Best Hikes Near Big Cities

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

There are so many benefits to spending vacation time in big cities, from the cultural exhibitions and top restaurants, to shopping up a storm and eyeing off amazing architecture. However, sometimes vacations in busy destinations can lead travelers to feeling like they really need some fresh air and strenuous exercise to counter-balance the chaos. 

Luckily, there are plenty of top cities around the world which are also home to fantastic hiking trails where you can really clear your head. If you’re keen to jet off on a trip where you can enjoy the best of both worlds — city delights plus green space — read on for some of the best destinations to add to your list.

5 Best Hikes Near Big Cities

Sara Wan Trailhead at Corral Canyon, Los Angeles

If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles and want to escape the crowds for a bit, it can be a good idea to check out hotel options on sites like that are close to Corral Canyon in Malibu. Here you’ll find the only coastal canyon in the whole Los Angeles County that has never been developed, and as a result is quiet (especially on weekends), and overflowing with raw natural beauty. 

Try out the 2.4-mile long Sara Wan Trailhead and you’ll be given breathtaking views of the mountains colliding with the ocean. On your descent you’ll get to see the Santa Monica beaches, and look all the way out to Point Dume. The walk takes around one hour to complete.

 Sara Wan Trailhead at Corral Canyon, Los Angeles

Hong Kong Trail, Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world, so isn’t somewhere you’d normally expect to find comprehensive green spaces to stretch your legs. However, it does actually boast a variety of long-distance hikes that are well worth checking out. 

One in particular that you should put on your itinerary is the Hong Kong Trail. This path winds its way around Hong Kong Island, heading from Victoria Peak (where you have to stop to enjoy memorable views of Victoria Harbour), to Tai Long Wan, an east-coast surf spot with a great beach. The trail is divided into eight sections, and covers more than 30 miles all together. 

Best Hikes Near Big Cities: Hong Kong Trail, Hong Kong

Thames Path, London

If you’re visiting London in the future and want to see the city and its surrounding areas (not to mention England’s most famous river) on a hike, consider walking the Thames Path. This trail travels for over 180 miles, and covers from the Cotswold Hills all the way to the sea, passing through the heart of London as it goes. 

If you travel the whole route, it will take multiple days, but if you want to keep walks short, just choose some of the smaller sections of the Path to walk along at a time. There are many transport connections that take you from the center of the city to points along the trail. During your hikes you can see such iconic sites as the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster, Kew Gardens, Shakespeare’s Globe, Battersea Park, the Millennium Eye, and Greenwich. 

 Thames Path, London

Great Coastal Walk, Sydney

In the pretty harbor city of Sydney, in Australia, there are walks galore to choose from in many different suburbs. One highly-recommended hike though is the Great Coastal Walk. This trail covers just under 60 miles of pathways all up, and takes roughly one week to complete while staying at various accommodation options along Sydney’s coastline. Alternatively, you can choose to just complete shorter day walks and then return to your city-center hotel at night.

The Great Coastal Walk runs from the tip of the Northern Beaches, Barrenjoey, down south to the beachside suburb of Cronulla.  Hiking the trail will give you views of a wide variety of top Sydney sites, from the iconic Harbour Bridge and some of the city’s top beaches, through to the Sydney Harbour, many different historical and cultural landmarks, sandstone cliffs, bushland, and tucked-away lagoons.

Berlin Wall Trail, Berlin

A 100-mile pathway in Europe that you should add to your bucket list is the Berlin Wall Trail. This hiking and cycling track was completed in 2006 and follows the course of the Berlin Wall that once separated West Berlin from East Berlin before it was torn down in 1989. The track has 14 different sections to traverse, with each one being 13 miles long or less, and easily accessible from various points around the city using public transport.

The Berlin Wall Trail was created to help detail the history of Germany’s division and the wall itself, as well as to act as a mark of remembrance. History buffs and those wanting to learn more about the city’s culture and landmarks will find many interesting interpretative boards, signposts, and memorials to read along the way. The markers point out numerous key points around Berlin, as well as depict the history of the 28-year old wall before it was demolished. 

 Berlin Wall Trail, Berlin