The weather has been great. Take advantage of it. Do something outdoors.

One suggestion is visit some of the many excellent hiking trails we have in the region. You'll find them in every corner of our area. We're sure there's one within 10 minutes of driving distance from your home.

In Weissport and Walnutport, there's the Lehigh Canal. Hundreds of hours of work have gone into making the tow path a spectacular walking trail. Some locks have been restored. In Weissport, you and your children can feed the ducks.

There's a great deal of history to the canal and learning it is makes your trek along the canal that much more fun.

In Jim Thorpe, there's Lehigh Gorge State Park. We don't recommend climbing the trails to Glen Onoko Falls unless you're prepared with proper footwear and experience on steep inclines.

The Lehigh Gorge State Park not only is ideal for hiking, but also for bicycle treks. It extends from Jim Thorpe to White Haven, so you can travel as far as you desire.

If you're a photographer, take your camera. The scenery is great and you never know when you might get a unique animal picture.

The Appalachian Trail is fantastic for hikers and you'll meet people on it from all over the country.

The trail extends from George to Maine but locally runs through West Penn Township, East Penn Township, Lower Towamensing Township, and Kunkletown.

Both Beltzville State Park and Mauch Chunk Lake have fabulous hiking trails.

After taking an invigorating walk, you can relax on the beach or cool off in the water.

Lehighton's newest walking path extends from Sgt. Stanley Hoffman Boulevard to the Central Carbon Municipal Sewage Plant. The whole trail is along the Lehigh River.

Places like Tuscarora State Park and Beltzville State Park offer guided tours on specific weekends. Just ask at the offices for more information. Most of them are free.

Whether you live in Slatington, Brodheadsville, Lansford, Nesquehoning, Tamaqua, or any other community, just ask and someone will point you to a good trail. Whether it's in the evening or only on weekends, it is good for your body to get some exercise and there is no better place than these paths.

One safety tip, though, don't walk too far alone in isolated areas. Even though we live in one of the safest areas of the country, it is still better to take precautions.

Also, let your friends and/or relatives know where you are going. That way if an emergency would occur, they would know where to locate you.

Take your children with you on these walks. Explain to them the history of the trails. Help them learn more about the outdoors.

We're really fortunate to have such facilities. It's too bad more people don't take advantage of them.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com