The US has a diverse array of hiking trails that offer stunning views of natural beauty. Adventure seekers can choose from rugged terrain in the Pacific Northwest to serene mountains in Colorado. Spanning 2,650 miles, the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the longest hiking trails in the world, and the Appalachian Trail covers 2,200 miles between Georgia and Maine. Other popular hiking destinations include Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and Mount Rainier, Washington. It is important to research trails and assess personal skill levels before embarking on any hikes, while also carrying appropriate gear, respecting wildlife and following Leave No Trace principles.
Adventure seekers know that nothing can compare to the experience of taking on a hiking trail in the US. From the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest to the serene mountains of Colorado, the country has a diverse range of hiking trails that offer stunning views of natural beauty. However, with so many options, it can be difficult to choose just one. In this article, we have compiled a list of the top 10 hiking trails that every adventure seeker should experience in the US.
1. Pacific Crest Trail – California, Oregon, and Washington
Spanning over 2,650 miles, the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the longest hiking trails in the world. Covering three states along the West Coast, the trail offers stunning views of the Cascade Mountains, Sierra Nevada Mountains, and much more. Some highlights along the trail include Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous US, and Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the US.
2. Appalachian Trail – Georgia to Maine
The Appalachian Trail is another popular hiking trail in the US, covering 2,200 miles between Georgia and Maine. This trail offers a variety of terrains, ranging from steep climbs to smooth glades, and is an ideal trail for hikers to enjoy the natural beauty of the eastern US.
3. Grand Canyon Rim to Rim – Arizona
The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim trail is a challenging hike that is only recommended for experienced hikers. Covering a distance of 21 miles, the hike involves steep climbs, rocky terrain, and a variety of elevations. However, hikers who make it to the end are rewarded with stunning views of the Canyon and surrounding landscape.
4. Half Dome – Yosemite National Park, California
Half Dome is a popular hiking destination in Yosemite National Park, offering a challenging 14-mile hike up the granite summit. The trail involves steep climbs and narrow passes, but the magnificent views make it worth the effort.
5. Zion Narrows Trek – Utah
The Zion Narrows Trek in Utah is a unique hiking experience that takes hikers through a narrow river canyon. The hike covers a distance of 16 miles, and hikers must be prepared to wade through a shallow river as they traverse the canyon.
6. Angels Landing – Zion National Park, Utah
Angels Landing is another popular destination in Zion National Park, offering a steep climb up a narrow ridge to a rock formation. The final ascent is a bit challenging, but once hikers reach the summit, they are rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
7. Mount Rainier – Washington
Mount Rainier is an iconic mountain in the Pacific Northwest, offering a variety of trails for hikers to explore. Some popular hikes include the Skyline Trail, the High Skyline Trail, and the Wonderland Trail, which encircles the entire mountain.
8. Mount Katahdin – Maine
Mount Katahdin is the highest peak in Maine and is a popular hiking destination for adventure seekers. The northern section of the Appalachian Trail also passes through this area, offering a variety of trails for hikers to explore.
9. Bright Angel Trail – Arizona
The Bright Angel Trail is another challenging hike in the Grand Canyon, covering a distance of 9.5 miles. The trail is steep, but hikers are rewarded with stunning views of the Canyon and the Colorado River.
10. Mount Whitney – California
Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous US, offering a variety of trails for hikers to explore. The Whitney Trail is the most popular trail, covering 22 miles round-trip and offering breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Q. What gear do I need for hiking?
A. It is recommended to have hiking boots with good support, a backpack with ample space for food and water, a map or GPS device, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing for the terrain and weather conditions.
Q. Are these hikes safe for beginners?
A. Some hikes, like the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon, are not recommended for beginners. It is important to research the trail and assess your own skill level before embarking on any hike.
Q. What should I do if I encounter wildlife on a trail?
A. It is important to respect and observe wildlife from a safe distance. Do not approach or feed any animals, and make noise to alert them to your presence. If you encounter a bear, back away slowly and do not run.
Q. What are some safety tips for hiking?
A. Always tell someone your planned route and estimated return time, carry ample food and water, check weather conditions, and bring appropriate gear and clothing. It is also important to follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash.