The United States covers a vast swath of North America, and within these borders are spectacular mountain ranges, coastal regions, magnificent lakes, and rivers accessible to everyone. The country is crisscrossed with breathtaking hiking trails of every length, elevation, and challenge.
Make certain you are hunting, hiking, and camping with only the best hiking gear, tents, and other accessories.
In many states, there are hundreds of documented scenic and challenging treks that hikers of all skill levels can enjoy and return multiple times. The following is a review of some of this country’s beautiful and challenging trails, in no particular order. These trails represent just a fraction of the sheer splendour and heart pounding hikes available to all of us.
The triple crown of hiking informally references three long distance hikes in the US, the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide, and the Appalachian Trail. Combined, the total length of all three trails is 7,875 miles.
The most scenic hiking trails in the US
The eastern trek of the triple crown is 2,194 miles; the trail’s endpoints are Mount Katahdin in Maine and Springer Mountain in Georgia. The trail is continually maintained by 31 clubs, conservancy partnerships, and government organisations. The number of thru-hikers continues to grow as equipment excels and endurance levels improve. Thru-hikers are ambitious hikers who cover the entire trail in one season, with more attempts than success.
Elevation gain of the trail is a hefty 515,000 feet. The Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide trail have higher gains. The Trail is tackled by day hikers year round, with thru hikers taking years to plan and execute their trip. Other adventurists plan treks that are 5, 10 and more miles at a time, inviting friends and family to join in.
Nugget Falls Trail, Tongass National Forest
Alaska is home to some of the most splendid landscapes on Earth, with majestic mountain ranges and world record salmon fishing. There is an Alaskan trail for everyone from purely scenic pathways to rugged, back wood treks that will challenge the best of hikers.
The Nugget Falls Trail proper is considered an easy trek with the distance being less than a mile. However, the trail is located in the Tongass National Forest, the largest in the United States. The vast forest covers the majority of southeast Alaska, at 16.7 million acres. It is estimated to have 700 miles of trails spread out over 17 million acres. You will never see the same trail twice.
Kalalau Trail/ Napali Coast Hawaii
This trail is included on this list purely for its ruggedness, length, and test of endurance. Hikers must come equipped for this rugged trail and be prepared to take back a lifetime of memories. Considered by many to be one of the most breathtaking places on Earth, the Napali Coast on the island of Kauai may be as close to a hiker’s paradise as we can get.
Beach views, waterfalls, and several swimming opportunities are plentiful along the trail. Permits are going to be needed for camping options and parking. The trailhead starts at Ke’e Beach and ends at Kalalau Beach.
Napali Coast State Wilderness park lies in the northwestern part of Kauai Island and the Kalalau Trail runs through the park. The trail is a steep footpath along the 11-mile stretch of hiking route. Kalalau Trail is considered one of the most spectacular routes in the United States.
Hiking in Hawaii can be one of your families’ unforgettable trips and is a terrific way to explore the islands. It is essential everyone is well-versed in the hiking protocols of this tropical region and safety is paramount.
- Dress properly and make certain climate is kept in mind, do not wear flip-flops or swimming attire.
- Know your capabilities; some of the Hawaiian hiking trails are tough, gutsy hikes and not for beginners.
- Watch for water; flash flooding along many of the trails is a real possibility.
- Hiking in Hawaii means you are in the tropics, bring plenty of water and bug spray if you need it.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park comprises more than 1 million acres in Montana and borders Canada. On the south end of Crystal Lake is the towering Mt. Siyeh, with Crystal Lake a beautiful 4000 feet below the top. Montana has done the United States proud with some of the most dramatic hiking trails in the world. Over 700 miles of dramatic trails encompassing glaciers, mountain peaks, and crystal clear blue lakes. Pick the right time of year to plan your trip and avoid the crowds. Hike to one of the prettiest places on the planet at Cracker Lake.
Best hikes in Glacier National Park:
- Highline Loop is world famous for its incredible wildlife and plants of every type imaginable.
- Dragon’s Tail is a great alternative trail to avoid the crowds at Hidden Lake.
- Piegan Pass gives hikers sweeping views of Jackson Glacier and Blackfoot Glacier.
- Gable Pass lets hikers ascend to Lee Ridge and enjoy a view of the highest point in the park, Mt. Cleveland at 10,466 feet.
- Cracker Lake has to be considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
The pristine ecosystem is home to hundreds of species of animals and plants. More than 70 species of mammals are represented including the grizzly bear, black bear, moose, gray wolves, and mountain lions. There are over 275 species of bird that can be spotted in the park.
Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise with hundreds of named mountain peaks, lakes, and miles of streams. No matter where you find yourself in the United States, there are plenty of beautiful places to hike for beginners and experts alike. Be sure to spend some time at these locales mentioned to get the best views the US has to offer.
From Maine to California there exists a vast resource of North American land and the trails to see the United States. As anyone would expect there is a long list of hiking trails from easy and short to long and dangerous. America is a good example of well-maintained land resources which supports a deep appreciation of the country.
Magnificent scenic highways exist in every state of the union and come in every imaginable length and terrain.