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Best Hikes in the US

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Best Hikes in the US

Best Hikes in the US

If the thought of strapping on a pair of hiking boots and donning a backpack on your vacation makes you rejoice, then you need to visit these best hikes in the US. From the beginner hiker to the intermediate trail explorer, the United States has many options for you to take advantage of.

Pacific Coast Trail

The Pacific Coast Trail is an 8,650 mile hike that spans three states, 24 national forests, and 7 national parks. Along the way you will traverse mountainous terrain and take in spectacular views of more than 1000 lakes and 19 major canyons.

Known also as the PCT, this trail runs from New Mexico all the way to Canada. You will hike your way across landscapes ranging from low deserts to arctic mountains. If you don’t want to travel the entire length of the trail you can access portions of it from places such as San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Many people opt to make a weekend trip of hiking these shorter portions.

It is a popular hiking and camping destination for any avid nature enthusiast.

Pacific Crest Trail, heading north via east

Appalachian Trail

Starting in Georgia and winding up to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is a hikers paradise. It is a 2,178 mile trail that is broken up into a series of smaller trails.  The Appalachian Trail makes its way through 12 states.

You will hike through 6 national parks along the way and 8 national forests. Be sure to carry a map and come prepared as the trails on this journey range from hiking trails that meander up mountains, to extreme trails that will have you climbing up steep faces.  You will have unprecedented views from atop the Appalachian Mountains such as beautiful waterfalls that snake through canyons and down the faces of cliffs. It is a hike that will not only leave you breathless from exercise, but also, from the spectacular surroundings.

Best Hikes in the US
Appalachian Trail Landscape Photography in Western North Carolina

Denali National Park

This is a hiking experience unlike any other in the rugged and wild country of Alaska. Here the trails are not as well marked as other national parks so you feel much closer to nature. Some, if not most of the hiking, cuts straight through the woods and is not on trails at all.  You will be backpacking in its purest form, and will have many challenges to contend with.

This hike may leave you feeling more like a first-time explorer then a traditional hiker. Though the hike is rugged and harsh along the way, the views will make up for any inconveniences.  However, this is not recommended if you are a weekend hiker or a novice. You will want to take someone who is experienced along with you and learn to practice some survivalist type skills. If you can do this then you will thoroughly enjoy your hiking experience.

Yosemite National Park

Although America is painted with beautiful scenery throughout all of its national parks, Yosemite National Park in California, boasts some of the most spectacular vistas and views. The park itself is roughly the size of Rhode Island and you can take advantage of over 800 miles of hiking trails that range from novice to expert.

You will be pleasantly surprised to find out that there are dozens of trails to traverse that will make your hiking experience a fulfilling one. From the beautiful glacial mountains that surround it, and the lush forests that you hike through, you are sure to see an abundance of wildlife teaming amidst the giant Sequoia trees.  For real adventure seekers, make sure you hike the trail that leads to the peak of El Capitan, one of the largest mountains in the park. Be sure to take your camera to snap pics of the beautiful scenery which will not disappoint. Hiking in this area will be an experience unlike any other.

Best Hikes in the US
Yosemite National Park

Glacier National Park

Proving over and over again to be a true hikers dream, Glacier National Park is one of the most majestic places in the United States to hike. You will have access to more than 700 miles of marked trails inside the park itself.  Traveling through this vast area you will likely be able to traverse these trails and never meet up with another hiker.

From its stunning and impressive peaks to its crystalline green-blue lakes, the park is akin to walking through a living postcard. Along the way you will no doubt see an abundance of wildlife from beavers and local rodents such as marmots and groundhogs, to even bears and possibly a lone wolf or two. It is also common to see elk and moose in the rivers and along the paths in the woods.  If breathtaking scenery is what you seek, then Glacier National Park is definitely a hiking experience that you should take advantage of.

Glacier National Park – Wild Goose Island Overlook

These trails are visited and hiked by many people each year in this country. All of them should be explored by anyone who is a hiking enthusiast whether it is their first trip or their 100th trip.  These trails are beautiful and amazing.  The adventure to be had at these locations is the stuff of legends.  Get your packs ready, the trails are calling…

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone has been a mystery in this country since the first explorers discovered it so long ago. This park offers up several hiking trails that meander the vast expanse of over 2,000,000 acres. You can take a walk through the hot springs and mud pots to see famous geysers and multicolored pools of hot sulfuric water that litter the countryside. It is an otherworldly experience as you walk past the bubbling emerald and sapphire colored pools of water. You can trek to Old Faithful and wait for it’s daily eruption.  Be sure to visit the Lodge at Old Faithful where they have a large gift shop and great accommodations.

You can also explore some of the Parks natural wildlife that is abundant.  Many of the hiking trails meander through the forested areas and around mountainous regions where you can take in beautiful waterfalls including Yellowstone’s own Grand Canyon. With enough hiking trails to keep you busy and intrigued for days Yellowstone offers hiking for the novice or the experienced person.

Best Hikes in the US

Grand Canyon

Seated in northern Arizona, this amazing work of nature spans over 277 miles in length and at its maximum width is 18 miles across. If you look over the edge of these cliffs you will see that the canyon is a mile deep! The view and striking visuals of the canyon itself are something that pictures cannot do justice.

Upon arriving you will find there are a multitude of ways to enjoy the area.  Hiking the famous Bright Angel Trail, you are sure not to be a lone wolf. Many people enjoy this track around the South rim of the canyon.  Sightseers and hikers prefer this particularly for the photo opportunities of the views. This is also the side of the canyon that has the most access to amenities and is mainly for people who want to take short hikes.

The North rim offers a very different hike and is a place where experienced hikers and even hard-core survivalist go for camping and some hiking that can be difficult. It’s a place you can go if you would like to experience the canyon without much of a crowd. Either way your experience at the Grand Canyon is sure to be breathtaking and one you will not soon forget.

Jackson Hole

The home of the majestic Grand Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is situated in a large valley and is surrounded by amazing jagged peaks that stretch to the sky. Jackson Hole Valley is a paradise that is surrounded by peaks and a National Forest, making it nature’s playground.

With miles of beautiful forest surrounding the area and rolling hills backing up to the mountains you are sure to find a trail that is suitable for your hiking needs.  They span from easy and moderate trails that weave through the forested areas, to more rugged trails that traverse mountainous places. Hiking enthusiasts of all kinds will find a fun and beautiful trail to hike here. When your hiking is over there are a plethora of accommodations for you to choose from.  Soak all of your sore muscles in a hot bath and enjoy a scrumptious dinner before sinking into a plush bed for the night. Also a popular skiing destination, Jackson Hole can be enjoyed year-round.

Jackson Hole

Hawaii, Big Island

We all know that Hawaii is touted for its amazing beach vacation spots and surfing, but many of us do not know that the Big Island is a hikers dream. Geographically, the abundance and variety of landscape makes this place an excellent spot for a hiker. You can experience beautiful black sand beaches and in a short time be traversing snow-covered mountain peaks. You may also hike through the famous desert (which is an otherworldly experience to find yourself in on an island known for paradise), or meander through beautiful and colorful rain forests that hug the mountainous hills. The biggest attraction on the island for hikers is the spectacular erupting Kilauea Volcano. The island offers a hiking experience that is a step above the rest and will not disappoint

Best Hikes in the US

Acadia National Park

Saying that Acadia National Park is picture perfect would be an understatement. There are opportunities for beautiful photographs around every turn and up every trail. You get the advantage of hiking the beautiful rolling mountains in the forest and also experiencing the wildlife such as the harbor seals that sun themselves on the coast. The hiking can be rugged and a bit rocky but is worth every step. There are several hiking trails to explore, as Acadia is over 47,000 acres. Be aware that if you visit in the spring, some of the hiking trails will be shut down to hikers. This is when the protected Peregrine falcon comes to nest on the Jordan Cliffs of the park.

With photo opportunities in abundance, this is a sightseers dream hike. You will leave the park with many pictures that you can enjoy for years to come.

Acadia National Park

What are some other best hikes in the US you would add to the list?

Ashley Hubbard

Ashley Hubbard is a blogger and freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. She shares these experiences on her website, wild-hearted.com.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Sammi Wanderlustin'

    I kind of want to go to all of these ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Mandie @ RamblingMandie

    I can’t believe the only one of these that I’ve hiked is Glacier. Time to change that up in the spring!!

  3. Corinne

    Ashley, Great list! I think the US National Parks are fantastic for hiking. My favorites are Denali and Grand Canyon!

  4. Esther

    Really beautiful pics! I loved the USA national parks, they’re SO large! (Hey, I am from The Netherlands… our National Parks are like playgrounds compared to those in the US).
    Thanks for hosting the linkup too, always nice to meet some new bloggers!

  5. Molly S

    I’d love to visit Yosemite and Glacier – I’m not a massively experienced hiker, but the scenery just looks incredible.

  6. I just LOVE hiking!! All of these look amazing! Would really like to try the Pacific Coast Trail, it looks beautiful. Have heard so much about the Glacier National Park, that is high on my bucket list of hikes I want to take in the USA.

  7. Angelica @BkChickTravels

    All these are on my list, specifically I want to start with Yosemite or Glacier, but how can I choose between them? Tough choice but got to start somewhere. Which are your top two?

  8. Marissa | It's The Little Things

    These all look like great destinations for hiking! I’ve been doing a lot more hiking recently, so hopefully I will have a chance to check out more of these in the coming years!

  9. Dennis Kopp

    Ashley, I am officially ashamed to say that during all the years that I lived in the US I havenโ€™t been to any of these places. But I guess it means that I do have to come back at some point and see a little bit more of this huge country than just the east coast with its many big cities… ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Amy Lynne Hayes

    All of them – I would add all of them to my list!! I read Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild” about the Pacific Coast Trail and have been itching ever since to get out and hit a few trails myself. It’s a definite on my list of things to do frequently once I move to New Zealand in 2 weeks!!

  11. Jess

    I’ve done short portions of the Appalachian trail, but my favorite place anywhere to go hiking is Denali. There are actually only trails in a three mile section around the entrance of the park – which is the size of Massachusetts, so that’s a lot of backcountry! The best way to do it if you don’t have a guide is on a ranger led day hike.

  12. I haven’t done any of these. I’d like to do a couple hours on the Appalachian Trail and then tell people for years afterwards about how I hiked the AT.

  13. Christa

    Hi it’s Christa, host of the Sunday Traveler, I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for joining in on the fun! Great photos! All the places to hike are breathtaking. So many amazing places to visit so little time. We loved Yosemite this summer and would happily go back.

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  15. Viswa

    These all look like great destinations for hiking,Really beautiful pics.Thanks for Sharing.

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