The US is home to a wide variety of terrain and climates, making it one of the best countries to find some amazing hiking trails! Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or you’re a novice hiker, there are options for everyone across the 50 states. We’re going to dive into the 15 best hiking trails in the US so that you can start training for and planning your next big adventure today!

Before you head out, though, be sure you’re well equipped with all of the necessary hiking gear! Hiking shoes, lightweight clothing, a hiking backpack, and water bottle are just a few of the essentials you’ll need, along with other items you may need depending on where you hike, such as bug spray and sunscreen. You may also want to bring a light snack along if you’ll be on the trails for hours on end!

With that said, let’s check out these 15 best hiking trails in the US!

US: Northeast

1. The Beehive Loop Trail – Acadia National Park, Maine 

Difficulty: hard

Length: 1.5 miles

Route Type: loop

Elevation: 508 ft

This difficult trail is worth hiking if you’re experienced and ready to take on the challenge! Located in the beautiful Acadia National Park, it starts on Sand Beach and takes you to Bowl Pond. If you have a fear of heights, however, this might not be the trail for you as it has plenty of steep sections and well as rung and ladder sections that require you to climb.

2. Bear Mountain Loop Trail – Bear Mountain State Park, New York

Difficulty: medium

Length: 3.8 miles

Route Type: loop

Elevation: 1,154 ft

Looking to get out of New York City for the day? The Bear Mountain Loop Trail makes a great day trip and is one of the best hiking trails in the US! You’ll hike up flat rock slabs and experience some amazing views of the Hudson River and Bear Mountain Bridge. You’ll also hike up to Perkins Memorial Tower where you’ll get even more stunning views, so be sure to have your phone ready to snap some photos!

US: Southeast

3. Laurel Falls Trail – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Difficulty: easy

Length: 2.4 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 396 ft

This mostly paved trail is great for beginners or younger children! It takes you to the beautiful Laurel Falls and is perfect for a short outing! Because this is a popular trail, you may want to get there early and also be prepared for crowds. Also be careful as some parts of this trail are rough and rocky, and the rocks near the falls are slippery.

4. Anhinga Trail – Everglades National Park, Florida

Difficulty: easy

Length: 1.5 miles

Route Type: loop

Elevation: 0 ft

Though it’s not your typical trail, this boardwalk trail in the Everglades National Park is one you need to walk if you’re visiting Florida! The boardwalk takes you around a short loop where you can view alligators, fish, birds, and more wildlife as well as Florida’s beautiful vegetation!

US: Midwest

5. Superior Hiking Trail: Bean and Bear Lakes – Silver Bay, Minnesota

Difficulty: medium

Length: 6.3 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 997 ft

This trail in northern Minnesota features gorgeous views of hills, forest, and two lakes—Bean Lake and Bear Lake. It is a section of the 300-mile Superior Hiking Trail that runs from Duluth to the Canadian border. Summer is a great time to hike this trail, but nothing beats the beautiful colors that can be experienced in the fall! There are also campsites along this trail, so it can be great for a weekend getaway and is one of the best hiking trails in the US!

6. Osprey Trail – Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

Difficulty: easy

Length: 2.8 miles

Route Type: loop

Elevation: 229 ft

Another one of the best hiking trails in the US is the Osprey Trail. Located in the Black Hills National Forest, this trail is a great one for the whole family to hike together! It’s not too long and takes you along the shores of Pactola Lake. Camping is also available nearby, so this can be the perfect outing if you’re planning a trip to the Black Hills!

US: Southwest

7. Bright Angel Trail – Grand Canyon, Arizona

Difficulty: hard

Length: 15.3 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 4,478 ft

If you’re an advanced hiker looking to hike the Grand Canyon, look no further than Bright Angel Trail! With rest houses and water stations along the way, there are plenty of places to stop, take a break, and turn around if need be. This trail is best hiked in October through May as summer months get very hot.

8. Atalaya Mountain Trail – Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico

Difficulty: medium

Length: 6.2 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 1,797 ft

Another one of the best hiking trails in the US is the Atalaya Mountain Trail! This one is not too long, but just long enough to make it great for hikers with some experience with the steep inclines and altitude. Hike through forest and experience incredible views once you reach the summit. Be sure to bring plenty of water along on this hike!

US: West

9. Lower Yosemite Falls Trail – Yosemite National Park, California

Difficulty: easy

Length: 1.2 miles

Route Type: loop

Elevation: 59 ft

This is a great trail for the whole family! Located in Yosemite National Park, it is a popular loop for those who want to see Yosemite Falls—the tallest waterfall in North America and the 5th largest waterfall in the world. Much of it is shaded, keeping you at a comfortable temperature! It’s best to hike this trail in the spring since the waterfall may dry up from July through October.

10. Angels Landing Trail – Zion National Park, Utah

Difficulty: hard

Length: 4.4 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 1,604 ft

If you’re an advanced hiker, this is definitely a trail you’ll want to tackle! With narrow sections and steep drop offs, this strenuous trail takes you across the Virgin River and offers amazing views 1,500 feet above Zion Canyon! Spring and fall are the best times to hike, since summer afternoons can get very hot, so keep that in mind as you’re planning your trip!

11. Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars – Glacier National Park, Montana

Difficulty: medium

Length: 5.9 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 757 ft

This is one of the most popular trails to hike in Glacier National Park and definitely one of the best hiking trails in the US, so you won’t want to miss out on this one! Enjoy wildlife, forest, and beautiful wildflowers as you hike along a stream to the stunning glacier water lake.

12. Grand Prismatic Hot Spring – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Difficulty: easy

Length: 1.6 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 200 ft

Those who are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park will need to hike the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring trail! Great for all experience levels and ages, this trail takes you out to the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring which is the largest hot spring in the US. Don’t forget to bring your phone or camera so you can take some photos.

13. Mount Storm King – Olympic National Park, Washington

Difficulty: hard

Length: 5.3 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 2,076 ft

Advanced hikers will love the Mount Storm King trail at Olympic National Park. This trail features switchbacks, a rope section, and a rock scramble as you make your way to the top. Hiking boots are necessary for this trail, so be sure you have a pair that fits comfortably!

US: Non-Continental

14. Flattop Mountain Trail – Chugach State Park, Alaska

Difficulty: medium

Length: 3.3 miles

Route Type: loop

Elevation: 1,430 ft

This trail in Anchorage, Alaska is another one of the best hiking trails in the US and a great one to hike if you’re looking for some stunning scenic views. There is a rock climb near the summit, so be sure you’re wearing proper hiking shoes. Also be aware that there may be snow or ice that will make hiking this trail a bit more difficult. You may want to wait until late May or June to explore this one.

15. Waimano Falls Trail – Ewa Forest Reserve, Hawaii

Difficulty: hard

Length: 2.9 miles

Route Type: out & back

Elevation: 810 ft

This is a steep and difficult trail, but fun awaits down at the bottom! You’ll come to a waterfall that flows into a deep pool with rope swings and marked areas where you can jump into the water. You won’t want to leave your swimsuit behind for this hike!

There you have it—the 15 best hiking trails in the US! Hopefully, this has been a helpful guide when planning your next adventure! Happy hiking!

2021-06-29T20:20:52+00:00June 29th, 2021|

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