The US is known for wide open spaces (outside of huge cities) and a network of National and State Parks that will leave you speechless.

So putting together a list of the best hikes in the US was not going to be a challenge because of a lack of gorgeous trails. Instead, it was difficult to whittle the list down, so you’ll notice that some states in this list have two “best” hikes to choose from.

Best hikes in the US

The US is brimming with gorgeous landscapes like Sedona. Picture: Patrick Boyer

As much as I love to travel, both money and a lack of holiday time have prevented me from visiting all 50 states yet. At the time of writing, I’ve actually only visited six (I know, I’m the worst).

So I’ve enlisted the help of some fantastic fellow travel bloggers, many of them locals to the states they’re writing about.

They’re writing about their favourite hikes in the US for you to enjoy and maybe plan your own little adventure.

Alabama

Best hikes in the USA
Mary recommends that you don’t miss Dismals Canyon. Picture: Life Full of Light
  • Trail: Dismals Canyon, near Hackleburg
  • Length: 1.2 miles (out and back)
  • Difficulty: Easy

Dismals Canyon in Alabama is a perfect place for an easy hike in beautiful scenery. The trail is about a mile and a half long, so it’s not too difficult for beginning hikers. You’ll definitely want to stop and enjoy the views along the way, and if you’re anything like me, take plenty of photos!

I enjoy hiking Dismals Canyon in the fall. The weather is perfect, and the changing leaves are just one of the beautiful sights to take in as you walk between giant mossy boulders, and through the lush green woods.

A highlight of the hike is at the very beginning of the trail: Rainbow Falls, one of the gorgeous waterfalls in the canyon. While the falls are beautiful, some of the most interesting parts of the canyon are found in the dark. You can walk through mysterious narrow passageways and dark caves, or even go on a night tour to see the famous glow worms called “Dismalites”. Dismals Canyon is definitely a place I would go again!

Don’t forget to pack the necessities! Here are 10 things I always bring on a hike.

Written by Mary from Life Full of Light.

Alaska

Don’t miss the wildflowers and beautiful vistas from this Alaska trail. Picture: Hari Nandakumar.
  • Trail: Flattop Mountain Trail, Chugach State Park
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

What the 3.3 mile Flattop Mountain Trail lacks in distance, it makes up for in popularity.

The heavily trafficked loop, near Anchorage, features a rock climb to the summit, which can be slippery during the cooler months.

If you’re not extremely steady on your feet, think about visiting during high summer.

Arkansas

Best hikes in the US
The 53-foot Eden Falls waterfall is a must-see on this hike. Picture: Gunnar Rathbun.
  • Trail: Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River
  • Length: 2.1 miles (out and back)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This is a popular local trail, so be prepared for it to be busy during the weekend in warmer months.

Although it is a short trail, it is rated as a moderate hike, and includes multiple swimming holes and the beautiful Eden Falls.

Arizona

Best hikes in the US
The breathtaking view over the falls might be enough to convince you to tackle this strenuous hike. Picture: Our Beautahful World.
  • Trail: Havasupai Trail, within Havasupai Indian Reservation
  • Length: 24 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Visiting the turquoise blue waters of Havasupai is a must for any hiking bucket list. This hike requires a permit and can only be done as an overnight, although most people spend several days. The two permit options are to stay in the lodge in Supai which is about two miles from Havasu Falls or to stay at the campground.

Havasupai contains many beautiful waterfalls including Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls. To reach the first waterfall, Havasu Falls, from the trailhead is an 11 mile descent from the top of the canyon.

Havasu Falls marks the beginning of the campground. Mooney Falls is right at the end of the campground (about another mile), making the total roundtrip distance 24 miles. The landscape is stunning and the contrast of the red rocks and crystal-clear water is absolutely incredible. Learn more about this hike.

Written by Andrea from Our Beautahful World.

California

Best hikes in the US
The view from the top of the hike, inside one of the windy caves.  Picture: Wellness Travel Diaries.

Gaviota Wind Caves Trail

  • Trail: Gaviota Wind Caves Trail, Gaviota State Park.
  • Length: 2 miles (out and back)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

In the sunshine state of California, a couple miles north of the charming wellness-focused travel destination Santa Barbara, lies a coastal hike at Gaviota State Park. This park stretches between the Pacific Coast and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Here you’ll find the Gaviota Wind Caves Trail, where you’ll discover the mountain terrain, bright wild flowers, and the nimble caves formed into the sides of sandstone boulders.

READ MORE:
Best hikes in Northern California

The hike can be started from the state park, or at the trailhead. It begins along a flat hillside, followed by a steep incline. While the hill can be strenuous at first, the trail begins to tapper off as it moves in a zig zag pattern up the mountain. Along the ridge line, you’ll witness stunning panoramic views contrasting between the vast blue ocean and the evergreen hills.

You’ll spot two ginormous caves that you can explore and take a quick break. More of these unique winding caves can be explored by mounting and scrambling up the various rocks and boulders, depending on your comfort level. I recommend hiking in the morning, as there is very little shade on this trail.

Written by Ciara from Wellness Travel Diaries.

Vernal Falls Trail

Visit the spectacular Vernal Falls in spring for the best chance of seeing more water on the falls. Picture: Sean D Auria.

  • Trail: Vernal Falls Trail, Yosemite National Park
  • Length: 5 miles (out-and-back)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

California has so many amazing National and State Parks, that it’s almost difficult for me to say that Yosemite is the jewel in it’s crown.

Allow me to say instead, that it is one of the most well-known National Parks in the sstate, and the country.

READ MORE:
Two days in Yosemite National Park

You will get sprayed with water on this hike, and you’ll probably start feeling a little cold and maybe a bit miserable on your way up the stone staircase.

It’s worth it all for those views though.

Colorado

Best hikes in the US
Enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park from the highest point on the Continental Divide Loop Trail. Picture: Glam Granola Travel.

  • Trail: Continental Divide Trail loop, Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Length: 30 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

The Continental Divide Trail is the rugged cousin to the Pacific Coast Trail and Appalachian Trail, and runs from Mexico to Canada.

If you dream of setting foot on one of the country’s most spectacular trails but don’t have six months to spare, I recommend the Continental Divide Loop in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park!

This roughly 30-mile hike will be a great taste of rocky mountain hiking, winding above and below tree line in one of the most beautiful areas of the country.

The CDT Loop is on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll need to get backcountry camping permits either on the park’s website or at the visitor center—book these as early as possible to get your top choices.

This trail will take the average hikers about two and a half days. You gain 4,000 feet in elevation total, the highest point being over 12,000 feet above sea level. It is the perfect weekend hike for mountain lovers and adventurous backcountry hikers.

Written by Kaisa from Glam Granola Travel.

Connecticut

  • Trail: Ragged Mountain Blue and Red Blazed Loop
  • Length: 5.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Prepare yourself for a rugged trail inside Ragged Mountain Memorial Preserve.

While you’ll be doing a little bit of scrambling, it’s worth it for the views of Wassel Reservoir. And there are plenty of rocks to sit on along the trail if you need a rest.

This trail is best hiked in the Fall months, so that you can take advantage of the gorgeous leaves.

Delaware

Best hikes in the US
The imposing World War II observation tower makes for a beautiful, historic hike. Picture: Jon Bilous

  • Trail: Walking Dunes Trail, Cape Henlopen State Park
  • Length: 2.6 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy

This mostly paved, flat trail is one for a morning walk or an easy stroll after lunch.

Despite being close to the water, part of this loop makes you feel as though you’re in the middle of the desert.

But you’ll experience a variety of landscapes including forests, salt marsh wetlands, and The Great Dune towering 80-feet above the ocean.

Florida

The best hikes in all 50 US states. These hikes were contributed by local travel bloggers, and cover the best hiking that the US has to offer. USA hikes | Hiking US | Best hikes USA | Florida hiking | Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Trail
Don’t miss your chance to view the wildlife on this trail. Apart from the squirrels, this trail is a reknowned birding spot. Picture: Bruce Kamm.

  • Trail: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Trail
  • Length: 1.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

This is a little different as far as hikes go. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary boasts Florida’s most extensive boardwalk hike.

READ MORE:
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You’ll experience old-growth cypress trees that are up to 600-years-old. Don’t miss the chance to glide atop a swamp forest on this wheelchair-accessible hike.

It’s also one of the rare places that you’ll see a ghost orchid in the summertime.

Georgia

Best hikes in the US
I don’t know about you, but this photo is all the convincing I need, to put this Georgia hike on my bucket list. Picture: Nicholas Brownlow.

  • Trail: East Ridge Loop Trail, Amicalola Falls State Park
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

We’re here for a stunning waterfall so good, that they named the state park after it.

This trail takes you from the bottom of Amicalola Falls to the top, so you’ll be climbing quite a few stairs along the way.

From the top of the tallest waterfall in Georgia, you’ll take in mountain views.

Hawaii

Diamond Head

Best hikes in the US
The view over Honolulu from atop Diamond Head. Picture: A World in Reach.

  • Trail: Diamond Head, Oahu
  • Length: 1.6 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

If you’re visiting Honolulu, you can’t leave the city without hiking Diamond Head. One of the best hikes on Oahu, Diamond Head is incredibly popular with tourists; however, don’t let the crowds keep you from visiting. At the end of the hike, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views over Honolulu and Waikiki Beach.

Admission to Diamond Head is $5 per car and $1 per walk-in visitor. Make sure to bring a water bottle – there is a fill-up station at the start of the trail. Bring sun protection and wear sturdy shoes as much of the hike is on an uneven trail. The hike is somewhere in between an easy and moderate level of difficulty – parts of the trail are quite easy, though the uneven trail and steep stairs make the trail harder. You can take your time going up as there are plenty of spots to rest along the way.

The best time to hike Diamond Head is around 6AM, when the trail first opens. Go early to avoid the crowds. Experienced hikers can reach the top in about 30 minutes, while it will take around an hour if you’re going at a more relaxed pace.

Written by Sydney from A World in Reach.

Lahaina Pali

Best hikes in the US
The climb from the eastern side of Lahaina Pali is formidible. Picture: Lyle Wilkinson.

  • Trail: Lahaina Pali, Maui
  • Length: 5 miles (point-to-point)
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

This popluar hike on the island of Maui is not for those who don’t like an uphill battle.

READ MORE:
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You can either start from the eastern or western side of this trail. If you start from the east, you’re going to end up climing 1600 feet over about 2.5 miles, so be prepared for that.

The reason so many people do it, is because of the beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and it’s reef.

Idaho

Best hikes in the US
View of Alice Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Picture: She Dreams of Alpine.

  • Trail: Alice Lake Trail, near Stanley
  • Length: 12 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Idaho isn’t as well-known a hiking destination as other US states, but the Sawtooth Mountain Range is a hidden gem that should definitely be on your list. One of the best ways to explore the Sawtooths is on the Alice Lake hike.

While the 12-mile hike to Alice Lake is a little bit steep, when you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Alice Lake itself as well as the surrounding Sawtooth Mountains. The elevation gain is the biggest challenge of the Alice Lake trail, making it a worthwhile long day hike.

You can also take your time and expand your hike to include the entire 19-mile Alice Toxaway Loop as a backpacking trip over the course of two or three days. If you do this loop, you also have the option to camp out near Twin Lakes for more solitude in the wilderness.

You can reach the Sawtooth Mountains in an approximately three hour drive from Boise, home to the main airport in the state. Stanley is the closest town to Alice Lake and is a great place to visit after your hike.

Written by Allison from She Dreams of Alpine.

Illinois

Best hikes in the US
Starved Rock State Park is the place to go for waterfalls. The park boasts 14 of them. Picture: Eddie J. Rodriquez.

  • Trail: La Salle Canyon Trail, Starved Rock State Park
  • Length: 2.6 miles (out and back)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

There are 18 different canyons to visit in Starved Rock State Park, and 13 miles hiking trails to explore.

La Salle Canyon is not one of the most popular ones in the park, so you’ll have a bit of solitude at times. There are stairs to begin and end this hike, so be prepared for them.

You can also branch off to visit Tonty Canyon and the falls there.

Indiana

Best hikes in the US
Trail 3 in Turkey Run will lead you up and through this creek. Picture: Voyages with Val.

  • Trail: Turkey Run State Park
  • Length: 1.5-3 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Turkey Run State Park is truly a hidden gem for Indiana hikers or those visiting. The trails begin after a walk over the Sugar Creek over a wooden suspension bridge.

From there hikers can branch off and opt either to take easy an easy stroll through the woods or adventure through the steep walled canyons and hollows. Waterproof shoes are a must on this trail, as it is often required to walk through water and mud that collects in the canyons in order to continue the trail.

Several native snakes also make this their home, so make sure to watch your step! Turkey Run has several options for longer or shorter loops, making it perfect for everyone, no matter how long you want to hike for!

Written by Val from Voyages with Val.

Iowa

  • Trail: Maquoketa Caves Loop, Maquoketa Caves State Park
  • Length: 1.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

While the Maquoketa Caves are closed during Covid-19, you can still hike the loop trail around these natural structures. And revisit again to see the caves.

The trail is packed with special scenic areas, unique to Iowa, and there are lots of side paths off the loop that you can take to make your hike a little longer.

Kansas

  • Trail: Elk River Hiking Trail
  • Length: 14.1 miles (point-to-point)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Strap on your hiking boots for the 14 mile hike near Elk City.

Unless you’re keen on clocking up 28 miles, you might want to have someone drop you off at one end, and drive to the other.

On this trail you’ll meander up rocky bluffs, and at times, through narrow paths flanked by boulders.

Prepare yourself for sometimes steep climbs and some scrambling over boulders.

Kentucky

Best hikes in the US
This extremely popular hike is known for it’s impressive geological features. Picture: Kevin Haney.

  • Trail: Gray’s Arch Trail Loop, Daniel Boone National Forest
  • Length: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Kentucky is settled along the Appalachian Mountain range which makes it a perfect hiking destination year-round.

Gray’s Arch trail was actually my first time at Red River Gorge and it didn’t disappoint. The hike starts with a gravel road but you’ll soon find winding trails with water features and, for the more adventurous, some rock climbing opportunities. Be sure to stop along the banks of the creek and take in the sounds of water rushing along the rocks.

Best hikes in the US
Be prepared for a fluctuation in elevation as the trail takes you down to the gorge, then back above it. Picture: Keven Haney.

When you make it up to Gray’s Arch, the views from below are spectacular and you can actually climb to the top of the arch for an even better view. The height of the arch and perfectly spaced places for your hands and feet allow you to climb without special equipment. It’s important to always hike with a friend especially when climbing!

Gray’s Arch was a great trail to get me addicted to nature and I’m sure to return soon and check out the more advanced trails.

Looking for something easier for the entire family? Check out Natural Bridge State Park. The trails maintained with rest areas along the way, and a sky lift for those who want the view without the hike.

Written by Kentucky native Kevin Haney, who you can follow on Instagram.

Louisiana

  • Trail: Wild Azalea Trail, Kisatchie National Forest
  • Length: 23.9 miles (point-to-point)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Yes, this is the longest hike in the state of Louisiana, and it’s a point-to-point hike, so it might be a good idea to pick a smaller section to hike, or have someone to pick you up at the other end.

This is a moderate trail because of the rolling hills you’ll encounter along the way. Bring some waterproof hiking boots or a change of socks, because you’ll encounter shallow creek crossings along the way.

Visit in March or April to see the Azaleas bloom.

Maine

Best hikes in the US
This easy hike has a huge pay-off. Picture: Sea Salt & Fog.

  • Trail: Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop Trail, Acadia National Park
  • Length: Half a mile
  • Difficulty: Easy

If you’re looking for an easy hike with gorgeous views, you have to do the Cadillac Mountain Loop trail at Acadia National Park in Maine.

After driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain, look for the signs pointing you to the loop, it’s impossible to miss it. The loop trail is a short, half a mile hike that will have you walking the summit of Cadillac Mountain to get panoramic views of the Maine coastline. This hike is beautiful in the early morning light, when the sun bathes the islands in the coast in gorgeous hues of pinks and orange.

The loop is paved, and fairly flat – making it perfect for beginners. I recommend doing this hike after watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, which is one of my favorite things to do in Acadia National Park.

It gets chilly at Cadillac Mountain, so make sure you dress in layers to stay warm and enjoy the breathtaking views.

Written by Ale from Sea Salt & Fog.

Maryland

Best hikes in the US
Bring good hiking shoes to scramble over this rocky terrain.

  • Trail: Billy Goat Trail, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Length: 7.2 miles (loop)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Begin this hike near the Great Falls, but try to start early to avoid the crowds at this popular hiking spot within Chesapeak and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

You’ll climb 249 feet during this moderate hike, and scramble over rocks in some parts.

It’s all worth it for the beautifal water views that you’ll encounter along the way.

Massachusetts

Best hikes in the US
If you’re feeling a little brave, try climbing the Devil’s Football. Picture: Outdoor Adventure Sampler.

  • Trail: Holyoke Range, Skinner State Park
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Massachusetts has some magnificent hiking areas in addition to its vibrant cities. The Holyoke Range hike in western Massachusetts traverses peaks with non-stop views and unique natural and cultural history.

The 6-mile hike is along the ridgeline of the Holyoke Mountains. It starts at the base of Mt. Holyoke in Skinner State Park. Gently climbing through mixed hardwoods, the first stop is at the Devil’s Football. The huge boulder left in the wake of the last glacial retreat is an exciting scramble to the top.

At the top of Mt. Holyoke is the historic Summit House, a popular mountain resort in the 1800s. There are views of the entire Connecticut River Valley from its porches.

Continue on the New England Trail over the tops of the Seven Sisters. With all the up and down hiking, you’ll swear they slipped in a few evil step-sisters. Mt. Hitchcock is a great lunch stop and then it’s on to Bare Mountain for views of four states. Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts, Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire, the ski mountains of Vermont, and the skyscrapers of Hartford, Connecticut can all be seen. The one-way hike ends with a steep descent to the Notch Visitors Center.

Written by Karen from Outdoor Adventure Sampler.

Michigan

  • Trail: Potawatomi Trail, Pinckney Recreation Area
  • Length: 17.4 miles (loop)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

For some lake front views and a bit of a challenge try the Potawatomi Trail in Pinckney Recreation Area.

You’ll traverse marshes and wetlands, but also experience some rolling hills and a couple of technical climbs along the way.

Pack light because those climbs will get you, but also bring some long sleeved clothing to minimize the amount of skin exposed to bug bites.

Minnesota

Best hikes in the US

  • Trail: Jensen Lake Loop Trail, Lebanon Hills Regional Park
  • Length: 2.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

This loop trail around Jensen Lake is great for those wanting to spot a plethora of birdlife on the water.

Visit during the spring and early summer months to see the pond lilies and iris blooming.

This trail is also accessible during the winter months, but be warned, the trail can get icy.

Mississippi

This Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail joins Natchez Mississippi with Nashville Tennessee.

  • Trail: Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail: Yockanookany Segment
  • Length: 13.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

This scenic trail is a point-to-point hike, so you can decide to do sections or have someone pick you up at the end.

You’ll be walking in the footsteps of Native Americans, who used to hunt for bison and deer in the area.

The paved hiking trail is open to those on horseback and bikes, and it’s not uncommon to spot animals like deer and sometimes snakes along the trail.

Missouri

  • Trail: Lone Wolf Trail, Castlewood State Park
  • Length: 1.7 miles (loop)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The Lone Wolf Trail, in Castlewood State Park, runs parallel to the River Scene Trail, atop rocky bluffs.

It then snakes down into the Kiefer Creek Valley below, and follows the creek along it’s south bank.

Bring waterproof shoes or a change of socks, as you’ll be traversing the river at one point.

Montana

Best hikes in the US
If you’re in search of wildflowers, Glacier National Park has you covered. Picture: Noah Austin

  • Trail: Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park
  • Length: 5.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

It’s no wonder why Hidden Lake Trail is a popular hike in Glacier National Park. The trail features spectacular alpine meadows, wildlife, views from every direction of mountains and lakes, and even snowfields! The trailhead is located on the backside of the Logan Pass Visitor Center. If you want an easy hike, stop at the Overlook (2.6 miles), or continue to Hidden Lake, which is considered a moderate hike and is 5.4 miles.

Experience the striking beauty of Hanging Gardens, an alpine meadow surrounding this trail. The wildflowers carpet the entire mountainside and are an explosion of color that is breathtaking. At the Overlook, you are greeted with amazing views of mountains. Wildlife is abundant in this area. Watch out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep as they walk along the path without care. Be safe and keep your distance from the wildlife.

Shortly after passing the Overlook, you can continue on the trail to Hidden Lake. The route gets steeper as you get closer to the lake. At the lakeshore, you can explore the beach and the glacially carved lake. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the magnificent beauty of your surroundings.

Written by Ann from The Unorthodox Traveler.

Nebraska

  • Trail: Indian Cave Trail, Indian Cave State Park
  • Length: 3.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Indian Cave State Park was named after the large sandstone cave within the park, that borders the Missouri River.

The park allows tent camping and some Adirondack shelters along the trails.

You’ll get some limited views of the Missouri River along your hike, and there is also a wooden boardwalk that takes you path a wall of the huge sandstone cave.

Nevada

White Domes Trail

Best hikes in the US
The slot canyon is a huge drawcard for hikers and photographers. Picture: My Perfect Itinerary.

  • Trail: White Domes Trail, Valley of Fire State Park
  • Length: 1.1 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy

White Domes Trail is located inside Valley of Fire State Park, only 1 hour outside of Las Vegas!

To get to this beautiful hike, you will take the winding drive along Valley Of Fire’s scenic route. At the end of the road, you will begin White Dome’s Trail which starts with a steep descent into the canyon walls.

Nevada is known for it’s jaw-dropping rock formations. Picture: My Perfect Itinerary.

Even though this is considered an easy hike, you will need to watch out for the loose rocks and dirt while climbing down. About halfway into the hike, you will get to walk through a short slot canyon that is extremely picturesque!

Be careful hiking this trail during the summer months, because there is minimal shade and Valley of Fire is known for being extremely hot! Traveling to Las Vegas? Be sure to check out this guide on Top Instagram spots in & near Las Vegas.

Written by Monique from My Perfect Itinerary.

Calico Hills Trail

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
You won’t be disappointed by the stunning scenery at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

  • Trail: Calico Hills Trail, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
  • Length: 6.4 miles (out-and-back)
  • Difficulty: Hard

Away from the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip, you’ll find an equally stunning (OK, I actually like it 1000 per cent more than the strip) landscape.

READ MORE:
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Get out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area as early as possible because shade opportunities are few and far between on this trail.

You’ll climb 1,108 feet up Hell Hill for gorgeous views of the colourful sandstone formations in this park. Bring plenty of water and travel light for this one.

New Hampshire

Best hikes in the US
Enjoying the views from Mt. Washington’s Summit. Picture: Nichole the Nomad.

  • Trail: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and Jewell Trail
  • Length: 10.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Mt. Washington stands at 6,289’ making it the tallest mountain in the Northeast. On a clear day, up to 130 miles can be seen from its summit, including views of New York.

Mt. Monroe is Mt. Washington’s neighbor and stands at 5,712’ making it the fourth tallest mountain in New England.

Mt. Monroe and Mt. Washington are usually hiked together as a loop ascending Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and descending Jewell Trail. Although the 10.5-mile hike is considered strenuous, it is one of the most rewarding and beautiful hikes in New England because it features multiple waterfalls, beautiful alpine plants, and endless views.

The best time to hike to Mt. Monroe and Mt. Washington is in late September because the trail and views will be full of colorful fall foliage. If visiting New Hampshire in the fall is on your bucket list, the hike to Mt. Monroe and Mt. Washington is the perfect way to experience the beautiful fall foliage!

Written by Nichole from Nichole the Nomad.

New Jersey

  • Trail: White Shore and Long Path Loop Trail, Palisades Interstate Park
  • Length: 4.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

This Palisades Interstate Park trail is not for you if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll.

Start on the White Shore Trail, found outside the Visitor Center, and follow the descent to the Hudson River.

You’ll cross a boulder field known as the Giant Stairs, and eventually onto the Peanut Leap Cascade waterfall.

You’ll join with the Long Path, which journeys along the top of the cliffs.

New Mexico

Best hikes in the US
Don’t be fooled by the length of this hike, it will be difficult the closer you get to Wheeler Peak summit. Picture: Yonderlust Ramblings.

  • Trail: Wheeler Peak Trail, Carson National Forest
  • Length: 8 miles
  • Difficulty: Difficult

If you’re looking for the “top” of the list of New Mexico hikes, literally and figuratively, you need to check out Wheeler Peak – the hike to the highest point in New Mexico!

This challenging hike winds through a beautiful tapestry of the best scenery in New Mexico – from densely forested paths, to aqua blue mountain lakes, and stunning treeline panoramas.

The Wheeler Peak Trail is located in Carson National Forest, outside Taos Ski Valley in northern New Mexico.

The trail starts off on a gentle grade, through moss laden boulder fields and open pastures. After passing a short spur where you can visit serene Williams Lake, the trail continues uphill through a dense section of towering forest canopy.

Best US hikes
Even your puppy will love the views from Wheeler’s Peak! Picture: Yonderlust Ramblings.

After several more miles, the topography on Wheeler’s Peak once again changes, emerging from above treeline to witness the breathtaking panoramic views.

Here’s where most of the challenge of Wheeler Peak lies. To reach the summit, hikers must continue up a series of switchbacks that traverse scree fields and rocky paths. Expect to see wildlife including marmots, bighorn sheep, and eagles from this vantage point!

After this final push up the switchbacks, you will reach the summit of Wheeler Peak, a truly rewarding feat with unrivaled views as the payoff!

Written by Kristen from Yonderlust Ramblings.

New York

The view atop Hurrican Mountain. Picture: Wanderlust While Working.

  • Trail: Hurricane Mountain Trail: Northern Approach
  • Length: 5.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York are filled with fantastic hikes, but without a doubt one of the best is Hurricane Mountain.

Just outside of Lake Placid, NY, Hurricane features a bald peak with a stunning 360° view of the surrounding Adirondack High Peaks Region.

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Climb the old fire tower that awaits at the summit for an even higher view.

The trail is moderately strenuous, starting relatively flat and then maintaining a gradual climb up 2000 feet stretched over 3.3 miles to the peak.

With its spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and a well kept trail, you’ll want to pack a picnic and spend some time at the summit before heading back down to the trailhead.

While you’re in town, check out some of the other Lake Placid hikes nearby too.

Written by Danielle from Wanderlust While Working.

North Carolina

Best hikes in the US
Camping on Black Balsam Knob is one of the highlights of the mammoth Art Loeb Trail. Picture: Trains, Planes, and Tuk Tuks.

  • Trail: Art Loeb Trail, Davidson River Campground
  • Length: 31 miles
  • Difficulty: Difficult

The Art Loeb Trail in Western North Carolina is one of the most beautiful hikes in the U.S. It takes hikers to the summits of four 6,000-foot mountains — and through one of the greenest forests you’ll ever see.

It has rhododendrons, mountain laurels, and flaming azaleas. It has epic sunrises and sunsets. And in three days on the trail, you’ll see hardly any other people.

The trail starts at Davidson River Campground near Brevard and ends at Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp at the base of Cold Mountain (it’s a one-way shuttle hike).

It takes 2-5 days and climbs 8,000 feet. The highlight is a 6-mile stretch of ridgeline with 360-degree views, during which you’ll summit Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain, descend through Ivestor Gap, climb Grassy Cove Top, and scale the quartz boulders of Shining Rock.

Most of the trail is well-marked, but the 10-ish miles in Shining Rock Wilderness are completely unmarked and quite confusing. Bring a paper map and compass. You may run into black bears in this area as well! (Don’t worry, they’re pretty shy.)

Written by Carrie from Trains, Planes, and Tuk Tuks.

North Dakota

  • Trail: Maah Daah Hey Trail
  • Length: 142.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Hear me out, I don’t expect you to hike all 142.3 miles of this mamoth trail.

It showcases some of the most beautiful terrain in North Dakota, from beautiful plateaus, to rolling praries, majestic peaks and valleys that will take your breath away.

If you were brave enough to head out on the entire Maah Daah Hey trail, you’ll find 10 campgrounds interspersed along the way.

You’ll cross the Missouri River twice, and experience the gamut of North Dakota’s natural scenery.

Those who want to tackle smaller parts of the trail will be happy to hear that there are six access points along the trail.

Ohio

Old Man's Cave, Ohio
The Upper Falls at Old Man’s Cave. Picture: Randall Vermillion.

  • Trail: Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave via Buckeye Trail, Hocking Hills State Park
  • Length: 9.3 miles (out-and-back)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Don’t visit Hocking Hills State Park without seeing Old Man’s Cave. The picture above should be enough motivation.

This 9.3 mile out-and-back trail takes you through caves, and gives spectacular waterfall views.

Oklahoma

  • Trail: Turkey Mountain via Yellow Trail, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness
  • Length: 3.7 miles (out-and-back)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Just 10 minutes from downtown Tulsa, Turkey Mountain is a popular spot for hikers to get away from the city.

There are just two trails in the urban wilderness, the yellow and pink trails. And you can traverse between them on a few short trails that connect the pair.

You’ll climb 207 feet on this hike, and have the opportunity to stop at a vista point and on Turkey Mountain itself.

Oregon

The Mirror Lake Loop Trail gives you some spectacular views.

  • Trail: Mirror Lake Loop Trail, Mount Hood National Forest
  • Length: 3.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

There’s a bit of conjecture about whether this is an easy or moderate trail.

It’s an uphill climb to get up to Mirror Lake, which is why AllTrails classes it as a moderate trail. Although it seems that the hikers who have walked the trail think it’s easier than that.

This is a popular hike, as it’s accessible from Highway 26, so plan to visit during the week for a quieter hike.

It’s popular for a reason though, you’ll get gorgeous views once you’ve conquered the climb.

Pennsylvania

Ohiopyle State Park is home to some unique flora. Picture: Tara Ballard.

  • Trail: Ferncliff Trail, Ohiopyle State Park
  • Length: 2 mile (loop)
  • Difficulty: Easy

This popular, relatively short, trail within Ohiopyle State Park features a waterfall and is great for beginner hikers.

You’ll get a couple of views of the river, before heading to the waterfall overlook for more beautiful views.

Rhode Island

Best hikes in hte US
Strolling the Cliff Walk at sunset is a beautiful way to end your day. Picture: Nichole the Nomad.

  • Trail: Cliff Walk, Newport
  • Length: 7 miles (out and back)
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile point-to-point trail located in Newport, Rhode Island, and runs along one of the most beautiful coastlines in New England.

The trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 1975 and has since become world-famous for its scenic views. With panoramic ocean views and beautiful Gilded Age mansions, it is easy to see why over a million people hike the Cliff Walk every year.

Along with beautiful shoreline views, The Cliff Walk passes some of Newport’s most impressive mansions.

Some mansions still have families residing in them while others have been turned into historic house museums, including the Breakers, the Elms, and the Marble House. The exit points along the trail allow a break from hiking and provide access to the historic mansions.

The best time to hike the Cliff Walk is in the morning or evening because it can become very crowded midday.

The end of the trail at Bailey’s Beach is a perfect location to watch sunrise or sunset. No matter what time of day you hike the Cliff Walk, you will be in awe of the scenic views!

Written by Nichole from Nichole the Nomad.

South Carolina

  • Trail: Table Rock Trail, Table Rock State Park
  • Length: 6.4 miles (out-and-back)
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Be prepared for a strenuous hike on Table Rock Trail, and the possibility of bumping into bears along the way.

Now that the scariest bits are out of the way, we can talk about why this is a must-hike trail.

You’ll be making your way to the top of Governer’s Rock, and the views on the way up are great, culminating in the best view from the top. Think about bringing some hiking sticks to help with the climb.

South Dakota

Best hikes in the US
Sylvan Lake with the deceptively strenuous Sunday Gulch Trail in the distance. Picture: The Wandering Road.

  • Trail: Sunday Gulch Trail, Custer State Park
  • Length: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Travel to western South Dakota to visit Custer State Park – the state park that feels like a national park – to find bison, scenic drives, and some of the best hiking trails around. Explore Needles Highway (one of the park’s most iconic features) and pass thorough the Needle’s Eye on the way to the trailhead at Sylvan Lake.

Sunday Gulch Trail is a beautiful hike, especially in the early fall when the colors are changing on the trees. Enjoy views of the towering granite rock formations and deep blue lake. But be forewarned, this four-mile trail is deceptively strenuous!

Follow the trail clockwise to end with its most challenging (and fun!) terrain – slippery boulders with handrails that may be fully submerged in water during some parts of the year. Hiking sandals or waterproof boots are recommended.

The park is a short drive from downtown Custer, the oldest gold rush town in the Black Hills.

There’s a lot more to explore in this charming western town and several great restaurants to check out when you need to refuel after you hike. Be sure to check out Denial, The Custer Beacon, and Mr. Rushmore Brewing Company.

Written by Sarah from The Wandering Road.

Tennessee

Best hikes in the US
The pinnacle rock formation on the Chimney Tops Trail. Picture: Natasha Lequepeys.

  • Trail: Chimney Top Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Length: 4 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

And it just keeps going up and up and up and up. That’s what kept going through my mind during the strenuous but beautiful hike to the Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Smoky Mountains are home to many luscious trails but the Chimney Tops was recommended to me at the visitor center. I was told it would be a steep incline but the views would be worth it.

The first quarter of the hike was pretty flat. We cross some streams and enjoyed the peaceful and shaded surroundings. The incline started at the stairs and lasted about 30 minutes of straight uphill.

Then finally, a view of the Chimney Top rock pinnacles. There was a convenient little area with some rocks to sit and catch your breath from the climb.

Unfortunately, a forest fire from 2016 made the rest of the trail unstable and the park closed the last quarter of the trail but the view of the iconic rock formation itself was beautiful.

Visiting the Smoky Mountains in the Fall is a real treat. The colors are vibrant and the weather is cooler. Here is a weekend itinerary to the Smoky Mountains.

Written by Natasha Lequepeys from And Then I Met Yoko.

Texas

Don’t let the milage fool you, this hike requires a climb for this view. Picture: The Homebody Tourist.

  • Trail: Enchanted Rock Summit Trail, Enchanted Rock State Park
  • Length: 1.3 miles
  • Distance: Moderate

Enchanted Rock is a unique, giant granite rock located in Central Texas.

You are able to climb 419 feet (1.3 miles) to the top for a 360 degree view of Texas Hill Country! The trail is easy to navigate, but very steep.

Be sure to bring sunblock and water as there is no shade (and if you have ever visited Texas, you know the heat is no joke).

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Pack a picnic and find a quiet spot at the top to enjoy your accomplishment. There is plenty of room at the summit to spread out from the crowds!

If you are feeling really motivated and ready to take on the Texas heat, you can take the Loop Trail (5.4 miles) around the Enchanted Rock.

Tip: It is an extremely busy state park, so make sure to make your reservation and pay the $8 fee online before arriving.

After you finish hiking, make sure to stop in the cutest town of Fredericksburg.

Written by Jordan from The Homebody Tourist.

Utah

Best hikes in the US
This short hike is not for the feint hearted. Or for those who are scared of heights. Picture: Together in Transit.

  • Trail: Angels Landing Trail, Zion National Park
  • Length: 1.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Difficult

One of the best but challenging hikes I can recommend is Angels Landing in Zion National Park in Utah. This four hour round hike is a 1.1 mile (1.8km) route to the top and back.

The climb for the first half is steep, but the second half is the most deadly – which I can recommend only doing if you are confident to hike and climb up, without a fear of heights, as the route has many sheer drops next to you.

Also don’t forget your good hiking boots!

The hike itself is amazing, which includes having to hold on to metal chains and pull yourself up some boulders along the top.

The second half of the hike is all natural rock, so don’t expect any flat path. All is worth it for the breathtaking views you are greeted with at the end.

Written by Zoe from Together in Transit.

Vermont

View at the top of Bald Mountain. Picture: Volumes and Voyages.

  • Trail: Long Trail, White Rocks and Bald Mountain
  • Length: 11 miles (loop)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

My favorite hike in the USA is the Long Trail hike up through the White Rocks to the top of Bald Mountain in Bennington, Vermont.

The hike itself can take anywhere from 8-11 hours or more, depending on how adept of a hiker you are. I’ve found that on average it takes me about 10 hours, and I’m a dual-sport collegiate athlete!

Keep in mind that for most of the hike there is no view at all. That is, you can’t even tell how high up you are for most of the hike. However, there are a multitude of beautiful waterfalls on the way up to keep you going, and luckily most of the hike you are shaded as well, which is nice if it’s a hot day.

At the top, there’s an amazing view of Bennington County. The trees are so luscious and you can see the surrounding mountains.

There’s also a campsite at the top, if you’d like to spend the night! If you’re interested in doing a shorter version of the hike, you can stop at the White Rocks and head back down. This could save you 1-2 hours!

Written by Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages.

Virginia

Sugarloaf Circuit is just one of the many hikes you can experience in Shenandoah National Park. Picture: Dalton’s Destinations.

  • Trail: Sugarloaf Circuit, Shenandoah National Park
  • Length: 4.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

If you are looking for adventure and a beautiful destination, you must hike in Shenandoah National Park. Explore the stunning overlooks and catch a glimpse of the wonderful wildlife in Virginia!

There are over 500 miles of trails throughout the Shenandoah. The hikes lead to amazing waterfalls, stunning overlooks, and even are part of the Appalachian Trail. With so many options to choose from it is hard to pick a hike. But a great place to start is Sugarloaf Circuit.

Start at the Piney River parking (Skyline mile 22). Take the Piney Branch Upper Trail, then take a left at the trail post. Make two more lefts as you loop around the Circuit. The total time is around 3 and a half hours

Sugarloaf Circuit is a perfect loop to take if you want to have a picnic lunch and enjoy a beautiful view!

Written by Emily Dalton from Dalton’s Destinations.

Washington

Blanca Lake Trail

The crystal blue water of Blanca Lake is a welcome sight during this hike. Picture: A Truthful Traveler.

  • Trail: Blanca Lake Trail, near Baring
  • Length: 7.5 miles
  • Distance: Difficult

Nestled deep within the forest a couple of hours from Seattle is a beautiful alpine lake. While the hike is rated as difficult, it is worth the journey if you are an experienced hiker.

Blanca Lake is an almost 8 mile journey of switchbacks and elevation. It is best hiked deep into the summer, when all the snow has cleared the path and the lake.

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The lake is the reward after a long hike and it does not disappoint. Turquoise glacial silt-filled water that is surrounded by mountain peaks awaits you at the top, and it is the perfect place for a swim after all your hard work.

Take note that the road to the trailhead washed out a few years ago, and the alternate access can add extra miles to the hiking trip.

Blanca Lake is one of Washington’s alpine gems!

Written by Samantha from A Truthful Traveler.

Skyline Trail

Best hikes in the US
Summer or winter, Mount Rainier National Park is stunning. Picture: Ryan Stone.

  • Trail: Skyline Trail, Mount Rainier National Park
  • Length: 6 miles (loop)
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Try to visit on a mess misty day to get the most out of the beautiful vistas you’re about to experience.

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The trail leads you through alpine flower meadows, and over high, craggy peaks. You may want to bring hiking poles and spikes when during the colder months.

West Virginia

  • Trail: Maryland Heights Loop, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Length: 6.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

As the park name suggests, this is a historic hike that passes the remains of Union fortifications built in 1862.

The trail includes the remnants of ammunition pits, powder magazines, and gun batteries. You’ll find what remains of a fort on the top of Maryland Heights.

Wisconsin

There is certainly some dramatic scenery inside Devil’s Pake State Park.

  • Trail: Devil’s Lake via West Bluff Trail, Devil’s Lake State Park
  • Length: 4.7 miles (loop)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This challenging hike is littered with overlooks that allow you to stop, rest, and gain your bearings.

You’re going to need that rest, because the West Bluff Trail climbs to the highest point within Devil’s Lake State Park.

Wyoming

The peak of Mount Washburn, soaring above Yellowstone National Park. Picture: The Unorthodox Traveler.

  • Trail: Mount Washburn Trail, Yellowstone National Park
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Mount Washburn is one of the most popular trails in Yellowstone National Park, and it’s easy to see why.

The trail features spectacular views, beautiful wildflowers, and plenty of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and bears.

There is access to Mount Washburn from the north or south; the northern trail is shorter and steeper (4.5 miles one-way), while the southern route (6 miles) is more winding, with switchbacks up the hillside through diverse terrains.

This hike is moderate with an elevation gain of 1,400 feet. The summit (10,234 feet) offers a must-see 360-degree panoramic view from the Tetons to the Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon!

I recommend taking the southern route, which starts at the Dunraven Pass Trailhead. If you are lucky, you may even get to see bighorn sheep who call this area their home. You may see them walking on the trail itself! As you get closer to the summit, be prepared for it to become extremely windy.

In addition to being a fantastic hike, the summit is home to a fire lookout station. The views can be seen here on the webcam from the station. Inside the base, check out the interpretative exhibits, bathrooms, trash cans, viewing platforms, and maps.

Written by Ann from The Unorthodox Traveler.

**Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links you don’t pay a cent more, but I receive a small commission, that is put towards the running of this blog.

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