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Staycation: Take a Hike!

August 12, 2011

It’s still summer — August is only half over — but fall is on its way and even some Saturday mornings in DC haven’t been too hot as humidity dies away. What better time to get outside — and out of the city?

Hiking is a great day trip because it’s free, fun and healthy. In fact, when I lived in Seoul, a mountain was literally in my backyard and we used to go hiking after work for the fresh air. Not a bad view from our little peak, eh?

Back in DC… here are three favorite local hikes:

Great Falls, Va.

The Virginia side of Great Falls, which straddles the Potomac River, has more easily-accessible trails and meandering paths than its Maryland sister. Not only can you see the falls on foot, you can also bike or ride horses along miles of trails — or ditch the trail altogether for rappelling or kayaking.

Harpers Ferry, WV

There are tons of hikes outside of historic Harpers Ferry, and the best thing about going for a hike near a town is being able to get a good meal right afterward. Hikes range from easy-going to strenuous and for great views, the Maryland Heights trail is a winner. Bonus: if you’re a history nerd, like me, there’s plenty to see and learn about.

Sugarloaf Mountain, Dickerson, Md.

(Dog not included)

Sugarloaf is truly the (mis-named) mountain for everyone, since you can drive pretty much straight up to the summit or choose to hike. It’s where we used to go hiking when I was a kid and it’s still a nice getaway, tucked into the countryside but just an hour away. Plus, there’s a winery at the foot of the mountain so how about a tasting after all that fresh mountain air?

If you’re going hiking, you need a good backpack to carry your water, snacks, keys, sweatshirt, wallet, iPod, iPhone, iPad and all the other stuff we schlep around whenever leaving the house. To pack for my trip to Nicaragua, Samsonite sent me one of their new casual backpacks to try out.

I loaded this thing down with a week’s worth of clothes, extra shoes, little toys to give out to local kids, a book for the plane — you need it, I stuffed it into this backpack. And you know what? Like Mary Poppins’ bag, there was always more room. Despite having the smallest bag, I somehow still had room to carry extra stuff and pick up some fun gifts along the way. Not only that, but this was the most comfortable backpack I’ve ever owned. Even on the plane ride home, bursting to the brim, it didn’t feel heavy and (best of all) fit into the overhead compartment. Samsonite #win.

What’s your favorite DC-area hike, Washingtonians?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2011 5:48 am

    I love hiking! Love love love it! It’s such a great way to spend the day and it does feel like a little vacation. It has been TOO hot here lately. Another reason I am getting anxious for fall.

    Can’t wait to see you in less than a week. 🙂

  2. August 13, 2011 9:50 am

    I’ve been to all of those places! Although I always went tubing at Harper’s Ferry, not hiking. I shouldn’t admit this, but when I was in high school, we used to skip classes and go to the Maryland side of Great Falls.

  3. August 14, 2011 5:02 am

    Great post! Just a quick question, though- what is the name of the style of backpack from Samsonite?

  4. August 14, 2011 7:47 pm

    I love hiking, but I have to admit I’m not good about finding places to hike at home, and I really need to work on that!

  5. August 15, 2011 4:27 pm

    Great post! We live in CO, and sometimes feel a little spoiled with all our great hikes!

  6. August 15, 2011 6:20 pm

    I love Great Falls, The C&O Canal, and the US National Arboretum.

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