There are so many reasons to love fall. The leaves turn pretty, vibrant colors. Halloween, (my birthday,) Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all swiftly approaching. Flannels, sweaters, boots!

But most importantly, the weather cools down to the perfect temperature to enjoy the outdoors and take in all the beauty of the season. While I love essentially everything about fall, this is certainly my favorite part. It’s the best time of the year to explore the outdoors and go for hikes on some of my favorite trails, usually accompanied by my trusty, four-legged friend, of course.

Early autumn is the perfect time for hiking and camping.

The air has cooled down just enough to trek through the woods with a backpack over your shoulders without being stricken too brutally by the heat from the sun and without freezing to the point of immobility.

The atmosphere is comfortable and there is a certain satisfaction to be had from hearing the sound of crunching, fallen leaves as you make your way through the wilderness.

Being able to look up through the trees and see the sun highlighting the vibrant reds and oranges of the leaves has a soothing quality.

Then, when night falls, the setting is perfect for a campfire and gazing at the stars.

Whether on your own, with friends, or with a k-9 acquaintance, I highly recommend taking some time to spend in nature this fall. It’s the perfect opportunity to escape from the stress of school or work or everyday life.

Some studies have even suggested that more time spent in natural environments can lead to decreased anxiety and depression. Even if nothing’s got you down, taking a short walk through the woods is the perfect way to be in touch with your thoughts or just to take in the beauty of the world around you.

You’ll appreciate yourself and your world more after taking the time to explore the outdoors during one of the most beautiful times of the year. Happy hiking!