Best Hikes in the US: Enjoying Nature and All that It Has to Offer
There is just something about being out in nature and enjoying the great outdoors. There is especially something extraordinary about enjoying one of these amazing hikes! This list of the best hikes in the US offers a number of stunning hikes. They will also provide some of the most spectacular views on planet earth.
From hiking a trail in the Grand Canyon to Yosemite to Zion National Park, all of the hiking trails on this list are sure to leave you with a better appreciation of nature. And, with many of them spread out across the US in several different states, you should be close enough to one or two of them to plan a trip to.
And while some of these hikes on this list of the best places to hike in the US may require a little bit more effort, it will all be worth it when you reach the end of it. If you want to get in a little better shape before your hiking trip, visit our list of the best fitness sites and best bodyweight exercises to help you with your pre-hike training.
When it comes to traveling to any of these amazing hikes, make sure to check out our lists of the best travel accessories and best travel blogs. Both of these lists will make sure that you are fully prepared for your trip.
Top 10 Hikes in the US:
Highlights: One of Yosemite’s most popular attractions, 400 feet of climbing steel cables, and a 17-mile round trip.
About Hike: With 400 feet of steel cables to climb and swaying wood planks at certain points along the hike, Half Dome is recommended for experienced hikers only. Especially during the rainy season, these cables become slippery and can be a potential hazard to unsuspecting hikers. Nevertheless, the 17-mile Half Dome Hike is one of Yosemite’s most popular attractions and one of the reasons Yosemite is one of the best national parks. And understandably so, because along the way, you’ll take in the stunning view of some of the best waterfalls in the world with Vernal Fall (317 feet tall) and Nevada Fall (594 feet tall).
Highlights: Beautiful views of South Rim of Grand Canyon, descends 4,500 feet to the Colorado River, and a 12-mile round trip.
About Hike: Along with the Grand Canyon being one of the best vacation spots in the US, it also has several great hikes to choose from. One of the best is Bright Angel Trail. It is the most popular trail on the Grand Canyon South Rim, thanks to its stunning views. On this 12-mile round trip hike, you’ll descend almost 4,500 feet to the Colorado River and witness plenty of unique plant and animal life along the way. This trail’s difficulty level is challenging and strenuous for all of you adventurous and experienced hikers, but it is definitely worth it. You’ll hardly believe your eyes when you see the wide-open canyon laid out before you.
Highlights: Tallest sandstone cliffs in the world, full 360-degree sensational views, and a rock ridge with a 1,400-foot drop on both sides.
About Hike: Angels Landing includes some of the most spectacular views you’ll ever see. Located in the well-known Zion National Park, this hike includes the tallest sandstone cliffs in the world. This trail will take you zigzagging through narrow rock formations (some as thin as 20-30 feet across). Eventually, you’ll walk along a rock ridge (with guardrails) that has a 1,400-foot drop on either side. Although not for the faint of heart, this jaw-dropping 360-degree view will leave you amazed.
Highlights: The most photographed spot in the state, 14,000-foot mountain peaks, and various easy and challenging trails.
About Hike: When you think of mountains in Colorado, your first thought might be, “this is some of the best skiing in the US” And while that is true, they also offer one of the best hiking trails in the US. Maroon Bells is considered the most photographed spot in Colorado and is home to the infamous Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak mountains. These 14,000-foot peak mountains obtained their namesake color due to a mineral called hematite and contain countless beautiful trails. From an easy 1-mile round trip hike to steep and rocky 4-mile ones, this hike offers gorgeous views of Crater Lake and active wildlife.
Highlights: It is the fifth oldest national park in North America, has over 200 miles of hiking trails, and over 50 unique animal species.
About Hike: Mt. Rainier National Park is the fifth oldest national park in the US and, as the name implies, home to Mt. Rainier. This active volcano sits 14,410 feet above sea level and consists of over 200 miles of hiking trails. Many people want to check off the 93-mile-long Wonderland Trail that circles Mt. Rainier from their bucket list. Along with these hikes, you might get to see over 50 unique animals, including over 100 species of birds.
Highlights: Hike along Na Pali coastline, a 22-miles round trip, and the most dangerous and challenging hike on Kauai.
About Hike: Considered one of Kauai’s most challenging and dangerous hikes, Kalalau Trail is a 22-mile round trip hike that takes you along the beautiful Na Pali coastline. On a clear, sunny day, you’ll get a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. While there’s stunning scenery along the way, it’s hazardous due to steep drop-offs and rocky, rough terrain. If you choose to only do the first 2 miles of the hike, you’ll be at Hanakapiai Beach, an amazing beach and an incredible destination by itself. If you choose to continue on, then you’ll get to witness the 300-foot Hanakapi’ai Waterfall.
Highlights: Offers four major mountain peaks and four alpine lakes, captivating scenery, and countless hiking trails.
About Hike: Located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, The Enchantments trails rightfully earn their name with captivating scenery. Most of the hikes are 20 miles long, and if you can only complete one of them in your lifetime, then you should do The Enchantments Core Thru-hike. This 18-mile hike includes four major mountain peaks and four dazzling alpine lakes. When you complete it, you will have a much better appreciation for nature and fully understand why it made our list of the best hikes in the US.
Highlights: Accessible only by ferry, 42 miles long, and has a variety of unique wildlife.
About Hike: If you’re an experienced hiker and have some time on your hands, then Greenstone Ridge Trail is the hike for you. It’s 42 miles of trail that takes about 3-5 days to complete, and it’s only accessible by boat. More specifically, you have to take a 7-hour ferry ride to get there. This hike is in Isle Royale, one of the least visited national parks. This will allow you to have a low-traffic hike with just you and the unique wildlife that you will see along the way.
Highlights: It is ranked as one of the best hikes in the world and offers a panoramic view of the park.
About Hike: Located in the Shenandoah National Park, the Old Rag hike is ranked as one of the best hikes in the world. Yes, you read that right, not just one of the best hikes in the US, but in the world. Old Rag Mountain is known for its rugged, rocky terrain. Because of this, you’ll likely be crawling, climbing, and scrambling throughout some (or most) of it. As a reward for completing this 9.8-mile hike, you’ll get a beautiful, panoramic view of the entire park.
Highlights: It is the most popular park in Utah and offers thousand-foot walls of Navajo sandstone.
About Hike: Zion National Park is the most popular park in Utah, and the Zion Narrows is one of the best hiking trails in the US. You’ll understand why when you see the stunning thousand-foot walls of Navajo sandstone on either side of you. Depending on how far you go, this trek could take you anywhere from 3-7 hours. Will will also end up spending a reasonable amount of time wading through water. Not only that, but this versatile hike will take you from the water to hiking through narrow crevices, some only 20-30 feet wide.
Best Hikes in the US Conclusion
After looking through this list of the best hikes in the US, you are sure to be inspired to try one. Maybe even try to knock them all off one after the other! Either way, if you enjoy nature as much as we do, you will want to start making plans to hike some of these trails.
When you do go, make sure that you have all the proper supplies that you need. From liquids to food to outdoor clothing to equipment, the better you are prepared, the more you will enjoy your hike. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip and get outside and enjoy the great outdoors!
Have you been to one of these hiking destinations? If so, we would love to hear about it in the comments below.