For those of us who love getting sucked into outdoorsy activities while traveling, the adventure doesn’t get much better than hiking. Unlike more adrenaline-filled options, hiking gives you the chance to get lost in your surroundings by looking around every step of the way and experiencing a destination like never before.
In the trekking world, there are a variety of hiking options on offer no matter which destination you have in mind and the USA contains some of the best out there (I know, I may be biased!) My favorite type of hikes are those with some sort of reward at the end, like a ‘hooray, you did it!’ moment to make it feel like all that trekking was well worth it.
Here’s Hiker’s Paradise: 10 Locations to Trek in the USA:
One of the more epic hikes I’ve been on was through the slot canyons of Death Valley. These geological formations began millions of years ago and, over time, floods and rainwater have cut through this canyon creating the perfect little slots to hike through. It gets pretty dark at times when the slots enclose so be sure to bring a flashlight with you!
Read More: Hiking Sidewinder Canyon in Death Valley
The Wave, otherwise known as Coyote Buttes North in Arizona, is a hiking destination you’ll never forget. The look of the striped rocks seems as if they’ve been drawn on by an artist making it hard to believe that it’s a natural occurrence. A permit is required for this hike and it’s not one you can apply for so you’ll need to enter the lottery on the BLM website. The lottery starts on the first of the month and be sure to apply at least 4 months before your trip.
Hoh River Trail
Rainforests in America? Seriously. I visited the incredible Hoh Rainforest last summer and the Hoh River Trail is one of the last remaining stretches of the rainforest left today, which ran from California to Alaska thousands of years ago. A hike on this 10.3-mile trail is sure to show you a side of America you never seen. This hike’s difficulty is pretty high as the Hoh Rainforest receives an astounding 12-plus feet of precipitation annually.
Despite its bleak name, the Graveyard Fields in North Carolina is definitely worth a visit. This Blue Ridge Parkway hike near Asheville is a stunning sight to see with its streams, waterfalls, vegetation and even wild and edible fruit. While you don’t need a permit for this hike, in preparation for the trip check out the best places to stay in Asheville, NC and getting those hiking boots ready.
Golden Canyon & Red Cathedral
This incredible 3 mile out-and-back hike in Death Valley National Park supplies some of the best views I’ve ever seen. While walking through the Golden Canyon, massive walls of yellow rocks rise on both sides as you make it to the narrow trail of the Red Cathedral. Squeezing through slabs of rock formations and over boulders, you’re met with a satisfying view of the incredible Red Cathedral enclosure. Hike up the side trail to the top for the most epic views of the day!
You really can’t go wrong with hiking around Mount Rainier National Park; the prominence of that massive mountain can be seen from almost anywhere, even from Seattle! But the best view I’ve found of Mount Rainier is at the beginning of the Sunrise Visitor Center. This area offers 7 different railheads, ranging in distances from 1 to 11 miles. Learn more about those hikes here.
The most northwest point in the lower 48 is here at Cape Flattery in Washington state. This trail winds through lush greens on a walkway made of wood before ending at the beautiful view point of Cape Flattery.
This incredible hike in Yosemite National Park is something that’s been on my bucket list for ages. The 14 to 16 mile round-trip hike elevates a total of 4800 feet and you must even hold on to cables at times to ascend on the way to the top of Half Dome. Since you have to apply for a permit and then the lottery to experience this hike, it’s rarity has made it one of the most sought-after treks in California.
Moro Rock Trail
This fairly moderate out-and-back steep hike up is located in Sequoia National Park. The steep stairwell, including more than 400 steps, climbs 300 feet in less than a quarter of a mile. Climb between boulders and on to narrow ledges to make it to the top for some incredible views of the Sierra Nevadas.
A beautiful hike in one of my favorite National Parks, King’s Canyon. Zumwalt Meadow is an easy 1.5 mile loop trail that leads you through lush grasslands below massively tall walls of granite from the mountain peaks. If you’re lucky you may even get to see a black bear
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