By: Barbara Noe Kennedy | From: Fodor's

You don’t always need a distant mountain to go hiking. The good news is that cities throughout the U.S. have fantastic hiking trails, whisking locals and visitors away from car horns, emergency sirens, and leaf blowers (the worst!). Within minutes, you’re transported into the heart of nature, surrounded by birdsong, fields of flowers, babbling creeks, and scenic views. From urban parks to historic towpaths to reclaimed railroad beds, here are nine of the nation’s best urban hikes (plus one amazing trail in Canada).

Mission Reach at the San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio’s restaurant- and bar-packed River Walk is one of Texas’s most visited attractions. A lesser-known extension of this river-hugging path, wandering south past four of the city’s historic Spanish missions, is giving the city a new take on urban hiking. Extending 10 miles south of the Alamo, the paved Mission Reach at the San Antonio River Walk follows what was once a drainage ditch. But today, it’s a vibrant natural world where native grasses and wildflowers thrive, ducks dive, and birds sing—the epitome of a success story of urban ecosystem restoration that has brought the San Antonio River back to life. Over time, it’s hoped more than 23,000 native trees and shrubs of over 30 different species will be re-established. Along the way, public art installations, coffee shops, and eateries add an urban touch.