Knowing the best hikes in the United States is the best way to ensure you have fun on your hiking trip. Not only do you know the hiking trails in your area, but you also learn the hiking difficulties of the individual routes that match your experience.
Check out this roundup of the most popular hiking trails.
11 Best Hikes in the U.S. That Every Hiker Must Try
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1. Chautauqua Trail in Chautauqua Park
The 80-acre Chautauqua Park in Colorado has been in use since 1898. It has miles of hiking trails, but the best part is that those fit enough to reach the top can enjoy the fantastic views of Boulder from several feet above sea level. You can start with the less challenging Chautauqua Trail, which offers views of the Boulder and Flatirons, and then move on to more difficult trails.
2. Nugget Falls Trail in the Tongass National Forest
As the epicenter for hiking around the Tongass National Forest and the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska is a nature lover’s paradise. Aside from being one of the best hikes in the U.S., you can bet on seeing bald eagles, black bear cubs, and sockeye salmon.
Here you have the opportunity to hike through meadows and dense forests and explore caves. Or venture out on a wooden “boardwalk” path through Muskegs. With more than 700 miles of hiking trails, you don’t have to see the same site twice as the Nugget Falls Trail offers breathtaking views of the waterfall and glacier on a relatively easy 3.2 km hike.
3. Billy Goat Trail in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
This moderate 4 mile hike is located in Maryland and just minutes from Washington, DC. Here you can experience the rocky cliffs of the Great Falls, not to mention the roaring Potomac River. This, of course, makes the trail incredibly popular, but visiting early will help beat the crowds.
4. Burroughs Mountain Hike in Mount Rainier National Park
Not only is Mount Rainier National home to one of the great mountains in the world, but it also has more than 260 miles of manicured nature trails that take you through peaceful river valleys, ancient forests, and sub-alpine meadows.
You can also visit the Burroughs Mountain hike for the breathtaking views of Mount Rainier at 14,410 feet above sea level and the alpine landscape. The summit of Mount Rainier isn’t the only hiking option in the park.
5. Halema’uma’u Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers you the unique chance to experience the extreme heat of the magma up close. Several hiking trails are available to visitors, such as the Earthquake Trail and Waldron Ledge, a beginner-friendly 1 mile hike with great ocean views. And the Halema’uma’u Trail, a 1.6 km hike that takes about 120 meters to the southern edge of the Kīlauea Caldera and takes you through a rainforest.
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6. Canyon to Rim Loop in Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park has trails ranging from three to seven miles in easy to moderate terrain. Arrive early to spot ducks and geese on the banks of the river. Or in the afternoon for a look at a flashy blue hero, not to mention a puma or two. Smith Rock
7. South Rim Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is perhaps the most famous and famous national park in the country. It offers many hiking trails, including expert-only edge-to-edge hikes and easy canyon rim hikes. In addition to the hiking trails, the canyon offers miles of breathtaking views over its rim and sights that you can only see at the base – where the Colorado River rages.
8. Half Dome Day Hike in Yosemite National Park
The Half Dome Day Hike in Yosemite National Park is the place to be if you are looking for a true wilderness adventure on a 14 to 26 mile loop trail. However, novice hikers are cautioned that this trail is only for experienced and well-prepared hikers. This is because the 4,800 foot altitude can be overwhelming for beginners.
9. Mount Ida Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park
The 415 mile wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park includes lakes and mountains with over 300 miles of hiking trails. These 300 mile trails are teeming with wildlife, wildflowers, and expansive vistas. The Mount Ida Trail is one of the park’s most popular hiking trails. Expect different species of reptiles, birds, and maybe a bear.
10. Point Lobos Loop Trail in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
California’s Point Lobos State Natural Reserve has more than a dozen hiking trails to explore. As one of the best hikes in the United States, it gets to enjoy views of the reserve and breathtaking ocean views. Since it is dedicated to the preservation of the wilderness, pristine nature awaits you on every corner.
11. Upper Emerald Pool Trail in Zion National Park
In addition to being Utah’s first national park, Zion National Park is also known for its massive cream, red, and pink sandstone cliffs, extensive hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty, and free-standing arches. If photography is your thing, sunrise or sunset photos guarantee stunning photos of sunlight splashing into the river from the cliffs.
The Upper Emerald Pool Trail is a relatively easy hike that leads to sparkling waterfalls for beginners.
12. Kalalau Trail in Ha’ena State Park
The Kalalau Trail runs approximately 11 miles along the north coast of the island of Kauai to the Kalalau Valley. Remember that this trail is challenging and dangerous, so it is only suitable for experienced hikers. The hike takes you through hills, creeks and offers incredible views of the crystal blue ocean that surrounds the island.
13. Grinnell Glacier Trail in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park offers more than a dozen trails from easy to complex, such as the Grinnell Glacier Trail. In addition, the park is home to up to 71 species of mammals, from the majestic elk to the tiny pygmy shrew to a wide variety of reptiles and birds for you to spot on your hike.
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There you have it, fellow wanderer. As a beginner hiker, you now have the necessary list of the best hiking trails to get started. But on the flip side, as a seasoned hiker, you now have more trails to add to your bucket list and improve your skills.
What do you think are the best hikes in the US? Let us know in the comments section below!
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