Exploring the Great Outdoors: The Best Places to Hike in the United States

Leland Sandler Coach

January 29, 2024

The United States boasts a diverse and breathtaking landscape that offers hiking enthusiasts a myriad of opportunities to connect with nature. From rugged mountain trails to coastal paths, the country is a haven for those seeking adventure on foot. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best places to hike in the United States, each offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

No list of the best hiking spots in the United States would be complete without mentioning the Grand Canyon. This iconic natural wonder is a hiker’s paradise, with its vast and awe-inspiring landscapes. Trails like Bright Angel and South Kaibab take you deep into the canyon, offering unparalleled views of colorful rock formations. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice, the Grand Canyon provides an unforgettable adventure for all.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite, located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its towering waterfalls, giant sequoias, and granite cliffs, the park offers a variety of hiking experiences. The Mist Trail takes you to the base of the iconic Half Dome, while the John Muir Trail offers a more extended trek through the park’s stunning backcountry. Yosemite’s diverse ecosystems make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty of the American wilderness.

Zion National Park, Utah

Known for its towering red rock formations and deep slot canyons, Zion National Park is a gem for hikers. The Narrows, an iconic slot canyon hike, takes you through the Virgin River, surrounded by sheer canyon walls. Angel’s Landing, a more challenging trek, rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the park. With trails suitable for various skill levels, Zion offers a captivating landscape for every adventurer.

Appalachian Trail, Eastern United States

For the ultimate long-distance hiking experience, the Appalachian Trail is unparalleled. Stretching 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail leads hikers through diverse landscapes, providing a unique opportunity for nature connection and hiking camaraderie, whether on a thru-hike or a shorter section.

Denali National Park, Alaska

For those seeking a wild and remote hiking experience, Denali National Park in Alaska is a top choice. Home to North America’s highest peak, Denali, this park offers challenging and pristine wilderness trails. The Kesugi Ridge Trail provides stunning views of Denali and the Alaska Range, while more experienced hikers may tackle the grueling ascent to the summit. Denali National Park promises an adventure for those who crave the untamed beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia, located on Mount Desert Island, is a coastal paradise for hikers. With a network of trails that wind through forests, along rocky shores, and to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the park offers a diverse range of experiences. The Precipice Trail challenges hikers with iron rungs and ladders, providing a thrilling ascent with panoramic ocean views. Acadia’s unique combination of mountains and coastline makes it a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Havasu Falls, Arizona

Hidden within the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is a true desert oasis accessible through the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The trail to Havasu Falls is a moderate hike, leading to a stunning turquoise waterfall surrounded by red rock formations. Vibrant blue-green waters and lush vegetation create a surreal contrast in Havasu Falls, making it a unique and unforgettable hiking destination.

Pacific Crest Trail, Western United States

Stretching over 2,600 miles from the border of Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking trail that traverses diverse landscapes. Hikers on the PCT experience the beauty of the Sierra Nevada, Cascade Range, and other stunning regions. The trail offers a profound sense of solitude and connection with nature, making it a bucket-list adventure for avid hikers seeking an extended journey through the western United States.

Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains, straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, boast lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. With over 800 miles of maintained trails, the park offers hikes for all skill levels. Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies, provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The Appalachian Trail passes through this national park, allowing hikers to experience a portion of this iconic long-distance trail.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

In Washington state, Mount Rainier National Park, with its towering peak, beckons hikers to explore alpine meadows, glaciers, and old-growth forests. The 93-mile Wonderland Trail offers a challenging yet rewarding trek with breathtaking views, providing a true alpine adventure.

The United States offers a plethora of hiking opportunities, catering to all skill levels and preferences. Explore the diverse landscapes of the Grand Canyon, the coastal beauty of Acadia, or the solitude of the Pacific Crest Trail – there’s a hiking adventure for every explorer. Lace up your boots, pack your backpack, and embark on a journey to the best hiking destinations in the United States.