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16 Can’t Miss Hikes in the United States

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Hiking season is on its way with the weather warming up. It’s a great way to experience the outdoors while also getting a fantastic workout. On average, one mile of hiking burns over 500 calories. If you’re ready to get outdoors this year, here are 16 hikes in the United States that you can’t miss.

Alabama

Hike: The Walls Of Jericho Trail

Distance: 6.6 miles

Difficulty Rating: Advanced

Description: This hidden gem trail features cliffs that resemble walls, which is where it gets its name, “The Walls of Jericho”. The hike leads through switchbacks and canyons to a gorgeous 30-foot waterfall. The pool of water beneath the waterfall is a gorgeous blue-green color, but unsafe to swim in like a strong current pushes the water into an underground cavern. There are campsites along the trail. Horseback riding is allowed on the trail as well as dog walking. The trail is best used from March to October.

Alaska

Hike: Lake Loop

Distance: 3.5-mile loop

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Description: At first glance, many may expect Alaska to be a state covered in snow and ice. The state has much more to offer in the outdoors than cold weather. There are over 75 parks, including national parks and forests, state parks, preserves, and monuments, as well as historical sites and parks. The state also boasts 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States. X Lake loop is known for its beautiful views of X Lake and old forests full of wildlife. Fall is a great time to pick blueberries along the trail.

Arizona

Hike: Bright Angel Trail

Distance: 12 miles (shorter options available)

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate-Advanced

Description: The Bright Angel Trail will take you along the edge of one of the most breathtaking views in the outdoors, The Grand Canyon. The trail starts at the South Rim of the canyon and down to the Colorado River. The entire hike is 12 miles, but there are plenty of options along the way to cut off and customize your adventure. This hike is recommended for experienced hikers as a majority of the trail is steep and winds along the edge of drop-offs. The best times to experience this hike are in spring or fall before temperatures rise too much and before snow and ice cover the path.

California

Hike: Bridalveil Fall Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles

Difficulty Rating: Beginner

Description: Yosemite is full of incredible hikes, and while one is a short half a mile trail and will only take about 20 minutes, it leads to one of the most incredible views in the park. Bridalveil Fall flows over a rock wall 620 feet off the ground. You won’t be able to help but say, “wow” when you see it. The path is paved making it a family-friendly outdoors experience and is an easy hike regardless of the season or weather.

Georgia

Hike: Tennessee Rock Trail

Distance: 2.2-mile loop

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate-Advanced

Description: Black Rock Mountain State Park is the highest state park in Georgia with an altitude of over 3,600 feet. The Tennessee Rock Trail is the most popular of the hikes in the park. It winds through a lush forest. Because of the climate, grass in the state can grow up to a whopping six inches per week, which also contributes to the beautiful wildflower growth in the forest. The effects of a tornado are visible on the western edge of the summit.

Hawaii

Hike: Kalalau Trail

Distance: 22 miles or 4-8 miles (multiple options)

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate-Advanced

Description: This hike has been deemed the title “most incredible hike in America”. You’ll get beautiful coastal views along the trail and views of the uninterrupted ocean. There are multiple options for the length of the hike, the first ending at Hanakapi’ai Beach. A few miles up the trail is the Hanakapi’ai waterfall which towers at 300 feet. Those first two options are for intermediate hikers. You will need a permit to hike any farther than Hanakapi’ai Beach. For those who are trained, the 22-mile option is extremely challenging but very rewarding as it ends in the Kalalau Valley on the edge of a beautiful beach. There is a campsite in the valley, so prepare for a beautiful night in the outdoors under the stars.

Idaho

Hike: Sawtooth Lake Trail

Distance: 9.6 miles

Difficulty Rating: Beginner-Intermediate

Description: This day hike is one you don’t want to miss. You’ll be wowed by view after view along the trail of mountain peaks and deep blue lakes. Make sure to pick up a free wilderness permit at the trailhead. The best time to hike to Sawtooth Lake is July-September due to the higher elevations. Even during the summer the path can be windy so pack a jacket. Camping along the lake is very popular and it’s a great place to fish, just make sure to pick up a license beforehand.

Kansas

Hike: Orange, Violet, and Red Trail

Distance: 6.5-mile loop

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Description: The Orange, Violet, and Red Trail in Shawnee Mission Park is named for the three different options for the hike. The trail winds through a beautiful forested area and is used primarily for hiking, biking, bird watching, and horseback riding. Dogs are also allowed on the trail. The trail also has beautiful views of Lake Lenexa. There is also space to camp along the way allowing for a weekend trip to explore the entirety of the beautiful area. Take the whole family to experience the beautiful outdoors.

Minnesota

Hike: The Superior Hiking Trail

Distance: 5+ miles

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Description: This outdoor adventure is a 310-mile trail that follows the ridge about Lake Superior. It borders Duluth and Ontario and is often titled one of the best hikes in the Country. While most people aren’t ready to take on the full 310 miles, there are trailheads every five to 10 miles while allows for total customization of your experience. A majority of the trail is through beautiful forests with views of waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife. Fall is a great season to hike with wonderful fall colors, though many like to snowshoe the path during winter.

Oregon

Hike: Trail of Ten Falls

Distance: 7.2-mile loop

Difficulty Rating: Beginner-Intermediate

Description: As the name of the hike would suggest, the key feature of this hike are the ten waterfalls that dot the trail. This is a great outdoors opportunity for your family with plenty of rest stops and a very well maintained trail. The waterfalls range in height from 20 feet to over 100 feet, and four of them allow for you to walk behind the fall. Spring and summer are the most popular seasons for this hike.

Tennessee

Hike: Abrams Falls

Distance: 5.1 miles

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Description: The Abrams Falls hike is located in the Great Smokey Mountains National park and has been voted one of the most popular hikes in the entire park. The trails wind along the edge of Abrams Creek and gradually descends downhill to the falls. During the spring, the creek levels will rise which can make the path muddy. The waterfall is about 20 feet tall and collects in a pool at the base that is a common swimming hole for hikers. During the warmer months, it’s a great way to cool off and prepare for your hike back out.

Texas

Hike: Santa Elena Canyon Trail

Distance: 1.7 miles

Difficulty Rating: Beginner-Intermediate

Description: The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Big Bend National Park. The Park is known for being the largest expanse of road-less land and has 150 miles of trails. The hike is fairly easy and family-friendly. Along the path, hikers will see tall cliffs of solid limestone and will end at the Rio Grande river in the canyon. While Spring and Summer are some of the most popular seasons to visit, make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as the temperature can rise over 100 degrees.

Utah

Hike: The Narrows

Distance: 6-8 miles

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Description: This hike is one of the more unique options as you’ll be trekking through a river most of the time, so come prepared! The river winds through a huge slot canyon. While the hike is six to eight miles round trip, it can be shortened by turning around at any time. The hike is seasonal as spring runoff makes the river levels unsafe. There is a more challenging 16-mile option to hike from the top down, but this requires a special permit.

Virginia

Hike: McAfee Knob

Distance: 8 miles

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Description: This hike leads to one of the most photographed locations along the Appalachian Trail and rightfully so. The eight-mile hike leads to a cliff that juts out from the mountain and allows for an incredible panoramic view of Catawaba Valley. Keep an eye out along the trail for the overlook sign, the trail continues on past the outlook and if you miss the sign you’ll miss out on the beautiful views.

Washington

Hike: Skyline Trail

Distance: 5.3-mile loop

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Description: This hike will take you to Paradise, literally! Paradise is a portion of Mount Rainer National Park known for its wildflower fields, mountain views, glacial fields, and lakes. The best seasons for hiking the Skyline Trail are summer or early fall to avoid snowy weather. This area is used for snow activities during the winter. If you are planning to hike later in fall, check the weather ahead to make sure the trail will be clear of snow. The altitude is 5,400 feet and gains an extra 1,500 feet along the trail so give yourself time to acclimate as you hike to avoid altitude sickness. With the beautiful scenery along the way, you won’t feel guilty stopping for a breath. You can start the trail at Paradise Jackson Visitor Center to first learn about the history of the area.

Wyoming

Hike: Cloud Peak Wilderness Overlook

Distance: 7.6 Miles

Difficulty Rating: Advanced

Description: Cloud Peak Wilderness is consistently ranked as one of the best hiking spots in Wyoming. The elevation gain for the hike is about 1,300 feet, so be prepared to take it slow and give yourself time to acclimate. The hike begins in a thick forest and once passing through to the wilderness, you’ll find some fairly rugged terrain. You’ll find views of lakes and wildlife along the path. The outlook itself gives incredible views of the surrounding mountains. If you’re ready for this adventure, make sure to visit in early fall to avoid mosquitoes and snow.

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