Looking for a hiking adventure that's challenging on the body but easy on the eyes? Check out this selection of wilderness walks with gorgeous scenery and killer views.
For more on the health benefits of hiking -- plus trail rules, gear and clothing to keep you comfortable, and tips for hoofing it with kids -- pick up the May 2010 issue of Body+Soul, on newsstands April 19.
California King Range National Conservation Area, Humboldt County, California
The wooded Lost-Coast Trail hugs the coast of a redwood forest -- you may even get a glimpse of an elk, seal, or turtle. It's one of the few coastal hikes in the country.
Payoff: Unadulterated views of the rugged Pacific coast
Length: Up to 24 miles one way (or three to five days)
Difficulty: Easy to challenging, depending on which part of the trail you are on
For more info: blm.gov/ca
Tumbledown Mountain, Weld, Maine
About two hours northwest of Portland, this mountain isn't the tallest peak in the area, but thanks to a high-elevation pond and great summit views, it's one of the more popular among area hikers.
Payoff: A chance to cool down in Tumbledown Pond and get fabulous views to the Camden Hills, the Atlantic ocean to the east, and White Mountains to the west
Length: 3 to 5 miles round trip, depending on the trail
Difficulty: Easy to difficult, depending on the trail
For more info: summitpost.org
Awaawapuhi Trail, Kaua'i, Hawaii
The hard part isn't getting to the end of this forested trail in Koke'e State Park, but getting back. Be warned: Jaw-dropping, steep cliffs make it not for those afraid of heights.
Payoff: A spectacular view from a ledge of the lush Nualolo and Awaawapuhi Valleys and the Na Pali coastline.
Length: 6.2 miles round trip
For more info: hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov
The Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls, Kaua'i Hawaii
The only way to explore the rugged Na'pali coast up close and personal, this narrow red-clay trail takes you past lush, Jurassic Park-like foliage while offering unparalleled views of sea.
Payoff: An 800-foot cascading waterfall and freshwater pool area surrounded by mountain walls and the tropical forest
Length: 8 miles round trip
For more info: hawaiistateparks.org
Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff, Arizona
The super-scenic Boynton Canyon Trail No. 47 in Arizona's Red Rock Country is thought to be a site of a spiritual energy vortex.
Payoff: An amazing view of the box canyon (complete with its carved sandstone cliffs) looking out over the mesas
Length: 5 miles round trip
For more info: fs.fed.us
Conundrum Hot Springs Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Pack an overnight bag to experience this Colorado hot spot (pun intended), located in the Maroon Bells Wilderness just outside of Aspen.
Payoff: A natural cure for those aching calves and toes: 100-degree geothermal pools surrounded by snow-capped peaks -- bathing suit not required
Length: 178 miles round trip
For more info: fs.fed.us
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