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Arnold Media / The Image Bank / Getty Images

This Saturday, November 17, is National Take a Hike Day. Hiking is a great way to stay healthy, reconnect with nature and remind yourself of what we're trying to protect. In honor of the day, here are the EcoWatch team's favorite hikes, and the ones at the top of our bucket lists.

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Muir Woods, which costs $10 for entry, will have free entry on Sept. 22. m01229 / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

If you're stuck for plans this weekend, we suggest escaping your city or town for the great outdoors.

This Saturday marks the 25th National Public Lands Day, organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Jason Mark

By Jason Mark

Normally, a writer writes to reach an audience. But what I'm about to tell you, I want you to keep just between us, OK? Whatever you do, don't email this article to your friends, don't share it on Facebook, and please don't post it on Twitter. Because I'm going to let you in on one of the San Francisco Bay Area's best-kept backpacking secrets, and I want to keep it that way.

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Stacey McKenna

By Stacey McKenna

I'm sitting on a ridge at 9,000 feet, overlooking the world's largest alpine valley. The mid-June sun drops behind a nearby cliff band and the clouds shift, leaving errant rays of light shimmering in the passing agricultural vehicles' dust trails. Behind me, a fence blocks access to a yawning hole—the entrance to the decades-defunct Orient iron mine—from which tens of thousands of bats should start emerging any minute now.

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Pixabay

By Karin Klein

There are times when I don't know what to do with myself. I feel at odds with the world, irritated by the people in it, in a funk about myself and what I'm achieving or, rather, not achieving, overwhelmed by the obstacles and complications of life. Happiness seems like an entirely elusive state of being.

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Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Carol M. Highsmith Archive / Library of Congress

By Jillian Mackenzie

If you've visited the wilderness recently, you may have noticed something: people. People with walking sticks, people with selfie sticks, people with more people in tow. Surging numbers of visitors are hiking, camping, and all-around loving the outdoors. A whopping 330,882,751 of them spent 1.44 billion hours in our national parks in 2017—up 19 million hours from 2016. Great news, except that all this wilderness enthusiasm does come with a downside. "We're seeing record numbers of people connecting to nature, and that's a good thing," said Dana Watts, executive director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. "But with that comes an increase in the impact to the land."

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Give your Dad a National Parks pass to enjoy family hikes. James Mann / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Father's Day is Sunday, four days before summer officially kicks off. So many traditional Father's Day gift ideas—from fishing gear to golf balls—emphasize outdoor activities. Here are some eco-friendly gift ideas that will help you and your Dad enjoy some time in nature together, while showing it as much care as your father has shown you.

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The Salado Creek Greenway in San Antonio, Texas. dq5studios / CC BY 3.0

This Saturday, the American Hiking Society is celebrating a very special National Trails Day—2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Trails System Act, which created and protected some of the U.S.'s most loved scenic and historic walks.

Now, just in time for Saturday's festivities, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced in a Department of the Interior (DOI) press release Wednesday that he is adding 19 new recreation trails to the national network in 17 different states.

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"These are lands that have been stewarded by indigenous people for thousands of years, and now it's a responsibility of everyone to take that into consideration." @nativesoutdoors / Instagram

By Isabelle Morrison

Public spaces are for everyone, but how we perceive them and interact with them is contextual. Some activists are making their statements on the public canvas all around the world. And it's catching on.

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Brent McGregor

By Megan Hill

Eddy Cartaya and Brent McGregor have unearthed what might as well be another planet. It exists in the backyard of 6 million people, in areas frequented by scores of national park tourists each year.

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High-rises, power lines and cell towers punctuate the view along the Maclehose Trail. Tse Hon Ning

By Mike Ives

Gauzy lights flicker in the fog, outlining a summit. Otherwise, darkness. The only sounds I can hear are my breathing and the rustling of my windbreaker. A rocky chasm yawns below me, just steps from the trail. For a moment, I imagine that I'm watching a search party traverse a remote wilderness.

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