I’m sure we all have our favorite websites for planning hikes; the ones we love browsing or are our first “go-to” when we decide we want to hike in a certain area. Below are some of my favorites; please feel free to post your favorites in the comments below!
“All Over the US” Hiking Websites
SummitPost.org – great for hiking mountains just about everywhere. There are many trails here that aren’t covered anywhere else, or at least not in enough detail to be helpful. However, browsing is difficult; you’re better off using Google (or your favorite search engine) to browse or search this site (for example, “Grand Teton SummitPost).
ProTrails.com – if the trail is on the site, you’ll need no other resource. Trail lengths, detailed GPS coordinates, helpful pictures, great write ups…it’s all here. It’s also fairly easy to search and browse, making it a great resource.
Backpacker.com – Not my favorite site (maybe because it’s slow to load and the trails tend to be 30+ miles long?), but a good place to browse. Often trail lengths, etc., are provided…but not always.
AllTrails.com – This isn’t really my favorite site, but the excellent maps (accessible with free sign up) make it worth mentioning. Trail lengths are usually too conservative and descriptions far too vague to make it an excellent resource.
State / Regional Hiking Websites
Washington Trail Association Website – This is my absolute, #1 favorite site for finding trails in Washington State. I originally stumbled across the site when every single trail I’d planned to hike turned out to be snowed in…and I didn’t figure that out until less than 24 hours before we were supposed to leave! So I spent the night frantically browsing the site for trail conditions that stated the trails were open… But back to the present… Trails here tend to up to date and contributors regularly post as to trail and road conditions, the trailhead directions are great, and the trail mileages are fairly accurate. The only thing I miss is more easily accessible pictures!
OregonHikers.org – This site is great for hiking in, well, Oregon! Some pictures, often detailed descriptions, easy to browse. Don’t let the site’s simple construction turn you off; it’s a quality operation. I’ve mostly used it for the Mt. Hood area, though I got some great inspiration for southern Washington, as well.
NWHiker.com – A little difficult and confusing to navigate, this site still worth the visit if hiking in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington (especially the area around the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood). If you can get to a hike, the detail and pictures are good enough to not need another resource.
ColoradoGuy.com – Lots of good information here about hiking in Colorado and beyond; you’ll have to browse because it’s not wonderfully laid out. Still, there are lots of pictures, fairly accurate trail length estimates, and plenty of trails I likely wouldn’t have found elsewhere. OK, honestly, you could plan an entire trip of Colorado hiking here without any difficulty – Not too shabby!
14ers.com – Great if you like climbing 14ers. There are often several different routes detailed for each peak (choose your favorite), as well as personal experiences, loads of pictures, and accurate trail / trailhead / trail length data.
13ers.com – Sister site to the above, and with lots of pictures and trail information about trails and routes in Colorado. Not as detailed as 14ers.com (and with far fewer trail descriptions), but still great for browsing.
Bob’s Arches – This website, aptly named “Bob’s Arches”, lists arches all over the US (and several from all over the world). Pictures and driving/hiking directions make this a fun resource.
Four Corners Hikes – Hikes and attractions from the Four Corners area of the western US. It hasn’t been updated in a while, but this resource lists hikes as well as museums and current cultural happenings.
Specific Park / Area Hiking Websites
These are all really great sites, covering (as you might expect) Grand Teton National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Glacier National Park, Great Smoky National Park, and beyond! Easy to browse, and with trails ranked by feature, it’s not difficult to find something I’d like to hike. Actually, after I started browsing the websites, I accidently met up with the creators on Google+ – and they’re great people, too! The sites detail a lot of really cool trails, and include all the pertinent information: trail length, elevation gain, pictures, map, elevation profile, trail write-up, etc., etc., etc.
HaveMediaWillTravel.com – Great resource for the Wind River Range in Wyoming. Most of her “day hikes” are upwards of 20 miles, but many can be shortened to something I’d actually do!
YosemiteHikes.com – Great for trails in Yosemite National Park; easy to browse, good pictures and trail descriptions. And the games are fun, too.
HikeMtShasta.com – If you want to hike in the Mt. Shasta area, this is a great site with lots of trails, pictures, and good trail descriptions / lengths.
Love / Hate Websites
There are a few sites that I don’t love, but they are so useful, I have to include them. Both of these tend to have really good maps and up-to-date closures if nothing else.
National Park Service – This is the National Park website, which lists the parks that are run by the National Park Service. It has updated information about fees, attractions, and trails.
National Forest Service – A website for the National Forests in the US. Here you can find information about national forests, current trail conditions, fees, and camping information about the National Forest and Bureau of Land Management owned parks/lands.
What are your “Go To” websites for planning a hiking trip?
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