The USA's Top 10 Hiking Trails: From Coast To Coast

Jeff Askin

Going for a hike is as easy as tying your shoes and taking that first step into nature. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors and discover the diverse terrain that comprises the USA. With such an abundance of open space to offer, America has become a hiking hotbed. Weekend warriors across the country are making their way out of the city to see what the hype is all about. Discover ten of the best places to get hiking.

View from the top of Lincoln Mountain

Long Trail, Jay Peak Long Trail North: Jay, Vermont

This trail settled in the Green Mountains of Vermont is a true gem that is worth seeing if you are in the Northeast. This 270-mile trail is one of the oldest long-distance hiking trails in the country. This trail stretches through Vermont and all the way to the Canadian border. The 270-mile trail offers plenty of short hikes that encompass all skill levels. Be careful when hiking in inclement weather, as the peak can be dangerous due to its open exposure.

Sunrise on Beacon Heights

Old Rag Mountain: Shenandoah National Park, Va.

This hike in the Shenandoah National Park is one of the most popular hikes in the mid-Atlantic Region. It offers spectacular panoramic views from many of the trails and is a favorite among the locals. If you are up to the challenge, it also offers one of the most challenging rock scrambles in the park. Be sure to plan your hike carefully and go early in the morning, as the park tends to become crowded by the late afternoon.

Sunrise on Beacon Heights

Beacon Heights: Linville, N.C.

Beacon Heights is a short and sweet hike that offers great long-range views of the surrounding mountains. It is located right off Hwy 221 and is very accessible. It is an easy to moderate uphill hike that is great for the whole family. The trail is only about a quarter mile long so its perfect from the hiker that wants to get in and get out with too much fuss.

: Landscape view of the John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail, Sierra Nevada Mountains: Yosemite Valley, California

This long distance trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains passes through three National Parks and covers a distance of over 200 miles. It was named after the naturalist John Muir and follows the footpath of the Pacific Crest Trail. The hike lies almost entirely at 8000 feet in elevation and has been described as ‘America’s Most Famous Trail’.

Small Waterfall in Autumn at Colombia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

The Columbia River Gorge is an expansive area that stretches eighty-five miles on the Columbia River. The Gorge itself is 4000-feet deep and slices through the extreme mountainous topography. The hiking area comprises more than 100 different trails that offer something for all skill levels. It has become a hotspot for tourists from around the world who want to experience the expansive Pacific Northwest in all of its pristine beauty.

Franconia Ridge Traverse: White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

The White Mountain National Forest offers over a 1000 miles of pristine wilderness to hike. It is also one of the most beautiful sections of the Appalachian Trail and is home to the Presidential Mountain Range. If you are looking to see a mesmerizing waterfall check out the Arethusa Falls trail. The 160-foot tall waterfall is sure to leave you speechless.

Creek inside Big South Fork Recreational Area

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Honey Creek Loop: Tennessee

This hiking trail is located near the town of Allardt and is recommended to experienced hikers only. If you have the skill to hike this trail then get ready to have your socks blown off! The Honey Creek Loops includes amazing waterfalls, creeks, rivers and other geological features. The hike is five-and-a-half miles long and is accessible year-round to the public. Allow for plenty of time on this hike, as it is challenging and dangerous when the sun starts to set.

The Lost Coast: Photo by Scrubhiker

The Lost Coast: California

The Lost Coast in California is one of the premier coastal trails in the United States. Set in the rugged beaches of Northern California this National Recreation Trail is truly a wonder to see. This hike is the perfect way to get a first hand look at the marine life that inhabits the area. Sea lions are known to call these beaches home and there is an abundance of tide pools as well. Be sure to plan your hike accordingly or on a weekday as it can become very crowded during the holidays and weekends.

Maroon Lake

Snowmass Wilderness, Maroon Bells: Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Bells is located in the White River National Forrest near Aspen. It is considered one of the most photographed peaks in Colorado. The incredible mountain scenery speaks for itself and is a must see for all nature lovers. This is a great summer time hike as there are many natural springs and rivers to swim in. The most well known hike in this area is the Crater Lake Trail. This intermediate hike is great for a family outing and is post card worthy.

Panoramic View of Zion National Park

Angels Landing: Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is world renowned in the hiking community. The park is roughly 230 square miles of pure outdoor bliss. Of all the many trails in the park, one area in particular stands out from the rest. Angles Landing is considered the most famous in the entire park. With dizzying 360 degree views of the entire park this hike offers one of the most scenic lookouts in the entire country.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article