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20 Best Hiking Trails in the US

20 Best Hiking Trails in the US

Hiking is one of the most adventurous activities a person can do on a vacation getaway with friends or family. If you’re an adventurous person, hiking can give you the most thrilling experience. 

Hiking is an excellent idea to explore nature, climb lush green mountains, and make unforgettable memories. It also allows you to access remote areas full of hills, rivers, and forests.

There are endless incredible hiking trails in the world. But, if you want to try the best out of them, you must plan a trip to America. Both North and South America offer you some gorgeous hiking trails. This is due to the effortless work done by the American Government to preserve national parks and other protected areas. 

The landscapes of these American hiking trails are just out of this world, attracting hikers across the globe. Due to active volcanoes, you can find expansive canyons, pristine lakes, snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and rock formations. 

Best Hiking Trails in the United States

1. Pacific Crest Trail

Mountains and Pacific Crest Trail

PCT is around 2650 miles ranging from Mexico to Canada. It passes through the cities of California, Oregon, and Washington and reaches the heights of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain peaks. 

The trail allows visitors to explore different natural beauties, like expansive landscapes, dense forests, deserts, and glaciers. Some don’t-miss hiking sections of the Pacific Crest Trail are John Muir Trail, Sky Lakes Wilderness, Sonora Pass, and Badger Flat to Little Willow Lake.

Pacific Crest is so expansive that one needs around five months to cover the entire trail. The best time to start hiking the PCT is summer and early fall.  Overall, if you want a thrilling experience, you must hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  

2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Canyon at Grand Canyon North Rim, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park is the most fantastic hiking trail you will ever experience in your lifetime. It basically comprises two rims: North Rim and South Rim. 

The North Rim includes the Grand Canyon Lodge, a Visitor Center, and hiking trails, such as the Transept Trail and Bright Angel Point Trail. This part allows hikers to explore the canyon in complete solitude as it is less crowded. Also, the North Rim trail is a bit remote and harder to hike. 

On the other hand, the South Rim delivers an incredible National Park experience to all visitors with the hotel, concierge & food, and hop-on-hop-off shuttle bus services. This part of the Grand Canyon National Park is open throughout the year. Also, this is comparatively easy to climb.

Uncle Jim Point, Wildforss Trail, Colorado River, and Grand Canyon Village are some of the best sections of this hiking trip. On the other hand, add Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park to your list for long getaways. 

If you want to make your Grand Canyon hike memorable, it is best to explore both rims. But, in case of time shortage, consider hiking South Rim as it offers countless sceneries and experiences to visitors. 

Additionally, most hikers think the Grand Canyon is like Red Rock Canyon. But, that’s not the case. Both trails are unique.

See Related: Most Scenic Bike Trails Across America

3. Yosemite National Park, California

Sunshine to Mt. Assiniboine, Canada

Yosemite National Park is in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This is famous for its granite walls, waterfalls, and iconic natural wonders in America. 

Some of the top-rated hikes of Yosemite Valley are Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Mist to Vernal Fall & Nevada Fall, Mirror Lake, Cathedral Lakes, etc. The valley has a shuttle bus service. You can park your vehicle at Yosemite Village or Half Dome Village and take the shuttle to get to the trailheads. 

Though it is a challenging climb, this hiking adventure offers some incredible views of the valley. It’s around 10 miles round trip to the top and back to the valley.  This hiking welcomes visitors to explore the majestic trails of Yosemite Valley in all four seasons.

If you’re hiking the fantastic trails of Yosemite National Park, you should not miss the highlight of this place. Explore the fascinating history, breathtaking waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, and awe-inspiring vistas. 

See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Vacations in the US

4. Paint Mines, Colorado

Rock Formations at Paint Mines, Colorado

This hiking trail in Colorado is a short-distance trail. It is an open space with different rock formations and color variations. Paint Mines covers only 4 miles of trails that connect the valley. But you can experience various things, such as hoodoos, caprock canyons, and dark-colored clay.  

The name, Paint Mines, is given to this trail after Native Americans used colored and crushed sandstone to make paint and mining soils to build ceramic pottery. 

The trail also features beautiful scenic views with a unique historical setup. It is the best path for a contemplative walk with family and friends. You will also come across human remains while hiking. These remains show the existence of humans on the planet from 9000 years ago. 

Overall, if you’re someone interested in discovering history, you must visit Paint Mines at least once. Also, consider hiking the trail clockwise for your convenience. 

Furthermore, don’t skip visiting Rocky Mountain National Park if you’re in Colorado. This national park features some of the best hiking trails to take your hiking experience to the next level.

See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Running Trails in America

5. Cirque Of The Towers, Wyoming

Mountain Rage at Cirque Of The Towers, Wyoming

The Cirque of the Towers is located near the Rockies of Wyoming’s Wind River Range. It comprises multiple jagged granite spires and some awe-inspiring peaks deep near the river range. The trail provides all visitors with striking scenery and day-hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities.

The Cirque of the Towers is a famous mecca for rock climbers and backpackers. Usually, alpine climbers visit this place. But it is also loved by hikers.

You may plan a 2 or 3-day trip to visit this trail. Also, always start your journey from the Big Sandy Trailhead and pass through glacial lakes to reach high peaks.

You can also consider reading the famous book called Hiking Wyoming’s Wind River Range before planning your trip out here.

6. Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

Rock Formations at Angels Landing, Utah

Angels Landing is a rocky hiking trail at Zion National Park. It is 1488 feet high and 2.5 miles long. As you cover this distance, you will reach the top of Angels Landing, offering an out-of-the-world view of Zion Canyon. 

It is a memorable adventure that can fulfill every taste. The spectacular views of the 270-million-year-old rock layer of Zion Canyon can take you back to the Triassic time.  

Thousands of hikers visit this trail every year for adventure. They need a permit from the National Park Service to hike this trail. This is to control overcrowding and keep visitors safe. 

Angels Landing is a bit challenging hike as some parts of this trail are steep, which can scare you for a moment. If you’re someone afraid of heights, avoid visiting this place. 

Overall, this is one of the best hikes with splendid views of Zion National Park and its surroundings.

7. The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

The Narrows is a slot canyon located in Zion National Park, Utah. The trail is 7.4 miles long and can take multiple days to complete. It’s considered one of the most challenging trails in the United States due to its steep descents and climbs, as well as its narrow passages that require hikers to get down on their hands and knees at times.

If you think you’re up for the challenge, start at Lava Point Trailhead at 6:30 am; this will give you plenty of time to explore before sunset when it’s time to head back home!

The Narrows Trail is a slot canyon that runs through the Virgin River’s sandstone walls. It begins at Lava Point, which is located on the east side of Zion National Park. At the beginning of the trail, you’ll find yourself walking alongside the Virgin River; however, as you continue down into The Narrows the river will slowly disappear from view. This is due to the fact that the walls of The Narrows are so steep that they block out any light from above. At times, it feels like you’re walking in an underground cave with only your headlamp illuminating the way.

8. Diamond Head State Monument Trail, Hawaii

The Diamond Head State Monument Trail is an easy 2.6-mile loop trail with a 400-foot elevation change. It’s not too challenging, but it does have some steep sections that are best avoided by those with limited mobility. The trail is also relatively easy to find and can be accessed from either Diamond Head Road or Kapahulu Avenue.

The trail offers amazing views of the city, so it’s great for those who want to see what Honolulu has to offer without setting out on a strenuous hike. There are many different types of plants along the way, making this hike good for nature lovers and photographers alike! You’ll also pass through Waikiki Beach where you can stop for a swim before heading back home!

9. Greenstone Ridge Trail, Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

The Greenstone Ridge Trail is a demanding, yet rewarding route through the remote terrain of Isle Royale National Park. The trail traverses the entire length of the park, from Rock Harbor on Lake Superior to Windigo Campground on inland lakes.

Visitors can choose to hike either part or all of this trail; however, it’s important to note that sections are often closed due to weather and wildlife concerns. Additionally, camping sites along the way become occupied quickly during peak summer months so plan ahead!

If you’re up for an adventure, this hike will not disappoint. It offers sweeping views over Lake Superior at every turn—and you’ll pass several historic sites along the way like Rock Harbor Lighthouse and Forest Beach Ranger Station where hikers can rest before continuing their journey across Greenstone Ridge.

10. Teton Crest Trail, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

The Teton Crest Trail is a 22.7-mile hiking trail in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. The trail is considered difficult and is open from late June to late September.

The Teton Crest Trail winds through the length of Grand Teton National Park, beginning at Signal Mountain at the southern boundary of the park and ending at Garnet Canyon at the north end of the park, near Jenny Lake. This section of trail offers many beautiful views along its route with opportunities for camping along various places on this scenic path.

11. Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

If you’re looking for an adventure on the trail, Kalalau Trail should be your destination. The 11-mile hike takes you along the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii, where you’ll see stunning views of waterfalls and rainforests.

The trail itself is challenging with steep climbs and strenuous sections. It’s not a hike for beginners or those who suffer from knee problems or other health issues that might make them susceptible to injury on uneven ground.

Anyone interested in attempting this hike should prepare themselves both physically and mentally for a long day out in nature—and also remember that due to its length, it’s not something that can be done alone or without proper preparation beforehand (like having enough water).

12. Highline Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana

The Highline Trail is a 15.8-mile backcountry hiking trail in Glacier National Park, Montana. It is rated as difficult and may require some rock scrambling, but it’s not quite as strenuous as other trails in the park.

The Highline Trail was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 and has since been expanded upon by several hikers who have added more side trails to make for easier access to nearby lakes and mountains. There are also many campsites along the way where you can set up camp for the night if you’d like to spend extra time on this one as it’s one of the most beautiful hikes in the USA for good reason. You’ll get some iconic views of the rolling mountains and plains of Montana.

13. Rim Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

The Rim Trail is a 3.5-mile backcountry hiking trail in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. It is rated as easy and takes you through the heart of Bryce Canyon on a paved path that winds its way around the canyon’s rim.

You get an amazing view of all five major rock formations in the park, including Fairyland Point and Inspiration Point, two popular points for taking pictures. This is a great trail for hiking with children, as there are lots of places to stop and rest along the way. It’s also a great place to take in the sights at sunset.

14. Mount Whitney, California

Mount Whitney is one of the best hikes in the USA. It’ll take you 6-7 days to complete the out-the-back trek and we’ve recommended several backpacking trips solely focused on this journey in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This challenging trek will take you to stunning mountains and valleys and spectacular views of the mountains below.

It’s a real feat to climb that mountain. The trail climbs over 10,000 feet in just a few days and it’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to be well prepared with plenty of food and water as well as a good tent and sleeping bag. This is one of the best hikes in America and we recommend you do it as a bucket list idea if you’re an avid hiker.

15. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Road in Yosemite National Park

The Half Dome is one of the most famous and beautiful natural formations in Yosemite National Park. It is a very popular hiking destination for hikers, climbers, families, and tourists alike. The hike takes about 6 hours to complete but can be extended if you want to spend more time at the top or do some sightseeing along the way.

The trail starts from Glacier Point Road (which can be accessed by car) and it leads up through a forest before reaching an open area with views of Half Dome and El Capitan. The last mile or so is steep with loose rocks that require careful footing so make sure you wear good shoes! You’ll also need plenty of water as there aren’t any sources on this part – bring extra just in case though!

16. Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail is a popular and scenic hike through Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The trail follows the same path as the main road that runs through the park, but it’s also one of the more challenging hikes in Yellowstone. It’s a great way to see all of Yellowstone’s amazing scenery, including some of its most famous geysers and hot springs.

Once you reach the overlook spot, you’ll get an outstanding view of the beautiful colors of Grand Prismatic Spring, which makes this tougher hike all worth the effort.

17. Penobscot & Sargent Mountains, Acadia National Park, Maine

The Penobscot & Sargent Mountains are two of the most popular mountains in Acadia National Park, Maine. They’re located just south of Mount Desert Island and offer a great view of the surrounding area.

The Penobscot & Sargent Mountains are part of the Appalachian Trail and offer an excellent way to explore some of America’s most beautiful landscapes. It’s also one of the few places where you can see all four seasons in one day. If you are in visiting the East Coast and love the great outdoors, be sure to add these mountains to your bucket list of hiking trails in the USA.

18. Devils Garden Trail, Arches National Park, Utah

Devils Garden Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Arches National Park, Utah. The Devils Garden section of the park is full of natural stone arches, some of which are more than 10 feet in diameter. The trail takes you past some of the best views in the park, including Delicate Arch.

The Devils Garden Trail is a great place to see what the landscape was like before humans arrived. The trail is marked and easy to follow. It’s also a great place to take kids since there are plenty of places to rest and explore the national park along the way.

19. Continental Divide Trail, Rock Mountain National Park, Colorado

The Continental Divide Trail is a long trail that runs from the United States to Canada. It’s located on the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park and offers hikers an opportunity to experience some of America’s most beautiful scenery in one day or even multiple days or weeks if they’d like. You’ll get some of the best views of the Rocky Mountains throughout your entire journey on this epic hiking trail.

The Continental Divide Trail is can be one of the most difficult hikes in the USA, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. It’s no wonder why this trail is considered to be a bucket list item for many hikers and adventurers.

20. John Muir Trail, California

The John Muir Trail is a rugged backpacking trail that spans 211 miles through the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. It’s among the most difficult trails in America, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. This trail is often referred to as a pilgrimage because many hikers go on it to pay homage to John Muir, who was an influential naturalist and conservationist.

The John Muir Trail was completed in 1974 and the inaugural hike began on June 18, 1974. Since then, thousands of adventurers have taken on this pilgrimage through some of the most rugged terrains in America.

FAQs

What are the most popular long-distance hiking trails in the US?

The most famous long-distance hiking trails in the United States include the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.

What is the most popular hiking trail in the US?

The Grand Canyon is the most popular hiking trail in the United States. You’ll find hiking opportunities from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon up the Colorado River to the North!

What are the best national parks for hiking?

There are many great national parks for hiking throughout the United States, but some of the best parks with epic hiking trails include Yosemite National Park in California, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

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