United States has the best hiking places in the world, which is home to famous trails like the PCT, Half Dome, Mt. Whitney, and the Grand Canyon, to mention a few. Since there are many places you can choose for your next adventure, we prepared a list of 20 best hikes in the USA for your bucket list. The only thing for you to do is take your essential camping gear and hit the trail! The place where you will stay on vacation is already ready. Don’t forget to check out Holiday Swap for an affordable vacation deal!
1. Yosemite National Park – California
One of the national parks in the United States with great hiking paths is Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park covers an area of 3,027 km2 or 1,200 square miles. However, Yosemite’s Yosemite Valley region is home to most of its fantastic walks. Be ready to use cables in the final 400 feet, which enable hikers to reach the top without requiring climbing gear.
2. Mount Whitney – California
Mount Whitney, located in California, is on every hiker’s bucket list. This 22.5-mile out-and-back trail can be climbed in a single day, climbing 6,656 feet in elevation gain to 14,494 feet, but we recommend a multi-day backpacking adventure. This strenuous hike takes you through beautiful mountain peaks, lakes, and valleys with breathtaking views.
3. Tongass National Forest – Alaska
Hiking trails abound in the Tongass National Forest. There are 700 miles of hiking trails. If you are unfamiliar with the backcountry, Hiking opportunities abound in Alaska if you take a small-ship Alaskan cruise. The Nugget Falls trail begins at the Mendenhall Glacier visitors center and is a popular hike. Mendenhall Glacier is a well-known glacier in Alaska.
4. Smith Rock, Oregon
Hiking trails in Oregon take you through mountainous landscapes, dense forests, and rugged coastlines. Oregon is America’s hiking mecca, with 361 state parks and 11 national forests. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through Oregon, and you can hike a portion of it from Mexico to Canada. Still, there are plenty of other options within the state.
5. John Muir Trail, California
The John Muir Trail is one of America’s most famous hikes. This 220-mile hike passes through some of America’s most famous national parks, including Yosemite National Park, Ansel Adams Wilderness Area, Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park. I know what you’re thinking: we have a lot of California hikes on our list of hiking trails in the United States.
6. Grand Canyon Rim-To-Rim Hike, Arizona
Completing the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike, one of the world’s seven natural wonders, is a top bucket list item for hiking and backpacking enthusiasts worldwide. The connecting North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails are an incredible 21.6-mile point-to-point trail with a 5,298-foot elevation change that is well maintained and broken up by three campgrounds equipped with water faucets, compost toilets, and emergency phones.
7. Continental Divide Trail
The Continental Divide must be included in the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States. What exactly is the Triple Crown? The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail are all hiking trails. The Continental Divide Trail Coalition is one of those 3,028-mile cross-country trails (4,873 km). It runs up the country’s center from Mexico to Canada, following the great divide of the Rocky Mountains.
8. Havasu Falls Hike, Arizona
Havasu Falls, also known as Havasupai Falls, are a part of the Havasupai Reservation and situated in the Grand Canyon (outside the national park). The falls, which are famous for their stunning turquoise hue, can only be reached after a 10-mile journey into the canyon and a 20-mile roundtrip climb with a 2,155-foot elevation change.
9. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Make your way to Joshua Tree National Park in California for surreal lunar-like landscape hiking. It is 140 miles from Los Angeles and has appeared in numerous Hollywood films. Joshua Tree has several hikes, ranging from a quarter to ten miles!
10. The Half Dome Trail, California
Half Dome, which towers 4,737 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, is one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. Most hikers prefer to approach Half Dome via the Mist Trail, a stunning but taxing 14 to 16-mile out-and-back trail with a 4,800-foot elevation gain (with the alternate option being the John Muir Trail). Permits are required to go beyond the dome’s base during cable season.
11. National Park Glacier, Montana/ Alberta
Glacier National Park was designed with hiking in mind. It is located on the Canadian border in Montana and shares land with Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Getting outside in Glacier National Park is essential, and the best way to do so is to explore its 700 miles of short and long hikes. Keep in mind that you must watch for cougars and bears.
12. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
You could spend an entire summer exploring this national park’s hiking trails with short and long hikes. The Rim Trail is one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon for landscape views, giving you a genuine appreciation for Mother Nature’s wonder. It’s 11 miles long (out and back) and offers some of the best views of the rock formations.
13. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park, located in Utah, offers hiking around 250 million-year-old rock formations. There are several great hiking trails here, but the West Rim Trail is a fantastic multi-day hike with camping along the way. The Angels Landing hiking trail is another excellent option, as it provides views of many different Zion formations.
14. The Wave, Utah/ Arizona
The Wave, located on the Utah-Arizona border in Coyotes Buttes North (a section of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness), is one of the most photographed natural features in the United States. Due to the limited number of permits issued per day, visiting is extremely difficult. Basic navigation skills are advised, especially when dealing with summer’s extreme heat. The round-trip distance is 6.4 miles, and the difficulty level is moderate.
15. Haleakala National Park, Hawaii/ Maui
Haleakala National Park, located on the Hawaiian island of Maui, features a volcano, bamboo forest, colorful eucalyptus trees, and waterfalls. If you’re looking for a diverse and beautiful place to hike in the United States, this is it! At the end of the Hana Highway, there is a lovely hike. The Pipiwai Trail leads to some of Maui’s most beautiful attractions, including a stroll through a bamboo forest to the 400-foot-high Waimoku Falls and the Seven Sacred Pools. Another spectacular hike is to the Haleakala volcano’s crater rim for sunrise.
16. Big Sur – Point Lobos, California
Big Sur may be better known as an iconic California road trip than a hiking destination, but believe me when I say there are plenty of incredible hiking opportunities along Big Sur. Point Lobos State Park is a popular hiking destination in Big Sur. The Bird Island Trail offers views of the picturesque China Cove and stunning cliff views where you can see sea lions basking in the sun. Spanish explorers named Point Lobos (Punta de Los Lobos Marinos) after all the sea lions that hang out on the rocks.
17. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park will astound you! Some of the best places to hike in the United States can be found in Wyoming’s beautiful landscape. The Jenny Lake Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Grand Teton National Park. It is an 8-mile long, relatively flat trail with a 623-foot elevation gain that allows you to appreciate Grand Teton’s scenery fully. Its popularity stems from the fact that it connects to the Hidden Falls hike, the Inspiration Point hike, and the Forks of Cascade Canyon hike, allowing you to experience several different trails at once.
18. Yellowstone, Wyoming/ Montana/ Idaho
America’s first national park is well-known for its geysers and volcanic activity and is a hiker’s paradise. Yellowstone National Park has over 2.2 million acres in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, with numerous hiking trails. The North Rim Trail is known as Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Canyon. Upper Geyser Basin Falls, Cascade Creek, Crystal Falls, and the Firehole River that runs through Upper Geyser Basin are all visible on the 7.6-mile hike.
19. The Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/ Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in North Carolina (as well as Tennessee). Within its 200,000 acres, there are many excellent trails to hike, including 500 miles of hiking trails. The Appalachian Trail runs through this park for 101 miles, so you can take a short walk on it to get a sense of what those hiking the entire route are experiencing. Another must-see hike is Cascade Falls, which leads to a thunderous 20-foot waterfall in E.B. Park Jeffress.
20. Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
If the crowds and excess of Las Vegas are tiring you out, make your way to Red Rock Canyon. Red Rock, located just 25 minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of Nevada’s most popular outdoor destinations. There are a variety of trails suitable for novice, intermediate, and advanced hikers. It is also one of the top rock climbing destinations in the United States, with rock climbers frequently seen hanging off the park’s bright orange cliffs.
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