We’re not saying they are the *best* trails! But are they worth a visit? We say, “Yes!”
And they are ‘coast to coast’ so they leave out all those spectacular hikes in Hawaii. But that’s the thing with lists – they can be added to.
So, these are just a start to a gigantic list of top places we can hike in the US. There is a place near you, and we’d love to hear about it. Hikers, get busy: pull out your pictures of your favorite hiking trails and add to this very short list!
1. Half Dome Day Hike at Yosemite
Where it’s at: Yosemite Village, California
Who it’s for: Serious thrill seekers
What it is: In 1865, it was reported that the summit of Half Dome was “perfectly inaccessible, being probably one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot.” Now, not only can you reach the summit, but it’s one of Yosemite’s great icons.
How it’s done: There’s plenty of wilderness to be had, but the most infamous part of this hike is the ascent up to the summit. Hikers are required to climb 400 feet straight up two metal cables…without rock-climbing equipment. Look closely at the photo above, and you’ll see the brave ladder-climbing souls, disappearing into the mist.
2. Little Death Hollow
Where it’s at: Near Boulder, Utah
Who it’s for: Fans of remote places and small spaces
What it is: The big draw of this eight-mile canyon hike in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is the gorgeous section of slot canyon.
How it’s done: Follow the the Burr Trail east from the town of Boulder for 18.4 miles, take a deep breath, and follow a dirt road into the Circle Cliffs. Larger backpacks can prove to be problematic in tighter parts of the slot canyon, so pack light.
Note from hikinggazette.com: Check the weather! Rain can cause flash flooding.
3. Grinnel Glacier Trail
Where it’s at: Glacier National Park in Montana
Who it’s for: Glacier lovers and flower children
What it is: An undeniably beautiful hike that’s got it all: awe-inspiring glaciers, flowery meadows straight out of a children’s book, and bighorn sheep.
How it’s done: Rangers used to lead tours out onto the glaciers, but in recent years, the glaciers have begun retreating, and the tours have stopped as a result. You’re still allowed to venture out, and if nothing else, the views are just as nice. Boat shuttles take you across lakes, and trails lead to alpine meadows with seriously magical wildflowers.
4. Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
Where it’s at: Mountain in Bar Harbor, Maine
5. Isle Royale National Park
Where it’s at: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
6. The South Rim at Big Bend
Where it’s at: Big Bend National Park, Texas
7. Conundrum Hot Springs Colorado
Where it’s at: Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Who it’s for: Backpackers
What it is: In addition to the hot springs, you’ll catch views of Cathedral Peak, Conundrum Peak, and Castle Peak. Like log bridges? You’re in for a treat.
How it’s done: The trail basically runs parallel to Conundrum Creek. You’ll dip into a valley, wind through the woods, pass through a meadow, and hit three river crossings before the hot springs appear on the left side of the creek.
8. Bald Mountain From Lolo Pass
Where it’s at: The central Oregon coast range
9. The Appalacian Trail at Grayson Highlands State Park
Where it’s at: Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia
Who it’s for: Pony people
What it is: WILD PONIES. Need we say more? You. Will. See. Wild. Ponies. Here. foliage.
10. Dolder Nature Trail at Lake Tahoe
Where it’s at: Sugar Pine Point State Park, Lake Tahoe, California
Note from hikinggazette.com: There are many trails we feel deserve mention in the Tahoe area!
11. Hermit Trail at Cope Butte
Where it’s at: Cope Butte, Arizona
Who it’s for: Extreme hikers
What it is: Rocky switchbacks, steep and sustained descents, and hard-to-navigate gullies are half the fun at Hermit. The reward for such treacherous footwork? That view.
How it’s done: Overnight. And, if you’re staying overnight (which, let’s face it, you are, because this trail is a beast) be sure to animal-proof all of your food. There are little critters on Hermit Trail that will stop at nothing to get your munchies.