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6 Amazing Places to Hike in the US

One of the great joys of being human is the need to roam around and explore our surroundings.  We get anxious when tied-down to one spot for too long and must get out and soak-in places we have not yet seen.  Wanderlust is the wonderful word created for this almost indescribable emotion that leads us down new paths to new experiences.

All of this wandering can also be described as hiking.  I’ve researched several trails that will indulge your wanderlust.  If you love to hike, please share your favorite hiking trail in the comments section.  Here are my picks:

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

Looking for a challenging hike that has everything?  Look no further!  Head to Hawaii and plan a day-trip to enjoy this stunning path along the Na Pali coast of Kauai.  The entire trail is like a Garden of Eden that runs 11-miles long.  The hike is very strenuous due to elevation changes and rocky paths, however there are plenty of turn-around points (such as Hanakapiai Falls) if you’ve had enough and are ready to get back to your frozen drink by the pool.  Try to go when it’s dry, wear comfortable shoes, and take enough snacks and food to get you through the day.

Kalalau-Trail.jog

Precipice Trail, Maine

Here’s another idea for jaw-dropping scenery with water and rugged mountain views that is the opposite direction from Hawaii.  Plan a trip to the great state of Maine and Acadia National Park for a jaunt up the Precipice Trail, commonly known as the best hike in the park.  Getting to the top will pay back handsomely with gorgeous views that leave you speechless, however getting there is no small task.  You’ll be climbing up rocky faces with metal ladders and squeezing through some tight spots.  It’s one of those challenges that is kinda scary and exhilarating all at the same time!

Precipice-Trail-Doug-Urban
Doug Urban/Flickr

John Muir Trail, California

The John Muir Trail is known as one of the most scenic trails in the US.  The entire hike takes explorers across 211 miles of remote, pristine wilderness in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.  In order to hike the entire trail (known as a through hike) you would need about 30 days. You’ll probably want to hike segments which take shorter periods of time and are just as rewarding.  Do your research, decide exactly what you want to see (Half Dome?) and then figure out the best way to get there and back in the time you have budgeted.  You can always come back later!

John-Muir-Trail

Angel’s Landing, Utah

If you’re stuck in an office all day and really need to get out of your daily routine, then try a day-hike to Angel’s Landing.  Located in Zion National Park, this hike is not long (only about 2.5 miles one way) however it is challenging and requires some fortitude on your point not to give up.  The elevation rises about 1500 feet along the trail and if you are hiking the chains, you should be ready for a heart-pounding experience.  If you want to skip the chains, hike only to Scout’s Lookout, you can skip the file half mile and no one needs to know.   No selfie stick on this one!

Kevin Lau/Flickr
Kevin Lau/Flickr

South Kaibab Trail, Arizona

Going to visit the Grand Canyon?  One of the best ways to see the most spectacular views of the canyon is to hike the South Kaibab ridge trail.  You’ll spend roughly 3 hours doing the entire hike and it can seem a bit steeper and trickier than some of the other popular trails, but you’ll love that it’s a bit shorter and the canyon is in view at every elevation.  Cedar Ridge is the most amazing place to see and photograph the canyon and be sure to stop at Ooh Aah Point, for obvious reasons.  Take plenty of water and snacks for your rest stops along the unforgettable scenery.

Grand Canyon NP/Flickr
Grand Canyon NP/Flickr

Long Trail, Vermont

The appropriately named Long Trail runs through the entire state of Vermont and is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. It starts near Williamstown, Massachusetts, and runs north to the Canadian border.  Hikers love the relatively clean path the trail cuts through the lush, green back-country, offering endless opportunities to explore the 273 mile footpath, 175 miles of side trails, and 70 primitive shelters.  It has something for every type of hiker or backpacker and can accommodate hikes of virtually any duration.  Go during autumn to see the foliage light up.

Sectionhiker.com/Flickr
Sectionhiker.com/Flickr

 More from Samantha Brown:

Video of the Week:  Canyon by Copter

8 of the Most Amazing Forests on Earth

Enjoy the Planet: Earth Day Adventures

A Traveler’s Guide to Selfies

7 Amazing Tree House Resorts

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. The Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. 105 miles of beautiful vistas,gentle terrain , wildlife of all types( yes, Black Bears too ! ) great overnight shelters, campsites, stores on Skyline Drive to re supply.

    I’ve done it in 5 days. Best time is late spring or fall. Fewer people, cooler temperatures, spring flowers or fall colors, what’s your pleasure ?

  2. One clarification about South Kaibab in GCNP. It might be a 3 hour hike if you go down just to Cedar Ridge and come back up. But if you go down all the way to the river, it’s probably 4-5 hours down. And then you’d have to go back up. Although almost nobody ever goes back UP the South Kaibab from the river. It’s just too steep. Most people going all the way down are staying overnight at Phantom Ranch or the campground, then heading back up Bright Angel Trail in the morning. And that’s no picnic, either.

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6 Amazing Places to Hike in the US
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