Getting away from it all can unclutter the brain and boost creativity, a study suggests.
Scientists found that young volunteers increased their creative performance by 50% after a four-day hiking trip.
The results support earlier studies suggesting that escaping to nature can improve mental abilities.
Experts think being far from the madding crowd may liberate the brain by removing the myriad distractions of modern life.
US psychologist and study leader David Strayer, from the University of Utah, said: "Writers for centuries have talked about why interacting with nature is important, and lots of people go on vacations. But I don't think we know very well what the benefits are from a scientific perspective."
The study, reported in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, involved 56 men and women with an average age of 28.
Participants took part in four to six-day wilderness backpacking trips in Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Washington state.
No electronic devices of any sort were allowed on the trips.
One group of volunteers were given a standard test for creative thinking before starting their hike. Another had the same test after hiking for four days.
The Remote Associates Test (RAT) presents participants with 10 sets of three words. For each set, the person taking the test has to come up with a fourth word connected to the other three.
For instance, the connecting word for "same, tennis and head" is "match".
PICTURES: Scroll to see British walks that will boost your brain
The average test score for volunteers taking the test before heading into the wilderness was 4.14 out of 10. Those tested four days into their hike scored an average of 6.08.
The effect may not be due to nature as such, but freeing the brain from constant distractions, say the scientists.
Too much multitasking is thought to place excessive demands on "executive attention" - the ability to switch between tasks, focus on a task and shut out distracting thoughts and actions.
"Our modern society is filled with sudden events (sirens, horns, ringing phones, alarms, television etc) that hijack attention," the researches wrote. "By contrast, natural environments are associated with gentle, soft fascination, allowing the executive attentional system to replenish."
Children in countries such as the US and UK now spend just 15 to 25 minutes a day outdoors playing or taking part in sport, said the scientists.
The average eight to 18-year-old is believed to devote more than 7.5 hours a day to TVs, mobile phones and computers.
Previous work has shown that hiking can improve proofreading and the ability to repeat a list of numbers backwards. But these studies did not test creativity in the same way as the new research, Professor Strayer pointed out.
He said: "This is a way of showing that interacting with nature has real, measurable benefits to creative problem-solving that really hadn't been formally demonstrated before.
"It provides a rationale for trying to understand what is a healthy way to interact in the world, and that burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature."
Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent
This forest has one of the world's finest conifer collections with 12,000 trees and shrubs. Bedgebury offers the perfect opportunity to see the autumn colours and although most of the conifers remain evergreen, there are lots of species that change colour. The Larches are the most obvious and turn bright yellow. The Dawn Redwood and Swamp Cypress trees are other must-sees with their shades of red, chestnut, ochre and copper. In autumn the beautiful Katsura tree gives off a caramel and candyfloss scent, and this is also a good time to see the last of the dragon-flies and bumble bees. Visit <a href="http://www.forestry.gov.uk/">forestry.gov.uk</a>
Sheffield Park, East Sussex
Explore over 120 acres of landscaped garden, follow winding paths to enchanting lakes, where even the water takes on a distinctly autumnal hue. The five linked lakes reflect the vivid autumn colours, with flaming ochre and scarlet painted by Japanese maples, swamp cypresses and birches.
Edzell, Angus, Scotland
The picturesque village of Edzell in Angus boasts some great woodland walks including the Rocks of Solitude - a local favourite that lives up to its name. It follows the River North Esk upstream through a narrow wooded gorge and autumn is the best time to explore when the warm colours bring it the area to life. Look out for salmon leaping over the waterfalls to spawn upstream. Visit<a href="http://surprise.visitscotland.com/default.aspx"> Scottish Tourist Board</a>
Hadrian's Wall Path, Northumberland
With 84 miles of rugged moorland and rolling fields, the footpath that runs through the World Heritage Site Hadrian's Wall is a real treat for keen walkers and especially glorious in autumn. The trail stretches from the east to the west coast across the North of England and ranges from flat path through remote countryside, alongside the River Eden, through Newcastle and into farmland. Visit the <a href="http://nationaltrust.org.uk/">National Trust</a>
Knightwood Oak Trail, New Forest
The New Forest is at its most beautiful in autumn when the trees display colours of vibrant orange, yellow and red. The Knightwood Oak Trail guides you through some ancient woodland around the Knightwood Oak, the largest oak in the New Forest, which is also known as the Queen of the Forest. The tree is estimated to be between 400 and 600 years old and is protected by a wooden fence. Continue to Ornamental Drive to see some more magnificent trees before you stop at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary.
Cardinham Woods, Cornwall
There are several trails in Cardinham Woods - but one of the best to see the autumnal colours is the Lady Vale Walk, which is two miles long and follows the Cardinham Water River upstream to Lady Vale Bridge. The trail takes you through forested valley where you can see the oak, alder, rowan and willow trees showing off their beautiful, warm colours. This is also the perfect time to spot deer and birds. Visit <a href="http://www.forestry.gov.uk/">forestry.gov.uk</a>
Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire
With over 15 miles of footpaths in this wooded valley, a walk through Hardcastle Crags in autumn gives you the chance to see the stunning changes in the plants and trees. There are beautiful ravines, streams and waterfalls throughout and at its centre is Gibson Mill, a former cotton mill where you can stop to find out about the valley's 200-year history. The four circular walks range from three to seven miles and take you through changing scenery for a varied trail. Visit the <a href="http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/">National Trust</a>
Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey
In autumn, the steep hillside of Winkworth Arboretum turns gold, brown, red and bronze, and is beautifully reflected in the ripples of its lake. The tranquil arboretum has over 1,000 shrubs and trees including Japanese maples, acers and liquidambar. Visit <a href="http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/">National Trust </a>
Hafod y Llan, Snowdonia
The hill farm of Hafod y Llan has some of the most breathtaking scenery in Wales. Stone walls, woodland and Welsh mountain sheep are just some of what you'll pass on the four-mile walk. There are also three rivers - Afon Cwm Llan, Afon Merch and Afon Gorsen - that tumble over a spectacular waterfall running down a mountain and stone clapper bridge. Visit the <a href="http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/">National Trust</a>
Grizedale Forest Park offers the ultimate day out in autumn with great trails, family picnic areas and an adventure playground. The changing colours of the leaves give the forest a new life and it's especially wonderful in the centre of the valley that's surrounded by ancient oak woodland. Look out for the warm colours of the ancient beech trees and Andy Goldsworthy’s famous sculptures. The kids will love it here too as they can get active on the 18-metre Go Ape platform and fly 200 metres across the top of the Grizedale Beck. Visit <a href="http://www.forestry.gov.uk/">forestry.gov.uk</a>