Looking to take in all of the amazing natural beauty that the United States has to offer?
Whether your bucket list dream is to bask in sweeping ocean views, breathtaking mountain ranges, or one-of-a-kind natural gems, there’s no better way to view this amazing country than on foot.
Well, make that “in hiking boots.”
Getting off the beaten path — and onto a hiking trail — is a great way to connect with nature, make some lasting memories, and maybe even get in some exercise.
Whether you’re a mountaineer or a beach bum, here are seven amazing hiking trails worth checking out.
For Majestic Mountain Views
Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
The Outbound Collective has named the trails in Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park among the “Best 25 Hikes in America.” And it’s not hard to see why! Also recognized as a haven for rock climbers, Smith Rock offers long and short hikes, for people with all levels of experience. Whether you make it to a summit or not, Smith Rock offers amazing views of rivers and rock formations that will take your breath away.
West Maroon Creek Trail, Colorado
Looking to take in the true beauty of the Rockies? Then Colorado’s West Maroon Creek Trail may be the right path for you. Located near Aspen, the West Maroon Creek Trail offers stellar views of mountainous peaks, as well as natural basins, waterfalls, and wildflowers. Fodor’s Travel puts it like this: “In a state packed with beautiful hikes throughout the Rocky Mountains, [this] one rises above the rest.”
For Beautiful Beaches
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California
Named for “a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country,” Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers some of the most stunning ocean views you’ll find anywhere in the country. With multiple trails to choose from, this beachy park has options for everyone, whether you want to drink in the ocean vista from a distance, or get right up to the water’s edge.
For Unfiltered Nature
Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California
A crown jewel of California, Yosemite National Park offers experiences for every type of outdoorsperson, whether your thing is birdwatching, camping, or, yep, hiking! In particular, U.S. News & World Report recommends the Mist Trail as one of Yosemite’s “most notable treks.” The big attraction? The trail winds between two waterfalls — meaning that you could get seriously sprayed, depending on when you visit. For thrill-seekers, this seems like a must-try!
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
There’s nothing like the views in Grand Canyon National Park. This landmark is an American icon, and for good reason! Once you see it in person, you’re not likely to forget it. For anyone looking to get an up-close-and-personal view of the canyon, there are several different hiking trails that will take you through the park. U.S. News suggests that you try the South Kaibab trail if you feel like living on the edge. As AllTrails explains, this path “holds true to a ridgeline descent,” giving hikers unparalleled views.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Are snow and ice your thing? If you’re looking to “step back into the ice age,” as Fodor’s puts it, you could do a lot worse than Kenai Fjords National Park’s Harding Icefield Trail. Known for its panoramic views of the world-famous Harding Icefield, this trail will help you experience Alaska from an explorer’s point of view. Not quite “snowed” over yet? Check out all of the five-star reviews on TripAdvisor!
For Lush Forests
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
TheHikingGuy.com calls the hikes in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge “some of the best in the USA,” thanks to the area’s “lush forests, spectacular waterfalls, and views of the Cascades’ high peaks.” When you’re ready to take in some of the same scenic vistas enjoyed by Lewis and Clark and the settlers who traversed the Oregon Trail (the real one, not the video game), Columbia River Gorge is waiting, just a short drive away from Portland.
Where Will Your Trail Lead?
There’s a lot of beauty and nature on our list, but we know that no one article could ever capture all of the hiking goodness that North America has to offer. So we want to hear from you!
In your opinion, what is the coolest, prettiest, most awe-inspiring hiking trail you’ve ever seen? Let our followers know your thoughts over on Facebook!
And in the meantime, if you ever want to talk travel, wellness, or all things health and life insurance, we’re here! Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!