The US has some of the most breathtaking views, thriving and fertile forests, and amazing geology. That’s why it’s vastly considered by camping and nature enthusiasts to be one of the best destinations in the world for hiking and outdoor adventure. And, in this post, we are going to list out some of the best hiking trails in the US. There’s a ton of trails, from East to West, to choose from, so we’ve hand-picked five trails that we think you should consider for your next hiking adventure.
If it’s in Hawaii, then it must be something really wonderful! The Kalalau Trail spans 11 miles that will lead you to the scenic Kalalau Beach from Ke’e Beach. A part of the Hawaii State Parks system, this trail is the only way for hikers and campers to have land access to the shores of Kalalau. The trail features five different valleys hikers must traverse before reaching the Kalalau Beach, where they are greeted by astonishing fluted pali. The Kalalau trail is not an easy one, but it’s surely a worthwhile one!
HARDING ICEFIELD TRAIL
Second on this list of best hiking trails in the US, is located further Northwest. In the Kenai Fjords National Park of Alaska is where you will find the Harding Icefield Trail. The 8.2-mile round-trip trail wraps through cottonwood, alder forests, and heather meadows. To complete the trail, hikers are required to climb to the top of the trail where they’ll witness the magnificent view of the Harding Icefield. Getting to the top of the trail feels like being transported back to the ice age, as you will see nothing but a scene of pure white, courtesy of the ice and snow below.
If you’re ready to take this trail on, however, you need to come prepared. The trail requires 6-8 hours of intense walking and hiking and over 1,000 feet of elevation gain, mile after mile.
Location: East Coast
If you want to have the adventure of a lifetime – apart from that one Coldplay track - then take this trail. Stretching more than 1,240 miles and a part of the Eastern Continental trail, the Appalachian trail covers numerous East Coast states, including Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, to name a few. The best part of this trail is that you can start your trek wherever you choose, and end it in any of the numerous cities and states it passes through.
Along the trail you will find various famous spots such as the Mt. Greylock’s War Memorial Tower in Massachusetts, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Headquarters in West Virginia, and Chimney Rock in North Carolina.
MOUNT TOM TRAVERSE – METACOMET-MONADOCK TRAIL
Somewhere in Easthampton and Holyoke area of Massachusetts is where you will find a portion of trail called the Mount Tom Traverse. This scenic trail provides hikers an exciting opportunity to experience the different, yet beautiful , landscapes of the Massachusetts wilderness. This trail was certified as a National Recreation Trail, joining over 1,000 other trails in the US carrying the designation, in 2001.
The Mount Tom Traverse begins at the Mount Tom Reservation on Route 141 where you pass through a 200-foot elevation gain to start. Then, the route takes you to a ridge that stretches for about six miles. As you follow the ridge, you’ll see a breathtaking view of the Connecticut River Valley and visit old hotel ruins, before you reach Goat Peak.
The Mount Tom Traverse is a plus for bird lovers, as this is a perfect place for spotting hawks during spring time.
THE LOST COAST
What a place to be lost in! The Lost Coast in Northern California is a virtually development-free area that covers the Humboldt and Mendocino counties, where you will find the King Range. There are many theories why it’s called The Lost Coast, but the most popular one is that the area experienced mass depopulation in the early 20th century. Another theory is that the coast has a tendency to be lost beneath California’s tide. Whatever the reason for it’s name, you won’t be disappointed with what this trail has to offer.
The trail is 20 miles long and includes several great camping spots. Although this is a very scenic area, don’t be fooled as this trail can be quite challenging even for an avid hiker. California road crews deemed this trail impassable and refused to build roads on the cliffs. Despite that, the Lost Coast makes for a perfect week-long getaway challenge for hikers looking for an extreme adventure, which lands it on our list of best hiking trails in the US.So there you have it, our list of the best hiking trails in the US. What are some of your favorite trails? Make sure to share them in the comments below!