trees, but it’s also one of the last waterfowl refuges and salt marshes in the Southern California area. Hike one of a number of trails, take a guided tour through nature, visit the on-site museum, try your hand at geocaching or get involved in a family program. Southern California is just a gem, so explore the other parks on San Diego’s full list.

San Francisco - Barbary Coast Trail

Southern entrance downtown on 5th and Mission Streets / Website

The Barbary Coast Trail is San Francisco’s official historic walking tour, connecting some of the city’s most important historic sites from the Gold Rush to the 1906 earthquake and beyond. Explore 20 historic sites, five history museums, sailing ships, lively pubs and cafes, and stunning Victorian and Edwardian architecture. We all know Bay Area folks love a good hike, so don’t miss the other trails on San Francisco’s full list.

Scottsdale - Cholla Trail

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jose Ochoa (@jochoa15)

5150 N Invergordon Rd, Paradise Valley / Website

Explore Camelback Mountain’s stunning vistas via Cholla Trail, a 3-mile out-and-back hiking route that both locals and visitors love. The challenging route, marked by blue markers, includes a rock scramble and extreme elevation, so come prepared with plenty of water and supplies. Make the most of Arizona’s painted deserts by heading to all the incredible parks on Scottsdale’s full list.

Silicon Valley - Alviso Marina County Park

1195 Hope St., San Jose / Website

Located along the Alviso slough and next to salt ponds and marshes sits the Alviso Marina County Park. The land has multiple trails, plus it's beautiful at sunrise and sunset. The park also fun activities like the Alviso Boat Tour and self-guided kayaking. Tech City has more afk escapes, so read up on Silicon Valley’s full list.

Washington DC - Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral

3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-537-6200 / Website

Built into the south side of Mount St. Alban, Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral attracts thousands of tourists and residents alike. The 59-acre Cathedral Close—formerly the home and garden of George Washington’s registrar of the United States Treasury—provides a beautiful sanctuary with breathtaking views. Aside from the Bishop’s Garden, the Cathedral’s grounds consist of the Olmsted Woods, a flourishing forest of oak and beech trees. Our nation’s capital is bursting with public spaces, so check the other wonderful gardens and green spaces on DC’s full list.

Fuel up before or after your hike with a nice feast at one of our favorite brunch spots across the country, too!