The American Northeast is a hiker’s delight. Mountain trails, river valleys, historic parks, and a stunning waterfall all await adventurous walkers who venture off the beaten tourist path. Bring your walking shoes and a good map with you when you visit these five favorite destinations.
Stamford, New York
You won’t need heavy-duty hiking boots to walk the Catskill Scenic Trail from Stamford. This flat 26-mile path follows an old rail line through the picturesque Delaware County countryside. Find a comfortable inn or bed and breakfast in Stamford, such as the Catskill Bed and Breakfast Spa, to fortify yourself for the long walk ahead, allowing you to enjoy a big breakfast in the morning and resting your tired legs in the evening.
Syracuse, New York
Choose from a big-city selection of inexpensive lodgings in Syracuse as you prepare to walk the banks of the old Erie Canal. Start your trip by visiting the Erie Canal Museum in downtown Syracuse to learn about the construction and commercial importance of this engineering marvel, then get an early start on the Old Erie Canal Trail from the neighboring small town of DeWitt. The route follows a disused section of the waterway on a flat towpath once used by horses and mules to pull freight barges up and down the canal.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Leave kitschy casinos and touristy souvenir shops behind when you visit this North American icon, discovering the falls by instead taking one of the many trails that crisscross the park areas on both sides of the river.Book a room on the Canadian side and pick up a trail map, then put on your hiking boots before enjoying the offerings of Niagara Glen Nature Reserve on the Ontario side and Devil’s Hole State Park and De Veaux Woods State Park below the falls on the New York side.
Niagara Falls | Image via Flickr by Oli-Oviyan
The bloodiest battle of the American Civil War was fought in Gettysburg over three days in 1863, and today the well-preserved battlefield and adjacent small town host more than a million curious visitors each year —so be sure to reserve a room early if you’ll be visiting during peak season. Pick up a copy of the Gettysburg National Military Park map at the visitor center, then take the trails through the battlefield — or, if you have a car, take a self-guided automobile tour and visit the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
Reenactors at Gettysburg | Image via Flickr by Joe Shlabotnik
Lancaster County is probably most famous for its large Amish settlement. The members of this community of Christian traditionalists choose not to use many modern inventions and live a simple agricultural lifestyle. Make the city of Lancaster your overnight hub when you explore the hiking trails of the county’s beautiful public parks. Lancaster County Central Park, just outside the city, is a good start, and Lancaster Junction Recreation Trail is worth the drive if you have a car.
When making your outdoor adventure travel plans, don’t overlook the possibilities in these gems of the Northeast. Do some research, identifying local favorites, then discover the cultural history and natural beauty that await you.
Cory Hanson is an American travel writer specializing in American and European travel. This is part of a series of American destination posts sponsored by travel search and booking service Hipmunk. Find more Hipmunk posts here, as well as a full sponsored content disclosure here.