Visitors to Manhattan need only look up to discover a new trail in one corner of the island's West Side. There, two years back, a section of the old Meatpacking District's elevated railway was converted to an above-street-level park, running from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, a distance that's just shy of 1.5 miles.
Blooming in season with native flowers — such as jade coneflower in summer and blazing star in fall — the High Line offers sweeping views of Hudson River ship traffic, New Jersey beyond, and the ever-trendier Chelsea district, with its art galleries, boutiques, and cafés. Don't miss the plank walkways in a section of the park called Washington Grasslands — where firetail mountain fleece and moor grass turn this corner of Manhattan into a lazy meadow.
Next: A lakefront walk in the windy city.
— Photo courtesy of The High Line
Even on vacation, Americans tend to see the world at 65 mph. But as a walker and constant traveler, I've discovered that our nation's virtually limitless trails offer a new, more leisurely perspective on everything from wild rivers to architectural wonders. Here are six of my favorite places to walk. Some are in the wild, others are in the city (and still others are in the wild in the city!), but all are easy to get to — with rewards you'll reap only on foot.