If you are like me, Thanksgiving dinner is an eagerly anticipated event every year. As the days grow darker, it's great to spend time with family and friends, share thoughts on the year that's gone by, and yes, eat an excessively large and delicious meal.
The next day, as people prepare plans to go shopping or just sit around, I always take advantage of the previous night's carbo loading and the free holiday schedules to go for a long hike. Enticing family and friends to join in is part of the fun, and with all the leftovers, packing a good lunch is easy.
We've enlisted the help of this calorie burning calculator to profile a few hikes near outdoors-accessible population centers. These hikes are perfect for burning off the holiday's indulgence. Short and steep hikes are a family favorite, but long and gradual hikes work as well.
Quick note of caution: as the weather turns colder and wetter, some of these hikes may involve travel on snow. Bring snowshoes as one option, or stick to the lower elevations and turn back when you hit too much snow.
Poo Poo Point via Chirico Trail is steep and short, gaining over 1,500 vertical feet in less than 2 miles. This leg buster will burn well over 500 calories for the average pack-laden hiker.
Mount Washington is a hike for those really wishing to make a full day of it. This hike climbs over 3,000 feet in 4 miles (the full round trip is 8 miles). It's a 1,500 calorie burner, with incredible views up top as a reward.
Steep Ravine Trail to Dipsea Trail Loop in the Marin Headlands is a perfect place to escape the buzz of the city and get immersed in nature. And the 1,000 vertical feet on this 3.5-mile loop will burn around 500 calories.
The Eagle Peak Loop in Mount Diablo State Park is a longer, higher alternative, with 1,700 vertical feet gained in the 6.75-mile loop. Burn off around 1,000 calories on this hike.
Larch Mountain Trail is a gem in the Columbia River Gorge that starts from Multnomah Falls. There are so many hikes in the gorge, but this 13.5-mile round trip hike gains over 4,000 feet of elevation and will burn over 1,500 calories.
Kings Mountain is a steep trail in the Tillamook State Forest. The 2.5-mile climb to the summit ascends over 2,700 vertical feet. This leg buster will also burn 1,000 calories in no time.
Mount Sanitas Trail outside of Boulder climbs over 1,300 feet in no time. Reward yourself with amazing views of Boulder and the Great Plains and burn some 500 calories along the way.
Royal Arch Hike, also outside Boulder, is another good option, similar in distance and elevation (and calorie burning potential) to Mount Sanitas. Royal Arch is a beautiful natural arch at the top, formed from eroded sandstone.
Mount Olympus is a Salt Lake City gem, even if you don't make the full 4,000 vertical feet gained in roughly 3 miles to the summit. But if you do, it will burn some 1,500 calories.
The Living Room Hike ascends 1,000 feet in just over a mile for some truly majestic views of Salt Lake City and the surrounding environs. This short hike is a good way to burn 500 calories.
Didn't find what you're looking for? As always, there are so many more places that these hikes to explore. Click to see all of the hikes on Outdoor Project.