Whether you are looking to find a location for your next big adventure or yearning to pick up all your belongings and move, there are endless options in the United States alone.
In no particular order:
*A note about Hawaii after the devastating wildfires in early August. West Maui (including Lahaina, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua) are off-limits to the public while search and recovery efforts continue.
However, tourism accounts for 70% of Hawaii’s economy so travel to the rest of Maui and the other Hawaiian Islands is encouraged. Whether you go sooner or later, Hawaii offers a unique landscape and culture that is not to be missed. Here are some more ways to help.
Alaska is one of the most iconic hiking destinations in the world. The state boasts vast and pristine wilderness, stunning mountain ranges, and sparkling glaciers. With over 365,000 square miles of land, the opportunities are endless.
Hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, vast glaciers, and pristine lakes. Early risers and evening strollers may get to observe wildlife like grizzly bears, moose, and caribou.
The state has a variety of hiking trails that range from easy walks to challenging treks through rugged terrain, making it a popular destination for hikers of all levels of experience.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in Alaska:
- Harding Icefield Trail: Located in Kenai Fjords National Park, this 8-mile trail offers stunning views of the Harding Icefield and its glaciers.
- Mount Marathon: This 3-mile trail takes hikers up to the summit of Mount Marathon, offering breathtaking views of Seward and Resurrection Bay. If you are ready for a challenge, sign up for the Mount Marathon Race – the toughest 5K in the world.
- Flattop Mountain Trail: Located in Chugach State Park, this 3-mile trail takes hikers up to the summit of Flattop Mountain, offering panoramic views of Anchorage and the surrounding mountains. You might want to leave extra early for this one – Flattop Mountain is considered one of the most popular hiking trails in Alaska.
- Crow Pass Trail: This 23-mile trail takes hikers through stunning glaciers, alpine meadows, and mountain lakes. It takes an average of 10 hours, so don’t forget to pack plenty of food!
- Kesugi Ridge Trail: This 27-mile trail traverses through Denali State Park, with views of the Alaska Range and Denali. If you are up for an overnight adventure, consider turning this hike into a backpacking trip!
Alaska is the last frontier, which means big bear country! Before you go, read more on how to protect yourself from wildlife.
California boasts incredible natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and an ideal climate for year-round outdoor activities. With over 400 state and national parks, you are bound to find a trail that suits your interests and needs.
California lets you explore everything and anything your heart desires – from ocean coasts to desert canyons, and high mountain peaks to ancient redwood forests. The state is also home to some of the country’s most iconic natural landmarks, like Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park.
Here are some of the most popular hiking destinations in California:
- Half Dome, Yosemite National Park: The Half Dome trail is a challenging 14 to 16-mile round-trip hike that takes hikers to the top of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. Before you go, make sure to secure your day hike permit (they are required seven days a week)!
- Mount Whitney, Sequoia National Park: Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States. The hike to the summit is 22 22-mile round trip, with alpine meadows and expansive views of the Sierra Nevada.
- Pacific Crest Trail: This trail stretches over 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada, with over 1700 miles of it running through California. Hikers can choose to do shorter sections of the trail or embark on a longer journey that takes them through some of the state’s most scenic landscapes. If that sounds like the perfect challenge, you can learn more about thru-hiking here.
- John Muir Trail: This 211-mile trail runs through some of the most stunning landscapes in the Sierra Nevada, including Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park. Hikers have the opportunity to experience some of the most iconic natural landmarks in California.
- Joshua Tree National Park: This park offers a variety of unique hiking trails. I recommend exploring the Lost Palms Oasis Trail, a 7-mile trail that takes hikers through a cool, desert oasis. As always, make sure to bring plenty of water and only hike during cooler temperatures.
Colorado always delivers spectacular peaks, unique geological formations, and breathtaking views. The “Rocky Mountain State” offers over 5,000 miles of hiking trails, including challenging treks leading to some of the highest peaks in North America. Colorado is home to a wide variety of ecosystems, including alpine tundra, aspen groves, and high desert, allowing hikers to experience a diverse range of trails in just one trip.
Here are some of the most popular hiking trails and destinations in Colorado:
- Rocky Mountain National Park: This park offers over 350 miles of hiking trails, including the iconic Longs Peak Trail, a challenging 14.5-mile round-trip adventure that takes hikers to the summit of the park’s highest peak. If you are interested in hiking more of Colorado’s 14ers, we made a guide with everything you need to know.
- Maroon Bells, Aspen: The Maroon Bells are two of the most photographed peaks in North America. The hiking trails in this area offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Due to its popularity, you will need a permit if you plan to camp overnight.
- Chautauqua Park, Boulder: This state park offers a variety of hiking trails through the iconic Flatirons. A must-stop location for a unique and unforgettable hiking experience, it is the Hiking Daily team’s favorite local place to explore. Here are more of the best hikes in Boulder, Colorado.
- Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs: This short but steep one-mile hike takes hikers to a stunning turquoise lake. Hikers can take a dip in Glenwood’s local hot springs to soothe their muscles after a long day of exploring.
- Black Canyon, Gunnison National Park: This park offers a variety of trails through one of the most dramatic and steep-walled canyons in North America. A popular destination for Colorado’s many rock climbers, your neck may hurt from looking up to watch!
Learn more about our other favorite hikes in Colorado
Washington has dramatic landscapes, ranging from mountains to beaches, rainforests to deserts, and everything in between. The state is home to three national parks, numerous state parks, and hundreds of miles of trails that offer breathtaking views of the state’s natural beauty. Hikers can experience everything from snow-capped peaks to rugged coastlines and ancient forests, making Washington a top destination for hiking enthusiasts.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in Washington:
- Mount Rainier National Park: This park offers numerous hiking trails, including the Skyline Trail, a 5.5-mile loop that takes hikers through alpine meadows and offers stunning views of Mount Rainier.
- Olympic National Park: There are countless trails to discover in this national park, including the Hoh River Trail, a 17-mile trail that takes hikers through the Hoh Rainforest, offering a unique experience of a temperate rainforest. Make sure you have a good raincoat! We love the Arc’terx Beta AR jacket.
- North Cascades National Park: This park is known for its rugged peaks, glaciers, and alpine lakes, and offers hiking trails like the Cascade Pass Trail, a 7.4-mile trail that takes hikers through some of the most stunning landscapes in the park.
- Ape Cave Trail, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument: Ape Cave Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that takes hikers through a lava tube that was formed during an eruption. Pretty cool, huh?
- Enchantment Lakes Trail, Enchantments: The Enchantments in the Cascades have stunning alpine scenery and several popular hiking trails, including the Enchantment Lakes Trail, an 18-mile trail that takes hikers through lakes and high alpine meadows.
We all know that hikes in Washington usually involve a wet and foggy climate. For those traveling from drier climates, like Colorado, make sure you are well prepared! Get ready to hike in the rain, and don’t let wet socks ruin your adventure!
There’s a reason why Montanans refer to their state as the “Last Best Place.” Montana is known for its breathtaking mountain ranges, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife.
With a small population and over 3.4 million acres of designated wilderness, Montana offers hikers a chance to explore some of the most rugged and remote terrain in the lower 48.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in Montana:
- Grinnell Glacier Trail, Glacier National Park: This 10-mile round-trip hike takes hikers to one of the most picturesque glaciers in the park, offering stunning views of glacial lakes and snow-capped peaks along the way.
- Highline Trail, Glacier National Park: The Highline Trail is a 12-mile trek that takes hikers along the Continental Divide and offers breathtaking views of the park’s landscapes.
- The M Trail, Bozeman: This short but steep 1-mile hike takes hikers to the top of Mount Baldy, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Make sure to stop by the Bozeman Food Co-Op for a tasty, post-hike bite to eat.
- Beehive Basin Trail, Big Sky: Big Sky is a large ski and bike resort, featuring the iconic Lone Peak. Below the resort, you can visit the Beehive Basin Trail – a 7-mile round-trip hike that takes hikers to a stunning alpine lake surrounded by towering peaks and wildflowers.
- Avalanche Lake Trail, Glacier National Park: This 4.5-mile round-trip hike takes hikers through old-growth forests to a crystal-clear lake surrounded by towering peaks and cascading waterfalls.
Montana has a small (but growing) population, in which there are two times as many cows as humans! Though we love these odds, destinations like Glacier National Park can get really busy with outside tourists. Check out the National Park Service website to learn about the best times to visit and how to secure a permit.
Utah is home to five iconic national parks, numerous state parks, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails that lead to natural wonders such as towering red rock formations, slot canyons, and natural arches. Utah’s diverse landscapes offer hikers a range of experiences, from easy nature walks to challenging backcountry treks.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in Utah:
- Angels Landing, Zion National Park: Perhaps one of the most popular hikes in America, Angels Landing is a 5-mile round trip hike that takes hikers to the top of a 1,500-foot cliff, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding canyon and valley.
- The Narrows, Zion National Park: This trail takes hikers through a narrow slot canyon with walls up to 2,000 feet high, offering a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
- Delicate Arch Trail, Arches National Park: The Delicate Arch Trail is a 3-mile round trip hike that leads hikers to the iconic Delicate Arch, one of the most photographed natural landmarks in the world.
- Bryce Canyon Rim Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park: This 11-mile trail takes hikers along the rim of Bryce Canyon National Park’s stunning amphitheaters, offering sky-high views of the unique rock formations and spires.
- Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulch Slot Canyons, Escalante: These two slot canyons give hikers a thrilling and challenging hiking experience, with narrow passageways and towering walls that create a unique and unforgettable landscape.
Maine’s rugged coastline, rolling hills, and vast wilderness areas make it one of the best states for hiking in the northeastern United States. With over 17 million acres of forest and more than 2,500 miles of coastline, Maine offers hikers a diverse range of landscapes to explore, including coastal trails, mountain ranges, and shimmering lakes.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in Maine:
- Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park: This challenging 2-mile trail takes hikers to the summit of Champlain Mountain, offering stunning views of the park’s rugged coastline and surrounding islands.
- Katahdin Loop Trail, Baxter State Park: Katahdin Loop is a 10-mile trail that takes hikers to the summit of Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine.
- Jordan Pond Path, Acadia National Park: This easy 3-mile trail takes hikers around the stunning Jordan Pond, offering beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
- Beech Mountain Trail, Acadia National Park: This moderate 2-mile trail takes hikers to the summit of Beech Mountain, offering panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding islands.
- Gulf Hagas Trail, White Mountains National Forest: For 8 miles, the Gulf Hagas Trail takes hikers through a stunning gorge with waterfalls and pools.
Maine is known for being buggy in the summer. Before you go, make sure you know how to prevent ticks when hiking.
With over 300 miles of coastline, dense forests, and towering mountains, hikers in Oregon can experience a wide range of natural wonders. The state’s many parks and protected areas offer a variety of hiking opportunities, from short nature walks to multi-day backpacking trips.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in Oregon:
- Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge: This easy 3-mile hike takes hikers to the iconic Multnomah Falls, which cascades down over 600 feet in two stages, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in the United States.
- Mount Hood, Timberline Trail: The Timberline Trail is a challenging 41.5-mile loop trail that takes hikers around the base of Mount Hood, offering stunning views of the mountain’s glaciers and surrounding forests.
- Crater Lake National Park, Cleetwood Cove Trail: This 2-mile trail takes hikers down to the shores of Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, offering crystal-clear blue waters and stunning views of Wizard Island.
- Opal Creek Wilderness, Jawbone Flats Trail: The Jawbone Flats Trail hikers on a 7-mile adventure through a lush old-growth forest to Jawbone Flats, a restored mining town with historic cabins and buildings.
- Smith Rock State Park, Misery Ridge Trail: This 5-mile loop trail takes hikers up and over Misery Ridge, offering stunning views of the park’s unique rock formations and the surrounding high desert landscape.
Like its neighbor Washington, Oregon trails are known to get wet. Consider purchasing a pair of waterproof socks for hiking.
9. North Carolina
North Carolina’s beautiful mountain ranges, stunning waterfalls, and vast wilderness areas make it one of the best states for hiking on the East Coast. Hikers can experience the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, Smoky Mountains, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in North Carolina:
- Linville Gorge, Linville Falls: This 2.6-mile trail takes hikers to Linville Falls, a waterfall that drops 90 feet into the gorge below, offering breathtaking, misty views.
- Mount Mitchell State Park, Black Mountain Crest Trail: The Black Mountain Crest Trail is a challenging 12-mile hike that travels to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Chimney Rock State Park, Hickory Nut Falls Trail: This easy 1.5-mile trail takes hikers to the base of the stunning 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, offering jaw-dropping views of the surrounding cliffs and rock formations.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Alum Cave Trail: The Alum Cave Trail is a 5.5-mile trek through an ancient, beautiful forest to Alum Cave, a massive rock formation that offers views of the surrounding mountains.
- Blue Ridge Parkway, Rough Ridge Trail: The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road, known for its views. If you happen to travel on this road, make sure to check out the Rouch Ridge Trail – an easy 0.8-mile trail that takes hikers to the top of Rough Ridge, offering views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
We love North Carolina’s lush forests, but like Maine, they are known for their bugs! Some hiking clothes, like ExOfficio’s BugsAway collection, help keep creepy crawlies on the trails and out of your pants.
Last but not least, Hawaii! Its’ diverse, tropical terrain offers a hiking experience that is unmatched by any other state. From volcanic landscapes to lush rainforests, Hawaii is an adventurer’s paradise, with plenty of opportunities for hiking enthusiasts of all levels.
The state is home to a variety of trails that lead to vast vistas, breathtaking waterfalls, and other natural wonders that showcase the beauty of Hawaii’s magical islands.
Here are some of the most popular hikes in Hawaii:
- Kalalau Trail, Kauai: This 11-mile trail leads hikers along the breathtaking Napali Coastline, offering views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding cliffs.
- Haleakala National Park, Maui: This park offers a variety of hiking opportunities, including the Halemau’u Trail, which guides hikers through a surreal volcanic landscape, epic vistas, mountains, and valleys.
- Diamond Head State Monument, Oahu: This State Monument features the Diamond Head, a volcanic cone with views of Honolulu and its coastline.
- Mauna Kea Summit Trail, Big Island: Mauna Kea Summit is a challenging 13.5-mile trail that brings hikers to the summit of Mauna Kea, the highest peak in Hawaii. For extra adventure, consider hiking at night to enjoy Hawaii’s dazzling views of the stars.
- Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai: This park offers a variety of hiking opportunities, including the popular Canyon Trail, which leads hikers through Waimea Canyon, a landmark known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
If that’s not enough hiking ideas, here are 100 more.