Bridge on the McKenzie River Trail, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
© Don Paulson/Danita Delimon
Take a hike!. National Take a Hike Day
It's National Take a Hike Day, so what better time to lace up those boots and head out on a trail to pay homage to John Muir, the patron saint (not really) of US hiking. Muir was instrumental in persuading the government that enjoying nature is the right of every American and that there should be an official national park system. He saw the spectacular beauty of the American West when he walked through the Sierra Nevada in California, and was passionate about preserving the country's national wonders. In 1892, Muir founded the Sierra Club, an environmental organization that protects wild lands to this day.
The US boasts more than 60,000 miles of national trails, and you can choose coastal paths or mountain climbs, forest meanders or historical walks like Boston's Freedom Trail. Our photo shows Oregon's McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, part of the Willamette National Forest. This trail winds by lakes, rivers, and springs, guiding you through shady old-growth forests. One highlight: the view overlooking Tamolitch Blue Pool, a crystal-clear pool created by the river bubbling up into it.