Best Hiking Destinations in the U.S.

Hiking is one of the most excellent ways to spend your summer holidays with your adventurous friends or families. Besides the magnificent vistas to fill your eyes, you’re also making your body fit and active. Before you start your hiking journey, prepare all the essentials, familiarize yourself with the trails you will be tackling and the weather in your hiking location.

a hiker on top of a huge stone formation

If you haven’t decided where to have your next hike, here’s the list of the top excellent hiking destinations in the U.S.

hikers on a wooden road

1. Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park

Situated about 75 miles from the center of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park in Virginia consists of 200,000 acres of protected lands home to wildlife, including deer and songbirds. The area is also perfect for stargazing in the clear night sky. The park is comprised of over 500 miles of hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail. Each trail offers a magnificent experience with its waterfalls, deep forests, and viewpoints.

2. Burroughs Mountain Hike, Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier that rises 14,410 feet above sea level offers one of the best summit hiking journeys. The national park has more than 260 miles of maintained trails that take visitors into a tranquil old-growth forest, river valleys, and subalpine meadows. Take the Burroughs Mountain hike to enjoy the stunning views of Mount Rainer and the alpine landscape; check out the Burroughs Mountain hike!

3. Billy Goat Trail, and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

A moderate 4-mile hike in Maryland, just a few minutes from Washington, D.C, Billy Goat Trail is a very popular trail to hikers, so be sure to come early to beat the crowds and experience the raging Potomac River and the rocky crags of Great Falls.

4. Smith Rock State Park

With hikes ranging from 2-7 miles and with easy to moderate terrains, Smith Rock State Park in Oregon is another best place for hiking in the U.S. It’s great to be at the park early as you can in the morning to witness sightings of geese and ducks on riverbanks, while in the afternoon, guests can catch a glimpse of a lovely blue heron perched on a rock in the river.

5. Cadillac North Ridge Trail, Acadia National Park

Dubbed as the first eastern U.S. National Park, Acadia National contains easy to strenuous hikes, with each offering different views of the bays and the islets off the Maine coast. The Cadillac North Ridge Trail is an excellent choice for incredible summit views.

6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tennessee’s The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina is top among the places with the most diverse plants and animals species. Via the Appalachian Trail, hike to Charlies Bunion for beautiful views of the sprawling mountains and explore its forest. The park also offers miles of official and backcountry trails with views of waterfalls and old forests.

7. Chautauqua Trail, Chautauqua Park

When citizens approved a bond issue to purchase 80 acres of land in 1898, Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado, came into existence. The park has miles of hiking, but visitors can start with the Chautauqua Trail, which offers the Flat Irons and Boulder views before moving onto more challenging trails. If you are an expert hiker, it is just easy for you to reach the top and be rewarded with stunning views of Boulder from above.

8. Nugget Falls Trail, Tongass National Forest

If you are a nature lover hiker, this area is perfect for you! This seems to be a paradise where you can see bald eagles, sockeye salmon, and black bear cubs. There are options to either hike through dense forests and meadows, explore caves, or venture on a wooden “boardwalk” trail through muskegs or swampy bogs. The area has more than 700 miles of trails, so hikers need never see the same sights twice. The Nugget Falls trail is a relatively easy 2-mile hike that provides incredible waterfall views and glaciers.

9. Petroglyph Wall Trail, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

If you are looking for shorter distance hikes, head to Nevada at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, where the longest trail is only 6 miles.

However, note that even if the hikes are relatively shorter, they are often labeled as difficult, which can take upward. A 5-mile hike can even take 4-5 hours to complete. The Petroglyph Wall Trail offers visitors the view of 800-year-old historical rock art.

10. South Rim Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is an iconic and famous national park in the country that offers a smorgasbord of hiking options. There are easy vista point hikes at the canyon’s edge, and hiking from rim to rim is only suited for experts. The canyon offers stunning views for miles above the rim.

11. Rim Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park offers one of the unique sites of any hiking adventure. The park is home to hoodoos, odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion. It is home to the most extensive collection of hoodoos globally, which can be seen from the Rim Trail.

12. Upper Emerald Pool Trail, Zion National Park

Besides Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park is another best spot for hikers visiting Utah. The park is the first national park in the country famous for its colorful sandstone cliffs, free-standing arches, and hiking trails suitable for all levels. The Upper Emerald Pool Trail is excellent even for beginner hikers, and this trail leads to sparkling waterfalls.