Are you looking for the some of the best hikes in the USA? Then you’ll love this list!
This list of hikes in America is full of epic and beautiful views, and there is trail for every skill level. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking to spend hours on the trail or a beginner just looking for a little adventure, you’ll find a hike on this list.
No matter the hike, you always want to make sure you are well prepared. Before you go, make sure you know what level (easy, moderate, or hard) the trail is, and how long you should expect to be out hiking. It’s always best to bring a small bag or backpack where you can keep water, a first aid kit, and an emergency flashlight.
Generally, Park Rangers and experienced hikers do not suggest hiking alone, especially if this is a new trail for you. If you do decide to hike alone, it is especially important for you to bring emergency supplies, and make sure you tell someone where you are hiking and how long you think you’ll be out.
As all of these parks are in different states, each one has it’s own set of rules and regulations as well as safe times to visit and hike. Some may offer free access to the trails while others may require you pay an entry fee, or for some of the more difficult hikes, obtain a permit to go hiking. We’ve done our best to include that information when we’ve found it, but you’ll want to fully research your trip before you decide to go out on a hike.
Many of the featured hikes are on National Parks, and each park has its own varying entry fee. However, you can purchase a National Parks Pass if you plan on visiting more than one National Park as you travel.
20 Best Hikes In The USA You Shouldn’t Miss
Located in Sedona Arizona you’ll find the incredible Devil’s Bridge Trail, which leads to the famous Devil’s Bridge. The Devil’s Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area and is a popular hike for all those visiting the area.
The hike itself is fairly easy, and is travelled by families, beginners, and experienced hikers alike. It is a 1.8 mile roundtrip hike which remains fairly flat the entire time. You’ll reach a fork in the trail, and you can either continue on to get a view of at the base of the Devil’s Bridge. Or, you can choose the more adventurous path and get a chance to actually walk across the Devil’s Bridge.
As you get to the actual Devil’s Bridge, the landscape does have a steep incline. But the incline is worth it for one of the most breathtaking views of the Sedona landscape, and a chance to walk across it. The views combined with the general ease of the trail itself make the Devil’s Bridge Trail one of the best hikes in the USA.
Conundrum Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a hike that is a little longer but has an amazing payout, then you’ll want to check out the hike to the Conundrum Hot Springs. These natural hot springs are located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in Colorado.
This is one of the best hikes in America, but it is probably a better challenge for more experienced hikers. The trail is approximately 8.5 miles, one way, and goes through several creeks, and you gain about 2,400 feet of elevation as you hike deeper into the Rocky Mountains.
If you think this is a challenge that you’re up for, then you’ll be handsomely rewarded. After making the hike, you’ll come upon the beautiful natural hot springs with absolutely breathtaking views. Because of the length and difficulty of the trail, it is recommended that hikers camp near the hot springs. To do so, you need to obtain a permit, which you can find here.
The peak season, and the safest time to visit the hot springs is June-September. So make sure you plan accordingly and get your permit ahead of time so you can enjoy the beauty that is the Conundrum Hot Springs.
If you’re planning to road trip through Utah, then you’re already probably thinking about stopping at Zion National Park, and you absolutely should. And while you’re there, you need to check out the Angel’s Landing Trail, on of the best hikes in the USA.
Angel’s Landing is a more moderate hike, with steep drop-offs and chains bolted to the cliffside for you to grab onto. If you have a fear of heights, this may not be the hike for you. Also, keep a lookout for some of the many spiders in Utah!
But you can enjoy it if you don’t continue on past the Scout Lookout. The trail is 5 miles long, round trip, and you can expect to be out for anywhere from 4-5 hours.
All of this is worth it though to experience one of the best hikes in America. As you hike you’ll see some of the most amazing views, from sweeping vistas and ancient cliff faces.
The final stop, Angel’s Landing, features a narrow walkway leading to a large cliffside where hardy trees have grown. Once you reach the landing, there are plenty of places to stop and rest before you make your way back down.
Mist Trail Yosemite
At Yosemite National Park you’ll find the popular Mist Trail, which leads to the Vernal and Nevada Falls. If you are planning a West Coast road trip, this hike is definitely worth a stop at Yosemite. You’ll find that this is a pretty popular hike in Yosemite, and is often considered Yosemite’s ‘Signature Hike’.
The hike is 3 miles roundtrip if you return after seeing the Vernal Falls, but if you continue on to the Nevada Falls, the journey is 7 miles roundtrip. This is truly one of the best waterfalls to visit in the USA!
Whichever distance you decided to trek, it’s worth it. Along the trail you’ll find some stunning views, making it one of the best places to hike in the USA.
The Mist Trail is considered a moderate hike all the way up to Vernal Falls, and is very popular, so expect to see plenty of other people there. However, the size of the crowd drops off considerably if you decide to hike onto the Nevada Falls.
But, the hike does get more strenuous the closer you get to the falls. You can expect to spend 2-5 hours on the hike, depending on how far you go. Even if you are spending only one day in Yosemite, this hike is worth it! Don’t forget to check out some of the best Yosemite cabins for your trip.
Located in Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll find the Navajo Loop. The trail begins at Sunset Point and continues down to the main amphitheater. It is also considered the park’s most popular trail making it one of the best hikes in the USA.
At 1.3 miles roundtrip, it’s one of the shorter hikes on this list, but it is still considered to be moderately difficult. You’ll hike through the narrow corridors of ‘Wall Street’ as you descend down 800 feet down the side of the Bryce Rim.
Along the way, you’ll find that the Navajo Trail intersects with two other popular trails, the Queens Garden Loop Trail and the Peekaboo Trail. If you want to spend even more time in Bryce Canyon National Park, you can choose to take those loops either as you descend down the side of the Bryce Rim, or on your way back up.
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, you’ll find the trailhead for Linville Falls. Linville Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway and features three hikes because of the three waterfalls that spill into Linville Gorge. This trail’s location on the Blue Ridge Parkway makes it a perfect stop if you’re road-tripping to see some of the best fall foliage.
There is one trailhead that leads to all three trails. The main trail is the most popular and takes you to the smaller double waterfalls. There you’ll find a viewing platform that gives you a beautiful view of the smaller double waterfalls and the small pool of water that leads to a second larger waterfall that sends water down into the gorge. This larger waterfall you get a birds-eye view of. At 1.6 miles roundtrip, this trail is fairly easy and mostly flat the entire time.
The Gorge Trail takes you higher up and is a continuation of the Falls Trail for another 1.4 miles. This trail is more strenuous as it climbs uphill, but the view is worth it. Up high, you’ll get a view of all four levels of waterfalls, from the river that leads to the double falls, the smaller double falls, the larger waterfall leading to the gorge, and then you’ll be up above another larger waterfall that also runs into Linville Gorge.
The Plunge Basin trail is another moderate trail that leads you to more views of the different waterfalls. The variety of views that all branch off from this one major trail makes Linville Falls one of the best hikes in America.
Ricketts Glen Falls
For those looking for one of the best hiking trails in the USA that is a little more difficult, you may want to check out the Ricketts Glen Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania. Ricketts Glen State Park can be found in Benton Pennsylvania and is one of the most popular Pennsylvania State Parks for hiking enthusiasts.
The entire loop of Ricketts Glen Falls Trail is a strenuous 7.2 miles, but hikers can choose to hike only the upper or lower sections if the full loop sounds like too much. The Park Rangers do suggest that only those who are in good physical condition and wearing sturdy hiking boots take part in the trail, even if only just in sections.
Even though it is one of the most difficult hikes in the area, it is worth it. The full loop features 21 separate waterfalls, all ranging in heights from 11 feet to 94 feet. Because the trail features so many waterfalls, the conditions are often slippery, which is something to keep in mind when planning your hike.
Swallow Falls Canyon Trail
The Swallow Falls Canyon Trail is the perfect hiking trail for all skill levels. You can find the trail at the Swallow Falls State Park in Oakland Maryland.
An important thing to note when visiting State Parks in Maryland is that they do charge an entry fee. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the entry fee is $3 per person for in-state residents and $5 per person for out-of-state residents. Outside of peak season, it changes to $3 per car for in-state residents and $5 per car for out-of-state residents.
The Swallow Falls Canyon Trail is 1.25 miles of fairly easy terrain. Along the hike you’ll see where the Youghiogheny River flows into rocky gorges that create beautiful rippling rapids. As you continue on you’ll reach the Muddy Creek Falls, a 54 foot waterfall.
This densely wooded trail combined with the way the river runs through the park creates a peaceful and beautiful setting for hikers of all ages and skill levels.
Lost Mine Trail
At Big Bend National Park in Big Bend Texas, a perfect stop for your Texas road trip, you’ll find the Lost Mine Trail. Big Bend National Park is full of amazing hiking opportunities, but the Lost Mine Trail is often considered a well-known secret when it comes to being one of the best hikes in the USA.
It may not be as frequented as some of the other more popular trails in Big Bend National Park, but that’s part of what makes it such an awesome hiking trail. The best part though is really the amazing and unique views you’ll see as you walk along the trail.
The trail itself is 4.7 miles and is considered fairly moderate, but there are plenty of points along the trail for you to turn around and head back if it becomes too difficult for your skill level.
Along the trail you’ll see markers that discuss native plants and wildlife as well as some beautiful vistas. You’ll be able to take in the Casa Grande Peak, Juniper Canyon, and the South Rim.
The hike becomes more difficult the closer you get to reaching the Alt Peak, so make sure to keep that in mind. Because it is in the desert, you’ll want to make sure you get there earlier in the day and bring plenty of water.
Alkali Flat Trail
A road trip through New Mexico wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the White Plains National Park, which is where you’ll find the Alkali Flat Trail. This is one of the best hikes in the USA because it’s so unique, but it is also fairly strenuous. We all know how difficult it can be to walk in the deep sand at the beach, now picture a whole trail of hiking through that.
If you can handle a more strenuous hike, then you definitely don’t want to miss out on this one. You’ll walk through beautiful soft pure white sand and view and endless landscape of white sand dunes and desert. What makes the Alkali Flat Trail one of the more unique hikes in America is that it is actually the bottom of a dried up lakebed from Lake Otero.
It is one of the few places in the USA where you’ll feel like you’re experiencing another world. The hike itself is 5 miles roundtrip and you can expect to spend about 7 hours out on the trail. As it is a desert, it is suggested you arrive early and plan your day with plenty of water and snack breaks. It is easy to become dehydrated in the desert sun as you hike.
For the more adventurous at heart, you’ll want to travel to Hawai’i to experience this one of a kind hiking trail. Whether visiting for your honeymoon or simply going on vacation, you’ll want to stop by Hawai’i’s Big Island (the island of Hawaii) and hike the Halema’uma’u Trail.
This trail is unique to the Big Island because it is a hike through Hawai’i’s Volcanoes National Park. You’ll hike along Hawai’i’s still active volcano, Mt. Kilauea through lush rain forest and volcanic rock. The hike itself can be split into two hikes. If you’d like to just hike to the floor of the Kilauea Caldera, you’ll only be on the trail for .8 miles.
While that in itself is an amazing sight, if you can handle a more moderate hike, you’ll want to continue on the trail for 1.3 miles to reach Kilauea Iki and Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube). There you’ll get breathtaking panoramic views of the Kilauea Caldera and the lush rainforest that is growing around it. There is truly nothing else like it in the states and that is one of the reasons why it is one of the best hikes in the USA.
Grinnell Glacial Trail
As you road trip through Montana, you’ll want to stop at Glacier National Park where you’ll find Grinnell Glacial Trail. You can take a shuttle boat across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine to get to the trail head for Grinnell Glacial Trail.
This trail is definitely for more experienced hikers at 7.6 miles of hilly terrain. It does offer some truly stunning views though as you hike along it though. You’ll get to see Grinnell Lake in the valley below Angel Wing and Mt. Gould, glaciers, alpine meadows full of wildflowers, and even some smaller waterfalls. The beauty of this trail makes it one of the best hikes in the USA.
There are plenty of stopping points along the way to take a break, look at the beautiful view, and even use the restroom if you need to. You can expect to spend an entire day doing this hike if you hike the entire trail.
Because of that, you’ll want to be prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and other hiking equipment. There is also the possibility of encountering a bear, so it is advised that hikers bring along bear repellant spray.
Point Lobos Loop Trail
The Point Lobos Loop Trail is located in one of the cutest small towns on the West Coast, Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. The trail is located on the Point Lobos State Reserve, which is a wildlife preserve. While the Point Lobos State Reserve may not be known for its hiking, the Point Lobos Loop Trail is full of beautiful views.
Considered easy to moderate, depending on how far you hike, the Point Lobos Loop Trail is 6.7 miles of beautiful California coast scenery. You can choose to hike the whole loop, or you can turn back at any point. Off of the main loop, you’ll find several smaller hikes.
You’ll get to experience gorgeous rock formations, hike to the sound of crashing waves and barking seals, see sunbathing sea otters or even do some birdwatching. All the diversity makes the Point Lobos Loop Trail one of the best hikes in the USA.
The Point Lobos State Reserve is a popular destination off of the California 1 Highway, but because it’s not necessarily known for it’s hiking opportunities, you’ll find the trail is less crowded than some other options nearby.
There is a $10 parking fee if you park inside the Reserve, but you can also park along the highway and walk into the Reserve, which will add about 1-2 miles to your total hike.
Emerald Lake Trail
In Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, you’ll find the beautiful and easy Emerald Lake Trail. The trail itself begins off of the Bear Lake Trailhead and is perfect for hikers of all skill levels. If you are thinking about planning a weekend getaway to Colorado and don’t want a hike that is too difficult, then this is the trail for you.
At 3.5 miles roundtrip, you can expect to spend a few hours hiking along this fairly easy trail. The first part of the trail has frequent heavy traffic, so it is paved, which adds to the ease of this particular trail. With minimal elevation gain but plenty of breathtaking views, you’ll be glad you decided to try out one of the best hikes in the USA.
As you hike, you will get to see several smaller lakes, including Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Lake Haiyaha. You will also get to experience alpine meadows full of wildflowers with mountain peaks in the distance.
Once you reach Emerald Lake you’ll get to enjoy not only a gorgeous view, but you can also hear the sounds of a waterfall in the distance. The waterfall is located between the two mountain peaks that loom above Emerald Lake.
This beautiful trail combined with it’s fairly easy terrain to navigate makes it one of the best hikes in the USA.
Maze Loop Trail
The Maze Loop Trail is a 5 mile loop in California’s Joshua Tree National Park. The Loop itself is considered moderate to strenous, mostly because it is more of a wash route with some areas of dense sand, than it is a traditional trail. This is the case for many of the trails in Joshua Tree National Park.
But don’t let that scare you off. If you want to see some truly unique and spectacular views, you’ll want to make sure you check out Joshua Tree National Park and the Maze Loop Trail next time you are in California. You’ll get to experience classic desert scenery full of wild shaped cacti, the Park’s namesake, the Joshua Tree, and unique rock formations.
The trail head can be a little difficult to find, and is located near a small parking area off of Park Boulevard. Because this is a desert hiking trail, it is best to start your hike earlier in the morning when it is cooler.
You can decide to do the whole loop, or you can turn back at any time. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you bring plenty of water, and even some snacks if you plan to do the full loop. Once you are done, make sure to stay the night ine one of the unique stays in Joshua Tree!
Saint Mary’s Glacier
Near Idaho Springs, and about an hour away from Denver, you’ll find Saint Mary’s Glacier in Colorado. Its easy walkability and beautiful views make it a perfect day trip if you are staying in Denver, but want to explore a bit of the Rocky Mountains.
The Saint Mary’s Glacier trail is a quick 1.5 miles round trip, and is fairly easy to walk in most spots. There is some elevation gain that some might find moderately difficult, but for the most part, this is an easier hike. It’s perfect for those at all skill levels. You can expect to spend 2 hours on the trail if you walk the whole way there and back.
On the trail, you’ll get to take in picturesque views of Saint Mary’s Lake, a natural lake formed from the melting of Saint Mary’s Glacier every Spring and Summer, as well as beautiful alpine meadows.
One of the things that makes Saint Mary’s Glacier so unique, and one of the best hikes in the USA, is that you can snowboard and ski on the glacier. There is almost always snow on the glacier, even in the Summer months, so pretty much any time you go you’re guaranteed to see people snowboarding and skiing.
Diamond Fork Hot Springs
If you’re traveling to Utah, you’ll want to check out the Diamond Fork Hot Springs, one of the best natural hot springs in Utah. What makes the hike to Diamond Fork Hot Springs one of the best hikes in the USA is that it’s not terribly long or difficult. That means that pretty much anyone who is willing to hike there can enjoy the natural hot springs.
You’ll only experience 700 feet of elevation gain as you hike the 2.5 miles to the hot springs along the Sixth Water Creek. As you hike, the closer you get to the hot springs, the more you’ll begin to smell sulfur – a sure sign you’re getting closer.
The water in the creek will also start to turn a beautiful cobalt blue the closer you get to the hot springs. You can expect to spend about an hour on the trail before you get to the wading pools. The views along the hike and the beautiful hot springs make this trail one of the best hikes in the USA.
Trail of Ten Falls
In Silver Falls State Park Oregon, you’ll find one of the best hikes in the USA which leads you to some of the most beautiful Oregon waterfalls. Along the Trail of Ten Falls you will find exactly what you expect – ten waterfalls!
As you wind through the beautiful Oregon wilderness you’ll experience a fairly moderate hike which is safe and walkable for all skill levels. You can expect some gain in elevation, but the transition is fairly smooth, so it’s not terribly steep as you walk. The whole loop is 7.8 miles, but you can always turn around and go back at any point during the hike.
If you hike the entire loop, you’ll get a chance to view all ten waterfalls on the trail. You’ll see beautiful waterfalls ranging in all sizes, from smaller 27 foot Drake Falls, to the largest on the trail, South Falls. Because it’s a loop, if you don’t want to hike the whole thing, you can always start on one side one day, and then come back and do the other half, starting on the other side, another day.
Donut Falls Trail
While traveling through Utah, you’ll want to stop by Big Cottonwood Canyon, where you’ll find one of the most unique waterfalls, the Donut Falls. To get to the Donut Falls you’ll need to hike the easy 3.5 miles, roundtrip.
The trail itself is very easy, with a wide path and only slight elevation gain. As you hike, you’ll get to see picturesque views of Utah’s forests and mountain ranges. You’ll walk across wooden blank bridges to get over the creek that runs through the area. At the end of the trail you’ll get to view the unique Donut Falls.
The Donut Falls are named because of the way the water runs through a large hole in a large rock that is over a pool of water that runs into the nearby creek. The hole was created by the fast moving, hard falling water over thousands of years, and is now one of the most unique rock formations and waterfalls in the USA.
Hagen Canyon Trail
In California’s Red Rock Canyon State Park you’ll find the Hagen Canyon Trail. The trailhead is a little hard to find, but as you pull off of Rt 14 onto Abbett Drive you’ll find a small parking area. At that parking area you’ll find the trailhead for the Hagen Canyon Trail.
The Hagen Canyon Trail is one of the easier hikes in Red Rock Canyon State Park. At 1.2 miles round trip, you can expect to spend about an hour on the trail. As you walk, you’ll see unique rock formations that were once underwater several hundred thousand years ago. The rock formations feature colorful layers of sediment that would have washed down from the old Sierra Mountains.
It is a short hike, so you wont need much in terms of hiking gear. But it is in the Mojave Desert, so it gets very hot. You’ll want to bring plenty of water and consider hiking the trail earlier in the day when it is cooler.