Happy Hiking: Feel on Top of the World

There’s nothing quite like getting out in the great outdoors! Breathing in the fresh air and admiring the natural beauty of your surroundings is the perfect way to decompress and feel at peace. Presently, the bulk of society has removed themselves from nature almost completely, relocating to large urbanized areas. Of course, the city life can be fun and exciting, but did you know that it may actually have adverse effects on our health?

In recent years, there has been a spike in diagnosed depression and anxiety disorders in urban residents who don’t take a break from their busy, city-life. This is characterized by high rumination, which is consistent negative thought, as well as increased activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC), the part of the brain that controls mood disorders. Could strapping on your hiking boots and spending your day trekking up to higher elevations be the solution for negative brain activity? There is evidence to suggest that it just might be.

A study conducted by Gretchen C. Daily of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, noted that hiking offers more health benefits than just an endorphin rush.

Daily concluded that individuals who spend more time hiking are reported to experience a decreased amount of chronic stressors, depression, and mood disorders. Can you believe the solution to feeling better can be found right outside your door?

This spring, get out and experience the great outdoors, both for fun and to benefit your health! Need some suggestions on hiking trails? Check out some of our favorites.

Happy hiking!

Want to learn more about Daily’s experiment? Read the full study here.

Hiking in the East

Blue Suck Falls | Homestead Preserve, VA
Head to Douthat State Park and start at Wilson Creek, then make your way up towards the Tobacco Ridge Trail. This challenging hike is 9.5 miles round-trip, but the peak offers some of the best views in the Old Dominion. Pack a picnic and stop by Overlook Rock for lunch with a view.
Stay with us in the Homestead Preserve

Abrams Falls | Great Smoky Mountains, TN
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park awaits for a stress-free day full of nature and wildlife. Hop on Cades Cove Loop Road to access the trail. This moderate hike is only 5.2 miles round-trip, with a gorgeous, 20-foot waterfall waiting at the end. As you admire the waterfall be sure to take pictures, but be careful of strong currents and slippery rocks!
Stay with us in the Great Smoky Mountains

Hiking in the West

Devil’s Postpile | Mammoth Lakes, CA
Take the shuttle bus to the trailhead and set off through the Inyo National Forest, with the incredible Devil's Postpile in your sights. The view of the monument will transport you thousands of years back, when lava erupted and created a cascading tower of 60-foot basalt columns. If you’re up for an extended hike, just two miles away is Rainbow Falls, where the San Joaquin River tumbles over 100 feet and creates a gorgeous rainbow in the mist.
Stay with us in Mammoth Lakes

Eagle Falls | North Lake Tahoe, CA
Connect with nature on this one mile, dog-friendly hike alongside the lake. Start at Emerald Bay, the iconic Lake Tahoe bay named for its surreal green tint—and don’t forget your camera! From there, trek through the Tahoe backcountry and reach your destination at the Eagle Falls Bridge where you can enjoy vistas of the falls below and an incredible view of Emerald Bay. Continue on to Eagle Lake or make your way back down the trail.
Stay with us in Lake Tahoe