The best hiking trails will make you feel refreshed after months of pandemic-induced isolation. It is also a great way to enjoy the great outdoors minus the health risks of mingling with huge crowds. This summer, feel free to enjoy some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in the country.
The best hiking trails are often found in the most overlooked places. Natural parks, for instance, offer great spots that only a few people know. Tucked inside these vast expanses are hiking trail havens you need to visit.
Top 12 Hiking Trail Destinations in America
1. Big Sur, California
Legendary beat generation anti-hero Jack Kerouac wrote a great deal about the Big Sur. It is no surprise that poets and writers feel elated about this sublime Californian landscape. Its mild trails leading to a zig-zag of towering redwood trees are perfect for families who prefer a mild hike.
2. Timberline Trail, Oregon
Circumnavigating the active volcano Mount Hood, this Oregon hiking trail is a versatile hiking destination. No matter what type or level of hiker you are, Timberline Trail is perfect for you. The views are astounding yet offer a variety of hiking options whether you are into short or long hikes.
3. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Just right near Bryce Canyon National Park, this Utah hiking trail looks kind of challenging to negotiate. With its rugged terrain peppered with canyons, sandstone cliffs, and wind-sculpted boulders, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is an adventurer’s Nirvana. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
4. Harper’s Corner Trail, National Dinosaur Monument, Colorado
Apart from the diverse landscapes like plateaus, canyons, and mountains, this trail is littered with prehistoric artifacts. If your kids are not into the sprawling outdoors, then maybe those dinosaur bones would make them reconsider. Another advantage of Harper’s Corner is its low visiting rate which means it is perfect if you wish to avoid big crowds.
5. Salt Lake City, Utah
When we think of Utah, it’s either we are thinking about the Jazz or the pious Mormons. But of course, there is more to Utah than these. For hikers who like it chill and relaxed, Salt Lake City is one of the best hiking trails in this great state. It offers a diverse view of rolling hills, granite canyons, and yes, the famous Great Salt Lake shoreline.
6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Sandwiched between the North Carolina and Tennessee border, this hiking trail has been famous for its biodiversity. Specifically known as Charlies Bunion Hike, this trail offers a rollercoaster ride of rocky terrain, thick forests, and majestic mountains. If you are into a more challenging backcountry trek, this is one of the best hiking trails for you.
7. Olympic National Park, Washington
Call this a triple-whammy of mind-blowing park experience or whatever but just don’t call it ordinary. In fact, this hiking trail provides an extraordinary experience for jaded hikers who think they have seen it all. See your jaws drop in amazement as you witness the mesmerizing ice-glazed landscape and flora and fauna of Olympic National Park.
8. Appalachian Trail – Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
When John Denver sang about being almost in heaven, he must be singing about the Appalachian Trail. This celestial hiking destination extending from Georgia to Maine is a paradise of lush landscapes. With over half a thousand miles of pure hiking pleasure, this is no doubt one of the best hiking trails in the country.
9. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Joshua Tree and Yosemite are iconic National Parks but if you don’t go beyond these places, you are missing a lot. Lassen is a great alternative for those who wish for a brand-new hiking alternative to the abovementioned trails. If the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone would have offspring, it would look like Lassen Volcanic National Park.
10. John Muir Trail, California
What’s up with California and its numerous hiking trails? John Muir Trail, for instance, is no doubt one of the best-kept secrets of the sunshine state. The 211-mile trail extends from Mount Whitney to Yosemite Valley and offers captivating cliffs, mountainous peaks, and sparkling lakes that even jaded hikers wouldn’t resist.
11. Pyramid Point Trail – Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
From the state where legendary groups like the MC5 and The Stooges were born, sits Pyramid Point Trail. But unlike the rough and raucous noise of these bands, this trail, in contrast, offers a mellow hike. Its 2.7-mile hiking loop is adorned with enchanting forest, lush meadows, and breezy hills that newbie hikers can enjoy.
12. Burroughs Mountain Hike – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Like its namesake, Burroughs Mountain Hike is quite a trip. Err, someone just told me that this hiking trail is actually named after John Burroughs the naturalist, and not William the Beat author in question. Whatever. It still doesn’t obscure the fact that this tundra and mountain-ridden trail offers a transcendental hiking experience.
Check out these hiking gears recommended by Survival Gear:
These hiking spots are just the tip of the iceberg. The truth is, America is a sprawling real estate of the best hiking trails in the world. Why spend thousands of dollars on a trip abroad when you can have a world-class hiking experience in your own backyard. Enjoy and stay safe!
There might be no cure for the summertime blues but hiking will certainly make you feel good. Aside from a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature, you also get to exercise. The best part is, you don’t have to travel outside the country for an epic hiking trip.
What are the best hiking trails you’ve visited so far? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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