OneTravel - Book cheap flights, hotels and cars!

Up for a Walk Across The City? Try These Great U.S. Urban Hiking Trails

Written by Shannon Durso

This blog post was updated on May 11, 2023.

New to to the joys of urban hiking? Well, it’s not your average walk around the park, that’s for sure. Think about it more of as exciting exercise through scenic routes, stairwells…you might even have to jog across a car-filled street or walk across a busy bridge.

But don’t be too afraid, though. Urban hiking isn’t as intense as you might think, and there are plenty of choices to choose from to adapt your intensity and experience to the task without aa problem. Here are some great urban hiking trails in the U.S, to walk to your heart’s content.

The Highline, New York City

US Urban Hiking Trails

Elevated above Manhattan’s Meatpacking and Chelsea districts, the always hip Highline covers the remains of a long-abandoned elevated railroad. The southern tip of the Highline starts above Gansevoort Street, directly next to the new Whitney Museum, then travels north through Chelsea to West 34 Street and the fancy new Hudson Yards neighborhood. Apart from the amazing pieces of art you’ll see along the way, you’ll find cool pop-up shops and exhibits. Oh, and be sure to check their website for current activities and special tours.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis

Put on your walking shoes for this eight-mile cultural trail located in downtown Ind.! Along the way, you’ll find eight different walking paths and 10 public art projects through 6 cultural districts. Our advice? Be sure to look at a map of the trail before you go. Hikers can start or end their journey anywhere along the path. If your feet get tired of walking, you can always rent a bike or even a paddle-boat to go in the canal.

Lakefront Trail, Chicago

There is no shortage of sites to discover along Chicago’s Lakefront Trail. This trail measures over 18 miles, running from Calumet Park to Rogers Park. While it definitely comes alive during the warm summer months, you will enjoy the beauty of your surroundings all year long if you’re feeling up to walking, jogging, skateboarding, or biking.

Actually, the hardest part of exploring the Lakefront Trail trail is deciding what to visit along your journey. Among its most popular attractions you can find the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the bird sanctuary at Montrose, and the Navy Pier, widely recognized as the heart and soul of the Windy City. On summer days, you will want to make time to cool off at Hollywood Beach. There are also numerous dog parks and skate parks located, and you won’t definitely not get hungry with its varied dining options along the way.

Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia

We hope you’re ready for some exercise! The Schuylkill River Trail offers urban hikers a variety of recreational activities, including walking, running, biking, and horseback riding. The trail runs for over 30 miles along the Schuylkill River from Center City Philadelphia to Parker Ford, Pa., and offers scenic views of the river and surrounding parks. Along the way, visitors can find Indego Bike Share stations, informative signs providing information on birds, wildlife, and woodlands, and connections to local eateries and connecting trails in several “trail towns.” Additionally, visitors can check out Lock 60 at the Schuylkill Canal Park, Upper Schuylkill Valley Park, and the Pottstown RiverWalk.

You may also like: Take a Hike…at the World’s Most Walkable Cities

Elliott Bay Trail , Seattle

You would be hard-pressed to find a more scenic urban trail than the Elliott Bay Trail in Seattle. Even on the most typical Seattle rainy days, you will still find plenty to see and do. This five-mile trail inches along the city’s stunning waterfront adjacent to the downtown area. In addition to taking in the sights of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and Mount Rainier, a walk along this trail will also take you past some of the area’s most famous sights and attractions. Pick up a cup of coffee at the first ever Starbucks at Pike Place Market before heading out to explore the exhibits at the Seattle Art Museum or the marine life that call the Seattle Aquarium home. You can also take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel that provides breathtaking views of the mountains and the water.

The trail also runs past the Seattle Center, location of the famous Space Needle, the Climate Pledge Arena, the Pacific Science Center, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Seattle Children’s Museum. So, when you’re planning your visit to Seattle, be sure to leave time to check out the numerous installations at the Olympic Sculpture Park, located by the waterfront.

Telegraph Hill, San Francisco

US Urban Hiking Trail

If you’re in for some intense hiking and love to spend time in San Francisco, we’ve found the place for you. Although there are different ways to get up Telegraph Hill to get to Coit Tower, taking the steep stairs is the toughest — yet most enjoyable — route. You can take the Greenwich Street steps or the Filbert Street stairway, which takes hikers through a scenic route with great views of the bay. On your way up or down the 400 steps of Telegraph Hill, you’ll also see beautiful flowers, houses, gardens, and exotic parrots. And hey, you’ll certainly get a good workout in!

Harborwalk, Boston

Be ready to catch some of the best views in Boston with a hike along the popular Harborwalk. This trail encompasses 43 miles and runs along Boston’s historic shoreline. You can hop onto the trail from a few different neighborhoods, starting in lower Dorchester and expanding up through East Boston. The Harborwalk hits a myriad of popular and historic communities, including Charlestown, the North End, and the downtown area. The trail also traverses through the maritime parts of the city, although much of this has been converted into high-end real estate.

Other activities that you will find along the trail include over 40 parks, one dozen museums, and loads of cafes and restaurants. The primary Harborwalk also connects you to a number of additional inland trails and parks. Take the Harborwalk to visit the historic Freedom Trail, the beautiful East Boston Greenway, and more. You could stay busy for days when exploring Boston’s Harborwalk and everything that it leads you to discover.

Have you been on any urban hikes in the US? Tell us where you went in our comments section below!

About the author

Shannon Durso

If she’s not searching for the world's coolest destinations she has yet to explore, you can find her writing content at Fareportal or maybe even drooling over a foodies latest post. Shannon’s a Brooklyn native who enjoys good company, new adventures, and a great laugh!