The United States has some of the best hiking trails in the world. Such a vast country, with some of the world’s most iconic national parks, there are countless incredible hiking destinations in the U.S.
Hiking in America shouldn’t be the reserve of the avid or professional hiker. Hitting some of the best hiking trails in the U.S. is a way to see more of the country and connect with it beyond the typical tourist trappings – all you need is a sensible pair of walking shoes and a day pack or hiking backpack to suit your needs.
Best Places to Hike in the U.S.
The diversity of hikes available is staggering. Hiking in the U.S. can take you through mountain ranges, deserts, and rainforests or trace thousands of miles of rugged coast. You can witness nature’s greatest wonders or simply enjoy the quieter natural aspect of a destination.
We have not compiled a complete list of the best hikes in the USA – that is undoubtedly too much of an undertaking and open to subjectivity.
We have instead put together a list of hiking destinations in the U.S. that may or may not be known for their hiking appeal. Some are iconic national parks that draw millions of hikers each year. Others are destinations whose natural landscape and hiking appeal may be otherwise overlooked in favor of other touristic drawcards.
Each of these hiking destinations offers hiking trails for all abilities, mostly targeted at day hikers, so they are easy to include in any itinerary.
Add some of these great hiking destinations to your next US outdoor vacation itinerary, to be rewarded with some of nature’s most outstanding achievements.
16 Great Hiking Destinations in the United States
The deserts of California and Arizona, the natural wonder of the Grand Canyon and pristine Yosemite wilderness, the tranquillity of Lake Tahoe, and the majesty of the Malibu Coast. We’ve even got magnificent day hikes within easy reach of the Music City. These are some of the most iconic and beautiful hikes in the USA.
These hiking destinations offer hikers of all levels a way to experience the natural beauty of America’s magnificent and diverse landscapes.
One of the most beautiful natural wonders in Arizona, Sedona is an incredible natural destination and one of the most popular winter hiking escape’s in the US, thanks to a very agreeable winter climate. Uniquely positioned between the Coconino National Forest, Red Rock State Park, and other protected lands, the city of Sedona provides the base for hundreds of beautiful hiking trails.
Surrounded by a dramatic landscape of stunning red rocks, a landscape so beautiful, Sedona has gained a reputation for enlightenment and rejuvenation, attracting a flourishing New Age Movement to the city.
So while we have primarily put together a Sedona hiking itinerary, We have also included loads of tips on other things to do in Sedona to understand the city’s magic and its landscape.
At only two hours from the Grand Canyon, Sedona is also a great addition to a Grand Canyon hiking itinerary.
Hiking in Sedona
With such beautiful and mystical landscapes, it’s no surprise hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Sedona.
We’ve covered off on some of the most highly acclaimed hikes in Sedona, including Cathedral Rock, Devil’s Bridge, and Soldier’s Pass. But we have also included some of the more low-key hikes with interesting viewpoints as well as information on hiking opportunities unique to the area, such as vortex hikes, yoga hikes, and incredible stargazing locations.
Even with only a few days in Sedona, you have enough time to experience some unforgettable landscapes and unique hiking experiences.
Nashville, famous for country music, home of the Johnny Cash Museum, and good old Southern cooking, the city draws millions of tourists each year to soak up the vibe of the “The Music City”.
While the non-stop smorgasbord of live music and quality Southern food is reason enough to visit, Nashville has a surprising amount to offer outdoor enthusiasts as well.
Hiking in Nashville
Some of the best hiking near Nashville is less than half an hour from the center. The landscape around Nashville offers a variety of quality hiking opportunities for all hiking abilities, all within easy reach of the city – from short, half-day walking trails to strenuous overnight camping hikes for the adventurer.
These are some of the best hikes near Nashville for those who want to escape the Music City and discover more of Nashville’s great outdoors.
Joshua Tree National Park
Considered one of the best national parks in the US, the Joshua Tree Wilderness Park covers nearly 800,00 acres of California desert. With such a vast national park to contend with, what are the best hikes in Joshua Tree for first-time visitors?
Named after the twisted tree-like succulents that characterize the park’s desert landscape, Joshua Tree National Park offers one of the most fascinating and unique landscapes for hiking.
Also, the proximity of Joshua Tree National Park to LA, only a few hours (approx 130 miles) or an hour from Palm Springs, makes it an attractive escape from the city.
It is even possible to make a day trip to Joshua Tree from Los Angeles.
Driving through Joshua Tree National park, visitors will be spellbound by the vastness of the desert, the intriguing vistas, flora, and fauna. However, the unique nature of Joshua Tree is best appreciated on one of the many hikes through the park.
Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park
The beauty of Joshua Tree National Park is how accessible it is, especially for first-time visitors.
There are so many different hiking trails catering to all hiking abilities.
Short, circular walks and nature trails accessible at any time of year (some trails are wheelchair accessible) through to challenging hikes and multi-day treks for advanced hikers, only advisable at certain times of the year.
We’ve rounded up a selection of hikes that will appeal to first-time visitors to Joshua tree, hikes that cater to all hiking abilities.
Each hike is suitable for day adventures from your Joshua Tree accommodation, and many will cater to day-trippers from LA.
Olympic National Park
An easy day trip from Seattle is one of the USA’s most insanely beautiful and diverse national parks. The Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsular is a one-of-a-kind natural attraction covering close to a million acres in area.
Thanks to its immense size, Olympic National Park includes a staggering array of wildlife, diverse ecosystems, and terrains. From lush rainforests to alpine regions, rugged coastal wilderness, and immense dry areas, you’ll never get bored hiking in Olympic National Park.
Hiking In Olympic National Park
With over 611 miles of trails, there’s certainly no shortage of hikes and walks suited to all skill levels. It is possible to enjoy easy hikes of under a mile – suitable for families and casual walkers up to challenging multi-day hikes such as the High Divide Seven Lakes Basin Loop.
The diversity of terrains will also appeal to all types of hiking interests and wildlife enthusiasts. While it is possible to spend a lifetime exploring Olympic National Park – one of the most popular road trip destinations from Seattle for good reason- there are plenty of accessible hikes for day-trippers if you are short on time.
Southern California is famed for its never-ending sunshine, palm-lined beaches, unique desert landscapes, and beaches.
Malibu, CA falls into the latter, well known for its beach culture and world-class surfing. You may be surprised to know; Malibu has some of the best hiking in Southern California.
Hiking in Malibu
California’s most famous national parks, such as Joshua Tree and Yosemite, undoubtedly offer some of the U.S.’s premier hiking experiences. However, hiking near the ocean has much to offer, especially in summer.
Pleasant ocean breezes and some of the best coastal panoramas as you gain elevation over the Pacific Ocean.
With many great trails in Malibu to choose from, we’ve rounded up four hikes you shouldn’t miss. Hikes that cover varying levels of difficulty and terrain, so there is something for every hiking ability. Along with breathtaking ocean vistas and waterfall hikes, we’ve also included a hike to the location of a famous TV show, where many of the sets are still in place to explore.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most astonishing natural wonders of the world, which, not surprisingly, attracts more than 6 million visitors each year.
Only a 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas, in the state of Arizona, the Grand Canyon National Park is understandably one of the most popular natural destinations in the US – which is why we wanted to look at how you can enjoy the Grand Canyon without the crowds.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon
Interestingly, the Grand Canyon is a world-renown hiking destination, yet, most visitors never venture beyond the rim.
The easily accessible pathways, sightseeing routes, and stops along the South Rim make it easy for visitors to enjoy the vistas with ease; many sightseeing from a car or shuttle.
With the ease of accessibility, many completely miss the beautiful landscape and scenery beyond the Canyon edge. Understandably, the thought of hiking the dusty descent beyond the rim can be intimidating for many visitors or amateur hikers.
There are many accessible Grand Canyon day hikes for all abilities. It would be a shame not to take a peek, escape the crowds and experience the immense natural beauty of the canyon beyond the rim.
These are some of the best day hikes in the Grand Canyon, so you can appreciate another view of this natural wonder without the crowds.
Each of these hikes is achievable within one day and caters to all fitness levels.
Moab is full of geological juxtapositions carved out over centuries, with towering arches standing hundreds of feet tall and magnificent vistas full of fissures hundreds of feet deep. Sometimes you’ll see the two together.
With both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park on its doorstep, it’s not surprising Moab is an adventurer’s paradise and an incredible hiking destination.
Hiking in Moab
Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, which offer completely different experiences and landscapes, see most visitors to the area. However, outside the two national parks, there are also a couple of hikes worth doing where you’ll find fewer crowds and the same jaw-dropping natural beauty.
We’ve put together a guide to six great hikes near Moab to give you a good mix of hikes both in and outside the national parks so you can experience the diversity of landscapes in and around Moab.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is one of the most popular parks in the United States. Located close to Moab and Canyonlands, Arches NP is famous for its iconic rock formations and incredible hiking trails.
Arches landscapes are so iconic they feature on the Utah number plate and attract more than two million visitors each year.
Hiking in Arches NP
Arches is a very accessible park for hiking, offering lots of easy to moderate trails, some offering views or up close encounters with arches not visible from road viewpoints.
Arches NP is also a designated International Dark Sky Park, which offers incredible night hikes and stargazing opportunities.
With so many natural highlights, we put together a 2 day Arches National Park Itinerary to help you plan your time in the park. If you want to explore more of the region’s stellar parks, see our guide to road-tripping through Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks.
Yellowstone National Park
With over 2.2 million acres of wildly diverse ecosystems and ever-changing landscapes, including geyser basins, stunning waterfalls, mountainous terrains, canyons, meadows, and lush forests, Yellowstone National Park is undoubtedly one of the best hiking destinations in the US.
Hiking In Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park has many natural and historical attractions with over 900 miles of hiking trails; it can be overwhelming to prioritize a hiking vacation itinerary.
We have compiled 7 of the best day hikes in Yellowstone to help you plan your itinerary and tips on visiting the magical national park. Hikes for casual hikers and challenging hikes for the more experienced, incorporating some of Yellowstone’s most famous attractions.
Arguably one of the most beautiful lakes in the U.S., hiking in Tahoe is such a fantastic escape.
5 Beautiful Lake Tahoe Hikes For Nature Lovers – These are just some of the wonderful hikes in Lake Tahoe, whether you’re hiking solo, with a group, or even with your pets.
Pristine pine forests, snow-capped mountains, and sandy shores surround Lake Tahoe. Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, split in two by the California and Nevada state line, Lake Tahoe is a hiker’s paradise, a nature lovers’ dream, and a wilderness playground for adventure seekers.
With loads of accessible hikes, no matter your experience level, advanced hikers can be suitably challenged, while beginners and casual hikers can enjoy relaxed trails.
Hiking in Lake Tahoe
With a range of great hiking trails for all levels, whether you’re a casual hiker or an adventurous mountain climber, a trip to Lake Tahoe isn’t complete without hiking.
Some hikes offer amazing views of the turquoise lake, while others take you deep into the forest, where you can reach fantastic lookouts.
The South Lake area has over 83 trails, including Mount Tallac, considered one of the best hikes in Lake Tahoe. There is bound to be a hike to suit your style.
The North Lake region offers hikers a gorgeous landscape of hidden waterfalls, wildflower meadows, and granite slopes that will delight any nature lover or hiker.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the U.S., attracting millions of visitors each year. Yet Yosemite is large enough to offer every visitor the complete wilderness experience without the crowds. You just have to plan a little and be prepared to stray from the pack.
Yosemite covers an area roughly the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island, with thousands of lakes and streams, over 800 miles of hiking trails, and 350 miles of roads. Yet, Yosemite’s most popular attractions are clustered along the 7-mile valley loop, which is why many fail to deviate from this well-trodden path to take full advantage of one of the USA’s premier hiking destinations.
It only takes a little planning to find solitude in Yosemite’s vast wilderness area. To enjoy the breathtaking vistas and waterfalls, giant sequoias, lakes, and meadows Yosemite is famous for.
Hiking in Yosemite
Yosemite is one of the premier hiking destinations in the U.S. Yet; many visitors will either experience the national park from the comfort of their car or, only ever venture short distances from their vehicles to see the most famous attractions.
With hundreds of miles of trails in Yosemite, pulling on your hiking boots is the best way to appreciate this pristine wilderness fully.
There are hundreds of hikes that will slip you away from the crowds for a more authentic, back-to-nature Yosemite experience. Hikes and walks for all fitness levels. Even some of the shorter hikes are surprisingly void of crowds.
Yosemite Day Hikes & Activities to Beat The Crowds – To get you going, we’ve rounded up some Yosemite day hikes to get you off the well-worn path and onto the trailhead to see some of Yosemite’s best viewpoints.
There are also tips for making the most of Yosemite’s most popular hikes –which shouldn’t be missed, like the Mist Trail. It is possible to sidestep the crush even at the most popular spots.
Mammoth Lakes, less than an hour from Yosemite National Park sits in one of the USA’s most pristine wilderness regions between Yosemite and Nevada.
With a wealth of natural attractions, natural protected areas, and historical landmarks, it is also an excellent all-year-round destination.
If you are looking to escape the rush and get back to nature, enjoy some outdoor adventure or perhaps hit the slopes on Mount Mammoth, from skiing to hiking and backpacking or just enjoying Mammoth’s pristine alpine lakes, there is so much to do in and around Mammoth Lakes.
One of the unique aspects of Mammoth Lakes is the town is surrounded by a diverse collection of volcanoes on the rim of an ancient volcanic caldera.
A wonderful natural byproduct of the region’s fiery beginnings, one of the area’s natural indulgences is a network of natural hot springs.
These natural hot tubs are concentrated between Bridgeport and Lake Mammoth with many of the best not far from Mammoth town. They are a welcome reprieve for hikers and backpackers after a long day in the Sierra Nevada Range or for weary skiers after a long day on the slopes.
Hiking in Mammoth Lakes
Much like Yosemite, hiking in Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra is rewarding all year round.
With over 300 miles of trails linking three wilderness areas, there are hikes for all abilities from family-friendly day hikes to advanced hikes such as the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail. Discover alpine meadows, pine forests, and secret alpine lakes. All accessible from the center of Mammoth town.
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach, famous for its pristine beaches and affluent island lifestyle, is undoubtedly one of the biggest drawcards for visitors. However, there is a whole other side to Palm Beach worth seeing.
Florida has an incredibly unique ecosystem made famous by the Everglades and the unparalleled natural parks of the Florida Keys. But Palm Beach offers a fabulous opportunity to enjoy this rare and special wilderness without the same tourist crowds.
Hiking in Palm Beach County
Head to West Palm Beach to discover some of Palm Beach County’s pristine hiking trails and paths. Hikes that will take you through striking landscapes from wetlands to the ocean, or along some of the most scenic urban shorelines.
These are some of the best hiking trails in Palm Beach County. Hiking trails to suit even the most casual hiker and all very accessible from Palm Beach.
It might be bird watching or the unique wetland habitats that interest you. Or, you just want to hit the pavement for a breath of fresh air and see a different side of Palm Beach. No matter your style, we have a hiking trail or path for you.
Check Out These 10 Hiking Trails in Palm Beach County for a Breath of Fresh Air
Boulder, Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is a place of immense natural beauty.
Skiing, world-class rock climbing, and Rocky Mountain National Park are just a quick drive away, it’s no surprise Boulder is a mecca for outdoor adventurers with some of the best hiking trails in the US only a short distance from town.
Hiking in Boulder
Stunning mountain views surround the city offering a plethora of hiking trails for all abilities.
While the hiking trails around Boulder are very accessible, it can be easy for first-time visitors to get lost. We cover 5 Best Day Hikes Near Boulder Colorado here to help you make the most of your time in the pristine wilderness region without being overwhelmed.
The five trails selected are rated as moderate or difficult and require at least a few hours to complete. There are family-friendly and accessible hikes in Boulder. However, this list focuses on trails offering the most spectacular views covering varied terrain and the best chance to see wildlife. We’ve also included loads of tips to ensure your hiking experience in Boulder is both safe and enjoyable.
Cape Cod is known for its long stretches of pristine beaches, iconic lighthouses, rich and interesting history, the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and world-class wineries. There is no doubt, there is a myriad of great things to do in Cape Cod.
However, Cape Cod is more than just a premier summer destination; It is also a premier hiking and walking destination attracting outdoor enthusiasts from all over.
Hiking in Cape Cod
The striking natural beauty that attracts beachgoers extends to distinct natural and protected areas, each offering a diverse range of trails for hikers of all abilities and interests.
There are plenty of opportunities to discover Cape Cod’s diverse natural beauty through literally hundreds of Cape Cod walking trails and hikes on offer.
We have rounded up 8 of the best Cape Cod hikes here to help you discover the Cape’s natural wonders beyond the beach.
Hikes range from moderate half-day hikes, such as the Great Island Trail to easy walking trails through majestic forests such as the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail. Some hikes showcase the Cape’s most precious wonders, such as the National Seashore and the iconic Cape Cod lighthouses.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park, at the edge of the Colorado Plateau, is one of the most popular parks in Utah. Steep red cliffs tower over the forested green valley where the Virgin River cuts its way through.
The fascinating geology creates a colorful palette of rock layers of greens, pinks, oranges, and reds constantly changing over centuries. It’s not surprising Zion National Park is a wonderland for hikers.
Hiking in Zion National Park
As one would expect, Zion National Park offers a myriad of hiking trails for all interests and abilities. This guide takes the guesswork out covering the best hikes in Zion NP for both novice and experienced hikers to ensure you get the most out of your visit.
With hikes that literally take you along the river (prepare to get wet) to lofty hikes rewarding hikers with magnificent views that are not for the faint-hearted. There are strenuous full-day hikes such as The Subway and Observation Point to easy short walks on paved roads that offer wonderous views without too much effort.
Don’t get caught short on your hiking vacation. Know what to pack for a hiking getaway so you can enjoy your time in the great outdoors.