I scheduled a week off to get away from dealing with an alcoholic brother and crazy job situation and want to hike away some stress. I’m still relatively new to the Chicago area, and this part of the country in general.
I love mountains. I figured I’m too far away to spend all day hiking up one peak like in the Rockies, but are there any decent peaks or mini “mountain” ranges within half a days drive from Chicago? I drove my brother to a job interview in Morgantown, WV a month ago and was pretty impressed by those mini mountains, but that’s really at the end of my driving range. I’m hoping to find something within 8 hours but I’ll go further if I need to.
Some general areas with my 8 hour radius are W Ohio, W Kentucky, N Tennessee, The Ozarks, N Wisconsin, and N Michigan. My dad suggested Traverse City, but I’m really hoping to find some decent changes in elevation. Not sure that exists there. My first gut reaction is W Kentucky somewhere but I’m not sure that’s far enough West to find any decent peaks.
So help me find some ideas. Do I really need to drive the full 12 hours to the heart of Appalachia to find what I’m looking for or is there some reasonable substitute somewhere closer? Or just tell me about your hiking/outdoor experiences in these areas in general.