The 7 Best Hikes in America for Rolling Hills

So many to choose from!

Leaving civilization behind to trundle through thick pine forests and rocky ascents is a favorite pastime for many. And what's not to love? There's nothing quite like breathing in the fresh mountain air and feeling the blood course through your veins as you tromp through the undergrowth. There are thousands of fantastic trails at your disposal in America, and no matter where you live, there's sure to be a few just begging for you to try. While these aren't quite daredevil hikes, they are a bit more challenging than your typical 1-mile gravel path, so be prepared for a bit of a workout.

West Coast Hikes

Mt. Tallac Hike, California – This steep climb on the southwest side of Lake Tahoe affords panoramic views virtually every step of the way. If you persist to the summit (over 9,000 feet up), you'll be richly rewarded with an unblemished view of the dazzling lake and surrounding mountains. To the east, you'll see Fallen Leaf Lake and the rocky Freel Peak. Pivot to the west, and you'll drink in the incredible summits of Pyramid Peak and the snow-dusted Crystal Range mountains. If you look carefully on a clear day, you may even be able to make out the whimsical turret of Castle Peak. If you attempt to reach the summit, be sure to pack plenty of snacks, water, and a selfie stick (because you'll want to document your triumphant ascent).

Maroon Bells Trail, Colorado – This hardy trail traverses one of the most iconic sites (and sights) in America: twin giant 14,000-foot mountains named Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak. You'll trek through 3.2 miles of fresh-smelling alpine forest and rugged slopes, but keep your head up because you may catch a glimpse of the indigenous residents, like red fox and bighorn sheep. Maroon Bells is an exceptionally popular spot, so plan on getting there early (parking for the park opens at 8 am and fills up quickly), or go on a rainy day when it's less crowded. The park is open from June through October but it's at its most resplendent in autumn, when the changing leaves look like an ocean of rustling gems.

East Coast Hikes

Cadillac Mountain South Ridge, Maine – You'll be rewarded with ocean exposure, a perfect picnic area adjacent to a pond (named The Featherbed for unknown reasons), and incredible views of steep drop-offs with this hike. Admire wildflowers speckling the coniferous forest floor as you ascend Cadillac Mountain's 1,500-foot peak (which is is the tallest point on the North Atlantic seaboard). Once you reach the top, you'll be able to see for miles, taking in the glorious tree-topped vistas and far off islands that dot the frigid waters of the Atlantic. This hike is around 3.5 miles, but the hilly terrain should keep you occupied for at least a few hours.

Mt. Tammany in the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey – New Jersey has more to offer than pebbly beaches and saltwater taffy. In fact, it's home to one of the most stunning views on the east coast. Despite its moniker, the Delaware Water Gap is not located in Delaware. It's named for the Delaware River, which cuts through the scenic valley. Atop Mt. Tammany you'll be able to observe its swift currents from hundreds of feet up, along with a breathtaking view of Mt. Minsai. This trek is not for the faint of heart (or those who consider a "hike" to be a gravel path that leads to a barbeque grill), as the Red Dot trail is quite rocky and steep. You can always take the Blue Dot trail, or combine the two, but Red Dot affords the best views. No pain, no gain.

Southern Hikes

Gorge Overlook Trail, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee – For gorgeous waterfalls and spectacular gorges, Fall Creek Falls State Park has you covered. Multiple spur trails (small offshoots) stem from the main Gorge Overlook Trail, the first of which leads to an overlook with an awe-inspiring view of the thundering Cane Creek Falls—85 feet of sheer aquatic force. The trail itself is a combination of short steep climbs and more moderate terrain, and you'll get to cross a swaying footbridge that spans a rushing river. Wear multiple layers: as you descend past the ancient layer cake of Fall Creek Gorge the temperature drops precipitously.

River Place Trail, Texas – It's true what they say: everything is bigger in Texas. This goes for the trucks, hats, and wide-open spaces too. This particular trail has three distinct treks—when combined they add up to 5.5 miles. Panther Hollow Trail has the most ascents and descents; you'll find yourself huffing up several sets of log "stairs" wedged into the ground if you start at the bottom. But the view from the top is so worth the workout. If you time your hike right you'll be able to see the sun set over the hills, a feast for your eyes that's almost as good as the bbq brisket at Franklin's (an Austin mainstay).

Northern Hikes

Bay View Trail, Michigan – Lake Michigan has never looked as staggeringly beautiful as it does from the vantage point of the Bay View Trail. It's surrounded by countryside filled with wildflower fields and robust greenery, and you'll be able to catch a whiff of its invigorating breeze whenever the trail leads out into the open meadows. The most popular part of this 8.5 mile trail is the northern half that encompasses the Farms Trail (featuring historic barns), and parts of the Low and High Trails. While this trail gets quite popular with skiers in the winter, it's often sparsely populated during the warmer months, so there's a good possibility you'll have that sweet Lake Michigan breeze all to yourself. This hilly trek is excellent for those looking for a bit of historic architecture along with their outdoor adventure.

No matter where you end up hiking, take a moment to pause, breathe in the fragrant air and admire your surroundings. Part of the fun of being out in nature is the opportunity to take a break from your hectic life and just enjoy being alive.

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.


Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).


Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!

Travel

So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—Workaway.info.

Workaway Workaway


Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).

Workaway WoIsango.com

You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway


Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker