Sure, the Midwest may not seem like a Mecca for the outdoorsman as much as, say, Colorado. It does, however, have several great hiking trails to get out and tromp around on. Here are 5 (the first one is obvious):
The Appalachian Trail; Georgia-Maine
This is the granddaddy of all hiking trails. At approximately 2,200 miles in length, it stretches across 15 states. The trail changes in difficulty frequently, so picking your spots and knowing your ability is key. If you plan early and do your homework, hiking the AT can be a great (somewhat life-changing) event. While only portions of it could even be considered “the Midwest” by a stretch, the AT just cannot be omitted from any piece about hiking east of the Mississippi.
The Knobstone Trail; Indiana
A popular trail for those training for the Appalachian Trail, the Knobstone is a hidden gem in the Hoosier state. Stretching over 50 miles, it changes from low and rolling hills in the southern portion to fairly challenging steep-grade climbs in the central section. A portion of the KT (the 4.5 mile point to the 9-mile marker) is currently closed because of severe tornado damage sustained in 2012. There is no specific timeline on its reopening, but it should be finished by early 2014.
Ozark Trail; Missouri
No, this is not about the cheap camping equipment company. The Ozark Trail, while still under construction, is currently 360 miles long. The intention is to eventually extend it into the neighborhood of 700. Hiking, biking, and even horse riding is permitted on the Ozark in most areas of the trail. One of the great things about the Ozark Trail is that you can be a part of extending it! The organization in charge of the trail holds events twice a year.
Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
At 275 miles, the Superior Hiking Trail (also known as the “SHT”…but one wrong keystroke could completely change the subject) overlooks Lake Superior for most of the way. Almost the entire trail is a scenic wonder, and hiking purists will also enjoy the fact that the Superior Hiking Trail is restricted to foot traffic alone.
Ice Age Trail; Wisconsin
Did you know that you can find a trail almost half as long as the Appalachian Trail in one state? Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail highlights the region’s glacial features. It also features an area called the “Driftless Area” which is home to the state’s oldest landforms as it was untouched by the most recent glacial activity.