Best Places to Hike in the United States
The United States of America is much more than just the land of the free and home of the brave. It’s diverse geology, climate and terrains that range from coast to coast are homes to some of the most beautiful natural parks, mountain ranges, and rocky ledges in the world. The beauty of the diversity of landscape that is spread throughout the United States make it a great place to find just about anything that you are looking for. From the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains, or the northern Great Lakes to the sandy beaches of the south, there are so many different things to see all over the United States.
If you are looking to take a hiking trip somewhere in the United States, there are some special gems that you might want to consider first. There are a couple of factors that you want to consider when picking a place to plan your hike in the U.S. Location, climate, access and resources are all important factors for picking a great place to hike. There is such a wide variety of hiking trails with different views and landscapes to offer the most amateur to the most experienced of hikers.
Pacific Coast Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is one of the most famous hiking trails in the western United States. This magnificent trail spans a total of 2,650 miles that stretches across three states, seven different national parks and 24 national parks, and right by over 1,000 lakes. This is a complete border-to-border trail that stretches from the southern point of California all the way to the border of Canada. The terrain explored through this hiking trail reaches from the heated low deserts to the higher arctic-alpine lands. This trail is most definitely not for the weak or faint of heart. It is long, hard and challenging to say the least. But the plus side of this trail is that it has access to major urban cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle for those who want to take a little break from nature and adventure into the city.
The Pacific Crest Trail is the famous trail of the western United States, while the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is the famous trail of the eastern United States. The Appalachian Trail stretches across from Georgia to Maine with a total of 12 states dispersed in between its 2,178 miles. One unique factor about the A.T. is that it is the longest marked trail in the United States and was completed in 1937. A hiker can enjoy the sights and scenery of eight national forests and six national parks along the way. Similar to the PCT, a thorough hike from start to finish requires successful planning and preparation.
Grand Canyon National Park
When you think about the most prized gem in the United States, most will think of the Grand Canyon. It is one of the most miraculous national parks in the U.S. that gathers over 5 million visitors each year. It is the result of over six million years of expansion with the help of the Colorado River. It spans about 277 miles long and 18 miles wide and about one mile deep. The Grand Canyon is interesting in the fact that hikers normally work their way downward into the canyon first before having to ascend back upwards towards the rim. This makes the Grand Canyon one of the more difficult treks as far as hiking in the U.S. goes. There are 15 different trails that lead down into the canyon, with the South Rim being a main starting point and the North Rim being a quieter entrance.
Zion National Park
Another beautiful source of cliffs and desert canyons is located at Zion National Park in Utah. The availability to take a day hike or spending time in the backcountry for overnight excursions gives almost every type of explorer or hiker an option. The glorious views of the waterfalls, to the valleys and the Virgin River. The Zion narrow is known for its gorge hiking with some of the highest and narrowest canyon walls in the world. The narrow passages are quite the challenge, but definitely a must-do for the thrill seekers. Angel’s Landing is a 4.8-mile round-trip hike with some of the most compelling views in the West. The landing is just under 1,500 feet tall and will set you up at about 6,000 feet in elevation.
Arches National Park
Like some of the other hidden gems on this list, Arches National Park is located in the heart of Utah – Moab, Utah to be specific. This is a great spot for people who enjoy desert hiking. With over 2,000 sandstone arches and red rock formations, there is no better way to experience these sites than to hike them yourself. Arches National Park is hoe the the Devil’s Garden Trail, which is the longest trail in the park stretching over 7 miles. This national park contains easier trails than some of the aforementioned hiking sites, which makes it a great spot for someone that is new to the hiking world.
Mount Whitney is located three hours outside of Los Angeles, California. It’s claim to fame is being known as the tallest mountain peak in the lower 48 continental United States. It stands at a striking 14,487 feet above sea level, creating hikes that cross rivers, boulders and fields before reaching the summit of the mountain. The round-trip hike around the mountain to the summit is about 22-miles in length. This hiking trail is recommended for the more experienced hikers due to the high altitude and the trek downward into the summit. Many who have attempted this trip tend to experience altitude sickness and fatigue, especially the less experienced.
There are many more beautiful hiking spots sprinkled throughout the United State’s vast landscape. Each of them has something unique to offer hikers and passersby. From sea t shining sea, and border-to-border, there are plenty of natural hiking trails that anyone looking for a break from the concrete world can seek to enjoy.