Urban Hiking: Exploring Your Local Terrain

The concept of hiking for most people conjures visions of dirt paths, rocky trails, mountain passes, or grassy river banks. But what about metropolitan skylines, side streets, bridge passes, and old rail yards? We Grokkers are a variable mix of urbanites, suburbanites, and country folk. When it comes to talk of hitting the trails and enjoying an outdoor workout, those of us in cities can occasionally feel boxed in. Sure, there are the parks, city beaches, and lake shore routes, but the opportunity for wilderness immersion is likely lacking. If we can?t take in a natural vista, we?re often inclined to just hit the gym. At that point, we might ask, what difference does it make? I?d argue we?re majorly missing out. Though many of us live in dense, heavily human terrain, there?s plenty of adventure to be had, ample chance for discovery, and abundant opportunity for the rich, contemplative experience we often seek in the most secluded wood. It?s all about embracing the whole of the world just outside our doors – and journeying into it with new eyes and an open mind.

Urban hiking first garnered major attention with the story of Dan Koeppel as told in the famous Backpacker article. Through his own explorations through L.A.?s Echo Park and Silver Lake areas, Koeppel designed an elaborate urban trek connecting staircases in the city. In all, Koeppel?s trek included nearly 5,000 steps as well as forays into intimate neighborhood nooks and unexpected natural havens. With the Backpacker article, the L.A. Times follow-up, and Koeppel?s own website detailing his adventures, urban hiking took root as a movement.

National Geographic did a ?Best U.S. Hiking Cities? spread a while back. Though it focused on the natural ?escapes? within easy reach of the cities themselves, the treks include experience of the cities themselves, even if it?s the trail?s end ?return.? Every metropolitan area offers incredible routes, and many cities now boast active urban trekking communities. Local groups across the country offer up maps and events that vary from the casual rag tag to the urban ?walking poem performance.?

For the solitary journeymen and women out there, you can find best urban hike suggestions and reviews on sites like Yelp and your local trail association. Others begin with the ?seminal? routes promoted by cities (e.g. the Grand Rounds of Minneapolis or the Freedom Trail in Boston) or by the natural bounds of their areas (e.g. the perimeter of Manhattan). Still others, the do-it-yourselfers, chart their own courses in true wayfaring style. Any way you undertake it, you?ll find no shortage of possibilities.

As urban hiking enthusiasts will tell you, the advantages of urban treks include the ready availability of any necessary supplies and facilities along the way. Hungry? Stop in at a fun-looking (and Primal friendly) cafe. Nature calls (the other kind)? Duck into a public building or convenience store. Bring only what you want to bring rather than what you need. Without the massive water bottle, you can bring an extra lens for the camera.

Most of all, however, the ready access calls urban hikers. As those of us who don?t live in far flung settings know, we don?t always have time (or inclination) to drive into the wilderness. If we limited our explorations to the get-out-of-Dodge escapes, we?d be sad souls. We all yearn for the expedition and need the benefit of regular retreat. Although a wholly natural setting offers a kind of unique and essential nourishment, there?s plenty of sustenance to be had roaming the urban landscape.

An urban hike gives us the chance to explore the terrain we live in, to contemplate how we live and interact with the urban space we call home. We break out of the limitations of our daily agendas and how they circumscribe our perception of where we live. I think we?re more likely to give nature its due as independent, animated space. How do we perceive the shape and spirit of the cities we live in? We too often disconnect from our urban spaces, but in doing so we forget that we?re always creatures of habitat. Whatever place we reside, we learn to ?be? in that place – survive, thrive – just as our ancestors did. What can change in our ?being? (or being there) when we come to know the city we call home?

Likewise, urban hiking can help us reclaim our own natural wayfaring instincts. As with nature hiking, we can explore our urban environments with the trekking mindset. Urban hiking isn’t just a walk after all: like any hike, it’s a journey we undertake, a physical and sensory passage we retreat within. We engage with a place by acting within it, moving within it, taking it into our senses and imagination – not as isolated landmarks but as a full and continuous terrain. As much help and assurance as cells phones and GPS can be, take it in on your own terms. See where your whim takes you, where the landscape of people and activity and architecture lead you. Absorb the chance for deep, contemplative solitude or relish the opportunities for new acquaintance and conversation. Lose yourself for a fall afternoon in the complex configurations and meanderings of the place you?ll never see the same way again.

Thanks for reading today, everybody. Have a great end to your week!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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81 thoughts on “Urban Hiking: Exploring Your Local Terrain”

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  1. Funny you should mention Dan Koepell…I just did one of his Epic Explorations this past Monday (Labor Day). (Wore my minimalist Luna Sandals for the entire 15 miles, too!)

    I grew up in L.A.–but always discover something new every time I take an urban hike like this!

  2. I totally think that it’s great to get out and get walking – your body is built for it. My big concern with urban hiking would be getting far enough away from the ‘main streets’ to minimize exposure to vehicle exhaust. When you’re on the sidewalk, a lot of times you can basically be walking (and breathing more deeply) at the exact location the cars are venting exhaust, which could be pretty lousy. No need to inhale all that gunk!

    1. True but the simple act of walking has ginormous benefits. I did not walk at all yesterday and I was a little stressed. When I do walk within Chicago I have a stronger sense of happiness. I have more joy and have that craving to play and have fun and work less.

      It’s great to walk by THOUSANDS of people instead of a few people and lots of cars. And everything is within walking distance including whole foods, trader joes, local restaurants that serve grass fed beef, ethnic markets, farmers marketes, navy peir, lake michigan…

      Yes, Chicago is one of the greatest, if not the greatest city in the world for the summer…

      When winter is here I wish you luck 🙂

      1. Chicago! I’m about 50 miles west of you. Did you go to the premier of Farmageddon or ever hear anything about it? We went into the city to see it 🙂
        Chicago is cool for walking around… during the day 😉

        1. I did not see a preview for it. How often do you come into town?

          Google “Primal Chicagoans meetup group” and join! We are going on a hike in the burbs soon!

      2. Yes. Walk away. Better to walk in the funk than to not walk at all. Just be aware is all :).

        My wife and I frequently take evening walks around the neighborhood. Last weekend, we got out and were able to do about 9 miles in hiking over a 2 day period. Not a ton, but a lot more considering the constantly shifting dynamic weight we were having to carry for parts of the trip (our son:).

      3. Toad, your youthful enthusiasm is infectious for this old broad! I’m glad you like your new city.

  3. “there’s plenty of adventure to be had.” Absolutely! The world is full of nooks and crannies to explore. I have just as much fun walking around my city as I do in the hills. Your article makes me miss San Francisco, though. Those hills and neighborhoods made for the best explorations day after day.

    1. Peggy, I couldn’t agree more! The hills make you feel like you’ve entered a different city after only walking a few blocks. They make for wonderful exploring, and awesome little random spots to discover!

    2. oh how I too, miss the bay area. alameda and contra costa county, boast to have over 1000 miles of trails though. don’t really need urban hiking there.

    3. And lets not forget the beaches and golden gate park, all mixed in with the burbs:-)…Viva San Fran!

  4. I think I live in an awesome city for urban hiking (even if National Geographic doesn’t think so). Here in Louisville, KY we have an Olmsted-designed park system that fits neatly into the middle of the urban grid. While these urban parks aren’t the ideal size for a wilderness adventure (they are in the middle of civilization!) the hiking trails here are wonderful for incorporating the outdoors into your everyday life, and fabulous for getting kids acquainted with nature on a daily–not annual–basis.

    I’m going to head over and re-read that Backpacker article now!

    1. Nice! Sounds great. I love it when an urban area has pockets of woods and creeks. I live in a planned community called Mountain Park in Lake Oswego, Oregon, that has 175 acres of common property, and 8 miles of trails.

  5. This is a beautiful article.

    I lived in Grand Rapids for 23 years but have been living in Chicago for about 5 weeks (if you do too then PLEASE let me know! Join the Chicago Tribe!).

    I used to take a short 7-15 minute walk around the neighborhood in GR. It was nice in a way. However, some breed of annoying flies annoy me so much that I literally want to go insane. I almost do.

    I have been staying with my bro for 5 weeks here in Chicago. When you walk outside you can see Wrigley Field. It’s awesome. My “walk around the block” in Chicago is superbly pleasant and includes me walking around Wrigley Field. How cool is that?!

    I see people everywhere. I love people. Love them to death. It’s amazing to start a conversation with someone and tell them about the primal lifestyle or learn that they live it too (its happened at Whole Foods, a random cafe that has grass fed beef chili, and the guy I sold my golf clubs too was primal!).

    It’s a riot. Back in GR there was not a lot of people walking the streets. The streets were instead filled with cars. Lots of hiking trails but I still had to drive to them. I can take the blue, brown, red, or whatever lines to hiking trails in the suburbs of Chicago!

    Or I can gratefully walk all over Chicago and meet awesome people. I can change lives face 2 face instead of just over the internet.

    And, lastly, I have a 20 minute walk to Lake Michigan 🙂

    With all this being said… I am flying down to Orlando on November 1 to live there for a few months before I am back in the Midwest for the Summer. Yes, I LOVE that sun!

  6. We live within walking distance from downtown, but our neighborhood borders an industrial area. We call it “urban exploring” and we do a lot of it. We’re fortunate that there’s a creek here, the dogs love to swim, a criss-cross of railroad tracks, lots of embankments to climb up and down, and some overgrown parts to explore. I wouldn’t advise women doing it alone, at least not without a dog or two you know will defend you, as industrial areas tend to be in tougher parts of town, but as a pair or with friends, absolutely. It’s great exercise and we’ve found all sorts of stuff, mainly for the garden, just laying around. Hauling rocks and heavy things is great for you as well. Otherwise, trolling city streets and neighborhoods is fun too. I get bored unless I’m doing something (looking for stuff for the garden or to repurpose) or the scenery changes regularly.

  7. Walking around in my downtown is one of my favorite forms of exercise. When I go on my own I can choose my pace and people watching is way more entertaining than music blasting in my ears. It definitely never gets boring in the city I live in, that’s for sure!

    1. What city?

      I LOVE people watching! I LOVE it to when people stop me on the street and ask me about my vibrams! It’s an absolute blast and fulfills my life immensely.

  8. A funny thing happened to me a number of years ago in Fullerton, CA, while I was out for a walk. I was killing time while my husband was at the DMV–we were new to the area and I was exploring. A policeman on a motorcycle pulled up and asked me what I was doing. I explained that I was just out for a walk and he seemed confused…

  9. The hiking — urban or otherwise — and people-watching options here in Fort Collins (and, in fact, the whole of Colorado’s Front Range) are great. You can stay on the flats, sidewalks and bike paths, or head over to the foothills. Your choices of terrain, time, length and difficulty are quite diverse.

    1. Woo-hoo! Another Fort Funner… we all need to get together and share some of our fave treks around the area.

        1. My husband and I are just beginning this journey (only 2 months Paleo/Primal, to be exact) and have lost enough poundage that urban hiking is really starting to sound like a wonderful way to start firming and exploring what is right outside our door.
          (I’m also new to MDA…need to learn how to find you guys off the comment boards so we aren’t clogging the flow too much!)

  10. I do not need a term to describe my favorite hobby. I work in Boston, MA (never hiked the freedom trail) and every once and while the public transit system goes hay wire and they start shuttling people via bus. I just start walking, the longest trek to work was 6.5 miles, mostly barefoot. The longest trek for fun was 8 miles with Vibrams. I say about twice a month I go for a nice soul saturating urban hike. I do not have a car so wilderness is out. I have to appease my inner Grok somehow.

  11. I agree with Philly being on the list.

    Unless pub crawls is your version of walking, Baltimore is probably not the best place to explore walking. Thankfully Maryland has plenty of other venues to do so.

  12. This is what I miss most about living in Manhattan. I was very trim living there walking everywhere we went. The opportunities to hike, urban or not, are just not as readily available where we are now. We hike several times a week, but that’s nothing like walking every day.

  13. Nice timing. I took a barefoot walk instead of eating lunch today. Stopped outside the local art museum and caught a few rays, read a sub-chapter in the book I’m reading, and then meandered back to the office. I got a few odd looks for carrying my sandals instead of wearing them, but – oh well! I love the feeling of the knobby bricks that the city has put in on the sidewalks at each intersection. I’m sure they are designed for icy/snow traction and safety, but they feel good on my bare feet.

  14. I used to travel for work and one of my favorite activities was to walk around the different urban environments since I was usually in a location for at least a week. I ended up buying a small digital camera that I could use when traveling and have some wonderful pictures and memories of many of the locations. I now live in a small town and often travel the same routes during my grok-walks but am amazed at how many thing I see for the first time even though I have passed that way many times.

  15. If you are in the bay area and prefer a little more content and structure to your urban adventure, then I highly recommend checking out the guided, FREE walking tours in San Francisco, offered everywhere, all the time: https://www.sfcityguides.org/ Some of them are historical, some are artistic (architecture and mural walks), and I think there are some that are “stairway walks” and thus probably count as excellent urban hiking exercise.

  16. I can’t believe Portland’s Forest Park hasn’t been mentioned yet. The Columbia River Gorge hikes mentioned in the NG article are great, but we have a 5000+ acre playground within the city limits. Complete with fantastic hiking, biking, and running trails! It’s truely the NW at it’s best!

    1. SW Portland has Tryon Creek; 670-acres of forest located on the boundaries of Portland and Lake Oswego. I’m there every several times a week!

  17. I live in berkeley california and it is great for walking. Lots of interesting people, wonderful places to eat and many where they understand about sustainable pastured meats and organic produce. Plus we’re so lucky with the weather, it’s usually quite good for getting around. On the west side is san francisco bay and on the east is a huge park. The city also has amazing little parks scattered all over with streams and interesting natural features. If anyone else is a grokker here would love to meet with you.

  18. I have been doing this lately. I live in th Dallas area. So some weekends I take the Dart instead and get off at different spots like downtown, fairpark etc and just walk. It is great and save a lot of gas 🙂

  19. There was no better way to get to know Boston than to just walk around the city.

    I love taking out of town visitors to the South end for a (primal :-)) brunch before we walk from the south end through the Public Gardens and the Boston Commons to the North end.

    There are so many things to see on the walk and it makes you realize how small Boston actually is!

    I also went hiking in Red Rock Canyon (got engaged there actually!! :-)) and it is BEAUTIFUL!

  20. Great article. I want to do more of that stuff.

    Reading it made me think of this: The other day I was sitting outside at the medical clinic where I work as an RN, just finished my lunch, when one of the doctors walked by, saying to me with his thick Russian accent, “FIVE minutes I get for lunch, and TWO of them I am using to take a walk”. I looked at my watch; I had five minutes left on my break, so, inspired I went for a quick walk around the parking lot enjoying such sites as massive oak trees that I had never paid attention to before. I felt a certain satisfaction the rest of the afternoon.

  21. Victoria BC in Canada has so many walking trails weaving through it. I do miss it even though I now live right next to a conservation area. Hiking the conservation area everyday gets to feel too familiar. There’s nothing new to discover! Not so in the city.

  22. Excellent article !

    I love hiking but hate driving to location X just to hike.

  23. I’ve been thinking alot about urban hiking and the not always pleasant emotions it elicits. It definitely brings me face-to-face with the typical urban challenges — it’s one thing to drive past live-in motels, seedy liquor stores, bail bond places, etc. but being street level and really seeing people eye-to-eye makes me so much more compassionate and also so grateful for my life. …And I should say there are also the more pleasing places too: funky coffee shops, awesome ethnic grocers, and cool thrift stores, beautiful architecture, etc. But for me, really taking in the unpleasant with the pleasant is part of the urban hiking experience and embracing my human tribe.

  24. Is it still considered hiking if there aren’t any hills? I walk a lot around where I live, but I’m desperate for a hill. The closest I come are draw bridges.

  25. I live in a small town between two national parks (Arches and Canyonlands). I live downtown and walk my errands, but just minutes away are hundreds of square miles of parks and wilderness. Gotta love red rocks in all their wild expressions!

  26. I like to walk to local park playgrounds to do chinups, etc. My wife is too scared. The bushes are full of tents and beer cans and people go missing all the time.

  27. I haven’t done any ‘urban hiking’ for quite a while. The last time was when I did the coast to coast walk through Auckland City (New Zealand) a couple of years ago (https://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/whatson/places/walkways/coasttocoast/index.asp).

    Yes, there are plent of amazing tracks/hikes/tramps to do around New Zealand, but it was really interesting to walk from one end of Auckland to the other and see so many different aspects and places that I hadn’t been to before, including a number of vulcanoes, even though I’d lived here for a number of years.

    If you’re ever in Auckland for a time I’d recommend it. Start on the West coast finishing up at the Viaduct Harbour on the East in downtown Auckland. Great place to eat a nice meal by the sea after a long days walk 🙂

  28. currently living in the other bay area. all I need is a big smile, then go meet some new neighbors. perfect way to kick off the 30 day challenge, urban hiking and greasing the groove.

  29. This is awesome.

    When I was still in college I’d occasionally go explore the campus late at night, see what buildings I could climb on top of, what open 2nd story windows I could get in and so on. I’ll tell you, it’s one of the most fun things you’ll ever do.

    Just don’t get arrested =)

    1. I love climbing on buildings. I climb my old high school sometimes. There’s a a pole on the outside of the gym about 25 feet that I like to slide down. I’ve also been on a bank, some houses, and some stores.. usually at night when there aren’t many people around and I try to dress dark.
      Other than that for urban hiking I generally just walk around to get around and to explore wherever I live, as I’ve lived in a couple cities and a town since I was old enough to go out on my own. It’s very beneficial to learn what alleys take you where and what fields and forests you can cut through etc. I don’t know a lot of a street names but I can find my way around fairly well.
      It looks like I’ll be doing a lot of walking coming up. Just a couple afternoons ago I fell off my bike at the bottom of a hill. I don’t even remember. I like to bomb hills though. According to the witnesses I went right into the guard rail of a bridge. I just remember being at the top of the hill and the next thing I know I was sitting on the curb with a bunch of people around me. They said I was blinking for a while but unresponsive so they called an ambulance and the medical workers thought I had a minor concussion. I’m in pretty rough shape now. It looks like I got beat up with a baseball bat. At least I fared better than the bike – it’s useless now. The whole front tire is twisted out of shape. I feel lucky to be Grokking on still. I learned my lesson. If you’re going to ride a bike, especially without a helmet, don’t do anything that could make you black out at random.
      Plus showing up to my welfare appointment covered in blood and throwing up from the concussion pretty much elicited pity and so I’ll finally be able to actually buy food in a couple days or so, instead of sketchily acquiring powerbars from the local providers for survival.

      1. Bonus: Tylenol 3 prescription and 4 free ones from the hospital last night, plus a couple sandwhiches.. yeah sandwhiches.. better than nothin. The milk and orange juice were awesome though.

  30. I loved walking through the pedestrian zones of europe. They are the reason why so many europeans are slimmer than americans, ya simply can’t get to places with your car, you have to park and then walk.

    Now I live in the US and the only place similar would be a x-large Mall…but being bombarded with junk food everywhere.
    Walking around my town is like trying to commit suicide by CO2.

    Being spoiled from europe’s pedestrian zones I sadly have to say I don’t enjoy walking in an urban enviroment in the US. Perhaps I live in the wrong State/City, too…

    Nothing beats the fresh outdoors of mountains and forest.

  31. I only go for 2 hours hike in the urban hiking trail. Been thinking about doubling that.

  32. When we walk in the city, we barely notice the traffic noises and chaos. But we are very fortunate to live just outside of the city so the majority of my walking is surrounded by trees and birds. Great article for the urban dwellers!!

  33. “Hike” is a strange word to be using within city limits. I walk the city (Boston) daily from the harbor to the Charles or the leafy more suburban neighborhood I live in. I think just being out in the weather is important as a connection to nature and I don’t think it’s possible to be cold as long as you are dressed for it and keep up a good pace.

  34. Hi Mark – thanks for this post. Over the weekend I hiked up the Grouse Grind, a 2.9-kilometre trail rising 2,800 feet up the face of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. I spend most of my time in New York city, so I don’t get to do this type of thing as often as I’d like, so it was great to see your post on urban hiking. Cheers

    1. Love the Grind! Lots of Primal types there. A lot of people have membership cards that track how long it takes to get up. Highly recommended for anyone near Vancouver. Hard as hell.

  35. What a timely post. I realized today, sadly, that my days of enjoying walking around NYC are about over, for a while, anyway. Ankle surgery I’ve been putting off can be put off no longer. It will leave me completely non-weight bearing for many months. I will miss the luxury of sidewalk mobility. I’ll spend much of the fall and winter grocking on indoors, finding ways to keep myself moving and stretching as much as possible with one working foot and leg. I’m planning on being very creative about it 🙂

  36. I live in Jamestown, NY and last week my husband and I went hiking in the Chautauqua Gorge, and we had another chance to get out for a hike(on a stay-cation), we went to Allegheny State Park and hiked quite a ways up the Tornado site hiking trail. In Jamestown everything is either up hill or down hill, so there is always the feel of a hike when walking around J-town.

  37. I was excited to read about urban hiking. I love geocaching because you will see beautiful places you never new existed in your own area. There is nothing like taking a GPS, heading to the woods to look for a treasure and getting great exercise along the way. I take my GPS no matter what state I go to and I have never been disappointed with the caches I find.

    1. Before hikes or exploring in a city I like to look up the area with Google maps the get a general idea of where things are and then carry a bus- or city-map for reference. I’ve found some cool forests and even located a somewhat far-off lake this way.

  38. Cycle commuting is very much in this line of adventure, there are different routes to follow some being hilly some less so, exploring them adds to the experience of being in the city. The bike lets you venture quite a long way and really allows you to become physically connected to your environment

  39. Nothing like getting out and exploring, Love health and fitness check my blog @https://optimal-human-performance.com

  40. Thanks fir the meetup link! Another Chicagoan here. Is there any groups for parents with small children??? I would love a 10 mile walk in the city but I don’t think my two year old would agree.

  41. Moscow (Russia) makes a great city for urban hiking, better sundays when the traffic is a bit down.
    The pedestrian ways and especially public stairways are so badly buildt that you really have to watch your steps, just like in the wilderness. 😉

  42. Heh I “invented” urban hiking a few years ago exploring the gritty, decaying industrial areas of San Jose. Some reason there areas fascinate me and no better way to explore but on foot.

  43. Franco I know exactly what you are saying. I grew up in Moscow and still remember the city lifestyle. From my experience, all of the Moscow citizens are very well trained how to survive in the city.The city is huge; run, speed, rush, walk,jump,climb are the survivor tools. Besides that citizens are experts in dealing with unpleasant weather condition. I think Russians are more concern about having enough of fuel ( food intake ) to go trough the busy day then extra pounds or weight gain. Most of them can easily adapt to the Primal even without an offer.

  44. Wow finally something I can easily implement. In my city, getting away on nature hikes are near impossible, but an urban hike looks like something I have to do.
    great post as usual.

  45. Ick. No thanks. I’m not a fan of built up areas and walking on concrete screws up my knee. I’ll take m river trail and the local hills anyway, thank you.

  46. It occurred to me yesterday as I was walking home from work that I was essentially hiking in the city.

    I live in Chicago and several times a week walk to and/or from work, along the lakeshore, about 5 miles each way. On weekends I walk around different neighborhoods.

    It’s peaceful – I stop in parks, or to watch the waves on Lake Michigan, to watch a sunset.

  47. Great article! I first started hiking when I lived in Oklahoma City and there were NO nice parks or any place to hike. So we got up VERY early on Sunday mornings and walked 10 miles through the city. Lots of different routes were fun to explore and there was very little traffic at that time.

  48. Living in a SoCal suburb, there is no wilderness per se, but we do have miles of beach, many parks, and hiking is just a short drive away to the Santa Monica mountains near Mark, or up to the San Bernardino mountains. Most days I make do with the hilly neighborhood I live in – there is a long man-made trail in back of my house, covered in bark mulch. But I stayed away from there for awhile due to all the dried foxtails – bad for dogs. I traipse around the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the most part. Lots of ocean view walks. The beach is still my favorite place to walk.

  49. I love nature hiking, but some days I just refuse to get in the car, so am lucky I can get on my bike and peddle over to better neighborhoods than mine, walk up the hill. Here in Berkeley/Oakland, there’s awesome parks in our hills, and great steps to get up to them, even if I don’t make it that far up the gardens are great, few cars this far up. Even downtown San Francisco, if I have something to do at 7 pm, and I get off work at 5, offers even better hills, often gardens and steps and great people watching, you can get decent exercise even in an hour.

  50. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned walking in the dark. I often go out after sundown but before it’s totally dark. Definitely more exciting than a daylight walk, since you can’t quite see things! And when someone approaches there’s a bit of suspense, mischievousness and even camaraderie. Strangers passing in the night.

  51. Well, I live in a medium size city in Venezuela. I enjoy urban hiking but here it´s a very dangerous sport 😉

  52. My wife and I do urban hiking all of the time. We walk multiple times per week. Usually through the same areas, but we enjoy it. It’s not possible in all cities though. As we walk we notice that nobody else is out walking anywhere. We see people just sitting in their houses wasting the spring, summer and fall in front of their tv’s Totally missing out on everything going on around them.

  53. interesting that you just wrote this.

    I recently started a “hiking group” in some local park; every few weekends. it is pretty low key.

    it’s easier to arrange cause it’s very hard to find a time or place agreeable for different people (paleo/primal; carnivores, omnivores, vegetarians, SAD standard “healthy” eaters, SAD wheat addicts). since there’re things in life that are now or never.
    so instead of some food-centric gathering, we just chatted & walked.


  54. I am very fortunate to live in the Highland Park/Montecito Heights area of Los Angeles. For some great hikes near my house and I have my top three which I love to hike. I live super close to Deb’s park and Audubon center. Lots of hills to climb and there is a small lake on the very top of the hill. My next favorite is Eaton Park in Altadena CA, great hiking there. Off the 210 Freeway is the La Tunas Canyon trail that connects to the Verdugo Fire Road.

  55. An urban hike in my neighborhood means being barked and chased by dogs endlessly. Not a very relaxing experience.