Uganda is filled with mind-blowing natural and man-made historical sites and wonders that tell stories of creation, civilization, how our ancestors lived, and how they did things. These sites take us back into history as we try to reclaim our origins and who we are.

They teach us stories that maybe would have faded away into the thin air of human forgetfulness if not for their presence and daily reminders. Going across Uganda, there is a number of such historical sites and monuments that tell a part of their share of humanity. This list contains just some of the most famous and most recommended historical places in Uganda.

Independence Monument

This historical site in Uganda is a symbol of independence. The Monument depicts a woman unwrapping her child and raising it to the skies, which signified that the British had done their part and it was now up to Uganda, the new child, to do the rest.

Kabaka’s Palace

This historical place in Uganda is where the King of Buganda lived and ruled his subjects as the Kingdom was a centre of all Uganda’s early politics. It is where Agreements like putting Uganda under British protectorate, the 1900 Buganda Agreement, and the 1962 Independence Agreement were signed from. It is also a place where thousands of Ugandans lost their lives during Idi Amin’s and Obotte II’s reigns in the Torture Chambers constructed by Idi Amin on the palace grounds.

Namugongo Martyrs Shrine

Uganda Martyrs Museum Namugongo

Uganda Martyrs Museum Namugongo

Located in Wakiso district, the Namugongo Martyrs shrine was built in honour of the men who were tortured and burnt to death for refusing to renounce the newly found religions in 1886 by the then King Mwanga II of Buganda. Each year, thousands of Christians congregate to commemorate the lives and strong faith of the martyrs on 3rd June at the Shrine premises.

Gadaffi Mosque

This mosque goes back in history, construction began during Idi Amin’s reign and was put to a halt after his overthrow. It was completed two decades later after a donation from Muammar Gaddafi, the then-president of Libya to become the home of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. It is best known for its admirable interior decor and sweeping views of Kampala city after a climb of the main minaret’s swirling staircase of 300 steps.

Nyero Rock Paintings

These are tiered rock shelters with primitive paintings on their inner surfaces, located in the Kumi district, Eastern Uganda. The historical site in Uganda contains some of the most important and famous rock art in the entire country. They are believed to have been in existence before 1250 AD and were first documented in 1913 by researchers. The rock art is part of a homogenous tradition that is often depicted in red pigment and is spread across Africa, matching the distribution of the late Stone Age hunter-gatherer culture.

Kasubi Tombs

Entrance of the Kasubi Tombs

Entrance of the Kasubi Tombs

Grass-thatched domes and structures made of organic materials outline and set the Kasubi tombs apart from other historical sites in Uganda. They were constructed in 1882 and converted into a royal burial ground in 1884. It is a burial ground for four consecutive Buganda Kings and houses a museum of the Baganda civilization that dates back to the 13th century. The tomb is a symbol of the spiritual, political, and social state of the Baganda.

Namirembe Cathedral

On Namirembe hill in Kampala sits Namirembe Cathedral, a church known as the centre of Christianity and the headquarters of the Anglican faith in Uganda. A visit here gives one an understanding of how the Anglican church started, how many churches were built before the magnificent building that currently sits on the hill, and how the church became a powerful influence in Uganda’s politics during the colonial days.

Amabeere ga’ Ninamwiru Caves

This mythical site in Uganda includes stalactites and stalagmites shrouded in legend. It is said that following a prophecy that her daughter’s son would kill him for the throne, King Bukuku cut off his daughter’s breasts to deny her a chance at motherhood but she later did give birth and fed her son with the milky salty water that drips in these caves.

Bahai Temple

Bahai Temple of Uganda surrounded by rich green vegetation

Bahai Temple of Uganda surrounded by rich green vegetation

This temple sits on Kikayi hill in Kampala and is the mother Temple of the Bahai faith in Africa which began to take root in Uganda in 1951. A visit to the temple offers visitors wonderful views of the interior and the beautiful gardens are great for contemplation and meditation.

Walumbe Tanda Pits

Luganda legend has it that Walumbe (evil) accompanied his sister Nambi and her husband Kintu to earth and is said to be the cause of suffering and death. When his brother, Kaikuzi came to pick him up and take him back to heaven, he hid in the Tanda pits. This site contains over 240 pits and two shines and has spears, shields, calabashes as well as fireplaces named after different Buganda gods.

Speke Monument- Source of the Nile

This historical monument in Uganda is situated on the western Bank of the River Nile in Njeru and was set up in remembrance of John Hanning Speke an Explorer and Adventurer who was the first white man to discover the source of the Nile. It is similar to the one located near the Junction of Lancaster walk and Budges walk in Kensington Gardens, one of London’s Royal Parks. Made from red granite, the monument was designed by Philip Hardwick.

The Uganda Railway

Construction of this iconic structure started in 1896 and was completed in 1926. It opened up Uganda to trade with other countries and also was a major form of transport back in the day. Also, the first bridge to be built across the Nile happened to be the first railway line. The history of the Uganda railway is marked by a Railway Museum in Jinja and the Uganda Railways building is one of the oldest buildings in Uganda.

These are only a glimpse into the multiple mystical, archaeological, religious, and historical sites in Uganda. There is more to it than just these in all regions of the country. Read more about travel and backpacking advice for Uganda before you visit, or enjoy our tips for traveling Uganda on a budget.

Cartagena is well known as Colombia’s premier destination. The city’s lovely colonial atmosphere and historic charm pairs perfectly with the beautiful Caribbean beaches in the nearby islands. There is also a vibrant culture and fun nightlife.

Even being such a well known tourist town, there are some hidden gems in Cartagena that many travelers miss. Here you can learn about some of Cartagena’s hidden gems plus some great lesser-known restaurants and bars.

Visit the City’s Best but Lesser Known Museum

Cartagena’s city walls, one of the few examples of a near complete colonial city wall left anywhere, and well known Castillo San Felipe Fortress are among its most well known landmarks and testaments to the city’s fascinating history.

There is a city historical museum in the Palacio de la Inquisición, which doubles as a museum on the Spanish Inquisition and was, in fact, the home of the inquisition in the colony.

However, you can actually learn more about the city’s history at the lesser-known Museo Naval del Caribe, which is more off the beaten path in Cartagena.

Museo Naval de Caribe - a hidden gem in Cartagena

Museo Naval de Caribe

Here, you’ll find some terrific dioramas of the various attacks on the city like those by Francis Drake and Edward Vernon. They show the day by day events and also give lots of context on the city’s fortifications.

On the second floor of the museum, you can also learn more about Cartagena’s incredibly important role in Colombian independence. Finally, there are some interesting exhibits on Colombia’s modern navy, including its little known role in the Korean War. It’s a great place to learn more about the city’s history and is the best done museum in the city.

Visit the Lesser Known Fortifications in Bocachica

Going to the Naval Museum will give you a better understanding of the geography and how the city’s defenses worked in tandem. If you want to get an even better understanding and see some unique forts, head out to the entrance to the bay at Bocachica on the island of Tierra Bomba.

There are three forts here, two of them rebuilt after Vernon’s destruction of them in 1741. These are the Castillo San Fernando and the Fort San José, which created a crossfire through the narrow entrance to the bay. A third fort, Angel San Rafael was built on a nearby hill to protect the land approaches and prevent a siege of the forts as Vernon had done.

The City Walls of Cartagena

The City Walls of Cartagena

These forts were never attacked, and they have been very well preserved. They are also free to enter.

However, they are a bit difficult to reach. You can get boats to the nearby town from the main port near the Clocktower in Cartagena. The mock pirate boat La Fantastica also offers a tour that stops here, or you could plan for a day pass at the terrific nearby Blue Apple Beach Club and walk over the the forts. To see the inside of San José, you do have to hire a boat to take you across.

Stay at the Lovely Bungalows at IslaBela in the Rosario Islands

The beaches in the city of Cartagena proper are good but tend to be overrun with tourists and vendors. The beautiful Playa Blanca, once a Cartagena hidden gem in its own right, has suffered the same fate in recent years.

That means the best places to go to the beach off the beaten path in Cartagena are in the Rosario Islands. There are some great Rosario Islands resorts and it’s easy to arrange a day trip to the Rosario Islands from Cartagena. Lots of people like to rent private boats and head to party spot Cholón, while others like to do a day pass at the popular and fun Bora Bora Beach Club.

Isla Bela in Rosario Islands

IslaBela in Rosario Islands

However, if you’re looking for a bit more relaxed atmosphere, check out IslaBela Eco-Hotel. It’s located on the smaller Isleta island and has one of the best beach areas in the islands.

It also has a small handful of terrific bungalows for staying the night. They are also actually owned by natives of the island who have a profit share with the hotel, meaning they have a fairly sustainable model that also benefits the local islanders more than most of the other hotels in the islands.

Those on a tighter budget may also want to consider Secreto Hostel as a lesser-known and more budget-friendly place to stay in the islands.

Hang Out at Playa Azul in Town

If you don’t have the time or budget, or you just want some extra beach time at a beach in town, skip the crowded beaches in Bocagrande.

On the north end of town, just past the airport, you’ll find a beach known as Playa Azul. This is just before the larger area known as La Boquilla. While the beach doesn’t compare to those in the islands, its ok and is more off the beaten path in Cartagena, which makes it much less crowded.

Visit the Colombian National Aviary

Located on the island of Barú, not far from Playa Blanca, the Colombian National Aviary, or Aviario Nacional, is definitely a hidden gem in Cartagena. It’s very well done, and has some rare birds, including a harpy eagle and a family of condors.

It’s a bit difficult to get out here on your own, so it’s best to either hire a taxi for the day or to go with a tour. It’s also best to go early before it gets too hot when the birds will be more active.

Visit the Abaco Bookstore

Located in a charming historic building in the heart of Cartagena’s Walled City, the Abaco Bookstore is another unique hidden gem in Cartagena. There are plenty of great books here on Colombia and Cartagena, including a selection in English. They also sell some neat artwork and artisan crafts made by local artists.

Inside the Walled city in Cartagena

Inside the Walled city in Cartagena

You can also enjoy a coffee or drink here. It’s a neat and unique place to at least stop in and browse.

Tour the Mangroves in La Boquilla

North of the Playa Azul is the town of La Boquilla, nestled between the Caribbean and the mangrove swamps. This was a traditional fishing community, and there are some neat tours you can do here that take you out on canoe rides through the mangrove forests that look like little tunnels before opening up to big lagoons.

Some tours also include fishing, drum or dancing lessons, and even cooking lessons. It’s a unique thing to do in Cartagena off the beaten path. You can organize tours here through Ecotours Boquilla.

Sample an Arepa de Huevo from Donde Magola

Trying an arepa de huevo is obligatory in Cartagena. This snack that originates from the Caribbean coast makes for a good breakfast, afternoon snack, late night munchie, or even dinner on the go. It’s more similar to an empanada than a traditional arepa, round and fried to a golden crisp.

You’ll find street stalls all over the Walled City selling the traditional arepa de huevo, filled with ground beef and an egg. However, at Donde Magola, located near the Exito San Diego supermarket just inside the Walled City, you can find all sorts of neat variations. Instead of the ground beef, you can get it with chorizo, chicharrón, or even shrimp.

Get Some Ceviche at La Laguna Azul

Cartagena has plenty of terrific seafood, including ceviche. You’ve probably heard of La Cevichería, made famous after Anthony Bourdain’s visit and a mainstay in recommendations for the best Cartagena restaurants.

Another lesser known place to enjoy some great ceviche in Cartagena is La Laguna Azul. A tiny, unassuming, hole in the wall located at the entrance of the Centro Comercial Getsemaní, there are some terrific and unique takes on ceviche here.

Grab one of the small handful of little outdoor tables and a ice cold beer from the little store next door and enjoy this Cartagena hidden gem that is frequented more by locals than tourists.

Try a Craft Beer at Beer Lovers

Colombia has a growing craft beer scene. While in Bogotá, you’ll find lots of little brew pubs, Cartagena has more limited options.

Street Art in the Getsemani district of Cartagena

Street Art in the Getsemani district of Cartagena

The best place to try some Colombian craft beer in Cartagena is Beer Lovers, which has a solid bar in Getsemaní, a popular area full of neat cafés, bars, and restaurants. You’ll find both beers originating in Colombia and elsewhere here on their rotating taps.

Pretend You’re Jay Gatsby at Prohibition

There are a lot of terrific Cartagena bars and clubs. Perhaps the most unique is Prohibition, located on the bottom floor of Townhouse Boutique Hotel. Their upstairs rooftop bar is actually very popular and has great drinks.

However, the downstairs is a hidden gem in Cartagena and has a neat vibe for enjoying a cocktail or three. Beautiful, 1920s style sofas, frequent live jazz music, and even a burlesque show make it a place unlike anywhere else in Cartagena to enjoy a drink.

Or Salsa with the Locals at Quiebra Canto

If you’re looking for a more traditional Cartagena night out, you’ll probably be thinking of getting your dance on at a salsa club. The famous Café Havana, which Hillary Clinton once visited, is a popular place to do so. However, it tends to be crowded and is expensive.

Another good but lesser-known spot is Quiebra Canto, just a block and a half away. It is located on the 2nd floor directly across from the clocktower and tends to draw more of a local crowd than a tourist one. It’s a neat place to get a slightly more local vibe than many of the other popular nightclubs in town.

Cartagena Hidden Gems Conclusion

Now, you know about 12 hidden gems in Cartagena that are a bit off the tourist-beaten path and make great additions to a visit.

Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities in Brisbane! If you are ready to enjoy some fantastic views and get some exercise at the same time, then get ready – we’re about to run you through the best hikes near Brisbane!

Brisbane is best known for its unique position – close to both incredible coastline and sandy beaches, yet also a short drive from lush green rainforests and 12 national parks! The rainforest is home to some incredible animal species and unique plants to observe on your hikes. 

Hikes in the Brisbane area range from leisurely walks on wooden paths to challenging 10 hour mountain top climbs. Waterfall hikes around Brisbane are especially popular, and you won’t even miss the beach as you jump into these picturesque streams.

To ensure you have a great hiking experience in Brisbane, be sure to get the AllTrails app before you go. The app has an extensive list of the best trails for hiking in Brisbane, with reviews from other hikers to keep you up to date on the latest trail conditions. You can filter by trail difficulty, length, and suitability and download trail maps to help keep you on track even when you’re offline.

Without further ado, here are the best hikes around Brisbane for your next adventure!

Summit Track, Mt. Coot-tha

The Summit Track at Mt Coot-tha is the most iconic Brisbane hike. Just 15 minutes from the city centre, it is located within Brisbane and easy to reach. Hiking the Summit Track is a great way to get some steps in and enjoy the fresh air without travelling far from the city.

The highlight of this hike is definitely the view over Brisbane. Once you reach the summit, you get an incredible birds-eye view over the city. The hike is especially popular at sunrise and sunset.

There are many trails to reach the Summit Lookout, so you can hike again and again without getting bored. The most popular one, starting from J.C. Slaughter Falls, is relatively easy. It is about 2 km long and takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

Box Forest Circuit, Lamington National Park

The Beech Forest in Lamington National Park near Brisbane

The Beech Forest in Lamington National Park near Brisbane

The Box Forest Circuit within Lamington National Park is one of the most scenic hiking trails around Brisbane, featuring 4 waterfalls in total. 

You’ll hike through the lush rainforest and pass by several waterfalls along the way – Elabana Falls, Boxlog Falls, Darragumai Falls and Nugurin Falls. It’s recommended to walk this trail in a clockwise direction, so you reach the waterfalls towards the end of the hike.

There is a popular picnic spot along the trail, conveniently named Picnic Rock. The trail is well-marked, so there’s no risk of getting lost. 

The whole circuit is about 10km long and takes around 4 hours to complete. Allow some time to swim in the waterfalls, you’ll be tempted by the time you reach them! The hike is moderately challenging, due to the length.

Wild Horse Mountain Lookout

The View From Wild Horse Mountain Lookout

The View From Wild Horse Mountain Lookout

Wild Horse Mountain Lookout is the perfect hike for those who want to enjoy the stunning mountain-top views without hiking for hours.

The trail leading to the lookout is very steep and not shaded at all. If you’re planning on tackling this walk in summer, avoid midday!

As it is a quite short and straightforward hike, it is a great place to enjoy sunset views over the mountains. On a clear day, you can even see Brisbane city in the distance!

This is a short 1.4km circuit hike, and it will take you about 30 minutes to complete. But don’t let the short distance fool you, it is straight uphill making it slightly more challenging than you might think!

Mount Tempest, Moreton Island

Unlike other hikes on this list that are all on the mainland, the Mount Tempest hike is on an island!

What makes this hike unique is that you’re actually climbing a sand dune!  Mount Tempest is noted as the world’s highest naturally formed sand dune at 285 metres above sea level. 

The peak offers 360° views of the area. On a clear day, you can see all the way from the Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast.

Hiking on Moreton Island is a great idea if you’re used to hiking in the rainforest. You’ll get to see some unique plants and a completely different ecosystem on the island.

Mount Tempest walking trek is just about a 2km return. However, you’re climbing the stairs all the way uphill, making it a short but tough walk. 

Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park

Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park near Brisbane

Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park near Brisbane

Springbrook National Park is home to some of the best waterfall hikes around Brisbane, with the Natural Bridge hike being the most unique. 

Natural Bridge is a picturesque rock formation formed by the force of the waterfall that created a hole in the ceiling of the cave. It has ethereal vibes and looks like a scene from a storybook.

You’ll hike through the ancient trees, and see many protected and rare animals living in this park. It is forbidden to swim in this waterfall, so if you want to take a dip, either make your way to the nearby Twin Falls or save it for your landscaped pool at home.

The true magic begins when the sun goes down, and the cave starts to sparkle. This little cave is home to thousands of glow worms. These unusual and fragile animals can only be found in Australia and New Zealand, and this is Australia’s largest population of glow worms in their natural habitat.

The Natural Bridge hike is relatively easy, and the short circuit is only 1km long.

Mt Barney, Mt Barney National Park

Mt Barney over the fog from Lillydale

Mt Barney over the fog from Lillydale

Climbing Mt Barney is not a hike for beginners. In fact, it is the most challenging hike in the Brisbane area. So, if you’re an experienced hiker ready for a challenge, it should be on your list. The views from the top are incredible!

The trail starts through dense bushes and takes you through hard-to-make-out, unmarked trails to the top. Once you reach the summit, you’ll see why people come here. The view is out of this world beautiful, and you feel like you can see the whole state!

Mt Barney is a challenging hike, suitable for those with a high level of fitness, experience and skills in rock scrambling. The trail is about 12km long and takes 8-10 hours to complete, so make sure you fill your hydration pack before setting off.

Come prepared, as rapid changes in temperature and weather are common.

Boondall Wetlands Bikeway

Finally, we have Boondall Wetlands Reserve, a compromise between a hike and a nature walk. It is an option for those who want to hike without actually having to climb a mountain. This trail is almost completely flat!

The hiking trail is a 13km long wooden boardwalk taking you through mangroves, forest and dry bushland. As you walk through the wetlands, you’ll get to observe different birds living in the reserve and other animals.

This is also a bike trail if you’re looking for a fun cycling opportunity close to the city.

Boondall Wetlands is a flat and easy hiking trail. The longer route is about 13km long, but you can opt for a shorter 2km trail. The trail is dog friendly, as long as you keep your dog on a leash.

Summary: Best Hikes Near Brisbane

And there you have it! A list of the best hikes near Brisbane whether you’re on holiday, exploring for the weekend, or backpacking in Australia.

Lush green rainforests will protect you from the sun on most hikes, so you can enjoy a day out in nature, even on a hot summer day. You don’t need to choose whether you want to hike or swim in a waterfall with hikes like the Box Forest Circuit. 

From leisurely nature walks in Boondall Wetlands to climbing steep mountain peaks like Mt Barney, there is something for everyone!

What’s better than a road trip? A road trip with the promise of hiking along the way. With its spectacular landscapes, diverse terrain, and a plethora of outdoor activities, the United States is a hiker’s paradise. From exploring some of the tallest peaks in North America to trekking down stunning coastal trails, there are countless hiking road trips here that can provide an unforgettable experience for any intrepid adventurer. From Oregon’s Pacific Coast to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, these are some of the best road trips in the USA for hikers. So get your car ready and hit the road!

Oregon Loop

Embark on an unforgettable hiking adventure with the Oregon Loop, a road trip perfect for outdoor enthusiasts! The Oregon loop is a popular hiking road trip that takes you from Portland, through the Willamette Valley, and down to the rugged coast of this beautiful state.

Rolling Hills of the Willamette Valley, best road trips in the USA for hikers

Rolling Hills of the Willamette Valley

Set against the backdrop of unspoiled beaches, volcanic mountains, and idyllic valleys, this majestic tour stretches over 1,400 miles of Oregon’s natural beauty. Along the way, hikers can venture onto some of Oregon’s most iconic trails, including the epic Mt Hood, Timberline Trail, or the Three Sisters Loop.

Hikers can also explore stunning coastal trails like the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, the Yaquina Head Natural Area, or the world-famous Columbia River Gorge. With stunning views, lush forests, and plenty of wildlife, this hiking road trip is sure to provide a memorable experience.

Arizona Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic natural wonders in the world and it deserves a spot on any hiker’s road trip list.  With its dazzling array of colors and breathtaking views, there’s no better way to explore this iconic landscape than with a hiking road trip through Arizona. From Flagstaff, explore the vast terrain and take in views of the canyon’s red-rock walls, winding rivers, and lush forests.

The Always-Impressive Grand Canyon

The Always-Impressive Grand Canyon

Hikers can explore the many trails that wind through this stunning natural wonder, from easy day hikes to challenging backpacking treks. Popular trails we recommend include the Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, and the Rim Trail.

The South Rim provides a great introduction to the area, with an array of trails for all levels. For the more adventurous, venture further into the canyon to find even more secluded trails and unique views.  Road-tripping around the Arizona Grand Canyon is sure to have you returning home with some incredible memories.

Yellowstone to Glacier National Park

Double rainbow and Lower Falls from Uncle Tom's Trail, best road trips in the USA for hikers

Double rainbow and Lower Falls from Uncle Tom’s Trail

For the ultimate hiking road trip, embark on a journey from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park. This epic adventure will take you through some of the United States’ most spectacular scenery. Starting in Wyoming, take a scenic drive through the sprawling tundra of Yellowstone National Park and marvel at the geysers, wildlife, and stunning vistas.

From here, cross the border into Montana and drive through the awe-inspiring landscape of Glacier National Park. With over 700 miles of trails and countless opportunities for exploration, hikers can take in views of pristine alpine wilderness, cascading waterfalls, and glacial-carved valleys. Popular trails include the Grinnell Glacier Trail, Highline Trail, and the St Mary’s Lake.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

No matter what trail you choose, hikers are sure to leave with unforgettable memories from this incredible road trip.

Colorado Rocky Mountains

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains provide the perfect getaway for any hiker looking to explore America’s national parks and trails. With over 600 miles of breathtaking scenery, hikers of all skill levels can find a trail that’s just right for them.

Stunning landscape in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Stunning landscape in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

From Denver, traverse the Rocky Mountains and take in views of snow-capped peaks, shimmering lakes, and jagged canyons. With hundreds of miles of trails, you can spend days exploring the area’s stunning vistas. Popular hikes include the Maroon Bells and Longs Peak, or for a more relaxed experience, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.

With roads that lead from the state’s high mountain passes through alpine forests, winding rivers and past wildflower-covered meadows, road-tripping around Colorado’s Rocky Mountains will leave visitors with plenty of memories to cherish.

California’s Yosemite National Park to John Muir Trail

For the ultimate hiking road trip, take a journey from Yosemite National Park to John Muir Trail. This spectacular journey will take you through some of California’s most breathtaking landscapes, from the soaring cliffs of Yosemite to the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Yosemite National Park, best road trips in the USA for hikers

Yosemite National Park

Starting in Yosemite National Park, explore the vast terrain, take in views of towering granite cliffs and trek through ancient forests. Popular trails include Half Dome, Mist Trail, and the John Muir Trail.

From here, venture further into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and explore the majestic wilderness of John Muir Trail. This stunning trail stretches over 200 miles, taking hikers through a variety of stunning landscapes and providing unparalleled views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

This hiking road trip is sure to provide an unforgettable experience and leave you with incredible memories.

The Pacific Northwest Coast

For a road trip full of stunning views and incredible hikes, head to the Pacific Northwest Coast. This stunning region of the United States is home to some of the most scenic landscapes in the world. From sea stacks to emerald forests, there’s plenty of natural beauty to explore and take in on this hiking road trip.

Unique Landscape of the Pacific Northwest

Unique Landscape of the Pacific Northwest

Start in Seattle, Washington and explore the city’s waterfront and famous attractions such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. From here, take a hiking road trip up the coast and explore the stunning natural beauty of Washington’s Olympic National Park. Take in views of pristine lakes, rugged coastlines, and lush forests.

Continue your road trip up the coast and explore Oregon’s stunning landscapes. Popular places to visit in Oregon include the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Mount Hood, and Crater Lake.

No matter which trail you take, you’re sure to leave with incredible memories from your journey along the Pacific Northwest Coast.

The Appalachian Trail

For adventurous hikers looking for an epic road trip, take a journey along the iconic Appalachian Trail. Stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, this legendary trail will take you through some of the United States’ most stunning landscapes.

Appalachian Trail Heading to Double Springs Gap from Clingmans Dome

Appalachian Trail Heading to Double Springs Gap from Clingmans Dome

Starting in Georgia, take a hiking road trip up the eastern seaboard and explore the diverse terrain of the Appalachian Trail. From towering mountain peaks to lush forests, this trail takes hikers through a variety of stunning landscapes and provides unparalleled views of the Appalachian Mountains. Popular places to visit along the Appalachian Trail include Mount Katahdin, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Shenandoah National Park.

The Best Hiking Road Trips in the USA – Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the best road trips in the USA for hikers. No matter which one you choose, these incredible journeys are sure to provide an unforgettable experience and leave you with lasting memories.

To ensure you have a great hiking experience, be sure to get the AllTrails app before you go. The app has an extensive list of the best hiking trails all over the world, with reviews from other hikers to keep you up to date on the latest trail conditions. You can filter by trail difficulty, length, and suitability and download trail maps to help keep you on track even when you’re offline.

If it’s sun-filled days you seek, head to the East Bay. The region is home to California’s Bay Area’s driest microclimate, with a mixed landscape of oak-dotted hills, grassy ridgelines, forested valleys, and rock-studded peaks.

The East Bay Area Regional Park District’s 65 parks and preserves contain a whopping 1,150 miles of trails, nearly a dozen freshwater lakes, 40 miles of shoreline, two islands, and hundreds of acres of undeveloped inland hills and valleys, some of which offer panoramic views over the Bay Area.

Many of the trails in the East Bay Area are off-limits to dogs, due to wildlife considerations, but not to worry, there are still plenty of dog-friendly hikes in the East Bay. Some trails even explicitly allow for dogs off the leash. Just be sure to pay attention to posted signs, and always bring bags, so that you can pack your animal’s waste out of the hike.

To ensure you have a great hiking experience with your dog in the East Bay, check out the AllTrails app. The app has reviews from other hikers to keep you up to date on the latest trail conditions. You can filter by trail difficulty, length, and whether the trail is dog friendly. You can also download trail maps to help keep you on track even when you’re offline.

Bay View Loop

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, Pinole

Level: Easy, 5 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: Negligible

Easy walking not far from East Bay Area cities leads to close-up bay views and a glimpse at Point Pinole’s varied history.

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline is a little park with a big heart, a place of tranquility not far from the urban bustle of the East Bay. Few visitors other than avid anglers and dog walkers make the trip to the tip of Point Pinole, but those who do are surprised at this small park’s varied offerings. 

In addition to inspiring bay views, a fascinating history, and good pier fishing, the park has volleyball courts, picnic areas, and more than 12 miles of winding dirt trails that offer dog-friendly hikes in the East Bay Area.

Two Trails and Carquinez Strait

Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline, between Crockett and Martinez

Level: Easy, 1-3 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 150 feet

Two appealing trail segments explore the grassland bluffs bordering the narrow waterway between San Pablo and Suisun Bays.

Although San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay are as familiar as the local freeways to most Bay Area residents, the waterway at Carquinez Strait is far less known. Even the name ‘Carquinez Strait’ sounds foreign and exotic.

The northeastern arm of the conglomeration of waterways that constitute the bay and river delta, Carquinez Strait forms the narrow passageway between San Pablo and Suisun Bays. 

The bluffs above Carquinez Strait are a wonderful place for an easy, dog-friendly hike in the East Bay Area. Part of the joy of this walk is watching the ships, large and small, journey in and out of the strait. You might see anything from a windsurfer to a freighter.

San Pablo Ridge and Wildcat Creek Loop

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, Berkeley

Level: Moderate, 6.8 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet

Enjoy rolling hills, waving grasslands, and wide-angle views of the bay.

Never judge a trail by its trailhead, sage hikers say. When you park your car at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park’s Alvarado staging area, you might think you’re in for a forested hike through eucalyptus and oaks.

But looks are deceiving at Wildcat Canyon. What begins as a tree-shaded paved trail quickly becomes a dirt path through the grasslands that takes you up 1,000 feet for wide views of the San Francisco Bay Area. If you’re looking for a satisfying hike that is also dog-friendly, Wildcat Creek Loop is one of our favorites.

Briones Loop Tour

Briones Regional Park, Martinez

Level: Moderate, 7 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet

This pastoral loop hike in Briones’ less-visited northern section leads past a miniature waterfall, two duck ponds, and miles of cow-populated grasslands.

Briones Regional Park is more than 6,000 acres of grasslands and oaks that were once part of the Rancho San Felipe, a Spanish land grant. In the mid-1800s, this was an important fruit-growing region. Today it’s the grassy home of grazing cows and is frequently visited by hikers, mountain bikers, dog walkers, and horseback riders.

The large expanse of open grasslands is perhaps better suited to bikers and equestrians than to hikers. But on a breezy spring day when the wildflowers are blooming and the grasslands are glowing green, it wouldn’t be hard to wax poetic about the place. 

Stream, Fern, and West Ridge Trail Loop

The inviting dog-friendly trails in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland

Redwood Regional Park, Oakland

Level: Easy/Moderate 4.8 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 700 feet

The East Bay Area’s answer to Muir Woods and Big Basin is the prized redwoods of Redwood Regional Park.

They don’t call this place Redwood Regional Park for nothing. The dark, shaggy-barked trees grow more than 100 feet tall, and their shady canopy covers a vast expanse of the park. A walk among these lofty trees is the perfect antidote to too much time spent in Emeryville office buildings or on East Bay freeways.

Rocky Ridge and Devil’s Hole Loop

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, San Ramon

Level: Moderate, 6.8 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet

A hidden canyon tucked amid burgeoning development offers surprising tranquility and a healthy hill climb.

If you are looking for a dog-friendly hike in the East Bay Area and have some energy to burn, Las Trampas is a great place to tromp around. Quite simply, all trails at Las Trampas go up.

The park is composed of two parallel ridges – rock Ridge and Las Trampas Ridge – bisected by Bollinger Creek. The park road and its many trailheads lie along the creek canyon, which means that no matter where you start hiking, sooner or later you have to climb one of the ridges.

But no matter what, the rewards for doing so are great.

Stewartville and Ridge Trail Loop

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Antioch

Level: Moderate, 7 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

Some steep ups and downs lead to an 1860s mining tunnel and big views of the Carquinez Strait.

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is a strange mix of elements – human history combined with natural history, wild green hills juxtaposed with industrial complexes north of the park, and rare species of plants commingled with nonnative flora planted by settlers in the late 1800s.

The 3,700-acre park has many moods and puts on different faces in changing seasons and weather conditions. Not only is it a great dog-friendly hike in the East Bay Area, but this 7-mile loop also reveals some of its highlights and adds some good exercise to the bargain.

Morgan Territory Loop

Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, between Livermore and Walnut Creek

Level: Moderate, 7 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1.200 feet

A varied loop in the green hills of Morgan Territory offers expansive views, a walk through oak woodland, and myriad spring wildflowers.

Morgan Territory – even the name sounds wild, like a holdover from the Old West. If you’re wondering whether anything wild could still exist in Contra Costa County, wonder no more. Come to Morgan Territory and rediscover the wild East Bay Area with your canine companion.

Bay View and Red Hill Loop

Coyote Hills Regional Park, Newark

Level: Easy, 4.8 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 200 feet

The home of the Ohlone people for more than 2,000 years, Coyote Hills is now a place to enjoy bay and marsh views and abundant bird sightings.

If you ever have occasion to drive across the Dumbarton Bridge from the South Bay to the East Bay, a few things catch your attention – such as the huge electrical towers that straddle the water and the dismantled, decaying railroad bridge that parallels Dumbarton.

But urban-weary eyes come to rest on the soft green knolls of Coyote Hills Regional Park. Situated on your left as you head east across the bay, the park’s tule marshes, creeks, and acres of grassland hills beckon you to pull off the freeway and explore its dog-friendly trails.

A 1,000-acre patch of open space along the edge of San Francisco Bay Coyote Hills was the homeland of the Ohlone tribe for more than 2,000 years. The Ohlone fished bay waters for food and cut willow branches along the creeks to build their homes.

Today the park is a wildlife sanctuary, both a permanent home and a temporary rest stop for thousands of residents and migratory birds.

Sunol Loop Tour

One of many dog-friendly hikes in the Sunol Regional Wilderness

One of many dog-friendly hikes in the Sunol Regional Wilderness

Sunol Regional Wilderness, near Pleasanton

Level: Strenuous, 7.5 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain. 1,800 feet

Wildflowers abound in the spring and Alameda Creek flows year-round on this scenic loop in the Sunol countryside.

A trip to Sunol is a trip to the country. Unlike many other East Bay parks, Sunol Regional Wilderness isn’t bordered by neighborhoods or major thoroughfares. You can’t reach it any other way than by driving slowly on a narrow, country road.

When you hike the grassy, oak-studded hills of Sunol, all you see are more grassy, oak-studded hills, and an occasional glimpse at the shimmering Calaveras Reservoir. It is protected land that is surrounded by more protected land, and that is what makes it a great place to go hiking in the East Bay Area on dog-friendly trails.

Maguire Peaks Loop

Sunol Regional Wilderness, near Pleasanton

Level: Moderate, 5.5 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 800 feet

Explore the wilder side of Sunol Regional Wilderness on this moderate loop off Welch Creek Road

As you drive south on I-680 near Pleasanton, you can’t help but notice the oddly-shaped Maguire Peaks slanting outward from the round, grassy hills. The two side-by-side peaks aren’t conical, like most peaks, or even rounded. Instead, they’re fin-shaped, like two obtuse triangles. 

Their summits point sideways, then upward. After you spend a little while staring at these odd little mountains, you may find yourself longing to explore them.

Murietta Falls

Del Valle Regional Park and Ohlone Regional Wilderness, near Livermore

Level: Butt-Kicker, 12 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet

Hoping to spot a 100-foot-tall ephemeral waterfall, hikers endure a supremely challenging climb and descent in Ohlone Regional Wilderness.

Everybody loves a waterfall, but do you love waterfalls enough to grunt out a 3,500-foot elevation change? Think it over. If your answer is yes, you’re heading to find adventure in Ohlone Regional Wilderness, culminating in a visit to 100-foot Murietta Falls.

Ohlone Regional Wilderness is one of the Bay Area’s special places. No public roads lead through its nearly 10,000 acres. You have to hike just to reach its boundary, starting either from Sunol Regional Wilderness to the west or Del Valle Regional Park to the north. To be more specific, you have to hike uphill. 

Similarly, Murietta Falls is one of the Bay Area’s most special waterfalls. That’s partly because it’s much taller than other local falls and partly because it’s hard enough to reach that most people never make the trip. 

March is often the best month to see the fall flowing, but it depends on the current year’s rain pattern. One thing to remember, this trail is not suitable for a warm or hot day. It offers very little shade coupled with a ton of climbing.