10 Of The Best Hikes Around a Lake

Take in some of nature's most beautiful views on the East Coast, West Coast, and in between!

With the hottest days of the year behind us and fall foliage on it's way, it's the perfect time to hike some of America's best trails.

Even your average hike is fun, but a hike with stunning views of the changing leaves, nearby mountain ranges, and a lake or reservoir at the end, can't help but be an amazing time. Plus, hiking does wonders for the body and mind. Clear your head, work up a sweat, and take in some of nature's most beautiful views with 10 of the best lake or reservoir hikes in America. You can even cool off at the end with a swim!

Dive into Phelps Lake off the "jumping rock" in Wyoming. Take in the white cliffs at Lake Minnewaska in upstate New York. Bask in the best view of Mount Shasta at Heart Lake in Northern California.

East coast

Hessian Lake in Bear Mountain

Hessian LakeFine Art America

Where: Rockland County, NY

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 1.4 miles

Features: Paved loop trail, beautiful views of Bear Mountain, easy access to longer trails, dog friendly.

Hike the Hessian Lake loop in New York's Hudson Highlands for picturesque views of Bear Mountain. Bear mountain park is a 5,205 acre state park in Rockland and Orange county, New York, with rugged mountains overlooking the Hudson River. The 1.4 mile paved trail loop along Lake Hessian is dog friendly (as long as your furry friends are leashed) and easy enough for novice hikers.

The Hessian Lake trail is crowded during summer months, but quieter in the fall. You'll also have a stunning view of upstate New York's fall foliage. If you decide you want a longer hike, you'll be able to connect to more difficult trails along the way.

Lake Minnewaska

Lake MinnewaskaDevian Art by Toriphilwill

Where: Kerhonkson, New York

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 1.9 miles loop, 0.7 miles trail to scenic view.

Features: View of white cliffs, trail loop around entire lake, waterfall, dog friendly.

Lake Minnewaska is a beautiful, tranquil lake near the Catskill Mountains. The Minnewaska state preserve is 22,275 acres of preserved land in Ulster County, New York. The preserve was also once the site of two mountain top hotels that closed in 1979.

The lake is surrounded by white cliffs and if you hike far enough, you'll hit a beautiful waterfall. Try the 0.7 mile Beacon Hill hiking trail that ends with a scenic view on top of a rock or the 1.9 mile Carriage Road loop that takes you around the entire lake.

Walden Pond

Walden Pond in the fallFlickr by Manyu Sabnis

Where: Concord, Massachusetts

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 1.7 miles

Features: National historic landmark, inspired David Thoreau's Walden, beautiful foliage in the fall, swimming, kayaking.

Walden pond in Concord, Massachusetts is best known for inspiring David Thoreau's Walden. Today, the pond is a national historic landmark where hikers can revel in the same scenic views from the 1854 book. Walk the 1.7 mile loop around the lake or try one of the more difficult hikes in the Walden Pond State Reservation.

Visitors can also swim, picnic, rent canoes, go birding, and explore historic sites of the Revolutionary War. You can even visit a replica of Thoreau's single-room cabin. Leave your pets behind though, this trail park isn't dog friendly.

West coast:

Gaylor Lake

Gaylor LakeTrip Advisor

Where: Yosemite National Park, CA

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Length: 3 miles

Features: Sweeping views of Dana meadows and the Dana, Mammoth, and Gibbs mountain ranges.

The Gaylor Lakes trail is one of Yosemite's most overlooked hikes, so it's usually less crowded than other popular Yosemite trails. This 3.5 mile hike starts off with a steep climb at an elevation of 9,950 feet, so we don't recommend it for beginners. But once you get past the Gaylor lakes valley opening, things level out and you can enjoy the views, though you might have to take this hike slow and steady as you acclimate to the elevation. At the end of the hike, you'll be rewarded with views of the Dana meadows and the mountain ranges behind it.

Eagle Lake

Eagle LakeCalifornia Through My Lens

Where: Lassen County, California

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 1.8 miles

Features: Forest and lake views, dog friendly, view of Emerald Bay along the hike, swimming, picnic grounds.

If you're looking for a good workout with a swimming spot to cool off at the end, hit the Eagle Lake Trail in Lassen County, CA. This 1.8 mile loop has a few steep steps at the beginning of the hike, but gets easier. You'll be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra high country.

There are also plenty of scenic spots to stop for a picnic along the way. Cool down with a quick dip once you reach Eagle Lake. If you want a longer hike, keep going past Eagle Lake to reach Velmas, Dicks, and Fontanillis lakes.

Heart lake

Heart LakeFresh Off The Grid

Where: Mount Shasta, CA

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Length: 3 miles

Features: Some of the best views of Mount Shasta and Castle Craggs, beautiful wildflowers in the spring and summer, dog friendly.

Hiking to Heart Lake is awe inspiring. Walk past wildflowers and sweeping mountain views as you hike. Once you reach the lake you're greeted with the most stunning view of Mount Shasta the area has to offer.

The hike begins with scenic views at the castle lake trailhead, the climb up is rocky but gradual and there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. Once you make it up the trail, just over the last hill, you'll see the small but gorgeous Heart Lake. Go for a swim, have a picnic or keep climbing to castle peak for more amazing views.

Middle America:

Sky Pond Rocky Mountains

Sky PondDay Hikes Near Denver

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Difficulty: Difficult

Length: 9 miles

Features: Views of Taylor peak and Taylor Glacier, 3 waterfalls along the way, wildflowers along the way, emerald water for swimming.

The Eagle Pond trail in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National park isn't for beginners. If you're a an outdoor enthusiast and love a challenging workout, this hike is for you. Be sure to pack some lunch and a lot of water, the hike will take you about 4-5 hours round trip.

Bring a camera to document the three beautiful waterfalls and the stunning views of Taylor glacier and Taylor peak. Once you finally get to the lake you'll be glad you made the long trek. Cool off in the emerald green waters or have a picnic with a view.

Phelps Lake

Phelps Lake OverlookThe Hostel.Us

Where: Beaver Creek, Wyomming

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 1.8 Miles

Features: Views of Phelps lake and Death Canyon, "jumping-rock" to dive into the lake

If you're looking for an easy hike to a lake with a stunning view, the Phelps Lake Overlook trail is perfect for you. This 1.8 mile hike has beautiful views of the mirror-like lake, death canyon, and the surrounding woodlands. Once you get to the overlook, you might hear the laughter of fellow hikers who jumped into the lake below.

Highland Mary Lakes

Highland Mary LakesHub Pages

Where: Silverton, Colorado

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Length: 4.9 miles

Features: Spectacular alpine views, waterfalls along the hike, views of the seven Highland Mary lakes and Verde Lakes, dog friendly.

Though this hike isn't strenuous, it is long. You'll hike through a beautiful forested hillside with a diverse landscape of trees and pass a few waterfalls along the way. The elevation might slow you down, but if you take it slow, this hike is very doable.

Once you make it to the scenic view you'll be able to see all seven of the Highland Mary Lakes and the Verde Lakes. Turn around and walk back, or keep following the Continental Divide Trail to turn this hike into a full loop.

Grinnell Glacier Lake

Grinnell Lake Trip Advisor

Where: Glacier National Park, Montana

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Length: 7 miles

Features: Views of Grinnell lake, Grinnell falls, lake Josephine, and three glaciers, wildflowers and mountain views.

The Grinnell Lake trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in America. The first two miles are mostly flat, with stunning views of lake Josephine. As you start to climb up to Grinnell Lake, you'll see spectacular views of the lake with Mt.Gould in the background.

You'll pass wildflowers, waterfalls, and maybe even some wildlife as you hike. Although this hike is long, it isn't very steep. Families of all ages hike this famous trail every summer, just remember to pack enough snacks and water!

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I don't know about you guys, but working from home has taken a serious toll on me. It started off really well. I was sticking to my usual routine as much as possible, but I've been slowly becoming less and less productive.

I noticed my sleep schedule had completely changed. I was rolling out of bed a few minutes before I was due to start work, and sometimes even working from my bed. I ate lunch at the desk and worked straight through my scheduled breaks. I was sleepier throughout the day, unable to focus as much, and just feeling less motivated overall.

So I looked into what I could do that would help me out of my slump. I tried a few things. Some were so simple I never thought they'd make much of a difference, and some I wouldn't have thought of at all, but now I'm back feeling more productive than ever.

Here are my three tips for working from home:

1. Get up early

Yes, it seems so simple. But it's super important to stick to a normal routine if you can. Not only do I get up early, but I shower every morning and cook myself a nutritious breakfast before I start work. This definitely helped me feel more energized and motivated throughout the day.

2. Have a designated workspace

This is important because it separates your work from your home. Our homes are associated with relaxing, so designating a space that will be used only for work will help you concentrate on work while you're in that space. I also found that doing this helped me actually take appropriate breaks. When I left the space I was in relax mode, and once I came back, I was ready to work again.

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Everyone knows that working out in ratty clothing isn't very motivating.

Studies have shown that the right workout gear drastically determines how hard we push ourselves on cardio or at the gym. But high-end fashion clothes are never high on our shopping list, and a well-fitted pair of spandex can run up a hefty price tag. But as quarantine has forced us all to reevaluate our workout routine, workout clothes matter now more than ever.

But instead of blowing the big bucks on white-owned brands like Under Armour, we should use this time as an opportunity–while BLM protests happen across the country–to put our money towards black businesses as much as we can. This, of course, includes workout clothes. So here are some reliable Black-owned brands that are high quality and won't break your bank.



Founded in 2016, Yema Khalif and his wife, Hawi Awash, opened this fitness brand to help educate and feed the latter's home country of Ethiopia. All proceeds go towards helping to educate and feed at risk children in Ethiopia, and their fitness offerings are all beautiful and hand-made.

Culture Fit​

Culture Fit

Designed specifically for black women, Culture Fit's sleek design and well-ventilated workout gear is worth the money. Designed by women of color, each matching pair of active wear also can include a matching yoga mat, so you can really be looking your best when you hit your zoom yoga class!

Vero Mastodon

vero mastodon

Made popular by men and women who served in the military, Vero Mastodon offers breathable, flexible fitness clothes for all the heavy lifters out there. Their exclusive app also offers training programs by certified trainers and power lifters to help you get shredded and transformed.

Pru Apparel

Pru Apparel

Focused on its message of community and pride, Pru Apparel is for every type of woman. Inspired by Africa's culture and rich history, the breathable clothing sets feature Kente cloth and come in a wide array of sizes. Not to mention, the prints are super trendy.



This gorgeous activewear was born for the culturally conscious. Made for women of all skin tones and shapes, the workout gear was designed for the sole purpose of empowering and motivating. Their high-waisted spandex and quality mesh provide a collection of breathable fabrics that move however you do.


Inside Chaz, Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

After nine days of standoffs between Seattle Black Lives Matter protesters and the police, at last the cops ceded the area to the revolution.

What is Chaz? Depends on who you ask.

Technically Chaz is the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," an area of Seattle that has become a quasi-experiment in what a completely police-free state might look like. After nine days of standoffs between Seattle Black Lives Matter protesters and the police, at last the cops ceded the area to the revolution.

"On an almost nightly basis, the SPD has indiscriminately used excessive force against protesters, legal observers, journalists, and medical personnel," read an ACLU lawsuit that played a role in finally pushing the police out of the precinct, opening space for a new experiment in government (or a lack thereof).

Now Chaz is the subject of ire, suspicion, rage, and hope. Its origins happened rapidly. After the police ceded the area, protestors set up boundaries and barricades to create a protected zone of about six square blocks.

Currently the area sounds like a utopian dreamscape, a commune slash co-op that comes complete with film screenings, free food, and a growing People's Garden. There's a medical tent and a makeshift Mutual Aid library. There's a medic station, a "No Cop Co-op" where people can get free supplies, a shrine made up of candles, flowers, and pictures of George Floyd and the countless others who have been killed by police. Protestors have screened films including 13th and Paris Is Burning. Murals and paintings fill the street.

What Is Chaz: A Block Party, an Antifa Hub, or a Revolution Waystation?

Conservatives, of course, are absolutely losing it. Trump described the protestors as "Domestic Terrorists" who "have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!"

Twitter has become completely overrun with conspiracy theories about the town and what it means. One Twitter user started a rumor that a SoundCloud rapper named Raz was becoming the zone's "Warlord," which was simply false.

Others are horrified, calling the town an Antifa stronghold, or an anarchist establishment that's threatening American democracy.

Reports from people on the ground beg to differ. "The CHAZ is not communist. It's not socialist or anarchist either. Most people here might subscribe to one of those ideologies, but mostly it's just an extended BLM block party," wrote one Reddit user.

The Future of Chaz

No one is exactly sure what Chaz will become. Some believe that the police will eventually retake the autonomous zone; but for now, the town will stand as a testament to the power of protest and possibility.

Others want Chaz to become the beginning of a momentous change. Some of the zone's inhabitants have drafted a list of 30 demands, which include abolishing the police, banning the police's use of arms in between now and when they are abolished, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, providing reparations for victims of police brutality, decriminalizing protest, providing a retrial for all people of color convicted of violent crimes, demanding release for anyone incarcerated on charges relating to marijuana, and much more.

Organizers are beginning to shape a makeshift government in order to actualize these goals. At Chaz's first Town Hall. "The goal was to hear speeches from local Black and Indigenous leaders, and then to break up into small groups to brainstorm ways to address concerns about trash, traffic, helping small businesses, establishing accountability structures within a non-hierarchical social arrangement, and whatever else came up," writes Rich Smith in The Stranger.

The main question the organizers grappled with at the meeting was what to do with the empty East precinct, but certainly bigger questions will come up. Some want to see the zone establish its own council. "It's very important that we get a council going of elected representatives of the CHAZ zone," said a protestor and Chaz resident named Malcolm, who works with Black Lives Matter Seattle. "Since you guys are going to be our sovereign state, you guys have to get that going immediately."

But some members want to avoid picking organizers, preferring to stay away from the fragility and corruptibility of leadership. Some approve of more anarchist models of organizing, others focus on anticapitalist ideals, and others keep returning to the movement that launched Chaz in the first place—the anti-police-brutality Black Lives Matter protests launched by the killing of George Floyd and 400 years of oppression.

Most organizers emphasized prioritizing Black and brown voices, but still, the town is certainly not free of the racial tensions that inspired the movement that created it. Some already fear that Chaz and its white occupants, in particular, are distracting from the Black Lives Matter movement, applying their own agendas or even treating the commune like the dreaded Coachella.

"As the protests continue across the United States, we risk finding ourselves lost in the same pattern of unproductive behaviors that have long plagued the country. An obsession with modes of racial protests rather than with the meaning of them belies an unwillingness to face the flaws they expose in the nation's ability to live up to its ideals and fulfill its obligations to the citizenry," writes Theodore R. Johnson in The National Review.

Similar problems plagued another memorable movement-inspired village: the outpost that cropped up during the Standing Rock protests in 2016. In those years, Standing Rock turned from a place where Indigenous tribes could reunite to a sort of gentrified Burning Man, forcing leaders to request that the encampment's white occupants learn to listen more and request fluoride-free water less.

At marches across the nation, Black Lives Matter organizers are reminding the thousands of people who have shown up for the cause that this movement cannot be an Instagram trend or another hashtag. Racism isn't something that can be shut off after a few weeks—it's lifelong and pervasive—and hopefully everyone showing up will stay in the fight long after the initial whirlwind has slowed.

The same fate could befall Chaz if things go south. On the other hand, perhaps this new settlement will fare better. Perhaps it will be the start of a new world—a new America where the police are replaced by mental health counselors and free food. Most likely the result will be a combination of both, but for all intents and purposes that seems to be Chaz's goal: to see what might happen in a world free from police violence, where people keep each other safe as long as they can.