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50 Best Hikes In The US: Top Rated USA Hiking Trails

50 Best Hikes In The US: Top Rated USA Hiking Trails

Are you looking for a comprehensive list of the very best hikes in the US? We’re going to show you 50 amazing bucket list USA hiking trails that will inspire you to pull on your boots and head outdoors today. Our diverse list ranges from easy day hikes through iconic multi-month treks all across America.

What makes a hike one of the best in the USA?

Every hike in this list is either an exhilarating trail, it leads to a special vista or it has some other standout feature that makes it unique. We have hiked many of these trails ourselves and those we haven’t are all at the top of our US hiking bucket list.

For each of our top 50 US hikes we will show you:

  • Key hiking trail statistics
  • Description of each hike
  • Why each trail is one of the best hikes in the USA

Let’s get right into this amazing list of the 50 best hikes in the US!

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Table of Contents show

1. Angels Landing Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 2.7 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Town: Springdale, UT
  • Season: Year round
Angels Landing razor thin rock formation in Zion National Park Utah is one of the most popular and dangerous hikes in the US
Hiking razor thin climb to Angels Landing with sheer drops on both sides

What Is Angels Landing Trail?

Angels Landing is Zion National Park’s most exhilarating but dangerous trail.

Hikers must climb up a razor thin shark fin shaped rock formation with sheer drops to either side in order to reach Angels Landing summit.

Why Is Angels Landing Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Famous hikes in the US don’t come any more terrifying yet rewarding than the knee-wobbling ascent to Angels Landing.

Is it worth it?

Well, views down Zion’s main canyon from the top are staggeringly impressive and you will have conquered one of the scariest hikes in the entire US National Park network.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park.

2. Appalachian Trail

  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Distance: 2,194 miles
  • Elevation Gain: ~500,000 ft
  • Time: 5 – 7 months
  • Terminus: North – Katahdin, Maine / South – Springer Mountain, Georgia
  • Season: Year round
The Appalachian Trail is one of the most iconic hikes in the US photo from Manchester Vermont
Hiking a section of the legendary Appalachian Trail at Equinox Mountain in Vermont

What Is The Appalachian Trail?

The Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous hikes in the world.

Thru-hikers traditionally start in Georgia and end in Maine half a year later after hiking through 14 east coast US states.

Why Is The Appalachian Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail over a period of 5-7 months in one continuous journey is one of the greatest American adventures.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail will test your physical and mental fortitude to the extreme. This is not just one of the best hikes in the US, it would be the hike of a lifetime.

Read: Head over to the official Appalachian Trail website for more information.

3. Artists Bluff Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Distance: 0.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Town: Franconia, NH
  • Season: Year round
Where Are Those Morgans at the summit of Artists Bluff Trail NH one of the best fall foliage hikes in the US
Hiking to the summit of Artists Bluff Trail NH on a cloudy day in Fall

What Is Artists Bluff Trail?

Artists Bluff is one of the most popular and most iconic New England Fall foliage road trip hikes.

A short but steep climb leads to a rocky outcrop overlooking Echo Lake in Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire. Hikers can include Bald Mountain into a loop with Artists Bluff for a longer trail.

Why Is Artists Bluff Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The vista from Artists Bluff is simply unmissable during the Fall foliage ‘leaf-peeping’ season. An ocean of radiant colors surrounds Echo Lake and makes for a stunning photography location.

It is rare to find such a short, easy and accessible hike leading to a viewpoint this striking during peak foliage season in the US.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Artists Bluff in New Hampshire.

4. Black Elk Peak Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • Time: 4 – 5 hours
  • Town: Custer, SD
  • Season: Year round
Hiker at the summit of Black Elk Peak with stunning view over South Dakota
Hiking to the summit of Black Elk Peak SD with spectacular views over 4 US states

What Is Black Elk Peak Trail?

Black Elk Peak summit in South Dakota’s stunning Black Hills is the highest point in the US east of the Rocky Mountains.

Hikers can see into South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska from the old Harney Peak fire watchtower summit at 7,244.

Why Is Black Elk Peak Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The hike to Black Elk Peak is gradual, incredibly scenic and exceptionally rewarding. We couldn’t get enough of the 360 degree far reaching views over 4 US states and highly recommend all hikers to include this trail on a South Dakota road trip.

Hike Black Elk Peak in Fall for a stunning display of golden yellow and emerald green leaves as far as the eye can see.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Black Elk Peak in South Dakota.

5. Cascade Canyon Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 9.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • Time: 5-9 hours
  • Town: Jackson, WY
  • Season: Summer, Fall
Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton Wyoming
Hiking in photogenic Grand Teton National Park

What Is Cascade Canyon Trail?

Cascade Canyon is the most popular hike in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Hikers can walk around Jenny Lake or take a boat shuttle. From there a walk to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point precedes an out and back hike into Cascade Canyon.

Why Is Cascade Canyon Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Bears, Moose and an array of other wildlife are spotted regularly inside Cascade Canyon. Add elevated views over Jenny Lake from Inspiration Point and you have a well rounded hiking trail.

Grand Teton is one of the most beloved national parks in the USA and Cascade Canyon Trail is the perfect hike for the entire family.

6. Cathedral Rock Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 1.2 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 700 ft
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Town: Sedona
  • Season: Year round
Hiking of the top hikes in the US Cathedral Rock Trail in Sedona Arizona
Hiking down Cathedral Rock in Sedona after summiting for sunrise

What Is Cathedral Rock Trail?

Cathedral Rock is the skyline dominating red rock formation in the heart of Sedona and one of the top places to visit in Arizona.

It is the standout trail among several amazing hikes in Sedona, with sunrise and sunset being the two most popular times of the day to summit.

Why Is Cathedral Rock Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

It is hard to choose just one trail in a hiking paradise like Sedona, but Cathedral Rock is majestic and draws the eye from all other trails in the area.

Don’t miss the hidden second summit among the spires and hike at sunrise for an unforgettable experience.

7. Continental Divide Trail

  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Distance: 3,100 miles
  • Elevation Gain: ~ 450,000 ft
  • Time: 5-6 months
  • Terminus: North – Glacier National Park, MT / South – Crazy Cook Monument, NM
  • Season: April through October
Old Faithful Yellowstone is on the Continental Divide Trail hike in central United States
Hiking around Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park on the Continental Divide Trail

What Is The Continental Divide Trail?

The Continental Divide Trail spans 3,100 miles from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.

Thru-hiking the legendary Continental Divide Trail is not for the feint of heart. It is the highest and most isolated multi-month hike in the US, crossing America north to south through 5 states.

Why Is The Continental Divide Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Thru hiking The Continental Divide Trail is another of those once in a lifetime opportunities. This half year hike is better suited to those who are seeking a truly wild and immersive experience.

Grizzly bears, wolves, mountain lions and other potentially dangerous wildlife have to be considered as well as all other typical ultra-long distance trek concerns.

Completing The Continental Divide Trail in one continuous journey would be a life changing achievement.

Read: Head over to the official Continental Divide Trail website for more information.

8. Delicate Arch Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 480 ft
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Town: Moab, UT
  • Season: Year round
Photo of Where Are Those Morgans on Delicate Arch in Arches National Park UT
Hiking to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park not long before sunset

What Is Delicate Arch Trail?

Delicate Arch is a remarkable and unique arch formation sat on the rim of a huge bowl shaped depression in Arches National Park, Utah.

A short and fun hike leads directly up a rock face before ending with a climb over the depression rim and into the bowl. Delicate Arch stands tall but isolated on the far side.

Why Is Delicate Arch Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Although Delicate Arch is an extraordinary formation in its own right, it is the entire surrounding landscape that is sure to blow you away. Hiking Delicate Arch is among the most fun things to do in Utah.

Sunset is the best time to summit Delicate Arch trail, just make sure you take your camera. Our top tip is to take a headlamp and stay up there for a brilliant Milky Way display once the crowds thin out.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Delicate Arch at sunset in Arches National Park.

9. Devils Garden Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 7.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Town: Moab, UT
  • Season: Year round
Devils Garden Trail seven arch and one spire formation to find in Arches National Park Utah
Hiking Devils Garden Trail to Navajo Arch

What Is Devils Garden Trail?

Devils Garden is the most exciting and adventurous trail of the three top hikes in Arches National Park.

There are 7 very different arches and 1 spire formation to find along this mostly unmarked trail leading into Arches wilderness. Landscape Arch and 00 Arch are the two most striking natural features to locate.

Why Is Devils Garden Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Arches is a very popular US park to visit and the Devils Garden hike offers up the most fun with a diverse collection of arches to unearth.

Devils Garden is 7.8 miles of adventure and forging a path through sandy rocks to fully complete the popular loop. Where else in the US can you hike to 7 arches in under 8 miles?!

10. Emerald Lake Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Distance: 3.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 650 ft
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Town: Estes Park, CO
  • Season: Year round
Emerald Lake Trail Rocky Mountain National Park lake reflection
Hiking Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

What Is Emerald Lake Trail?

Emerald Lake Trail is just one of the many spectacular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Starting at Bear Lake, hikers will pass by Nymph Lake and Dream Lake before arriving at the shores of picture-perfect Emerald Lake.

Why Is Emerald Lake Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to countless miles of beautiful scenery with snow capped mountain peaks and brilliant blue lakes at every turn, but Emerald Lake might just be the best of the bunch.

Hiking to Emerald Lake around sunrise will leave you speechless, with perfectly still mountains reflecting in the lake and soft morning light glowing. Do not forget your camera!

11. Fire Wave Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 175 ft
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Town: Overton, NV
  • Season: Fall, Winter, Spring
Fire Wave in Nevada Valley of Fire is one of the most unique US hikes
Hiking Mars-like landscape at the end of Fire Wave Trail

What Is Fire Wave Trail?

Fire Wave is a short and easy hike to a stunning Mars-like red and white striped rock formation in the amazing and underrated Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas.

Swirling colors and patterns circle rocky domes in layers like hard boiled sweets. The alien landscape is exceptionally attractive at sunrise.

Why Is Fire Wave Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

At just 1.5 miles roundtrip and with basically no elevation gain, the hike to Fire Wave has to be one of the best returns for your effort in the US.

Leave Las Vegas early because hiking before sunrise allows you to capture one of the most mesmerizing and photogenic landscapes in America under soft light.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Fire Wave Trail at sunrise in Valley of Fire, Nevada.

12. Guadalupe Peak Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 8.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
  • Time: 5-6 hours
  • Town: Pine Springs, TX
  • Season: Year round
Hiking Guadalupe Peak in Big Bend National Park TX blue sky cactus
Hiking Guadalupe Peak Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park TX

What Is Guadalupe Peak Trail?

Guadalupe Peak Trail leads hikers to the highest point in the southern US state of Texas.

Climbing to the “Top of Texas” is a real challenge, with a whopping 3,000 ft elevation gain in just over 4 miles to the summit.

Why Is Guadalupe Peak Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Standing at 8,750 ft overlooking the arid Guadalupe Mountains National Park landscape is nothing short of an awe-inspiring experience.

Summiting for around dawn or dusk is a must for nature lovers and pro photographers. The view of rolling mountains and desert is astounding.

13. Golden Canyon Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 7.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 834 ft
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Town: Furnace Creek, CA
  • Season: Fall, Winter, Spring
Golden Canyon Trail in Death Valley one of the best hikes in the United States
Hiking the exceptionally photogenic landscape around Golden Canyon Trail in Death Valley

What Is Golden Canyon Trail?

Golden Canyon is Death Valley National Park’s flagship hike.

This trail can be hiked in several ways to suit hiking ability and temperatures. Red Cathedral, Zabriskie Point, Badlands Loop and Gower Gulch form the full 7.8 miles loop.

Why Is Golden Canyon Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Death Valley’s landscapes are fascinating and the diverse Golden Canyon trail offers the most immersive experience in the park.

For almost 8 miles hikers walk through and across smooth colorful domes leading to viewpoints and dry gulches. The harsh and relentless Death Valley desert heat is barely tolerable but this is one surprisingly photogenic hike.

14. Half Dome Hike

  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Distance: 14-16 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 4,800 ft
  • Time: 10-12 hours
  • Town: Yosemite Valley, CA
  • Season: End May through mid October
Half Dome in Yosemite is one of the best and most iconic hikes in America
Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite one of the world’s most iconic trails

What Is The Half Dome Hike?

Half Dome is a legendary hike in Yosemite National Park, California and easily one of the best hikes in the US.

The world famous Half Dome summit is reached via Mist Trail or John Muir Trail and a steep finale using cables. Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls are two landmark stops en route.

Why Is The Half Dome Hike One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Views over the mighty Yosemite Valley from the summit of Half Dome are out of this world. This is not just a hike, it is a challenge and an achievement.

Summiting Half Dome is a bucket list hiking experience. A permit is required to take on the infamous cables at the end, such is the immense popularity of this trail.

15. Highline Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 11.6 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain: Gain – 800 ft / Loss – 3,000 ft
  • Time: 5-7 hours
  • Town: St Mary, MT
  • Season: July through October
Hiking High Line trail in Glacier National Park with stunning views over green vegetation from the narrow path
Hiking the narrow Highline Trail in Glacier National Park

What Is The Highline Trail?

Highline Trail is the most famous hike in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Following a short section of the Continental Divide Trail, hikers begin at Logan Pass and walk one-way for 11.6 miles with exceptional views over Going-to-the-Sun Road and Glacier National Park.

Why Is The Highline Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Glacier is one of the most strikingly beautiful US National Parks and Highline Trail combines views with adventure. The famous narrow ledge section of Highline Trail called “The Garden Wall” is not for those with a fear of heights.

A spur trail leading to Grinnell Glacier Overview precedes turning onto Granite Park Trail and back to Going to the Sun Road. This is one of the most visually stunning hikes in the US national park network.

16. Hollywood Sign Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 6.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Town: Los Angeles
  • Season: Year round
Los Angeles city from behind the famous Hollywood sign is one of the best hikes in the US
Hiking to the famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles

What Is The Hollywood Sign Trail?

The Hollywood Sign is a world famous symbol of the television and movie industry based in Los Angeles, California.

Hikers can choose between a handful of trails to see the Hollywood Sign from various vantage points. However, the best is a 6.4 mile hike through Griffith Park that summits Mt Lee right behind the legendary letters.

Why Is The Hollywood Sign Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Hiking to the summit of Mt Lee not only gives you the closest view of the Hollywood Sign, but it also gives you epic views over Griffith Observatory and all of Los Angeles.

This hike is certainly one of the best things to do on a first visit to LA and one of the most amazing city hikes in the US.

17. John Muir Trail

  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Distance: 214 miles one way
  • Elevation Gain: 47,000 ft
  • Time: 3 weeks
  • Terminus: North – Happy Isles, CA / South – Mount Whitney Summit, CA
  • Season: July through September
John Muir Trail north terminus in Yosemite National Park
Hiking the John Muir Trail at Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park

What Is John Muir Trail?

John Muir Trail is a popular hike along California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains between Yosemite National Park and Mt Whitney.

Following the celebrated Pacific Crest Trail for much of the 211 miles total distance, John Muir Trail passes through some of the most spectacular 13,000-foot and 14,000-foot mountains in America.

Why Is John Muir Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Hiking to the tallest peak in the contiguous United States on Mt Whitney summit from Yosemite National Park via countless lakes and mountain peaks is about as unforgettable as it gets in the United States.

The John Muir Trail takes just 3 weeks to complete, which is a more realistic timeframe for most hikers when compared to the famous multi-month treks.

Read: Head over to the official John Muir Trail website for more information.

18. Kilauea Iki Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 400 ft
  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Town: Volcano, HI
  • Season: Year round
Kilauea Iki crater trail in Hawaii with colorful vegetation surrounding black soil
Hiking Kilauea Iki crater trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

What Is Kilauea Iki Trail?

Kilauea Iki Trail is one of the best and most popular hikes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on “The Big Island”.

A short Rim only hike is possible, but for a more immersive experience hikers should begin at Devastation Trailhead and walk a 6 mile loop to Uealoha, Kilauea Iki and Nahuku Lava Tube.

Why Is Kilauea Iki Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Hiking on 50 year old lava in an active volcano with steam billowing through cracks is a unique experience that can’t be missed on a visit to Hawaii.

Passing through rainforest and lava tubes before walking on lava is like being transported to another planet. This is undoubtably a trail worthy of being included on your US hiking bucket list.

19. Lost Mine Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 4.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,100 ft
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Town: Terlingua, TX
  • Season: Year round
Lost Mine Trail dusty path in Big Bend National Park TX
Hiking the dusty and scorched Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park, Texas

What Is Lost Mine Trail?

Lost Mine Trail is the best and most popular hike in Big Bend National Park in Texas, USA.

The top rated Lost Mine hike has some of the very best views in Big Bend as it passes through the Chisos Mountains and opens up vistas over Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon.

Why Is Lost Mine Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Views from Lost Mine ridge summit stretch from Pine Canyon in Big Bend as far as Sierra del Carmen over the border in Mexico. This is without question one of the best day hikes in Texas.

Getting an early start means you beat the heat and increase your chances of seeing Black Bears before the trail become too busy.

20. Maple Loop Pass Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 7.2 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 ft
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Town: Winthrop, WA
  • Season: May through November
Stunning Maple Pass Loop Trail in North Cascades is among the very best and most scenic hikes in the US
Hiking Maple Pass Loop Trail in North Cascades National Park with spectacular mountain and lake views

What Is Maple Loop Pass Trail?

Maple Pass Loop is one of the most incredibly photogenic hiking trails in North Cascades National Park in Washington, USA.

The loop can be walked in either direction but the most common is anti-clockwise for a more gradual ascent and better views of Black Peak at the pass.

Why Is Maple Loop Pass Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

North Cascades is one of the least visited but most beautiful national parks in the US, and we think Maple Loop Pass is among the most attractive hikes in the entire country.

It is easy to access, long enough to be a challenge but not overly grueling and it is endlessly picturesque. Expect lakes, wildflowers, mountain passes and far reaching views over Cascade Mountain peaks.

21. Mobius Arch Loop Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.6 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 50 ft
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Town: Lone Pine, CA
  • Season: Year round
Mobius Arch formation in Alabama Hill CA is one of the USA hikes with unique landscapes
Hiking to Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills of California

What Is Mobius Arch Loop Trail?

Mobius Arch Loop Trail is an unexpected hidden gem in the awesome Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California.

A very flat, easy and dusty trail snakes through a unique landscape of volcanic rocks with natural arches and other oddly shaped rock formations.

Why Is Mobius Arch Loop Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The immediate backdrop to the relatively unknown Alabama Hills is the mighty Sierra Nevada mountain range and none other than Mount Whitney towering high into the sky.

Mobius Arch and the entire Alabama Hills are exceptionally photogenic but also relaxing as very few know it exists. As far as short hikes go, this is one of the best bang for you buck trails we have hiked in America.

22. Mount Healy Overlook Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,700 ft
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Town: Healy, AK
  • Season: Late Spring, Summer
Mount Healy overlook trail in Denali National Park with far reaching views into the valley below
Hiking Mount Healy Overlook Trail in Denali National Park, Alaska

What Is Mount Healy Overlook Trail?

Mount Healy Overlook is the top rated trail in Denali National Park, Alaska.

Hikers climb Mount Healy gradually and then steeply up switchbacks to an official end of trail point half way up the mountain with panoramic views over distant snow capped peaks and Denali valley.

Why Is Mount Healy Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The popular climb to Mount Healy Overlook is windy and strenuous but well worth the effort for striking Alaskan mountain views.

For the experienced and adventurous hiker, continue beyond the official end of trail point to climb higher up Mount Healy and expose exceptional Denali views on a clear day.

23. Mount Leconte Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 11 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,750 ft
  • Time: 6 hours
  • Town: Gatlinburg, TN
  • Season: April through November
Mount Leconte Trail in Great Smoky Mountain National Park TN rolling hills filled with green trees and hazy misty clouds
Hiking Mount Leconte in Great Smoky Mountain National Park TN

What Is Mount Leconte Trail?

Mount Leconte via Alum Cave Trail is one of the best hikes in Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Hikers will pass by Arch Rock, Inspiration Point and Alum Cave on the way to summiting Mt Leconte for spectacular views over rolling hills.

Why Is Mount Leconte Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Great Smoky Mountain is the most visited National Park in the US by quite some distance and the trail to Mount Leconte is one of its best day hikes.

This is a tough half day trail perfect for the fit hiker looking for a challenge with wonderful rewards.

24. Mount Marcy Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 14.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 3,150 ft
  • Time: 7-11 hours
  • Town: Lake Placid, NY
  • Season: Year round
Mount Marcy is the tallest peak in New York and one of the best hikes in the US
Hiking to Mount Marcy summit in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

What Is The Mount Marcy Hike?

Mount Marcy is the tallest peak in the Adirondack Mountains and highest point in New York State.

Hiking to the summit of Mt Marcy is a slow and grueling 7.4 mile slog with more than 3,000 feet of elevation gain.

Why Is The Mount Marcy Hike One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The trail to Mt Marcy summit is long, gradual and uninteresting in parts. But the final approach and summit views are magnificent.

Standing at 5,244 feet on the highest point in New York state means you can see the Adirondack High Peaks, Mount Royal in Canada and the Green Mountains of Vermont on a clear day.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Mount Marcy in New York.

25. Mount Pilchuck Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,100 ft
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Town: Granite Falls, WA
  • Season: June through October
Stunning fire watchtower in Washington one of the best hiking trails in the US Mount Pilchuck
Hiking to a stunning old wooden fire watchtower at Mount Pilchuck summit in Washington State

What Is Mount Pilchuck Trail?

Mount Pilchuck Trail is a wonderful hike leading to an old wooden fire watchtower with a view in Washington State, USA.

Located outside of the popular national parks, Mt Pilchuck is much quieter but no less spectacular. A relatively short but steep trail ends with unobstructed 360 degree views over endless miles of Washington.

Why Is Mount Pilchuck Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Washington is overflowing with great hikes but Mt Pilchuck delivers a fun trail with stellar views and even a historic fire watchtower, which can be accessed at the summit.

Accessing Mt Pilchuck trailhead requires a long drive up a poorly maintained road but it is worth the bouncy ride for the summit view.

26. Mount Storm King Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,050 ft
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Town: Port Angeles, WA
  • Season: May through October
Extraordinary summit view from Mount Storm King easily one of the best hikes in the US and Olympic National Park
Hiking to a striking summit vista at the top of Mount Storm King in Olympic National Park WA

What Is Mount Storm King Trail?

Mount Storm King is one of the top hikes in Olympic National Park, Washington.

Hikers gain over 2,000 feet elevation in just 2 miles to summit Mt Storm King, including a final section requiring use of ropes.

Why Is Mount Storm King Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Views over Lake Crescent from the summit of Mount Storm King are stunning. A lone rock provides the perfect instagram photo op and the rope section is fun for those who enjoy adventure.

Mt Storm King shares a trailhead with another of Olympic’s top trails in Marymere Falls which means you get two for the price of one.

27. Mount Tallac Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 10.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 3,700 ft
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Town: South Lake Tahoe
  • Season: Summer, Fall
Lake Tahoe from a nearby rocky summit the 200 is one of the hardest day hikes in the US
Hiking to elevated views over Lake Tahoe, CA

What Is Mount Tallac Trail?

Mount Tallac is the tallest mountain on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe, California.

Standing at 9,738 feet tall, Mount Tallac summit provides the highest viewpoint overlooking Lake Tahoe from its southwestern shore.

Why Is Mount Tallac Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Lake Tahoe is an extremely popular and beautiful destination for all types of traveler and Mt Tallac is the best way to get up high for sweeping lake views.

This is a hard slog and it will take up a full day of your time in Lake Tahoe but it is well worth it for the unparalleled vistas from almost 10,000 ft.

28. Mount Washburn Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Town: West Yellowstone, MT
  • Season: Summer, Fall
Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park summit path with views into valley below
Hiking to the summit of Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

What Is Mount Washburn Trail?

Mount Washburn is one of the most popular day hikes in Yellowstone National Park outside of its various geyser basins.

A gradual climb leads hikers to the summit of 10,219 feet tall Mt Washburn, which provides unobstructed vistas over mountains and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Why Is Mount Washburn One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Hiking Dunraven Pass to Mt Washburn is a classic Yellowstone trail perfect for families and hikers looking to escape the crowded geyser basins and potentially spot bighorn sheep or bears.

Yellowstone is among the best places to visit in Wyoming and this is the most accessible day hike with fantastic views across the region. Adventurous hikers should look at Avalanche Peak for a tougher alternative.

29. Mount Washington Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 7.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 4,200 ft
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Town: Gorham, NH
  • Season: Summer, Fall
Mount Washington in New Hampshire during Fall foliage season covered in clouds
Hiking Mount Washburn when shrouded in thick clouds during the Fall foliage season

What Is Mount Washington Trail?

Mount Washington summit is the highest point in New England and the tallest peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Mount Washington has been dubbed “the most dangerous small mountain in the world” due to the summit being one of the windiest places on Earth. The top wind speed recorded in the US outside of hurricanes or tornados was 231mph at the top of Mt Washington in 1934.

Why Is Mount Washington Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

This is a monster of a climb at 4,200 feet elevation gain in just 3.8 miles and almost always under tough conditions. But it is well worth it to stand above everyone in New England.

Climbing Mt Washington should only be attempted by experienced hikers looking for a short 4k+ elevation profile and challenging conditions.

30. Mount Whitney Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 21.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 6,100 ft
  • Time: 12-14 hours
  • Town: Lone Pine, CA
  • Season: May through October
Mount Whitney is one of the best hikes in the US and the tallest in the contiguous 48 states
Hiking Mount Whitney to the highest summit in the contiguous 48 US states

What Is Mount Whitney Trail?

Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain peak in the contiguous United States located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California.

Day hiking Mt Whitney is a supremely challenging 21.5 miles roundtrip with over 6,100 feet of elevation gain. Climbers must obtain a permit in order to summit Mount Whitney.

Why Is Mount Whitney Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The iconic Mount Whitney is the ultimate US day hiking challenge climaxing with extraordinary views in all directions.

Anyone looking for the very best hikes in the USA should start training and apply for a permit to hike the gigantic Mount Whitney.

31. Multnomah Falls Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 800 ft
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Town: Portland, OR
  • Season: Year round
Astoundingly beautiful Multnomah Falls is the highlight of the Columbia River Gorge and home to some of the top waterfall hikes in the US
Hiking the stunning Multnomah Falls trail is the highlight of the Columbia River Gorge

What Is Multnomah Falls Trail?

Multnomah Falls is the most popular waterfall stop along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.

Hiking the Multnomah Falls Trail requires climbing a series of switchbacks leading to the top of the supremely popular 620-feet tall two tiered waterfall.

Why Is Multnomah Falls Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The insanely photogenic Multnomah Falls is just the beginning on this trail. Continuing beyond the top of Multnomah on Larch Mountain trail leads to 3 more picture-perfect waterfalls.

Hiking to any number of the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls could be included on this list but Multnomah Falls is the most striking.

32. Notch Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 130 ft
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Town: Wall, SD
  • Season: Year round
Notch Trail ladder in Badlands National Park is a fun US hike
Hiking the fun Notch Trail ladder in Badlands National Park SD

What Is Notch Trail?

Notch Trail is the most adventurous hike in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Hikers must navigate a steep ladder section to climb onto the Badlands Wall before walking through the wall surrounded by unique and intriguing rock formations.

Why Is Notch Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Hiking Notch Trail isn’t going to blow you away when compared to other epic hikes but this is the most fun and exciting trail in Badlands National Park, which is a hugely underrated national park.

If you’re looking for top notch trails in otherworldly landscapes but without the crowds, this is the short hike for you.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Notch Trail in Badlands National Park.

33. Old Rag Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 9.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,600 ft
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Town: Nethers, VA
  • Season: May through October
Old Rag Trail in Virginia colorful fall foliage leaves rolling hills from a rocky summit
Hiking Old Rag Loop Trail in Shenandoah National Park VA in Fall

What Is Old Rag Trail?

Old Rag Trail is by far the most popular hike in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

The ascent includes steep switchbacks and a boulder scramble section with trail markers for navigation. Hikers will pass by several false summits before reaching a brown “Old Rag Mountain” sign and the summit proper.

Why Is Old Rag Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Scrambling up, around and through huge boulders to reach a summit with staggeringly beautiful views over the Appalachian Mountains is about as good as it gets.

This is one of the most entertaining hikes in the US on the way up but completing the loop can be laborious and is certainly far less exciting. Consider going straight back down the same way from the summit instead.

34. Pacific Crest Trail

  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Distance: 2,650 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: ~ 420,000 ft
  • Time: 5 months
  • Terminus: North – PCT Northern Terminus, WA / South – Campo, CA
  • Season: Northbound start April – May / Southbound start June – July
Pacific Crest Trail in Mount Rainier National Park Washington legendary US hiking trails
Hiking a small section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail in Mount Rainier National Park Washington

What Is The Pacific Crest Trail?

The Pacific Crest Trail is a legendary US west coast long distance hike from Mexico to Canada.

Following some of the finest mountain scenery in America, hikers on the PCT will journey through the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Cascade mountain range for 2,650 miles.

Why Is The Pacific Crest Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is one of those game changing life experiences that will stay with you forever.

The PCT is arguably the most scenic and dramatic of the 3 major long distance hikes in the USA. This trail includes Mt Whitney, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Mt Rainier and North Cascades national parks.

Read: Head over to the official Pacific Crest Trail website for more information.

35. Precipice Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 2.3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,050 ft
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Town: Bar Harbor, ME
  • Season: May through October
Ladder section on the amazing Precipice Trail is one of the best adventure hikes in the US
Hiking a metal ladder section on Precipice Trail with spectacular views

What Is Precipice Trail?

Precipice Trail is the most fun and exhilarating hiking trail in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Hikers must climb several metal ladders built into sheer rock walls, navigate boulder fields and traverse narrow ledges to reach Champlain Mountain summit.

Why Is Precipice Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Climbing both Precipice Trail and nearby smaller Beehive Trail in Acadia require nerves of steel. There are some seriously nervy ladder climbs on Precipice Trail that mean anyone with a fear of heights should stay clear.

Views over the Atlantic Ocean from the entire ascent of Precipice Trail are stunning. This is one of the most unique hikes in the US National Park network.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park.

36. Queens Garden & Navajo Loop Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 500 ft
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Town: Bryce Canyon City, UT
  • Season: Year round
Dusty switchbacks on the Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the best hikes in the USA
Hiking sandy switchbacks on Navajo Loop Trail in Utah

What Is Queens Garden & Navajo Loop Trail?

Queens Garden and Navajo Loop Trail is the premier hike in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Hikers can descend into the magical Bryce Canyon amphitheater via a series of sandy switchbacks and pass by iconic landmarks such as “Wall Street” and “Thor’s Hammer” all the while surrounded by oddly shaped sandstone hoodoos.

Why Is Queens Garden & Navajo Loop Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Hikes in the US don’t come any more unique than Queens Garden and Navajo Loop in Bryce Canyon. This is one of the strangest and most alien landscapes in America.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Queens Garden and Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon.

37. Rae Lakes Loop Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 41.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 8,400 ft
  • Time: 3-6 days
  • Town: Fresno, CA
  • Season: May through October
Rae Lakes Trail stunning reflection on still water in Sequoia and Kings Canyon California
Hiking Rae Lakes Trail to stunning reflection in Sequoia and Kings Canyon CA

What Is Rae Lakes Loop Trail?

Rae Lakes is the most popular multi-day hiking trail in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Calfifornia.

Hikers typically spend 3-6 days walking and camping along Paradise Valley Trail, Woods Creek Trail, John Muir / Pacific Crest Trail and Bubbs Creek Trail. A wilderness permit is required.

Why Is Rae Lakes Loop Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Rae Lakes is a spectacularly beautiful section of the Sierra Nevada mountains and Pacific Crest Trail, but at just over 40 miles, Rae Lakes is achievable for the average person who can only spare 3-6 days.

This trail has waterfalls, rugged mountains, countless postcard-perfect lakes, wildlife and tough mountain passes.

38. Sherman Tree Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,200 ft
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Town: Three Rivers, CA
  • Season: Year round
General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park tallest trees in the world
Hiking to General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park California

What Is Sherman Tree Trail?

General Sherman in Sequoia National Park is the largest tree in the world when measured by volume.

The famous tree is easily accessible from the road, but hikers should take on the Sherman Tree – Congress – Trail of the Sequoia’s – Tharp’s Log Loop Trail for a far more immersive experience.

Why Is Sherman Tree Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

If you’re going to see the world’s largest tree, you might as well turn it into a fantastic hike. This trail will lead you through the heart of the Giant Sequoia Forest which contains over 8,000 giants.

The loop is rated as easy, which means you can take the whole family. Don’t forget your camera if you take on the full loop, there are never-ending photo ops and you may even see bears.

39. Silver Falls Trail Of Ten Falls

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,150 ft
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Town: Sublimity, OR
  • Season: Year round
Silver Falls State Park in Oregon is one of the best waterfall hikes in the United States stunning scenery
Hiking across a bridge on the stunning Silver Falls waterfall trail in Oregon

What Is Silver Falls Trail Of Ten Falls Trail?

Trail of Ten Falls is a magical waterfall hike through Silver Falls State Park near Portland in Oregon.

Hikers will pass by 10 very different waterfalls on this exceptionally picturesque and family friendly 7.8 mile loop through Silver Creek.

Why Is Silver Falls Trail Of Ten Falls One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

We think Silver Falls is among the very best State Parks in the United States and the Trail of Ten Falls makes up the entirety of the park.

Over 1,000 feet of elevation gain will not be noticed as you walk behind and underneath 10 stunning waterfalls ranging in size and power.

40. Skyline Loop Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 5.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,700 ft
  • Time: 3-5 hours
  • Town: Paradise, WA
  • Season: July through September
Hiker stood on a rock at the summit of Skyline Trail one of the best hikes in Washington and the US
Hiking to the summit of Skyline Trail in Mt Rainier for staggering views

What Is Skyline Loop Trail?

Skyline Loop Trail is the most iconic among the amazing network of hikes in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

Hikers will climb through meadows filled with colorful wildflowers, pass by picturesque waterfalls and be wowed by close up glacier views. And that is before reaching the summit which opens up astounding views to the south over mountain and volcano peaks.

Why Is Skyline Loop Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Skyline Loop Trail is one of the most striking and photogenic hikes in the Pacific North West and that is saying something.

Mount Rainier has an abundance of excellent hikes, including Mount Fremont Trail, Burroughs Mountain Trail and Naches Peak Trail, but none are as famous or beautiful as Skyline Loop Trail.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Skyline Loop Trail in Mt Rainier National Park.

41. Sliding Sands Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 12 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,800 ft
  • Time: 4-8 hours
  • Town: Kula, HI
  • Season: Year round
Sliding Sands colorful volcanic sand long winding trail in Haleakala National Park Hawaii
Hiking the colorful Sliding Sands Trail in Haleakala National Park Hawaii

What Is Sliding Sands Trail?

Sliding Sands is the premier hike in Haleakala National Park in Maui, Hawaii.

Hikers will begin at 10,000 feet on Haleakala volcano summit before descending 2,800 feet into the crater. This is an out-and-back trail which means you must ascent those same 2,800 feet back out of the volcano.

Why Is Sliding Sands Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The Sliding Sands hiking trail is one of the most unique and fascinating experiences you can have in a US national park, you are walking inside an active volcano after all.

Expect miles of smooth and vibrantly colored sand mixed with continuous volcanic views throughout. Sandy shoes are guaranteed, but so are long lasting memories of an immense landscape.

42. South Kaibab To Bright Angel Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 17.1 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: Loss – 4,740 ft / Gain – 4,380 ft
  • Time: 6-12 hours
  • Town: Grand Canyon Village, AZ
  • Season: Year round
South Kaibab trail in Grand Canyon South Rim at sunrise one of the most dramatic hikes in the US
Hiking down into the Grand Canyon on South Kaibab Trail at sunrise

What Is South Kaibab To Bright Angel Trail?

South Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail is the legendary Rim to River day hike in Grand Canyon South Rim.

Hikers must descend down the steep South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch and back to South Rim via Bright Angel, the two most heavily trafficked trails at Grand Canyon National Park.

Why Is South Kaibab To Bright Angel Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Among the many amazing hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim, this classic rim-to-river trail down South Kaibab to the Colorado River and back up Bright Angel in one day is simply out of this world.

Iconic US national park day hikes don’t come any more scenic or dramatic than this hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Read: Our complete guide to day hiking South Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail.

43. The Enchantments Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 18.6 miles point to point
  • Elevation Gain: Gain – 4,549 ft / Loss – 6,688 ft
  • Time: 9-15 hours
  • Town: Leavenworth, WA
  • Season: May through October
Unimaginable beauty hiking the Enchantments Trail in Washington during Fall amazing US hikes
Hiking through unimaginable beauty in the core Enchantments during golden larch season

What Is The Enchantments Trail?

The Enchantments Trail near Leavenworth in Washington is one of the most spectacular but challenging day hikes in the USA.

Hikers must ascend over 4,500 feet all at once, including a monster climb up Aasgard Pass before entering the Core Enchantments and descending almost 7,000 feet continuously over 18.6 miles.

Why Is The Enchantments Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Thru-hiking the Enchantments in one day is a serious challenge but it is one of the best experiences you are likely to have on the trails in America.

The Core Enchantments in golden larch season looks like something out of a fairytale and is something you won’t forget. Just note that the last 6 miles of this trail are grueling and its difficulty should not be underestimated.

Read: Our complete guide to thru hiking The Enchantments Trail in one day.

44. The Narrows Slot Canyon Hike

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 9.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 100 ft
  • Time: 6-10 hours
  • Town: Springdale, UT
  • Season: Year round
Hiker walking through the Narrows slot canyon trail in Zion national park one of the most popular hikes in the US
Hiking in waterproofs through famous Zion slot canyon The Narrows

What Is The Narrows Slot Canyon Hike?

The Narrows river slot canyon trail is the most popular hike in Zion National Park, Utah.

Two versions of The Narrows are possible; a top down version requiring permit and a bottom up version which does not require a permit. The bottom up version is by far the most popular.

Why Is The Narrows Slot Canyon Hike One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Wading through ankle deep, shin deep, knee deep and even waist deep water for miles through a narrow slot canyon with towering walls is one of the most unique and exciting hikes in the US.

Boulder climbs and steep bank climbs are required to reach Big Springs, the end of the bottom up day hike. This is adventure at its finest and the further you go the quieter it will become.

Read: Our complete guide to day hiking The Narrows bottom up in Zion National Park.

45. The Subway Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,300 ft
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Town: Springdale, UT
  • Season: Year round
The Subway trail in Zion leads to one of the best hiking climaxes in the US
Hiking the Subway Trail to one of the most photogenic ‘end of trail’ climaxes in the US

What Is The Subway Trail?

The Subway Trail is a highly sought after wilderness hike in Zion National Park in Utah.

Similarly to The Narrows, this trail can be hiked either top down or bottom up. Bottom up is more popular but either way hikers must obtain a wilderness permit and be competent at reading maps or pathfinding.

Why Is The Subway Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The Subway is a true wilderness trail with a very limited number of hikers permitted each day. That results in total solitude and isolation forging your own path upriver until you reach The Subway.

What is The Subway?

Well, it is one of the most unique and striking tunnel like rock formations in the US. Inside the tunnel are several emerald green pools and shallow water running down stream. Truly stunning.

Read: Our complete guide to day hiking The Subway bottom up in Zion National Park.

46. The Wave Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
  • Distance: 6+ miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 450+ ft
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Town: Kanab, UT
  • Season: Year round
Swirling red and orange patterns at the Wave in Arizona one of the most incredible landscapes and easily one of the best hikes in the USA
Hiking to extraordinary swirling sandstone patterns at The Wave in Arizona

What Is The Wave Trail?

The Wave in Arizona is by far the most sought after permit-only day hike in the United States.

Hikers must win a Wave lottery permit which is notoriously difficult, watch a safety briefing and be able to map read in order to reach what can only be described as unimaginable beauty.

Why Is The Wave Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The Wave takes intricate and mind blowing topography to another level. It is one of the most extraordinary landscapes we have seen on our extensive travels around the world.

Swirling sandstone patterns flow around a huge area of wilderness on the Utah – Arizona border. The Wave is a single half pipe shaped feature but the entire surrounding area is equally as visually stunning.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking The Wave in Arizona.

47. Waimoku Falls Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 900 ft
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Town: Hana, HI
  • Season: Year round
Waimoku Falls Hawaii thin wispy waterfall surrounded by lush green vegetation
Hiking to the narrow Waimoku Falls in Hawaii

What Is Waimoku Falls Trail?

Waimoku Falls is the picturesque climax to hiking Pipiwai Trail in Haleakala National Park, Hawaii.

Hikers will pass through a dense forest of bamboo, cross boardwalks surrounded by lush green vegetation and even a stunning banyan tree.

Why Is Waimoku Falls Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Eye catching waterfalls and swimming holes are complimented by a sunlight blocking bamboo forest on the Pipiwai Trail to 400 feet tall Waimoku Falls.

This busy family friendly trail is on the easier end of moderate and should not be missed on a visit to Maui. Plus, you get to drive one of the most scenic road trips in the USA to the trailhead – the Road to Hana.

48. Watkins Glen Gorge Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 300 ft
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Town: Watkins Glen, NY
  • Season: May through October
Watkins Glen gorge trail rainbow falls is one of the most spectacular hikes in the US
Hiking to stunning Rainbow Falls in Watkins Glen gorge trail in Finger Lakes, NY

What Is Watkins Glen Gorge Trail?

Watkins Glen Gorge Trail is a striking natural gorge in New York’s Finger Lakes region.

Hikers are transported through the narrow gorge along man made stone walkways and staircases, passing beyond 19 waterfalls all leading to a stunning crescendo at Rainbow Falls.

Why Is Watkins Glen Gorge Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Watkins Glen Gorge Trail offers some of the most inexplicably gorgeous scenery for a minimal amount of effort. There is just so much beauty packed into 1.5 miles of gorge.

We are regular visitors to Watkins Glen and we personally can’t get enough of Rainbow Falls, which is seriously magazine front cover material.

Read: Our complete guide to hiking Watkins Glen Gorge Trail in western New York.

49. Wheeler Peak Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
  • Time: 5-8 hours
  • Town: Taos Ski Valley, NM
  • Season: June through October
Wheeler Peak in New Mexico stunning mountains with forest foreground
Hiking Wheeler Peak Trail in New Mexico

What Is Wheeler Peak Trail?

Wheeler Peak Trail leads hikers to the highest point in the state of New Mexico in southern USA.

Standing at a gigantic 13,167 feet tall on the southern portion of the Rockies, Wheeler Peak offers a challenging scree ascent with far reaching views a well earned reward.

Why Is Wheeler Peak Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

The first part of this trail to Williams Lake is easy, but a steep climb on loose rocks to the summit provides a real challenge for adventurous hikers.

Summit views over Taos Valley, Wheeler Peak wilderness and the Sangro de Cristo mountains in Colorado are sublime. You might even see the odd mountain goat on your way up if you’re lucky.

50. Wonderland Trail

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 93 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 22,000 ft
  • Time: 6-12 days
  • Town: Paradise, WA
  • Season: June through October
Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier with blue wildflowers one of the most iconic hikes in the United States
Hiking through colorful wildflowers in bloom on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park

What Is Wonderland Trail?

Wonderland Trail is a 93 mile loop trail completely circumnavigating Mount Rainier in Washington.

Hikers will take in all of the best trails and landscapes in Mt Rainier throughout the Wonderland Loop, but it is not to be underestimated with 22,000 feet of elevation gain in total.

Why Is Wonderland Trail One Of The Best Hikes In The US?

Anyone who has been to Mt Rainier will speak of its unrivaled beauty. Well, the Wonderland Trail combines the most stunning wildflower meadows, scenic vistas and crowd free wilderness.

Look out for mountain goats, bears, waterfalls, glaciers and fire towers on the immensely picturesque Wonderland Trail. This is a true bucket list multi day hike in the US.

Looking for more hiking inspiration? Don’t miss our motivational hiking quotes so you can hit the trails running.

More Best Of USA

We hope this guide to 50 of the best hikes in the US helps with planning your next American hiking itinerary!

Please let us know if you have any questions about this list of the best US hiking trails in the comments below.

Happy Hiking,

Mark and Kristen

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