5 U.S. Hiking Getaways - United Hub
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Explore the outdoors: 5 U.S. hiking getaways

By Bob Cooper, May 09, 2017

As the weather warms, jetting off for a hiking getaway is a fine idea. But you don't have to combine a long flight with a long drive to a remote national park to find stellar hiking. Many superb short and full-day hikes can be found within a short drive of these five U.S. cities — and some don't even require you to leave city limits. These cities and towns also offer après-hiking options from dining and microbreweries to live music venues.

Forest Park in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Few cities in the world can boast of a park as large as Forest Park, a 5,000-acre swath of evergreen forest that's entirely in Portland. The east end of the park is only a few minutes from downtown. Its pine-needle-cushioned Wildwood Trail, a National Scenic Trail, weaves through evergreens for 30 miles, with every quarter-mile marked on the moss-covered trees. Portland is also a 30-minute drive from the Columbia River Gorge, which is home to two iconic trails. Take a short hike to the top of 635-foot Multnomah Falls and the Pacific Crest Trail, which heads toward Mt. Hood from the Bridge of the Gods.

Mt. Mansfield State Forest in Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

The Nordic-ski trails that lace the Green Mountains near Burlington, Vermont's largest city (pop. 42,000), become hiking trails as soon as the spring snow melts. Mt. Mansfield State Forest is named for Vermont's highest peak (4,393 feet), which can be tackled on a five-mile roundtrip hike, with more trails at the forest's Stowe, Smugglers' Notch and Bolton Valley ski areas. These trails and more at Camel's Hump State Park are all within an hour's drive of Burlington, and both contain segments of the popular Long Trail (the same trail that takes you up Mt. Mansfield). Or, you can drive a bit farther to reach trails in Vermont's Green Mountain State Forest or upstate New York's Adirondacks.

Trail in Muir Woods National Monument in San Francisco.

San Francisco, California

Among U.S. cities, only New York City is more densely populated than San Francisco, yet hundreds of miles of quiet trails are found within an hour's drive. Head north across the Golden Gate Bridge for redwood trails at Muir Woods National Monument, the Marin Headlands and Mt. Tamalpais. Head south on the Coast Highway for Coast Range hikes in Pacifica that serve up commanding views of the ocean. There are even lovely trails within San Francisco city limits in the Presidio and at Lands End—a wild stretch of coastal bluffs with three beaches. All of these parklands are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Aerial view of Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Few cities are as surrounded by as many mountain trails as Asheville. The Blue Ridge Parkway skirts right past the city of 83,000, with nearby trails soaring high into the Blue Ridge Mountains a few miles from downtown Asheville. The area's best hikes lead to panoramic vistas. One of these is the 1.5-mile hike up 5,721-foot Mt. Pisgah from the Blue Ridge Parkway, where a restaurant at the top refuels your belly and soul. The Appalachian Trail also meanders through the mountains near Asheville. Worthy segments include the short Lover's Leap loop hike from Hot Springs (the trail runs right through the village's main street) and hikes that start from nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 6,643-foot Clingmans Dome — the highest point on the entire Appalachian Trail.

Nature reserve in Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan

The Midwest may not be as well-known for hiking as other parts of the country, but it's outstanding in the spring and early summer in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, where temperatures are cooler, hills are higher and wildflowers bloom later. Lakes, rivers and creeks are also more abundant in this northern belt of the Great Lakes region. Northern Michigan's Traverse City has all of these. It's a half-hour drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan, with 100 miles of hiking trails, 200 miles of dunes, and more hiking and camping on the ferry-accessible Manitou Islands. There are also dozens of other parks and nature reserves laced with trails nearby, including several right in Traverse City.

If you go

United Airlines flies to each of these cities. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your hiking adventure.

Why we fly

By The Hub team, November 27, 2020

In October 2019, we launched a first-of-its-kind airline miles donation platform, Miles on a Mission. In the inaugural year, MileagePlus members donated over 70 million miles, with United matching over 20 million miles, to 51 organizations. These miles have allowed for these organizations to do important, life-changing, life-saving work in the communities we serve around the globe.

United cargo connects products to people all over the world this holiday season

By The Hub team, November 23, 2020

Critical medical shipments – Check.

High-tech electronics – Check.

2.7 million pounds of lobster? Check.


While this year's holiday gatherings will look a little different, millions of people around the world will still carry on the tradition of celebrating the holidays with a meal.

As the appetite for different types of food from all over the world increases, so does the need for safe and reliable transport. Fish caught in the United Kingdom can depart at breakfast and arrive in Washington D.C. in time for dinner. Thanks to United Cargo's expansive network, we are longer constrained by global distance or the seasonality of a product,

United Cargo plays a big role in transporting shipments with a limited shelf life around the world. Packed in between the latest electronics from Asia and the hottest fashion items from Europe, our aircraft carry a variety of perishable shipments like flowers, fruit, meat and vegetables, where speed and careful handling keeps them fresh. Whether it's cherries from Washington State or vegetables from Peru, our temperature-controlled shipping processes and vast global network helps move these commodities all over the world.

While the holidays are an exceptionally busy time of year for shipping perishable items, United Cargo transports these critical goods for people all over the world year-round. Earlier this year, United Cargo moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to support communities impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, with the holiday season here, we anticipate the cargo holds of our aircraft to be full of grocery store replenishments, including staples like turkey and ham, hitting shelves across the globe.

We take pride in our role to make sure perishables and produce arrive on time and at the peak of freshness. These products sustain, feed and nurture the world, and consumers around the globe depend on them every single day.

Since March 19, United has operated nearly 8,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 272 million pounds of cargo on those flights alone. United Cargo is proud of the role we play maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access commodities from all over the globe.

Bon appetit!

10 travel tips for the holiday season

By The Hub team, November 19, 2020

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your holiday travels, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, payments and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check and touch-free onboard payments.

2. Read and sign the Ready-to-Fly checklist

Before completing check-in, all United travelers will need to read our Ready-to-Fly checklist and confirm that they understand and agree to our policies. These include:

  • Acknowledging that you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Agreeing that you will not fly if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days
  • Confirming that you will follow all policies regarding face coverings, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted

3. Get familiar with CleanPlus

United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading* cleanliness, plus putting health and safety at the forefront of your experience, in partnership with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic. We've implemented CleanPlus in a number of ways that you'll notice throughout your trip, as well as with some behind-the-scenes enhancements like:

  • Disinfecting high-touch areas on board and in the terminal
  • Using electrostatic spraying, Ultraviolet C lighting wands and more advanced measures to clean aircraft cabins before boarding
  • Redesigning our mobile app to allow for touchless check-in and contactless payment, along with enhanced travel assistance features

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use, so you can rest assured that the steps we've taken to keep you safe truly make a difference.

4. Don't forget essential documents

We've made a list of travel requirements and restrictions for every destination that you can check twice, or as often as you need before your trip. Just visit united.com/travelrequirements to get the details on COVID-19 testing, health documents and other things you may need before you fly.

5. Wear your mask

You may not notice our smile behind our face covering, but you can be sure that we're appreciative of all our travelers who arrive to the airport with their mask on, and continue to wear it over their nose and mouth at all times in the airport and on board. Make sure you review our requirements for face coverings, including what an acceptable face covering looks like. Bonus points if your mask infuses some holiday cheer!

6. A better boarding process for your safety

If you haven't flown with us in a while, you might want to get familiar with our new boarding process. To make boarding even safer, we now have travelers board their aircraft from back to front. At the gate, just listen for your row number to be called – we'll ask a few rows at a time to board, starting with the last row of the plane. This helps everyone maintain a safe distance from each other during boarding without slowing things down. As you step onto the plane, flight attendants will hand each passenger a sanitizing towelette, which you can use to wipe down your seat to ensure it's extra clean.

7. Pack smart

Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. You can also copy your confirmation number into our Baggage Calculator tool to learn about the bag allowance included with your reservation, as well as the cost of checking any additional bags.

8. Check your flight status, important notices and weather

Check the United app regularly for the latest updates, weather conditions, flight status, gate and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important Notices page to find essential information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.

9. Arrive early; avoid the stress

Airports can be busy, especially during the holidays. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.

10. Relax and enjoy your flight

Once you're on board, it's time to sit back and enjoy your flight. Our flight attendants will be happy to help you with anything else you need.

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