Looking for the Best Hiking Trails in the United States?
Many Americans don’t realize that some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world are right in their own backyard.
The U.S. offers rich and diverse landscapes. This diversity offers some of the most breathtaking hiking trails and views one will ever encounter.
In our list, you’ll find a wide range of hiking trails. Each hike is perfect for all skill levels and can accommodate a simple day hike or a week-long adventure.
But before we jump into our list, let’s talk a little bit about what you should pack for your hike.
Consider Packing These Hiking Essentials
For those of you that are just getting into hiking for the first time, you might not have put much thought into what to pack on your hike.
Depending on how remote your hiking trail is, you’ll want to pack some essential survival items. As beautiful as the outdoors might be, it still comes with its own set of risks.
I think true wilderness can still be found, but it’s hard to reach and dangerous when you get there, which is probably why it still exists. – Michelle Paver
Play it safe and start out by mastering the basics. Here are some essential items that every hiker should carry in their bag:
- Navigational Tools
- Extra Layer of Clothes
- Healthy Snacks
- Fire Starters (Flint, etc.)
- First-aid kit
- Sunscreen and Sunglasses
- Matches and a Lighter
- Swiss Army Knife
If you’re looking for more information on what to pack, check out our list of hiking essentials here.
10 Best Hiking Trails in the United States
10. Appalachian Trail: The Pinnacle (Berks County, PA)
This Appalachian trail offers some of the most beautiful views in the Northeast, let alone Pennsylvania.
While Pennsylvania is not often thought of as a hiker’s paradise, this trail has a national reputation and its views speak for themselves.
The Pinnacle is the local high point on the Blue Mountain ridge, with an elevation of 1,634 feet.
This is a great hiking trail for beginners because the hike is not too challenging. This makes it the perfect getaway for any adventurer.
9. Mount Mitchell Trail (Yancey County, NC)
(Photo Via Dariza)
As opposed to The Pinnacle, Mount Mitchell Trail is for more experienced hikers. The year-round trail is known for bird watching and hiking, but many hikers marvel at its spectacular surroundings.
Offering hikers a very rough terrain. Its 11.4-mile trail challenges visitors but its views are a tremendous payoff. Rising more than a mile high, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi.
This remarkable-yet-harsh hike should definitely make your list.
8. Boynton Canyon Trail (Sedona, AZ)
(Photo Via Kirsten)
The first southwestern trail on the list is also the shortest. The 2.5-mile long Boynton Canyon Trail is described by most as moderately challenging, but the view from Boynton Canyon is anything but moderate.
The first mile of this trail is very close to civilization, which seems to be a major drawback for some hikers who like to escape the everyday rush.
Regardless, the experience for the hike afterward seems well worth it. Many agree that it is the most breathtaking trail in Arizona, and its landscape makes it unique to the trails of the East Coast.
Many agree that it is the most breathtaking trail in Arizona, and its landscape makes it unique to the trails of the East Coast.
7. Blue Lakes Trail (Summit County, CO)
(Photo Via Christy Viehoefer)
Blue Lakes Trail, set in a glacial basin in Mount Sneffels Wilderness, is not only a beautiful site, but it’s also a wonderful hike. Reviews of the trail are almost always glowing, and it’s hard to argue against them.
The main trail requires an 8.6-mile round-trip, with an elevation gain of 2,370 feet and a peak of 11,720 feet, so this hike isn’t for everyone. Those up for the challenge are greeted by campgrounds all along the Lowest Lake, which requires only a 3.3-mile hike.
(Photo Via Lo B)
Those up for the challenge are greeted by campgrounds all along the Lowest Lake, which requires only a 3.3-mile hike.
Rocky Mountain National Park offers some of the greatest sights in the world, and those provided on along Blue Lakes Trail are an adventurer’s dream.
6. Dolly Sods Red Creek Trail (Tucker County, WV)
The Red Creek Trail is one of the toughest hikes in the U.S. for a couple reasons. Not only is it physically grueling at some points, but it also is tough to navigate without technological assistance.
Not only is it physically grueling at some points, but it also is tough to navigate without technological assistance.
With that in mind, we still include it on our list of best hiking trails and here’s why.
Despite rough conditions for hikers, serious adventurers describe the views as the best they’ve ever come across.
This Dolly Sods Wilderness hike is 8.2 miles with a 1,700-foot elevation. Waterfalls, cliffs, creeks and everything else you could imagine await you on this hike. If you are like us, this trail should be on your radar.
5. Chain Lakes Trail (Snohomish County, WA
Chain Lakes Trail, along the Chain Lakes near Mt. Baker, features an 8-mile hike that amazes adventurers for the entire hike.
The somewhat difficult trek is one that we absolutely admire. The scenic views are exactly what any adventurer should be looking for.
We are itching to pack our rucksacks with hiking supplies and take on this epic Washington trail.
4. Old Rag Mountain (Madison County, VA)
Located within Shenandoah National Park, Old Rag Mountain provides an excellent trail with a mix of rocky terrain and beautiful tall trees.
Because of its appeal, Old Rag is a popular destination, so many previous visitors recommend hiking its trails early in the morning and during off-seasons.
The hike is an 8-mile circuit and presents adventurers with steep inclines and many tight passages, making it a very exciting trek.
3. Havasu Canyon Trail (Supai, AZ)
The Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls, located in the Grand Canyon, are known around the world for their sheer beauty.
The waterfalls are among one of the many magnificent sights the 19-mile long Havasu Canyon Trail has to offer.
The three-day hike is one any adventurer must take on, including the Just Porter team. It’s a dream of ours to load up the Rucksacks and hit the trail, making all the necessary stops along the way to the falls.
2. Breakneck Ridge Trail (Dutchess And Putnam Counties, NY)
The Breakneck Ridge Trail features a long, strenuous hike that attracts tens of thousands of adventurers every year.
The trail’s conditions are best suited for experienced outdoorsmen, so if you plan on taking this hike, you better be prepared.
Known as the most strenuous hike along the East Hudson Highlands, Breakneck Ridge Trail presents hikers with unbeatable panoramic views.
1. Glacier Gorge Trailhead To Black Lake (Longs Peak, CO)
(Photo Via Tim Johansen)
Glacier Gorge’s beautiful aspen lakes, waterfalls and wildflowers are only part of why this trail takes the top spot.
One of the greatest trails in the United States, Glaciers Gorge gives hikers a challenging, surreal trek through an unrivaled peaceful wilderness.
Similar to Blue Lakes Trail, which ranked no. 7 on our list, this gem in Rocky Mountain National Park is the total package. Glacier Gorge’s trail to Black Lake is longer than Blue Lakes Trail and its scenery is superior to its park neighbor.
(Photo Via Sarah McNally)
The hike totals 9.6 miles and is a perfect day-long event. It’s not too strenuous and gives any adventurer a relaxing workout while providing possibly the most stunning views in America.
Final Thoughts on Our Picks for Top Hiking Trails in the U.S.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, each one of these trails offers a wonderful experience with nature and the outdoors.
So escape from the hustle and bustle of life in the city and enjoy the wonders of nature.
Not only will you experience breathtaking views and scenic locales, but you’ll also participate in an activity that is great for your overall health and well-being.
Sounds like a win-win to me. So what are you waiting for? Go explore and have the adventure of a lifetime.