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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Three Things to Consider When Planning Your Vacation

There are plenty of things to consider when planning your vacation. Make sure you have all your bases covered by the time you buy your plane ticket!

Going on vacation is wonderful after months of stress and work. There's just one last hurdle before hopping on that plane: planning.

There can be an overwhelming number of things to consider when planning your vacation (COVID-19 not least), but putting them in an itemized list helps. Here's a quick cheat-sheet for you to get a jump-start on that.

Vacation VacationUniversity of Kentucky

Remember Your Budget

If you make a budget, which you definitely should, stick to it. Don't spend more than what you can afford when you start vacationing. Vacations are meant to be relaxing, so saddling yourself with debt will only dampen the fun of your trip. How much are you spending on living accommodations, food, activities, travel? How much are you setting aside in emergency funds in case something happens?

Plan for the Length of the Trip

Are you going out of town for a few months, or do you only have a week off? How much time you have can affect where you can go and how much you can enjoy it. If you only have a week and a half for a trip, then it's best not to go somewhere that's a 16-hour flight away. Half the trip is going to be spent on planes, and the other half will be spent being jet-lagged.

Trip length can also affect how you have to deal with your home while you're away. If you're away for long periods of time, do you need to hire people to cut your grass? Do you need to hire house sitters or babysitters? There are even things to know if you need to board your dog. Keep all these in mind for extended vacations.

Consider the Weather

You never want to ruin your vacation by heading somewhere beautiful in its offseason. Depending on the time of year, most activities could be canceled due to weather restrictions. Some places are ideal for winter trips, and other destinations are made to be enjoyed during the summer heat. Plan accordingly, and don't show up in a swimsuit when it's 50 degrees outside.

That rounds up the basics, but there are plenty more things to consider when planning your vacation. Give yourself wiggle room if any unique considerations pop up in your planning process.

There has never been a better time to learn a language than right now. While we can't really travel, we can still get ready to explore the world and other cultures through film, music, and food. But the key to all of this is language. It can be hard getting started on your own and so we found the perfect solution: Rosetta Stone.

We've been loving hunkering down and digging into Rosetta Stone, a language learning app with many different languages, the best lessons, and an affordable subscription. It's flexible and made to work for you, no matter what level you're starting at. Jump back into French without dusting off your highschool books or pick up Mandarin with a clean slate.

Thinking about Rosetta Stone for your language lessons? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions:

What languages do they offer?

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from 25 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese. When you get the Unlimited Languages subscription you gain access to all 25 and can switch between languages. While you may be intensely learning German, you can take a break and pick up some conversational Korean — all in one app.

What are the features?

What makes Rosetta Stone's lessons really work are the incredible learning features.

Phrasebook will teach you short, useful expressions that are sure to come in handy during your travels, letting you see the practical application of what you're learning. Seek & Speak brings the fun back into learning by having you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and taking photos of them to get the translated name. Even in an app, Rosetta Stone turns any environment into a classroom.

TruAccent is a speech engine within the program that provides instant feedback on your pronunciation so you know if you're on the right track. You'll grow more confident about speaking aloud and it's like having an accent coach in the room with you.

How long does it take every day?

Rosetta Stone's lessons are bite-sized, so all you need is 5 -10 minutes a day to sneak in some practice and work towards your language goals. Of course, you can do more if you want but there's no regimented schedule or pressure to speed ahead.

How does it compare to in-person classes?

With the Rosetta Stone app, your learning is within your control and designed to move at your pace. The app will tailor to your particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses! Plus, with the recent explosion of online classes, most people have fallen away from in-person instruction anyway.

Rosetta Stone brings you expert teaching, fun engaging lessons, and a multitude of language options all on-the-go. Take your classes whenever and wherever works best for you, conveniently on the app.

Is it suitable for all levels?

Absolutely. When you first start, the app allows you to choose a study plan based on your experience level. So, if you're a beginner you can start from scratch and those with some proficiency can advance to where they're comfortable.

How much does it cost?

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month and grants access to all 25 languages, cheaper than Netflix. You get an education at a great value and the best part is no ads while you learn!

We look forward to our Rosetta Stone lessons and highly recommend it to anyone eager to learn a new language or even brush up on an old one. This program makes learning fun, practical, convenient, and most importantly affordable.

Say bonjour, to the go-to language learning app and have the world right at your fingertips!

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!

Like so many out there I haven't been traveling. With everything going on these days I've been staying home, which I love, but it does have me itching to travel. The international section of Netflix just isn't satisfying my travel bug like it used to (trust me, if it's been recommended I've watched it).

I was looking for another way I could travel without leaving home so I did the rounds of take-out food: Chinese, German, Italian, and Mexican. This was fun and tasty but a pricey way to explore the world.

A friend of mine suggested taking a prepping approach to travel and try Rosetta Stone: a language learning program that offers an annual plan with access to 24+ languages.

I've always wanted to learn a new language but have had trouble committing. I was a bit wary about starting Rosetta Stone but ultimately decided to give it a shot.

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month for 12 months (what a deal). While I was determined to learn Spanish in anticipation of my dream trip to Spain, this plan allows me to switch to any of the other 24+ languages.

I was excited to get started and use the app. I figured with all of the extra time I had until I could actually go on my trip, I'd aspire to be near fluent by the time it happened.

Jumping right in, I took a ton of lessons through their app and really binged the language. I loved the focus on conversational language, phrases, and vocabulary but after about a week I had burned myself out a bit.

I ended up pulling back and doing 10-minute lessons a day. This was manageable and easy to incorporate into my schedule whether it was by doing a lesson over my morning coffee or winding down right before bed. Learning in bite-sized amounts helped me digest the information and really process what I was being taught.

After a couple of weeks, I was getting really comfortable with Rosetta Stone and was actually enjoying the learning process… even though I wasn't a big fan of language when I was in school. What really set this experience apart for me was the Phrasebook and Seek & SpeakⓇ features.

Phrasebook teaches short, useful expressions that I know will come in handy on my trip. Seek & SpeakⓇ definitely brought the fun back into learning for me, as it has you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and take photos of them. Once you do this it gives you a translation of each item (I've never enjoyed looking for cucumbers in my fridge before).

Watching so many telenovelas I knew how important the accent is (in any language) but difficult without an in-person instructor. Rosetta Stone realizes that too and uses TruAccentⓇ. The speech engine within the program gave me instant feedback so I knew that my pronunciation was on the right track and it made me more comfortable speaking aloud.

Rosetta Stone turned out to be a great choice for me. Now I'm daydreaming about traveling and feel like when the time comes I'll be ready to. I'm so confident in my learning that I've branched out and have done some lessons in Italian and French! I'm thinking, after Spain… maybe Rome and Paris? My destinations list is endless now!

Honestly, with Rosetta Stone, I feel more inspired than ever to travel and all this inspiration is happening right in my home. I can't wait to take what I've learned on the road but until then the preparation is still incredibly fun and useful.

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!