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Gear and Technology

Our 5 favourite spring hiking trails across the US—and the best gear for each terrain

Our 5 favourite spring hiking trails across the US - and the best gear for each terrain
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Embrace the beauty of the season with our top US destinations for a spring hike. Discover breathtaking landscapes and get the gear you need to conquer the demands of the trail.

As spring arrives, the landscape undergoes a magical transformation. Meadows bloom with wildflowers, forests awaken with verdant life, and mountains shrug off their snowy cloaks, inviting adventurers to explore the great outdoors. In this season of renewal, there's no better way to connect with nature than by hitting the trails.

That's why we've curated a list of the top 5 scenic spring hikes across the US. From lush, rolling hills to rugged, awe-inspiring peaks, our selection caters to hikers of all stripes. Let’s help you prepare with the right hiking gear for the journey ahead, ensuring every step is met with comfort and confidence.

The Pacific Crest Trail: Majestic views from the  West

The Pacific Crest Trail: Majestic views from the West

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a hiker's paradise, stretching over 4,265 kilometres across the Western United States, from the arid deserts of Southern California to the misty forests of Washington State. Among its most captivating segments for springtime exploration is the passage through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, offering dramatic vistas as the snow melts and wildflowers begin to blanket the meadows. It's a section that promises both challenge and reward, with the trail ascending into the high mountain passes where the air is as crisp as the streams are clear.

  • Day hike route: A popular day hike is the segment near Echo Lake, just south of Lake Tahoe. This area provides a manageable section of the PCT with spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Day hikers can enjoy the alpine scenery, meadows, and granite cliffs characteristic of the Sierra Nevada without the commitment of a thru-hike.
  • Terrain and conditions: Traversing this part of the PCT, hikers encounter a diverse array of terrains—from dramatic, rugged coastlines to serene, dense forests teeming with life. Spring brings mild temperatures complemented by the region's characteristic moist conditions, creating a landscape that is lush but often wet underfoot.
  • Get the gear: For the rugged and variable terrain of the Sierra Nevada, the Cascadia 17 GTX trail shoe for men and women goes the distance. With its durable construction, aggressive traction, and waterproof coverage, the Cascadia is perfect for both rocky paths and soft forest floors. Pair it with the Canopy Jacket for men and women for lightweight, breathable comfort that provides reliable protection from wind and rain.
Rocky Mountain National Park: High altitude  adventure

Rocky Mountain National Park: High-altitude adventure

Rocky Mountain National Park offers a sprawling network of trails that beckon hikers into the heart of America's rugged wilderness. In spring, these paths are particularly enchanting, adorned with a vivid display of wildflowers and frequented by an array of wildlife emerging from their winter slumber. The trails wind through diverse landscapes, from serene alpine lakes to sweeping meadows, each offering a glimpse into the untouched beauty of the Rockies.

  • Day hike route: One of the most cherished day hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park is the journey to Emerald Lake. Starting from the Bear Lake trailhead, this well-traveled path takes hikers on a journey through pine-scented forests and past a chain of picturesque lakes, each more stunning than the last.
  • Terrain and conditions: Hiking in the Rockies is quite literally an elevating experience, with trails often climbing to high altitudes that can challenge even seasoned hikers. The terrain is varied, with rocky paths requiring careful footing and snow patches lingering in shaded areas well into the spring. The weather is notorious for its unpredictability, with sunny skies potentially turning into storms within minutes.
  • Get the gear: Tackling the high-altitude trails and unpredictable weather of Rocky Mountain National Park calls for the hard-working Caldera collection. These shoes offer substantial cushioning to absorb impact on rocky trails, robust support for significant elevation gains, and a breathable upper to keep feet comfy as temperatures fluctuate throughout the day. Don’t forget to pack the High Point Waterproof Jacket for men and women, offering warmth for cool mornings and breathable protection against sudden mountain showers.
The Appalachian Trail: A walk through history

The Appalachian Trail: A walk through history

The Appalachian Trail (AT) is a storied footpath that stretches over 3,524 kilometres from Georgia to Maine, traversing the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Renowned for its historical significance and natural beauty, the trail offers hikers a unique journey through America's cultural and natural heritage. In spring, the AT comes alive with blossoming flora, migrating birds, and the refreshing green of new leaves, making it an ideal time for hikers to experience the trail's majestic landscapes and historical landmarks.

  • Day hike route: A particularly notable segment for a spring day hike is the stretch around Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. This area is not only a scenic point where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet but also a town brimming with Civil War history. Hikers can enjoy a blend of natural beauty and historical sites, including the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, which offers a glimpse into the past amidst the backdrop of stunning river views.
  • Terrain and conditions: The terrain on this section of the AT varies from smooth forested paths to more challenging rocky ridges, providing a diverse hiking experience. The spring climate can be quite humid, with the potential for sudden rain showers, adding to the lushness of the surrounding woodlands.
  • Get the gear: The Divide 4 GTX for men and women provides the essential traction and stability needed for the AT’s varied surfaces, plus weather-resistant protection for surprise showers. With road-to-trail adaptability, it offers a smooth ride on both forested paths and historic cobblestone streets. Keep cool in humid conditions with the Distance Short Sleeve 3.0 for men and women, featuring soft, sweat-wicking fabric for distraction-free comfort.
The Southwest Deserts: Blooms in the barren

The Southwest Deserts: Blooms in the barren

The Southwest Deserts, a vast expanse stretching across parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and California, transform into a spectacular showcase of nature in spring. This seemingly barren landscape bursts into life with a dazzling array of blooming cacti, wildflowers, and cooler, more temperate weather that invites exploration. The spring months offer an ideal opportunity to witness the desert's unique beauty, with long days of sunshine illuminating the vibrant hues of the flora against the stark, majestic backdrop of the desert scenery.

  • Day hike route: A quintessential spring day hike is the Hugh Norris Trail in Saguaro National Park, Arizona. The path meanders through dense forests of towering saguaro cacti, emblematic of the American West. In spring, these giants are often crowned with white blossoms, while the ground is carpeted with a colourful mix of wildflowers, creating a striking contrast against the desert's earthy tones.
  • Terrain and conditions: The terrain in Saguaro National Park and similar desert trails can vary greatly, from sandy washes that require careful footing to rocky outcrops offering panoramic views. The desert's beauty comes with challenges, including the need for ample sun protection to guard against the intense sun, and proper hydration to counter the dry conditions.
  • Get the gear: The Catamount 3 for men and women is a great match for the arid trails of the Southwest Deserts. The shoe offers a lightweight build, superior traction, and responsive cushioning for agility on sandy paths and rocky terrain, plus a breathable mesh upper to keep your feet comfy under the desert sun. Shield against the rays without sacrificing comfort in the High Point Long Sleeve for men and women. This sweat-wicking, quick-drying top is engineered for thermoregulation, so you stay cool in the heat and warm in the cold.
The Great Lakes Region: Waterfront wonders

The Great Lakes Region: Waterfront wonder

The Great Lakes Region, encompassing the shores and areas around North America's five Great Lakes, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, especially in the spring. As the snow melts and the landscape reawakens, this area offers an array of natural wonders, from cascading waterfalls and verdant forests to expansive waterfront views. Hikers can enjoy the burgeoning greenery, a plethora of bird species returning home, and the peaceful ambiance of the lakes' vast waters under the gentle warmth of the season's sun.

  • Day hike route: A prime example of the region's springtime charm is the trail along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior in Michigan. This scenic path offers breathtaking views of towering sandstone cliffs, secluded beaches, and pristine forests. Hikers can witness the awe-inspiring beauty of waterfalls like Miners Falls and Chapel Falls, which are particularly vigorous during the spring thaw.
  • Terrain and conditions: The trail terrain in the Great Lakes Region, while often relatively flat, can present challenges in the form of muddy patches resulting from spring rains. The proximity to the lakes also means temperatures can be cooler, with a brisk lakeside breeze. These conditions make for a refreshing yet potentially tricky hiking experience, requiring appropriate preparation and gear.
  • Get the gear: For the muddy trails and cooler lakeside temperatures of the Great Lakes Region, the Ghost 15 GTX for men and women provides waterproof protection, plus soft, lightweight cushioning for a smooth ride. The Notch Thermal Hoodie 2.0 for men and women offers the needed warmth and moisture-wicking capabilities for the area’s changing conditions.
Know before you go

Know before you go

When planning your trail hike, it's important to research and prepare for the specific conditions of the trail segment you've chosen. Always check the local weather forecast, trail conditions, and regulations (such as permit requirements) before heading out.

Gear up for spring hikes with Brooks

Spring emerges as the ideal season for hiking, offering pleasant temperatures, vibrant landscapes, and the reawakening of nature. To truly enjoy these trails, high-quality gear is essential, ensuring safety and comfort amidst the changing conditions of the season. Dive into the great outdoors with confidence by exploring our selection of trail gear, designed to elevate your hiking experience.

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Disclaimer: Our writer's advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition, or fitness routines.