With destinations like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon, it makes complete sense that the continental United States is one of the ultimate places in the world for hiking. Whether you’re into easy day hikes or long-distance trekking, there’s something here for you.
It’s time to strap on your Patagonia hiking boots, grab your walking sticks, embrace your inner Cheryl Strayed, and embark on an epic adventure to one of these breathtaking hiking spots in the US.
The pride and joy of Utah’s Jones Hole Creek area is Jones Hole Trail, a hike that spans 8.5 miles round trip through a creek canyon. This is desert hiking at its finest, so you can expect it to be hot and sunny all the way through.
While hiking the trail, you’ll make your way along a babbling brook at the bottom of a canyon. This is a great spot for trout fishing, but just be sure to obtain a Utah fishing license if you plan on enjoying a fresh catch at the end of the day.
Also located in Utah, the Narrows hike can be found in Zion National Park. This isn’t for the faint of heart; it’s about 16 miles one-way and is labeled as strenuous by the US park services. If you consider yourself an adventurous outdoorsman, you love scrambling over boulders, skirting along rocky ledges, and maybe even swimming when the weather is right.
The Presidential Traverse is a 23-mile trail that twists and turns through the best peaks of New Hampshire. Similar to the Narrows, this hike is not meant for non-hikers who are out of shape. It’s quite strenuous, mainly thanks to the 9,000 feet of elevation gain.
It’s possible to do the entire Traverse in a single day, but this isn’t possible for everyone. If you plan on taking your time, spending 3 days is the best option. There are huts with bunks for rent along the way, or simply pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.
Mount Mansfield is the highest mountain in the state of Vermont with an amazing view from the summit. If you look closely at the mountain from the side, it bears a striking resemblance to the human face. This is why certain parts of the mountain have facial feature names – like the Chin, the Forehead, and the Adam’s Apple.
Climbing the Mansfield is often included on the Long Trail itinerary – a hike that spans the entire length of Vermont. You’ll definitely need to wear proper gear for this one, especially for the rocky ascent to the top.
Out of all the best hikes in Yellowstone, North Rim Trail is an all-time favorite. It takes hikers along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone River. You’ll follow the river downstream until you reach the Crystal Falls Overlook. It’s about 7 miles in total, so plan on bringing plenty of snacks and water.
Although Kentucky is known as the land of bourbon, horse racing, and fried chicken, it’s better known as being the home of Red River Gorge. Aside from Red River Gorge climbing, hiking is the most-loved activity here, and the most-loved hike in the entire gorge is Indian Staircase and Indian Arch.
This hike is rated as difficult, and it can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. It goes 3.5 miles through unmarked trails and it involves a lot of climbing. Count on spending between 4 and 6 hours completing the Staircase and Arch.
Keep in mind that Red River Gorge is one of the best single-pitch sports areas in the USA. It’s located in the Daniel Boone National Forest of Kentucky with nearly 3,000 different routes to choose from and 100 cliff overhangs. It’s great for hikers of all experience levels, but it’s more often labeled as a prime spot for climbing fanatics
The name of this next hike says it all; Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail is as good as it gets when it comes to Midwestern hikes. This trail spans over 300 miles through northern Minnesota, overlooking Lake Superior, and it’s great for both short day hikes and long-distance treks.
There’s a trailhead every 5-10 miles or so, so you can pick and choose your route to your exact liking. The best time to visit is in the autumn when the trees transform from a vibrant green canopy to an electrifying blend of oranges, reds, and yellows.
Watchman Peak is located in Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, and it’s undeniably one of the best summertime hikes in the northwest region. You’ll definitely want to visit the park’s namesake, Crater Lake, but Watchman Peak is just as cool, especially if you’re looking for something more remote with fewer hikers.
The trail itself is extremely short (just 1.6 miles roundtrip), but there’s a pretty steep elevation gain all the way up. Once you make it to the top, you’ll have amazing panoramic views of Crater Lake and the rest of the park. After making your way back down, you can relax your sore muscles with a dip in the Umpqua Hot Springs.
These are just a few of the amazing hiking excursions throughout the US, but the entire country is a mecca when it comes to outdoor adventures.