50 Most Beautiful Hiking Trails in US

Hiking is a great way to get out into nature and enjoy the outdoors. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of hiking trails across the United States, from short walks around town to long treks through national parks. Which trail should you take next?

There are over 300 million acres of public land in the US alone. That means there are plenty of opportunities to explore new places and experience the beauty of America.

To help you decide where to go, we’ve created a map showing the top 50 hikes in the country. These include short day trips or longer backpacking adventures. Whether you want to hike in the mountains or along the coast, these trails offer something for everyone.

The 50 Most Beautiful Hiking Trails in US

Beautiful Hiking Trails in US

50. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The Great Smoky Mountain is one of the best hiking trails in US. When Europeans first arrived in North America, they were stunned by the beauty of this region of mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, and wildlife. The Great Smokies was not always a national park; some parts of the land were owned privately or by Native Americans. But after being designated as such in 1933, the area has been protected ever since as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Game species like elk, deer, black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, and river otters call the Smokies home. Over 300 bird species can also be seen here near the waterfalls and caves that create an amazing microclimate with constant moisture.

49. Black Canyon Trail

The Black Canyon Trail travels 3 days/2 nights through the stunningly gorgeous landscape of Zion National Park. It’s considered one of the best day hikes in Utah and offers a variety of well-marked campsites. The two-mile trail begins on a paved road at the north boundary of Zion National Park and follows the Virgin River downstream before climbing steep switchbacks up the canyon walls. After crossing the creek a few times, the trail enters an open forest dominated by ponderosa pines, junipers, and Gambel oak trees. Wildlife sightings are common here because it’s a prime habitat for mule deer, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, porcupines, squirrels, and other small mammals. You may even see snakes, lizards, frogs, and birds.

48. John Muir Trail

In 1869, Scottish American conservationist John Muir wrote about his journey through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He called the route “the grandest ride in the world.” Today, hikers travel roughly 1,100 miles along his well-maintained path through Yosemite and the High Sierras between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. The John Muir Hiking Trail passes close to giant sequoia groves, granite peaks, alpine meadows, rushing streams, and ancient bristlecone pine trees. Some sections were so remote that nobody had hiked them until Muir passed through.

47. Appalachian Trail

This 2,170-mile footpath really does run the entire length of the Appalachians. And while it’s technically not a wilderness hike (there are houses in sight), it does allow visitors to encounter authentic mountain culture. Many people consider this their Appalachian Trail thru-hike adventure—and most reach Mount Katahdin within a week. Like many multi-day hikes, this one requires careful planning. Food supplies must be planned around access to grocery stores but will need to last the duration of your trip. For example, there is no source for fresh produce within 100 miles. Be sure to bring plenty of extra food and water if you plan on camping anywhere except designated shelters. There are also very cold temperatures higher up in New England, so make sure you have appropriate clothing and gear. If you don’t want to go the whole way, start at Springer Mountain in Georgia and work your way up.

46. Hiking Trail of the Pacific Crest

The PCT crosses more than 10 U.S. states, providing adventurers with vast views of alpine scenery. The trail starts just south of Canada and runs all the way down to Mexico, passing through four national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Joshua Tree) and hundreds of smaller towns. The average distance per day is only 6 miles, making this hike perfect for beginners looking to explore the great outdoors. This long trek takes approximately six months to complete but allows hikers to enjoy the sights of some of the country’s most majestic landscapes along the way. Hikers should expect to sleep in rustic cabins while they stay off the trail to let the local wildlife get used to their presence, but when they do continue, they’ll likely pass herds of bighorn sheep, bears, elk, moose, and wolves.

45. The Inca Trail

One of the classic backpacking trips, the Inca Trail ascends from Cusco to Machu Picchu, where the Spanish conquistadors first arrived in South America. They were immediately captivated by the Sacred City’s architecture, which was built by the Incas as a testament to their religious beliefs. Hiking the full 2,400-mile trail is impossible without extensive preparation. However, many intrepid travelers attempt to climb the iconic citadel over an eight-day period during springtime, as crowds are thinner and temperatures warmer. Those who attempt the feat can expect to encounter high altitude sickness, rain, snowstorms, and dangerous animals like condors. But the rewards of completing such an amazing feat are worth every challenge!

44. Camino de Santiago

A true pilgrim’s walk, the Camino de Santiago is one of the oldest continuously traveled routes in the world. It stretches across northern Spain from France via the Pyrenees Mountains and takes two or three weeks to finish depending on how fast you travel. In addition to the incredible beauty of the area, the Camino offers amazing cultural opportunities too, including time spent in monasteries, castles, and other historical sites. From St Jean-de-Luz in France, the route passes through Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port before heading north to Compostela. Along the way, pilgrims stop at shrines, cafés, and restaurants that serve locally made artisanal chocolates, breads, and wines.

43. Grand Traverse Loop

This 3,000-plus mile loop circles Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, following the shoreline of Lake Superior and taking advantage of its diverse ecosystems. Some portions of the path include sandy beaches, wetlands, forests, and even roadways. Though it may sound daunting, the GRL has been named among “America’s Best Day Hikes” because of its easy terrain. Most people take between five and seven days to complete the journey, though those looking for an ultra-marathon version can attempt the trail in less time. The North Country National Scenic Trail also serves as a fantastic companion piece since much of the GRL traverses the same landmass.

42. Great Plains Trail

You might think that the Great Plains only consist of endless flat expanses of dust, windmills, and boring towns, but these enormous prairies also conceal some of the most incredible wilderness areas in the entire United States. The Great Plains offer some of the best panoramas in the continental US and provide a home to plenty of unique plants and animals. A trip into the Great Plains is a real adventure, offering camping possibilities, stunning scenery, and numerous ways to get out and enjoy nature. There are more than 300 miles of multi-use paths throughout this part of the country, such as the Katy Trail in Texas and the Flint Hills Nature Hiking Trails near Wichita Falls, both of which offer outstanding views of wildlife, native plants, and historical buildings.

41. Colorado Trail

The Colorado Trail follows the old gold rush route of El Dorado Canyon, becoming the longest rail-to-trail conversion in the US. Today, the paved pathway is used primarily for hiking, running, biking, horseback riding, and wheelchairing, although mountain bikers have also gotten involved in converting sections of unpaved dirt and gravel roads into fully accessible singletrack. The trail runs along the edge of Red Rocks Park, making it possible to view towering sandstone spires, deep green canyons, and vast open plains. You can expect to see wildflowers, animals, birds, reptiles, fish, and many different kinds of trees, bushes, and grass during your visit to the Golden State, especially if you head out early before crowds start lining up along the trail.

40. Grinnell Glacier Trail, Montana

There are few places where the rugged west meets the pristine east like Glacier National Park in Montana. This massive park lies just south of Canada’s Rocky Mountain range and spans nearly 1,200 square miles of mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, glaciers, and meadows. More than 200 species of mammals call the region home, as well as hundreds of plant varieties and dozens of bird species. Many hikers choose to follow the Grinnell Glacier Trail through the heart of the park, enjoying breathtaking views at every turn. In fact, the trail goes right past the source of the Little Whitefish River, which flows from a glacier lake located 730 feet below the surface of the earth. Those who want to learn more about the history of the world’s tallest peak can travel beyond the trailhead and explore Mount Gould, one of the highest peaks in the park. And anyone interested in learning about the natural world should stop by the Apgar Visitor Center, which offers educational presentations and environmental resources.

39. Ozark Highlands Trail

A little more than 2000 miles in length, the Ozark Highlands Trail spans Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas, offering some of the most rugged terrain in the country. Beginning in the northwest corner of Arkansas near Hot Springs, the OH trail traverses steep ravines and rocky bluffs cut by crystal clear creeks and streams. After crossing into Missouri, the trail gains elevation until reaching the highest point in the state at 12,183 feet above sea level. From here, the trail descends to the banks of the Kiamichi River, passing by numerous campgrounds. Over 1 million visitors enjoy this breathtaking journey every year, making it an excellent option for a weekend getaway or overnight trip with friends and family.

38. Great Allegheny Passage

The Great Allegheny Passage is a 62-mile multi-use path located entirely within West Virginia. This scenic trail connects downtown Pittsburgh to Washington, DC along the Ohio River. Built mainly to help connect underserved populations living in Allegheny County to healthcare services, the GAP has become increasingly popular among tourists and locals due to its remarkable scenery and diverse ecosystems. The GAP offers something for everyone, whether you want a relaxing stroll through lush riverfront parks or a tough half marathon that ends in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

37. Trail of the Continental Divide

The Continental Divide Trail is perhaps the world’s greatest hiking trail. Spanning the entire width of North America, this incredible trail begins in Montana and runs parallel to the United States/Canada border for nearly 3000 miles. Crossing towering mountain ranges, vast deserts, and deep canyons, the CDT provides epic vistas and mind-boggling diversity. Enduring temperatures from below freezing to well over 100 degrees, the CDT sees heavy use, but still remains relatively unmaintained, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to explore off the beaten path. If you love backpacking, consider doing the entire thing! There are currently over 50 resupply points available on the CDT, allowing you to travel light and make your adventure last.

36. The Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah

The narrows, one of Zion National Park’s most remote areas, is nestled between cliffs of sheer sandstone walls.Here, the Virgin River squeezes through an 80-foot gap, creating an area of soft sand and rock gardens that provide a spectacular setting for wildlife. While the view alone makes this hike worth the visit, the sense of solitude often adds an even greater dimension to the experience. Due to its remote location and small size, many people overlook the Narrows as too difficult and instead choose to take the short shuttle ride up to Emerald Pools instead. However, those looking for a true wilderness experience will find the Narrows hard to beat.

35. Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is home to one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. Located only 20 minutes south of the park entrance, the Mist Trail leads hikers halfway around Bridalveil Fall before leading them past the thundering cascade where they may catch a glimpse of the fall itself. After leaving the waterfall behind, the trail leads uphill through old growth forest alongside the Merced River, where it meets with the John Muir Trail, travelers heading towards Big Basin State Park. Alongside meadows and fields of wildflowers, the trail passes by several granite monoliths before reaching the highest point of the hike so far at 11,200 feet above sea level. From here, the trail continues downhill and after climbing 600 vertical feet in just 1.5 miles, finally offers stunning views of Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall, two more tumbling cascades in Yosemite Valley.

34. Mount Pisgah in North Carolina

Mount Pisgah is a mountain peak situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. At 6,643 feet, Mt. Pisgah is the fourth tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Mt. Pisgah was named for its resemblance to a “pisga,” or bald eagle, perched atop a large tree. One of the first mountains climbed in the Appalachians and located near present-day Brevard, North Carolina, Mt. Pisgahan is part of what used to be called the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The Appalachian Trail goes right through the base of the mountain. Today, many of the original mountaineering routes are considered very technical and advanced, with some sections requiring ropes to ascend. This hike offers amazing views of the surrounding countryside because not all of the native trees have been cut down yet. It also has a few switchbacks along its way, which is perfect if you need a break from walking straight up.

33. Arizona’s Grand Canyon Rim Hiking Trails

The Rim Hiking trails offer some of the best hikes on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, either beginning from the visitor center or Hualapai Hilltop. They can be combined into day trips to make full-fledged multi-day backpacks, but these 3.2-mile roundtrip hikes are still recommended! The rim trails are great for sunrise and sunset photography, while others lead through dense forests to panoramic vistas of the canyon below. Many of the trails pass by ancient ruins such as Havasupai Bridge and Havasu Falls. There are over 30 different rim trails, ranging from easy to strenuous, depending on your ability and time available.

32. Angel’s Landing Trail in Utah

Angel’s Landing Trail, also known as The Traverse, is a 7.5-mile out-and-back trail that traverses the summit of Mount Timpanogos and offers incredible views. It takes about six hours to complete the entire trek, but you don’t have to do it in one go. You can start early (and travel with friends) or spend the night at the top. The trailhead begins in downtown Brigham City, UT and climbs nearly 2,000 feet to the summit of this 14,049-foot mountain. Once there, you’ll find wonderful views of the Wasatch Range, including the iconic Uinta Mountains and many other peaks and lakes. If you’re looking for a true wilderness experience, this trail delivers.

31. Tuckerman Ravine Trail in New Hampshire

Tucked away in Tuckerman Ravine, a tiny park tucked deep within Franconia Notch State Park near Lincoln, NH, Tuckerman Ravine provides an outstanding view of the White Mountains range of New Hampshire. The trailhead is easy to access from Route 302 and is well maintained. The trail travels almost entirely in the woods and follows a brook all the way through, making for a short but challenging hike once you get going. Nearby camping options are limited, so consider bringing your own tent. This is a nice trail to take during the autumn foliage season and its close proximity to other state parks makes it a good option if you want to explore the Whites without leaving the state.

30. Oregon’s Cascades Trail

One of our favorite trails in Oregon, the Cascades Trail begins in the town of Zigzag and runs west into the Cascade foothills, where you will find yourself surrounded by lush green vegetation, heavy rainfall, and numerous waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll see sights like the Zigzag Arch, the tallest arch north of San Francisco and the only natural sand arch left in the Pacific Northwest. We recommend taking a half-day trip here since the trail itself covers 5 miles, and you’ll want to stop and enjoy every moment along the way. Most hikers complete the trail in under four hours when they’re not stopping to admire the scenery.

29. Hoh River Trail in Oregon’s Olympic National Park

The Hoh River Trail winds around the headwaters of the mighty Hoh River, which flows through Olympic National Park. This is a popular trail throughout the year because of its beauty and ease of access, featuring two bridges, multiple trailheads, campgrounds, and even hot springs. The trail connects five major trail systems, offering an array of activities like fishing, bird watching, horse riding, wildlife viewing, and much more. Check out our full guide to the Hoh River Trail here!

28. Seattle’s Highline Canal Walkway

This unique path was once part of the abandoned High Line rail line between Manhattan and Midtown West in NYC. On warm days, those who visit the bridge may be treated to free jazz concerts and local art shows. Since it was built, artists have used the space to display their work, and it continues to nurture creativity and collaboration across disciplines. What began as a pedestrian walkway has become one of the most photographed spots in Seattle.

27. Colorado Firetrails Loop Trail

Firetrail Loop isn’t just any old loop trail; it’s a multiuse pathway connecting some of Denver’s biggest landmarks. This trail takes you past cultural institutions such as the Colorado Convention Center, PepsiCo, and Coors Field, as well as wildflower-filled meadows and forests. It also happens to pass over the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, allowing visitors a glimpse of what lies beyond the city limits.

26. Biltmore Estate Nature Preserve in North Carolina

You don’t need to spend a fortune or plan weeks ahead to experience history to its fullest. Instead, learn about history while exploring a vast landscape that’s been home to people since 11,000 BC. At the Biltmore Estate, nature comes first. With nearly 300 acres, including mountains, fields, forest, and wetlands, the estate’s mission is to preserve UNC’s largest remaining land parcel, where plants, animals, and humans can thrive.

25. Bear Gulch Loop Trail in Montana

Bear Gulch Loop is located near Glacier National Park and offers something for everyone. Those looking to get away from it all should opt to hike the 1.6-mile stretch that leads to Waterfall Ridge. There they can look down upon St. Mary Lake and witness the breathtaking view of Waterfall Creek falling off the cliff face. Visitors interested in learning about the ecology of the area should take the 0.7 mile roundtrip spur trail to the Fish Hatchery. Here they’ll learn why the structure was built and how it helps restore salmon populations to this section of the creek.

24. Horseshoe Bend Trail, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend Trail is located within Grand Canyon Village, next door to Mather Point. If you happen to catch sunset at the same time as the end of your hike, the colors are especially stunning against a backdrop of red rocks. The entire village is accessible via shuttle bus, but the trailhead is not, leaving hikers with a steep uphill climb to reach the top. Don’t let that discourage you. This strenuous trail will provide plenty of exercise without too many grueling inclines.

23. Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

The Kenai Fjords are a series of fjord-like valleys cut by glacial rivers through rock layers of sandstone, siltstone, and shale. Within these valleys are numerous lakes and glaciers. The park has two main entrance points: Seward and Whittier. Of course, the best way to explore the park is on foot or bike along the Harding Icefield Trail. Passengers can ride the Ice Explorer tour to see the ice up close and be sure to stop at Sand Beach for an incredible natural show.

22. South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The views along the South Kaibab Trail are spectacular as you make your way from Bright Angel Point to the Walhalla Plateau. This point-to-point hike features three major changes in elevation, adding more than 4,300 feet of climbing to the journey if done entirely counterclockwise. But the payoff is worth every step! After reaching Walhalla Plateau (an overlook above Hermits Rest), the trail continues westward along the rim. Before long, there’s a chance to go rappelling off cliffs, taking advantage of the unique geography of the canyon.

21. Teton Crest Trail, Wyoming

The Teton Crest Trail is one of several hikes that start in Jackson Hole and end in Grand Teton National Park. It runs through open meadows and forests of aspen trees, crosses swift rivers and climbs high into the mountains. Along the way, you have the opportunity to see wildlife like elk, bighorn sheep, and moose. And after walking for miles on rocky terrain, the final ascent to Signal Mountain makes the trek feel like it lasted only minutes.

20. Acadia National Park’s Sargent Mountain Loop in Maine

Sargent Mountain Loop is a moderate six-mile out-and-back hike. The beginning of the route takes you past some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the park. You’ll begin by passing by wildflowers and low shrubs before ascending to the mountain’s summit, where panoramic views await you. From here, descend back to the parking lot via the rocky shoreline trail. This loop covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time; allow about four hours roundtrip.

19. Grayson Highlands, Virginia & North Carolina

Grayson Highlands offers over 1,000 acres of protected land in southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina near Asheville. As a designated wilderness area, the park attracts people looking for solitude — even during peak season. Because so few people visit this remote region, the landscape remains mostly untouched and free of modern development. As a result, the view is expansive and visitors get to experience breathtaking vistas in a truly pristine setting. Much of the trail system is made up of old logging roads and abandoned mine shafts that lead hikers through hardwood forests and across sparkling clear streams.

18. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

The Kalalau Trail is considered to be one of the most difficult hikes in all of Hawaii. That’s because it passes through rugged lava fields, dense rainforests, slippery cliffs, deep waterfalls, and fiery cinder cones. There aren’t any services available along the entire trail, which means that you’ll need to bring food and supplies with you. Due to its difficulty, many hikers choose to start their trip at either Waikamoi or Kokee State Parks. The total distance between these two points can vary depending on when you decide to set out.

17. Templeton Trail in Coconino National Forest, Arizona

The Templeton Trail is located within the Coconino National Forest in northern Arizona. The trail begins at St. Elmo Ranger Station and spans roughly seven miles. Although there are no official trail markers, the path becomes obvious after heading straight away from the visitor center. Outside of the forest, the desert surrounds the trail but provides plenty of shade. In addition, if you find yourself hot and tired, head to nearby Lake Mary instead. It’s just under an hour away from the trailhead.

16. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park’s Ewoldsen Trail in California

The Ewoldsen Trail is part of the state park system in Northern California. Located within Julia Pfeiffer State Park, it spans around 4.5 miles and follows Bear Creek from its source to its mouth. While the waterway itself is not very large, it carries significant amounts of sediment that have collected due to continuous mining operations. This results in thick layers of gold embedded in rock formations.

15. Greenstone Ridge Trail in Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

The island of Isle Royale is home to approximately 30 wolves. It also features the smallest known population of moose in the world. Since 2005, however, the number of moose has declined substantially, prompting officials to declare the animals endangered. To help protect them, they’ve introduced predators like gray wolves. On the Greenstone Ridge Trail, you’ll pass by moose tracks as well as dens used by the wolves. You may see some of the animals themselves while out walking.

14. Cane Creek Falls Hike in Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

The Cane Creek Falls Hike takes place entirely within Fall Creek Falls State Park. This 3.5 mile hike only features a short portion of the 2.8 mile loop trail. For the full-length version of the trail, visit the Cane Creek Falls Loop Trail, which spans nearly five miles. The first half of the route is paved, but the pavement turns into crushed limestone midway through the journey. After following Cane Creek for over a mile, you’ll reach the base of the falls. Here, you can access multiple viewing areas and continue hiking toward the top of the cascade.

13. Tillamook Head Trail, Oregon Coast

Tillamook Head boasts 360 degree views because it sits upon a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But the park isn’t well known for its beaches or even its grassy meadows. Instead, it’s best known for its lighthouse. It was designed at the turn of the 20th century by the famous architect Jacob Eschholz and resembles a medieval castle. Now, it functions as a museum dedicated to telling the story of the region’s rich history. There’s a lot more than that, though. During the summer months, you’ll be able to climb the 156 steps inside the 68 ft tower. And when you do come face to-face with one of the largest lighthouses on the west coast, make sure to keep your cool. That’s right. The light doesn’t actually flash anymore. Like all other lights along the West Coast, it operates using electricity generated by solar panels instead.

12. Precipice Trail-Acadia National Park, Maine

On this 5+ mile round-trip trek, you’ll traverse steep cliffs, granite boulders, dense foliage, and moss-covered ledges. Thanks to the incredible elevation changes, you’ll get an up-close look at the park’s ecosystem, including flora and fauna, as well as a view of Mount Desert Island and the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the main path, there are several side routes to explore. One notable alternative is the Precipice Trail, where you’ll find yourself perched 200 feet above the ocean. If you prefer, you can also take a low-key route via the Pine Knob Path. Either way, you’re bound to spot tons of wildlife, including bears, mountain goats, caribou, and raptors. All of which will undoubtedly give you plenty of photographic opportunities.

11. Sinkhole Trail, Texas Hill Country

Sinkholes are usually associated with caves, but some sinkholes have been formed due to water erosion. Other factors include wind, landslides, ground fractures, or karst topography (the surface breakdown of soluble bedrock). Karst formation occurs when rainwater dissolves rocks, causing underground chambers to collapse. When these caverns collapse, they leave behind a hollow space. Over time, groundwater continues to fill the void, creating a natural lake called a “kettle hole.” These holes are typically found in hilly regions near rivers. Some of them are so large that hikers can walk inside of them! On this nature trail, you’ll experience the beauty of nature up close. You’ll see massive sinkholes, deep river canyons, and sprawling forests.

10. Dolly Coppin Hollow Trail, North Carolina Mountains

This particular hike won’t take you too far away from any major cities or towns. However, just 48 minutes northeast of Asheville is Black Mountain. It’s home to Hidden Valley Recreation Area and Dolly Coppin Hollow. Located about 15 minutes north of Black Mountain, lies Lake Lure. To reach the destination, you must first head to Waynesville. From there, you’ll travel south on Highway 19/23, go under I-26, and take exit 27 off of Highway 64. Follow the signs through Flat Rock Campground and continue following US Hwy 176 into Highlands. Head east on Old Mill Road, then follow it until you reach the recreation area entrance. At this point, you’re only 3 miles away from the hidden valley.

9. Buford Dam Loop Trail, Georgia Mountains

If you thought the Great Smoky Mountains were the highest mountains in the Southeast, think again. Just 110 miles southeast of Atlanta lies Brasstown Bald. Its summit measures 7244 feet, which makes it higher than New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington. The tallest peak in Georgia is Brasstown Bald’s neighbor, Carters Peak. Located just west of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this trail offers one heck of a good workout! The moderate 2.5-mile loop begins by heading uphill for over 1,000 feet. The total climb is around 750 vertical feet. After crossing some power lines and passing the old fire tower, you’ll descend back down towards the road. Then, turn left onto the paved road and head back toward your vehicle. This is definitely not a trail for beginners or families without proper physical fitness. Expect to encounter lots of roots and rocks along the way. However, there are no technical difficulties to worry about.

8. Greenbrier Trail, White-Water Falls State Park, West Virginia Cascades

To get to the start of this hike, you must drive to Route 55 and turn right on County Route K2. In less than five miles, you’ll arrive at the trailhead. There are multiple ways to complete the five-mile roundtrip journey. You could either do the entire thing out and back, starting and ending at the falls. Or, you could make stops anywhere along the route. This will depend largely upon how much time you want to spend. If you’d like to stop every mile, keep reading. Otherwise, if you’d like a more leisurely pace, consider doing the whole thing out and back—starting and ending at the waterfall. Either way, expect to encounter plenty of steep climbs, switchbacks, and rocky paths. But don’t let all those obstacles deter you! By paying attention to where you place each footstep, you should have little trouble making it to the end unscathed. As long as you enjoy being active outdoors, taking a nature hike may be a perfect fit for you. The great thing about this particular trail is that you’ll encounter several different ecosystems across the course of the trip.

7. Colorado Rockies’ Pikes Peak Highway

One of the most popular hikes in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is the Pikes Peak Highway. Known officially as CO 14, this scenic road was named after Major Stephen H. Long, who helped survey its routes during the 1850s. Today, this trail winds up the side of Mount Elbert, reaching an elevation of 12,306ft above sea level. The total distance for the 10-mile trekking adventure is 4.4 miles. To begin the hike, take US 285 south from Manitou Springs. Once you cross the Continental Divide, you’ll reach the main parking lot. From here, walk north towards the base of the mountain and then veer east before turning south. Follow the signs that point you along the main path. This will lead you to the top, where you can catch glimpses of the town below. To avoid getting lost, you can search online for maps showing the exact trail route. When you feel ready to return, follow the same directions. The highway also provides access to many other trails around the area.

6. Eagle Creek Trail-Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

The Eagle Creek Trail is one of the most popular walks in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s not hard to understand why. There are stunning panoramas of waterfalls and cascading rivers everywhere you look. Most people head out onto the trail with their eyes closed, so they can experience the surrounding scenery without having to worry about what lies ahead. Some even wear headphones so they can listen to music while enjoying the natural sounds. Because of the popularity of this hiking spot, you need to book your trip months in advance. That said, once you arrive, you won’t regret spending the extra time exploring this natural wonderland. The trail itself is easy enough for beginners. And yet, it offers plenty of challenges for experienced hikers as well. You’ll encounter sections littered with slippery rocks, deep ravines, narrow bridges over rushing creeks; and sheer cliffs overlooking raging rivers. Of course, none of these things would mean anything if the views weren’t worth seeing. So, be prepared for amazing sights along the way!

5. Burroughs Mountain Hike-Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park may only cover a small portion of land, but it contains more than 300 incredible peaks, including five summits that rise more than 6,000 feet high. Among those, Burroughs Mountain stands out as perhaps the park’s most iconic peak. Located near the heart of the national park, the summit is often shrouded by clouds throughout much of the year. But every few years, it clears up long enough to provide visitors with breathtaking 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. In fact, the vistas from the top of Burroughs Mountain are so spectacular that NASA reportedly used the peak as a landing site for its moon missions. The view from the top is nothing short of breath-taking. There are several different ways to get to the top of Burrough’s Mountain.

4. Hoodoo Pass Trekking-Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff National Park covers almost 590 square miles of rugged wilderness terrain that’s filled with trails offering hikers all kinds of experiences. One of our favorite treks is the Hoodoo Pass trekking route. This particular hike starts right outside of downtown Canmore, making access convenient for anyone who wants to escape into the great outdoors. Plus, there are many hotels within walking distance. You’ll feel like you’re constantly ascending higher into the Rocky Mountains after gaining an elevation of nearly 3,100 feet above sea level. Along the way, you’ll pass by lush meadows, open glades, and forests of spruce trees providing welcome shade. As you continue forward, you’ll reach the end point after 2.4 miles. Here, you’ll also find a parking lot, a visitor center, and a number of shops and restaurants. When you’re ready to return, simply retrace your steps back to the car.

3. Ice Caves Trail-Glacier National Park, Montana

Glaciers are fascinating natural wonders, aren’t they? Formed mostly by snow accumulation, glaciers change shape and flow over time. And while this process isn’t always predictable or easy to understand, it does happen quite slowly. Because of their slow movement, however, some glaciers leave behind amazing cavities known as ice caves, formed from melted ice that seeps into underground voids. While not everyone can make it to Glacier National Park to explore these unique features, there are plenty of places where guests can travel to experience them.

2. Denali West Buttress Route-Denali National Park, Alaska

Located far north in the state of Alaska, Denali National Park is one of the most remote areas in the United States. More commonly referred to as “Denali,” this place is certainly worth visiting if you’d like to see what Alaska has to offer. Most of the attractions here are found along the Denali Highway, giving you some serious scenery in addition to historical sights. The main highlight, though, is undoubtedly the mountain itself—Denali and its neighboring range, the Athabasca, stand over 18,000 feet tall among some steep cliffs and glaciated slopes featuring thick alpine tundra forests, mountain lakes, and rivers.

1. El Capitan Climb-Yosemite Valley, California

The Yosemite Valley is home to some pretty fantastic mountains, including El Capitan. Climbing this granite monolith requires technical expertise, physical strength, and luck. Rightly considered one of the hardest climbs in the world, El Capitan is just under 4500 feet tall and sports a huge exposed granite slab that’s perfect for scrambling. Don’t expect a straightforward acclimatization period when attempting this climb! Although El Capitan gets less than four inches of rain yearly, the granite surface offers very little friction, so even a light wind can be enough to send you flying off the edge. But El Capitan doesn’t only challenge experienced climbers; beginners can easily scale the wall too. All they need is the proper training and equipment. Note that climbing El Capitan is prohibited during the summer months and generally closed on Tuesdays.


So, we hope our list helped you uncover your own personal adventure, whether it’s a quick road trip through scenic landscapes, venturing into national parks, or taking part in exciting activities in cities around the country. If you want to share your stories with us, click the comment section below!

Best of Luck on Your Next Adventure!

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