City dwellers live vertical lives in the least pleasant way imaginable, trudging to walkup apartments and elevating to fifth-floor offices. All the more reason to get out of the city and climb – genuinely climb – a mountain. These summit hikes, all within a short drive of major metropolitan areas, allow urbanites to summit a peak (however small) in one day and make it home in time to order a pizza and catch the game. It's a different way to get up and a great detour from routine.
Charlotte: Crowders Mountain
Crowders Mountain State Park, near Charlotte, offers several trails. Hike the 0.8 miles up Backside Trail to the Crowders Mountain summit through Virginia Pines, chestnut oaks, and looming hickories. The short but steep path ends with 336 wooden steps to the top, where a panorama awaits.
Credit: Gary Tognoni / Alamy