Best Hiking Trails in America: Discovering America’s Top Hiking Trails
If you’re an outdoor lover, there’s no better way to spend your time than exploring America’s best hiking trails. Whether you’re looking for a strenuous hike that will challenge you or a more leisurely stroll through nature, these trails have something for everyone. So lace up your boots and get ready to experience some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.
This list of the best hiking trails in America will highlight the top hiking trails from across the country for you to explore. From well-known hiking trails to some you may not have heard of before, this list will allow you to find the perfect hiking trail for you.
And don’t worry about whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker because there’s a trail for you. Also, many of the trails have several different starting and finishing options, so you can pick the distance and difficulty of the trail that best fits your hiking skills. This will allow you to experience nature in a way that best fits your needs and won’t have you wishing for more or hoping the hike is about to be over on every other step after you hit your hiking limit.
After you finish with this list, visit our lists of the best outdoor clothing brands, the best travel sites, and best travel accessories. These lists will make sure that you have everything you need to take on one of these amazing hikes.
Top 25 Hiking Trails in America:
1. Charlies Bunion Hike
State: Tennesee and North Carolina
Highlights: Miles of trails to explore, waterfalls, old-growth forests, wildlife, and beautiful views.
About Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for the best hiking trails in America, look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With miles of trails to explore, waterfalls and old-growth forests to enjoy, and wildlife to watch, this park is a hiker’s paradise. The portion of the Appalachian Trail offers beautiful views and is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
2. Mount Katahdin
Highlights: An epic hiking challenge, a legendary peak, and sweeping views in all directions.
About Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for an epic hiking challenge and one of the best hikes in the US, then Mount Katahdin is the perfect destination. This legendary peak is where Appalachian Trail thru-hikers either begin or end their journey. The hike up Katahdin offers sweeping views in all directions and is well worth the effort required to summit it.
3. Nugget Falls Trail
Highlights: Full of wildlife sightings, beautiful landscapes, over 700 miles of trails to choose from, and an incredible waterfall view.
About Hiking Trail: Nugget Falls Trail is one of the best hiking trails in America and is located in Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau, Alaska. The area provides visitors with a nature-lovers paradise, full of wildlife sightings and beautiful landscapes.
With over 700 miles of trails to choose from, hikers can explore different areas every time they visit. The Nugget Falls trail offers an incredible view of one of the best waterfalls in the world and is definitely worth the hike.
4. Halema’uma’u Trail
Highlights: 1-mile hike that descends 425 feet, takes visitors through a rain forest, and offers amazing views of the ocean and the Halema’uma’u Crater.
About Hiking Trail: Halema’uma’u Trail is one of the best hiking trails in America, and for good reason. This 1-mile hike descends 425 feet at the southern edge of Kīlauea Caldera, taking visitors through a beautiful rain forest.
The trail offers amazing views of the ocean and the Halema’uma’u Crater, which is constantly releasing gas and emitting a hissing sound. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience, check out Halema’uma’u Trail.
5. Grinnell Glacier Trail
Highlights: Pristine forests, picturesque valleys, and culminates in majestic views of the Grinnell Glacier.
About Hiking Trail: Looking for a hike that’s sure to take your breath away? Look no further than the Grinnell Glacier Trail in Montana’s Glacier National Park.
This challenging hike winds its way through pristine forests and picturesque valleys, culminating in majestic views of the Grinnell Glacier and its icy waters. Soar above the tree line on this one-of-a-kind hike that will leave you feeling exhilarated and inspired.
6. Canyon to Rim Loop, Smith Rock State Park
Highlights: Trails ranging from 2 to 7 miles, easy to moderately difficult terrain, and unbeatable scenery.
About Hiking Trail: Smith Rock State Park is one of the best places in America for a hike. With trails ranging from 2 to 7 miles, this park has something for everyone.
The easy to moderately difficult terrain makes it perfect for all levels of hikers, and the scenery is unbeatable. Whether looking for a peaceful morning walk or a longer adventure, Smith Rock State Park is the place to be.
7. The Wave
Highlights: One of the most photographed locations in the US, it offers beautiful red, orange, and yellow hues, and magnificent rock formations.
About Hiking Trail: The Wave is one of the most photographed locations in the United States, and for good reason. This spectacular sandstone formation can be found in the Coyote Buttes North area of the Utah-Arizona border.
With its beautiful red, orange, and yellow hues, The Wave makes for an amazing photographic destination. Be sure to visit mid-morning to early afternoon to avoid extensive shadows and check out the other magnificent rock formations in Coyote Buttes North.
8. Chautauqua Trail
Highlights: The park has miles of hiking trails, stunning views of Boulder from above, and the Chautauqua Trail is a great place to start.
About Hiking Trail: You’ll love Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado. With miles of hiking trails and stunning views of Boulder from above, this park is a hiker’s paradise.
The Chautauqua Trail is a great place to start, offering beautiful views of the Flat Irons and Boulder. Then move on to more challenging trails for even more hiking fun.
9. Billy Goat Trail
Highlights: 4-mile hike, features the raging Potomac River, and the rocky crags of the Great Falls.
About Hiking Trail: Looking for an outdoor adventure? Look no further than Billy Goat Trail. This 4-mile hike is one of the best in America, and it’s located close to Washington, D.C. You’ll get to experience the raging Potomac River and the rocky crags of Great Falls. The hike is incredibly popular, so visit early to beat the crowds.
10. Upper Emerald Pool Trail
Highlights: Massive pink and red sandstone cliffs, free-standing arches, and sparkling waterfalls.
About Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for an unforgettable hiking experience, make Zion National Park in Utah your next destination. With its massive pink and red sandstone cliffs, free-standing arches, and easy-to-moderate hiking trails, this national park is perfect for all experience levels.
Make sure to visit during sunrise or sunset to witness the beautiful light show official site of the upper emerald pool the trail cliffs put on. And if you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, try the Upper Emerald Pool Trail – it’s an easy hike that leads to sparkling waterfalls.
11. Long’s Peak
Highlights: Challenging, 14,000-foot peak, and unbeatable views of the surrounding landscape.
About Hiking Trail: Hiking Long’s Peak is no easy feat, but the rewards are well worth the challenges. This 14,000-foot peak in Colorado is one of the most impressive hikes in the country.
The hike to the summit is long and difficult, but it offers unbeatable views of the surrounding landscape. Make sure to set out early to catch the sunrise above the tree line and give yourself plenty of time to finish before sundown.
12. Cadillac North Ridge Trail
Highlights: Wide range of difficulties, incredible views of the Maine coast, and limited closures during the harsher winter months.
About Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for the best hiking trails in America, look no further than Acadia National Park. Featuring a variety of easy and strenuous hikes, each with incredible views of the Maine coast, this park is a must-visit for hikers of all levels.
The Cadillac North Ridge Trail is a great choice for summit views like no other. However, be aware that the park experiences limited closures during the harsher winter months.
13. Rim Trail Grand Canyon
Highlights: Epic views, all the way down to the floor of the Grand Canyon, and is in America’s most famous National Park.
About Hiking Trail: Rim Trail Grand Canyon offers hikers an unforgettable experience that takes them from the rim of the Grand Canyon all the way down to its floor and back. With a variety of hikes for all levels of expertise, this hike will help you make the most out of your time at America’s most famous National Park.
14. Lost Coast Trail
Highlights: 25-mile hike, an undeveloped coastline, towering redwoods, and windswept beaches.
About Hiking Trail: At the northernmost point of California’s Lost Coast, an adventure begins. This 25-mile hike can be walked in either direction but is often most enjoyed starting from Mattole Beach and hiking south to Black Sands Beach.
The undeveloped coastline here is the largest outside of Alaska, so visitors can enjoy a true wilderness experience. With towering redwoods and windswept beaches, this is a must-do hike for anyone visiting Northern California.
15. West Maroon Creek Trail
Highlights: Connects Aspen and Crested Butte, provides some of the most dramatic views in the Rockies, and climbs over 3,000 feet.
About Hiking Trail: The West Maroon Creek Trail is one of the best hikes in America, connecting Aspen and Crested Butte and providing some of the most dramatic views in the Rockies. The trailhead starts with a bang at Maroon Lake, reflecting the twin peaks of the Maroon Bells. From there, the trail winds through a glacial valley and aspen groves before climbing 3,000 feet over Maroon Pass.
16. Tongue Mountain Loop
State: New York
Highlights: 13-mile loop, unparalleled views of Lake George and its islands, and three 1,500-foot summits.
About Hiking Trail: The Tongue Mountain Loop is one of the best hikes in America, and for good reason. This 13-mile loop offers hikers unparalleled views of Lake George and its many islands.
With three 1,500-foot summits, the Tongue Mountain Loop is a workout, but it’s definitely worth it for the stunning scenery. Plus, what could be better than cooling off in the water at Montcalm Point?
17. Nankoweap Trail
Highlights: One of the most challenging hikes in the Grand Canyon, sandstone cliffs, limestone and shale, and the Colorado River.
About Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for an adventure and a breathtaking view, look no further than the Nankoweap Trail. This hike is considered one of the most challenging in the Grand Canyon, but it’s well worth it for the amazing views you’ll see along the way.
You’ll switch back through sandstone cliffs, limestone, and shale as you make your way down to the Colorado River. And if that’s not enough, you’ll also have a campsite waiting for you at the end of your journey.
18. Superior Hiking Trail
Highlights: 296-mile ridgeline, unparalleled views of America’s largest freshwater lake, and trailheads every 5 to 10 miles.
About Hiking Trail: Hike Superior’s 296-mile ridgeline for unparalleled views of America’s largest freshwater lake. This Midwest hike offers something for everyone, from easy day hikes to backpacking adventures.
In fall, the maple trees blaze with color; in summer, the wild berry bushes are ripe for picking. With trailheads every five to ten miles, you can make this hike your own.
19. John Muir Trail
Highlights: Traverses the Sierra Nevada Mountains from the Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, 211-mile trek, and a relatively mild and sunny climate.
About Hiking Trail: The John Muir Trail is one of the best hikes in America and traverses the Sierra Nevada Mountains from the Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. With thrilling views of steep passes, alpine meadows, lakes, and sequoias, this 211-mile trek offers something for everyone.
The hike starts with iconic sights like Half Dome and Vernal Falls before crossing into the Ansel Adams Wilderness. From there, hikers ascend to the highest peak in the continental United States. The John Muir Trail is a beautiful section of the Pacific Crest Trail and is blessed with a relatively mild and sunny climate (at certain times of the year). To avoid snow, most hikers go between July and October.
20. Trans-Catalina Trail
Highlights: 37-mile trail, crosses the whole island of Catalina, and the terrain is rugged and varied.
About Hiking Trail: The Trans-Catalina Trail is one of the best hiking trails in America, if not the world. This 37-mile trail crosses the whole island of Catalina, from the east tip to the western end. The terrain is rugged and varied, with everything from grasslands and chaparral to canyons and streams.
21. Grayson Highlands
Highlights: Rolling hillsides, the tallest mountain in Virgina, and the rhododendron tunnels.
About Hiking Trail: The Grayson Highlands is a must-hike destination for any outdoor enthusiast. With rolling hillsides, tall mountains, and wild ponies, this park offers something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to summit the tallest mountain in Virginia or take a leisurely stroll through the rhododendron tunnels, the Grayson Highlands has something to offer everyone.
22. Kesugi Ridge Trail
Highlights: Full of adventures, customizable with four different starting and ending points, and offers beautiful views.
About Hiking Trail: Denali State Park is full of adventures, and the Kesugi Ridge Trail offers an excellent introduction to all Denali has to offer.
This hike can be customized with four different starting and ending points, making it a great choice for hikers of any experience level. The Kesugi Ridge Trail is well-known among hikers in Denali, offering beautiful views and a rewarding challenge.
23. Titcomb Basin
Highlights: Over 28 miles, some of the most impressive landscapes in America, and atmospheric camping spots along the way.
About Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for an unforgettable hiking experience and one of the best hikes in America, look no further than the Titcomb Basin in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. This 28-mile (or more) hike will take you through some of the most impressive landscapes in the US.
You’ll weave your way through boulder-strewn tundra-esque mountains, enjoy serene alpine lakes, and walk the base of snow-capped peaks.
24. Art Loeb Trail
State: North Carolina
Highlights: Beautiful views, perfect for all levels of hikers, and plenty of nature to observe along the way.
About Hiking Trail: If you’re looking for the best hiking trails in America, look no further than the Art Loeb Trail in North Carolina. This trek offers something for everyone, with mountains to traverse, beautiful views to enjoy, and plenty of challenges along the way.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, the Art Loeb is a must-do hike. So lace up your boots and get ready for an adventure!
25. Red River Gorge Loop
Highlights: The Appalachian Mountains, stunning fall foliage, and an abundance of wildlife.
About Hiking Trail: The Red River Gorge Loop is one of the best hiking trails in America. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, this trail offers stunning fall foliage and an abundance of wildlife. With a variety of scenery and terrain, the Red River Gorge Loop is perfect for hikers of all levels.
Best Hiking Trails in America Conclusion
This list of the best hiking trails in America offers something for everyone, from beginners to experienced hikers. So lace up your boots and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Before you know it, you can be out exploring all that the great outdoors has to offer.
And whether you are looking for an East Coast hike, West Coast hike, or something in between, there are plenty of different trail options featured above. This should allow you to find a trail or two that is close enough for you to enjoy without much travel. But if you really want to do it right, create your own list from these different trails and start marking them off one after the other.
Before you know it, you will have your hiking boots laced up, camping gear packed, and be ready to explore.
Have you experienced one of these hiking trails before? If you have, please feel free to share your experience below.