Top 10 Hikes to Check Out While Exploring the US

Top 10 Hikes to Check Out While Exploring the US

The United States is filled with natural beauty—scenic views, awesome hiking trails—and the Americans know it.

The United States is filled with natural beauty and the Americans know it. They take pride in their 58 amazingly conserved national parks and diligently maintain the countless hiking trails within them for outdoor lovers to explore a relatively untouched landscape.

Here is a list of hiking trails in the US that you should consider tackling. 

1. Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park (Utah)

united states hikesImage credit: Ash G

It’s common knowledge that Utah is Mormon country, which explains the many names of the natural structures in Zion National Park – Angel’s Landing, the Virgin River, Altar of Sacrifice etc. There is a rich history behind the discovery and naming of Zion; but the reason why Angel’s Landing is called what it is is because it was believed that that point is where the angels will descend onto Earth. It’s a crazy hike, but totally doable even for a beginner. As pictured, there are parts where it is completely vertical and you will be climbing with the aid of installed metal chains!

2. Estes Cone at Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

Image credit: Ash G

Get a taste of the Rockies by foot when you hike up to Estes Cone! The starting point is accessible without having to enter the Rocky Mountain National Park itself, so if you are thinking of doing a hike while saving on the money you would spend for park entry, this is the one. It’s a relatively moderate hike, with the final stretch being a scramble up some rocks to the peak. When you reach the top and look down upon the nearby town Estes Park and see miles upon miles of the Rockies in the horizon, trust me, that feeling is worth it.

Also read: 12 National Parks in the United States You Need to Visit

3. Mallard Creek Trail in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Image credit: Ash G

Easy hike for beginners, but stunning all the same. Get away from the Yellowstone tourists who crowd around the beautiful but overrated Grand Prismatic! Hike to Mallard Creek, where the trail is less populated. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, touch the woody trees and listen to the winds rustle the leaves. Amazing. Always watch out for bears at Yellowstone, though.

4. Boulder Pass Trail at Glacier National Park (Montana)

Image credit: Jim Handcock

Glacier National Park as a whole will never disappoint, but to see it for all its worth, head to the Northwest section of the park. Climb from the shores of Bowman Lake and up into the snow covered high country. You will also come across the 1200 foot hanging glacier valley, Hole in the Wall. There is a reason why Montana is often referred to as ‘the Last Best Place’.

5. Wonderland Trail at Mt. Rainier National Park (Washington)

Image credit: Samuel Kerr

Calling this trail Wonderland is entirely apt; imagine meadows that go on forever, disappearing into the horizon, as the sky turns pink with dusk. You are also in Mt Rainier National Park, named after the incredible 14,409 foot volcano that is the jewel of Washington’s Cascade Range. Speckled with wildflowers and waterfalls, Wonderland Trail brings you up to the peak of Mt Rainier. If you want to do an easier hike while taking in the same gorgeous views, hike the section from Fryingpan Creek to Indian Bar. It will be like having the dessert before your meal.

6. Clouds Rest Trail at Yosemite National Park (California)

Image credit: Wikipedia

The view from Clouds Rest, pictured above, is motivation enough for anybody to do this extensive hike (21 miles). The trail brings you through a canyon where you can find sheltered campsites to rest, and past the rocky ridge you will be at the 9,926 foot summit. There you have a picturesque view of the Half Dome, as well as the Tenaya Canyon, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and the Clarke Range. It’s off the beaten path from the John Muir trail, which is part of the wondrous Pacific Crest trail. Totally worth checking out if long hikes are your thing.

7. South Rim Trail at Big Bend National Park (Texas)

Image credit: Daveynin

The South Rim trail brings you to a height where you can look out and see the mountains of Mexico and volcanic landscape of the Sierra Quemada. Because of the sheer 2,000 foot drops, it makes the cliff top stroll feel like you are standing on the middle of a floating island. It is also wetter and cooler compared to the rest of the park (and of Texas) and plants and animals that are nowhere to be seen in the rest of the park will surround you. This will be a great escape from the bigger cities of Austin, Houston and Dallas, and totally worth the drive.

8. Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park (Maine)

Image credit: Fredlyfish4

If hiking isn’t enough to get your blood pumping, give the Precipice Trail a shot, where you literally have to climb the mountain. Installed ladders and iron rungs will aid you as your work your upper body strength to climb higher and higher. It’s like a jungle gym, except in real life. At the highest point, the wonderful Atlantic coast will gratify your efforts. Take a second and breathe the Earth in. You deserve it. 

9. Andrews Bald to Jonas Creek Junction in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee/North Carolina)

Image credit: Miguel Vieira

Ever dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail but always had your reservations? This trail is part of the giant cross country adventure, and will be perfect taste test for those contemplating dedicating 6 months of their lives in the wilderness hiking the entire AT. In one hike you get to see blooming trees and flowing rivers, and when you climb up into higher elevation, fresh fir forests and the occasional waterfalls will greet you.. This is also the perfect trail to experience and appreciate the Smokies, a place with much weight in popular culture.

10. Scoville Point Loop at Isle Royals National Park (Michigan)

Image credit: Jhodkiewicz

The cherry on top of the Upper Midwest, this hiking trail brings you along the island’s shoreline. Placid lakes, lush green forests, and perhaps the occasional wolf howl – Scoville Point Loop is a relatively easy hike (4 miles back and forth) for a large payoff. You will be rewarded with a bird eye views of Lake Superior when you reach Scoville Point.

Nature has much to offer one’s soul. Whether you are on a road trip to discover America’s natural wonders or need a quick getaway from your daily life, these national parks and hikes will definitely do the trick.

About Author

Ashleigh Goh
Ashleigh Goh

Ash is a self-identified feminist hippie filmmaker and loves the mountains and trees. She has travelled extensively through the US and has spent some time working/living/studying in Montana and Austin. She is constantly on the pursuit of personal growth, and travel gives her exactly that.


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