1. ARIZONA - South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
There’s no question that the Grand Canyon is one of the most breathtaking places to hike and the Canyon and surrounding area does live up to the grandest of expectations. There are dozens of hikes within the canyon and the surrounding network that would merit a place on our list of hikes. According to Us News and World Report, “The South Kaibab Trail is the only trail in the Grand Canyon that, according to the National Park Service, ‘dramatically holds true to a ridgeline descent.’ Because of this feature, this specific trail provides some wonderful views and vistas that other trails don’t. This trail, however, is quite an exposed hike, so sun protection is certainly needed. This hike is a perfect day hike and vista points to loop back from can range from less than a mile to the full trek to Skeleton point, which tallys up at about 6 miles round-trip.
2. WASHINGTON – Burroughs Mountain Trail in Mount Rainier National Park
Although this trail is typically closed in winter due to harsh winter conditions, this trail is well worth noting as one of the most stunning. It will open in spring and summer to the delight of hikers once more.The Burroughs Mountain loop offers a variety of scenery and vistas. Conde Nast Traveler notes the highlights of this particular trail “include Shadow Lake, Frozen Lake, White River, and Emmons Glacier.” The National Park Service notes that “the mountain views from any point on this trail are superb and Burroughs Mountain offers possibly the finest, most assessable tundra in the Cascades.” Additionally the view of nearby Mt. Rainier in the southwest.The full loop is 9.4 miles, so certainly not for the faint of heart, although there are several shorter versions.
3. VIRGINIA - Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park
You can find Shenandoah National Park just about 75 miles south of Washington D.C. and the National Park Service highlights the park as boasting ‘over 200,000 acres of protected lands that are haven to deer, songbirds, and black bear.” Additionally there are endless hikes to choose from, with over 500 miles of hiking trails which have a myriad of waterfalls and forest life. Also over 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, can be found within this park. Travel and Leisure recommends his hike as one of the best hikes in America.
4. CALIFORNIA - Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is an iconic destination for any hiker or outdoor enthusiast and Mist Trail is not to be missed by those who travel to the park. Travel Channel explains this hike as a “seven-mile journey takes hikers over, under and—at times—through two of the Sierra’s most monstrous waterfalls. In parts, The Mist Trail merges with the 210-mile John Muir Trail, giving day hikers a taste of what backpackers experience every day on its rocky steps.” Also the trail skirts several waterfalls, which is where the trail gets its name from the water that often refreshes hikers. According to U.S News and World Report “The total hiking time varies. Ascending only Vernal Fall (the first waterfall on the trail) yields a 2.4-mile round-trip hike, while Nevada Fall is a 5.4-mile round-trip journey. If you're visiting in spring or early summer, when water flow is at its peak, exercise extreme caution as the trails become both crowded and slippery.”
5. HAWAII - Halema’uma’u Trail in Hawai’I Volcanoes National Park
For anyone lucky enough to hike in Hawaii, the experience is unlike any other. Lush jungles merge with volcanic activity for an unparalleled experience. This trail is heavy on the latter, providing hikers with a volcanic terrain. The Hawai’i Volcanos National Park also serves as an important protective sanctuary for some of the country’s most unique geological and biological phenomena. Travel and Leisure recommends the Halema'uma'u Trail, a 1-mile hike descending 425 feet at the southern edge of Kīlauea Caldera that takes visitors through a rain forest.
6. UTAH – Delicate Arch Trail in Arches National Park
Even if you haven’t been to the Arches National Park, you probably know exactly what the iconic Delicate Arch looks like. A beautiful and powerful stone arch, with such a sculptural aspect, it’s difficult to believe it’s natural. According to the NPS, “In a park with over 2,000 stone arches, this particular free-standing arch has become a widely recognized symbol of the state of Utah and one of the most famous geologic features in the world.” They also give the details of the train length and other exciting features: “The trail to see Delicate Arch up close and personal is 3 miles (4.8 km) roundtrip and climbs 480 feet (146m). Along this steadily uphill trail, you'll also pass the Wolfe Ranch cabin and a wall of Ute Indian petroglyphs.”
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