If you are looking for amazing hiking experiences in the US, you are in luck. The United States boasts an abundance of natural wonders and breathtaking landscapes, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From towering peaks to picturesque waterfalls and stunning vistas, this top list of trails will guide you through some of the most memorable adventures that the country has to offer. Lace up your hiking boots, pack your gear, and embark on these unforgettable journeys.
1. Angels Landing Trail
Located in Zion National Park, Utah, Angels Landing Trail offers a thrilling and rewarding experience. Ascending nearly 1,500 feet, this 6.9 km trail challenges hikers with steep switchbacks and narrow sections clinging to sheer cliffs.
The final half-mile section of the trail is equipped with anchored support chains to help hikers navigate the exposed and rocky terrain. The summit of Angels Landing offers spectacular views of Zion Canyon and the surrounding cliffs. The round-trip distance of the hike is 4.3 miles and takes about 4 hours to complete. Hikers need to obtain a permit from the park website or recreation.gov to access the trail. The hike is not recommended for people with a fear of heights, children, or during adverse weather conditions. However, if you have the courage and stamina to complete this trail, you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the Zion Canyon and its surroundings.
2. Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail
Immerse yourself in the surreal beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, through the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail. This moderate 5.0 km hike descends into Bryce Amphitheater, where you’ll be awe-struck by the towering hoodoos (rock formations) surrounding you.
As you venture through the labyrinth-like landscape, don’t miss the stunning natural arch known as Queen Victoria. The Queens Garden Trail is named after a cluster of hoodoos that resemble Queen Victoria and her court. The Navajo Loop Trail features Thor’s Hammer, a massive hoodoo with a narrow stem and a large top, and Wall Street, the only slot canyon in Bryce.
Pets are not allowed on the trail, but service animals are permitted. Hikers should also follow the Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural and cultural resources of the park.
3. Emerald Lake Trail
Nestled within Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, the Emerald Lake Trail offers a gorgeous alpine adventure. This 5.1 km round trip will lead you through dense forests, past gushing waterfalls, and eventually to three magnificent emerald-green lakes.
The trail starts at Bear Lake and passes by Nymph Lake and Dream Lake before reaching Emerald Lake, which is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The trail is open year-round, but winter hiking may require snowshoes, micro-spikes, or crampons. The stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks and the serene tranquility of the lakes make it a must-visit destination for hikers.
Emerald Lake Trail is a great choice for anyone who wants to enjoy the beauty of nature and experience some of the best alpine scenery in Colorado.
4. Devil’s Bridge Trail via Dry Creek Road
Sedona, Arizona, is home to the captivating Devil’s Bridge Trail. This 6.3 km trek follows Dry Creek Road before ascending towards the iconic natural sandstone arch known as Devil’s Bridge. Devil’s Bridge Trail via Dry Creek Road is a great hike that showcases the beauty of Sedona’s red rock country. It is best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the heat.
Dogs are allowed on the trail, but must be on a leash. Remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks, and enjoy this amazing natural wonder. Be prepared for a moderate level of difficulty and ensure you secure a permit if visiting during peak seasons.
5. Skyline Trail Loop
The Skyline Trail Loop is a must for an unforgettable adventure in the legendary Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. This challenging 9.2 km loop takes hikers through subalpine meadows, past cascading waterfalls, and up to the panoramic vistas of Paradise.
Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning features such as Myrtle Falls, Panorama Point, and the Paradise Glacier, adding to the allure of the experience. As you traverse the Skyline Trail Loop, keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of wildlife, from marmots to mountain goats, and enjoy the tranquility of nature. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply seeking a memorable outdoor adventure, the Skyline Trail Loop is sure to leave you with lasting memories of the unparalleled beauty of Mount Rainier National Park.
6. Vernal and Nevada Falls via Mist Trail
The Vernal and Nevada Falls via Mist Trail is an exhilarating and popular hiking route in Yosemite National Park, California. This trail offers hikers a chance to witness the sheer power and beauty of these iconic waterfalls up close. The 10.3 km round-trip hike takes you to two of the most impressive waterfalls in Yosemite Valley: Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.
The Mist Trail is known for its steep and sometimes slippery sections, but the effort is well worth it for the awe-inspiring sights that await. This trail is a must-do for nature lovers and adventure seekers looking to experience the grandeur of Yosemite’s waterfalls firsthand.
>>Seemore: How to choose a backpack: the ultimate guide
7. Trail of Ten Falls
Venture into Silver Falls State Park, Oregon, and indulge in the mesmerizing Trail of Ten Falls. Spanning approximately 11.9 km, this trail takes hikers on a journey through lush forests, and meandering creeks, and, as the name suggests, showcases ten stunning waterfalls along the way. Each waterfall presents its own unique charm, from the majestic South Falls, which allows hikers to walk behind the cascading water, to the graceful North Falls, with its picturesque setting.
The Trail of Ten Falls offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, tranquility, and adventure, making it an ideal destination for both experienced hikers and nature enthusiasts.
8. Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail
The Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail is a captivating and challenging hiking adventure located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Covering 13.8 km, this challenging journey showcases breathtaking alpine scenery, dramatic glaciers, and sparkling mountain lakes.
The trail then ascends steeply towards Sky Pond, rewarding hikers with panoramic vistas of the surrounding peaks and the sparkling blue waters of the alpine lake. The journey is not for the faint of heart, as it involves some scrambling and navigating rocky terrain. However, the awe-inspiring beauty that awaits at Sky Pond makes it all worthwhile. This hike is a true gem for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a challenging and unforgettable experience in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
9. Rattlesnake Ledge Trail
Just a short drive from Seattle, Washington, the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail offers a rewarding hike through the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. This moderate 8.5 km trail offers hikers a rewarding journey through lush forests and scenic landscapes, culminating in breathtaking views from Rattlesnake Ledge. As you ascend the trail, you’ll be treated to glimpses of vibrant wildflowers, towering trees, and the soothing sounds of nature.
The highlight of the hike is reaching the ledge, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Rattlesnake Lake, the surrounding mountains, and the Snoqualmie Valley. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail provides a perfect opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
>> See More: What to bring on a day hike
10. Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake is a picturesque and serene destination nestled within Glacier National Park in Montana. This stunning alpine lake is a hidden gem, accessible via a 9.5 km round-trip hike along the Avalanche Lake Trail. As you make your way through the trail, you’ll be surrounded by towering cedar and hemlock trees, vibrant wildflowers, and the melodic sounds of chirping birds. Upon reaching the lake, you’ll be greeted by crystal-clear turquoise waters, framed by towering cliffs and majestic mountain peaks.
The tranquil atmosphere of Avalanche Lake invites visitors to relax, take in the breathtaking scenery, and perhaps even dip their toes in the cool water. Surrounded by the beauty of nature, this hidden gem is a must-visit for those seeking a peaceful and awe-inspiring experience in Glacier National Park.
From the rugged landscapes of Utah and Arizona to the breathtaking beauty of Colorado and Washington, this top list of trails will guide you through a diverse range of unforgettable adventures. Whether you seek towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, or serene alpine lakes, the United States offers a bounty of awe-inspiring trails begging to be explored. So, gather your gear, hit the trails, and embrace the natural wonders that await you in every corner of this vast and stunning country. Happy hiking!