Happy trails to you
Get outside while in the city. These North American metros make hiking and biking accessible — and enjoyable — to urban folks.
The Edmonton River Valley Trail bursts with colors during the autumn months, creating an opportunity for a scenic and serene stroll.
There is no better time to explore urban trails than autumn, when the natural, arboreal screens of red, orange and yellow-leaved deciduous trees treat us to rotating visual splendor. Crisp air and cool temps invite us to walk an extra mile or pedal to a more remote destination. Well-tended and oft-visited paths give residents and tourists the opportunity to mingle and explore. Recently many hotels have started to offer bikes for rent or loan, encouraging visitors to venture out in the city while exercising far from the stationary bike in the gym.
Here are some of North America's best urban excursions to experience city scenery and get a fresh take on metropolitan living.
Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta
Whether on ice or the gridiron, the "City of Champions" and "Cowtown" battle each other with the fervor of a Canadian prairie wind. One title they're happy to share, however, is "Home of a Fantastic River Trail." The Edmonton River Valley Trail and Calgary's Bow River Pathway both travel the length of the urban core with plenty of locations to traverse their respective rivers. The designated trails, used by commuters and recreationalists, wind through leafy stretches, picnic tables and resting areas converting easily to cross country ski trails when winter temperatures dip and snow falls.
While cruising along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, travelers may encounter some major wildlife.
As many as 1,200 moose stroll into Anchorage to spend the winter -- and for good reason. Welcome to life in Anchorage, where if living among large mammals worries you, you should probably mosey on. Locals run, bike and ski the local trails the way most of us negotiate a country road, knowing just when to slow down and peek around certain corners. This travel strategy may also have to do with the 500 bears that amble the urban trails. Considered the best outdoorsperson town in the world, 100-miles of Anchorage trails take us along Knik Arm coastline (Tony Knowles Trail), through greenbelts (Lanie Fleischer Chester Creek & Campbell Creek Trails), deep into the woods of 495,000-acre Chugach State Park and everywhere in between.
Given Atlanta's rich history and environment, it's no surprise that the city hosts a sophisticated trail system along the shores of the Chattahoochee River and out in the wilds of Georgia. History buffs will want to explore the Midtown Atlanta Romp, a 7-mile path that surveys the Margaret Mitchell House, Peachtree Street, Atlanta's first street, and Piedmont Park. 186-acre Piedmont Park is an Olmstead Brothers design that offers plenty of additional trails for pedalers and pedestrians. Miss Daisy's Atlanta Trail delves for 11-miles throughout Freedom Park. Though hardly urban, cyclists don't want to miss the Silver Comet Trail, a 61-mile long rail-to-trails project (Georgia's first), located 13-miles northwest of Atlanta, that links directly with Alabama's 33-mile long Chief Ladiga Trail.