Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities. It is easy to get started but can also challenge experienced walkers. Hiking offers a walk through nature’s most beautiful landscapes and the United States has multiple places across the country to give the ultimate hiking experience. Whether it’s on vacation or in your own backyard, here are some of the best places to hike throughout the country.
1. Appalachian Trail
The famous Appalachian Trail runs through 14 states all the way from Maine to Georgia. At 2,190 miles it is the trail in the world and has roughly three million visitors each year. Most of the trail hikes through straight wilderness but portions of it also go through roads and towns. The bravest hikers can plan to hike through the whole trail—a trip that usually takes around five to seven months. Not up to the challenge? Most people take shorter day-hikes through portions of the trail closest to them.
2. Arches National Park
The Arches National Park in Moab, Utah is a beautiful desert hike with more than 2,000 sandstone arches. Devil’s Garden Trail is the longest hike in Arches National Park and stretches seven miles and passes eight of the iconic sand arches. The rest of the trails range from easy hikes to more difficult ones with steep climbs. Arches also allows people to camp overnight with an advanced reservation and has a number of programs and tours including guided tours from park rangers and wilderness art classes.
3. Zion National Park
Another desert hiking destination in Utah is the Zion National Park. Zion was Utah’s first National Park and has challenging hikes with some of the world’s narrowest and tallest canyon walls. There are also easier hikes through waterfalls and rivers. There are plenty of opportunities to hike and explore in Zion’s 229 square miles. Zion also has multiple camping sites for hikers and families to stay overnight.
4. Glacier National Park
Montana’s Glacier National Park has 730 miles of marked trails and hikes. As its name suggests, glaciers carved out the park roughly 10,000 years ago. The park still holds about 26 glaciers and snow is reported to stay in the park’s higher regions until July. Hikers who want to admire the beautiful glaciers there should act fast though; the glaciers are predicted to completely melt away by 2020. Glacier National Park has a variety of hikes from high mountains and glaciers to lakes and waterfalls each with a beautiful view.
5. Grand Canyon
The famous Grand Canyon in Arizona can offer much more than sightseeing. A visit to the Grand Canyon can also include a hike down into the canyon itself. There are 15 different trails leading into the canyon. These hikes begin with a steep downhill climb and are round-trip so hikers must be prepared with enough energy and water for the whole journey.