Best Places To Hike in the USA
One of the best ways to experience nature at her best is to hit the trails and go hiking. There is nothing more magical than taking the time to really enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. Every country has its beautiful trails, some more popular than others. The United States being such a land of many natural wonders, makes it an amazing place to explore. There are trails over any type of terrain you can imagine from mountain trails to canyons and many more in between.
There are thousands of miles of hiking trails in the US with dozens, if not hundreds of trails to choose from. You could spend many years exploring the many trails or you could narrow your choice down to a handful or so of some of the best places to hike in the USA. We’ve found 10 stunning ones to get you started on your hiking journey.
1. Buckskin Gulch, Utah
If you’re looking for a stunning place to hike, you’ll fall in love with Buckskin Gulch in Utah. Buckskin Gulch is a canyon that is in Utah’s southwest but also borders Arizona. Hiking here is full of obstacles making it exciting and extraordinary. You’ll trek continuously through 15 miles of the slot canyon. You’ll find yourself surrounded on all sides by intimidating red rock formations which almost take on a tunnel like an appearance. At times you’ll pass through sections where the sky is no longer visible. If you think this will be an easy hike, you’re very much mistaken. There are many rocks along the trail you will need to climb over and you may very well end up wading through knee-high water pools if you’re lucky and some of these pools are much deeper so you may find yourself lifting your backpack over your head. If you are in the good physical condition you may be able to complete a hike through Buckskin Gulch in one day. You will need a permit or day pass to hike in Buckskin Gulch. Spring and autumn are the best times to hike here because the weather is milder, although this hiking trail is popular all year round. Make sure you wear good hiking shoes, cause you’ll need them.
2. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
The serious hiker definitely needs to put the Half Done trail on their list of hiking trails on their list. This trail starts in Yosemite Valley. This hike is not recommended for beginner hikers. It is an arduous hike over some pretty extreme terrain. You will need some steel cable handrails to ascend to the top which is 400 feet up the rear side of this granite monolith. The summit is about 8800 feet with stunning views from all sides, in particular, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Sierra Mountains. The hike usually starts at the Yosemite Valley Floor and covers 12 – 14 miles. You can take a break at Little Yosemite Valley before continuing with the aid of the steel cables. The cables are accessible from May through to October and only a certain number of permits are granted so book in early. You can book your permit from the 1st of March so put this one in your calendar so you don’t miss out. Dress appropriately and don’t forget your hiking gloves.
3. Florida National Scenic Trail, Florida
From the novice to the experienced hiker, the Florida National Scenic Trail has something for everyone. This magnificent trail offers unique landscapes spanning over 1300 miles. You don’t have to hike the entire length to enjoy the best this trail has to offer. You can choose any section of the trail or combine a few, depending on your hiking capabilities and the time you have to spend there. This trail also offers camping grounds so you can easily lose yourself here for several days. You can experience swamps and forests or talk one of the footbridges over some areas that offer an amazing view of the local wildlife. You can also choose from trails that take you around lakes and other bodies of water. This is a place where you can bring your entire family for an amazing hiking experience, or a group of friends for more strenuous hiking.
4. Peak One, Colorado
Peak One at 12933 feet, may not be the highest peak in Colorado, but what it lacks in height, it certainly makes up for with some of the most spectacular views in this amazing state. The start of the trail is not far from the highway so you can park your car and start hiking straight away. Enjoy the views of what is left of old mining towns and when you hit the lakes you’ll be entranced by the absolute beauty before you. Depending on the time of year, you’ll get a glimpse of glaciers and snowcapped peaks. Caution is required on Peak One, as some parts of the trail can take you over some treacherous terrain. Bring along warm hiking gear and sturdy hiking boots as the summit can be chilly, even in the middle of summer. Hiking poles will also be advantageous, particularly if you find yourself trekking through snow.
5. Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, New Hampshire
The Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail in New Hampshire will leave you speechless. It is an absolutely stunning trail with many waterfalls, streams, and lakes. It is hugely popular during the colder, winter months but it is considerably challenging, even in the warmer months. If you’re determined to give Ammonoosuc a try, you won’t be disappointed. The hike will take you through some tough areas. Some sections are exposed and the icy areas will need to be negotiated with care. Thermal hiking gear is recommended on this trail as the weather can be unpredictable. The waterfalls are especially stunning in winter and are often frozen. If you plan your hiking trip well enough, you may even manage to sneak in some skiing. This hiking trail is not for the faint-hearted, but you will love reaching the highest peak in New England for the views alone.
6. The Dipsea Trail, Marin County, California
The name might sound passive, but the Dipsea Trail is nonetheless a challenge. The trail itself is about 7 miles long and takes you from Muir Woods inland all the way to the coast at Stinson Beach. You’ll find yourself in the midst of California’s famous redwoods. Some of these majestic trees have graced this part of the world for over a millennia and are an awe-inspiring sight to see. The Dipsea Trail offers views of the Bay Area and along the trail, you’ll see the stunning forests, peppered with musical waterfalls. If you’re really up for a Dipsea challenge, join the Dipsea Race which is held on the second Sunday in June every year. You can run this challenge, if you’re competitive, or pace yourself and enjoy the hike. The race will take you over jutting roots and protruding roots so if you’re not a seasoned racer, proceed with caution. This race has resulted in many twisted ankles since 1905. Once you reach the end of the trail at the shores of the Pacific Ocean, treat yourself to a nice cold drink and a hearty meal.
7. Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah
Angel’s Landing is a challenging hiking trail located in Zion National Park in Utah. This trail will take you to some amazing, yet terrifying heights with a zig-zagging trail that is as treacherous as it is torturous. There are many steep sections of the trail with dizzying drop-offs. You can start at the Grotto Trailhead or take the West Rim Shuttle to the Grotto Shuttle Stop. From there you can cross the bridge over the Virginal River for a view you will never forget. Sturdy hiking boots are the only footwear you should consider wearing on this trail as the paths can be rough. If you have a fear of heights, you may want to give Angel’s Landing a miss. The trail is open to the public for most of the year, but the best times to visit are from February until October.
8. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
Hawaii is a dream destination for many tourists. They all flock to this stunning island for the ultimate beach vacation. This is great for some, a little dull for others. If you are looking for something a little more exciting when you visit Hawaii, go hiking on the Kalalau Trail. This trail covers 11 miles from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach right along the Na Pali Coast on the island of Kauai. The trail offers the only access on land through this rugged part of the coast. Don’t expect any flat areas as this trail is mostly along the cliffs over 5 of the islands most beautiful valleys and the lushest, green tropical forests you’ve ever seen. The Kalalau Trail is an experience for all of your senses. You’ll pass through old overgrown agricultural terraces that are full of trees bearing the luscious fruits of mango, guava and java plums. If you’re lucky enough to be hiking through the trail when the fruit is ripe, you are welcome to pick them for a refreshing, energy boosting snack. So pack your hiking sandals and hit the road.
9. Mooney Falls, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Hiking in the Grand Canyon is a must, and Mooney Falls is a trail that you simply need to see to believe. In terms of hiking trails, it is a reasonably short one at only 3 miles, but you’ll still see some of the most beautiful landscape in the Canyon. You’ll start your hike at the Hualapai Indian Reservation which is located in a very remote corner of the Canyon and make your descent through tunnels in the rocks aided by iron ladders and chains. From there you will get the most spectacular views of the 200 foot Mooney Falls. At the bottom of the trail you can cool off in the pristine pool that is enclosed by the enormous red rock walls so famous in the Canyon and the entire area is surrounded by grape vines, giving this trail a unique and tranquil quality. You’ll love this place so much you won’t want to leave after just one day and you won’t have to. Spend a few days in the camping grounds and explore a few more of the stunning rock formations and waterfalls.
10. The Highline Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana
Every step is an adventure when you hike the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park in Montana. The scenery will captivate you at every turn starting with the Continental Divide where you can view the most stunning array of wildflowers and some intimidating, but spectacular wildlife. Grizzly bears are prominent in the area, however, they tend to avoid noisy hikers. You will most likely catch a glimpse of a mountain goat or a bighorn sheep who will be curious to see you. Parts of the trail are somewhat rough, but the panorama that surrounds you make it worth the effort. Depending on the time of year, parts of the trail is covered in glaciers, but you’ll also pass along cliffs and slopes. Check for availability before you head off to this beautiful trail. It is generally open from July but it is best to call ahead and ensure you’ll be able to hike the trail.
Before you head off to any of these stunning places to hike in the USA, make sure you bring the necessities. Grab your hiking backpack and pack it with a few essentials like a water bottle, light snacks, and sunscreen. It can get very hot and sunny on the trails so sunglasses and hats are recommended as well.
One thing is for certain, you’ll definitely feel alive on any of these hikes so start planning your hiking vacation soon. You’ll discover just how beautiful nature can be and you’ll find out just how much you can endure trekking through some challenging terrain. No matter how difficult some of the hikes may be, you’ll never regret these amazing experiences.