It’s likely that you’ve encountered them all before: the identical group of well-known and often visited trails that appear on each and every “top ten” list available. The Narrows, Havasupai, Mount Washington…these are all amazing walks, but they are by no means better than some of the hidden gems and lesser-known trails all throughout the country. Hidden jewels and lesser-known trails can be found all across the country. This guide to the best hikes in the United States was prepared by our team after several years of backpacking across thousands of miles of terrain in the United States. We hope that it will be of assistance to you as you plan your next epic journey on the trails.
Why go for a combination of well-known and less-traveled trails? There are a lot of trails in the United States that get so much use that they are in danger of being worn down or destroyed. Even if we can put the Leave No Trace Principles into effect and do our best to protect the local trails, it is critical that we spread the strong foot traffic that is generated by hikers throughout a variety of trails around the country in order to protect the natural areas that are there. This list has been meticulously curated to include only those hiking routes in the United States that not only offer some of the most breathtaking scenery but also have the capacity to accommodate a larger number of hikers.
People who live in the Northeast are certainly familiar with the breathtaking White Mountains in New Hampshire. These mountains can be found in the state of New Hampshire. In this part of the United States, you’ll discover some of the highest mountains in the country, and it’s also home to some of the most beautiful trails you’ll find anywhere in the country. If you are going to hike any trail in order to get a sense of what the White Mountains are all about, the Franconia Ridge Loop is the one you should do.
This trek, which is considered to be one of the toughest and most stunning day hikes in all of New England, will take you to the summits of three of the state’s highest mountains and will provide you with what are undoubtedly the greatest views in all of White Mountain National Forest. This trail is not for those who are easily discouraged, however, since it contains a number of sections with extremely steep slopes, rocky traverses, and windy ridge lines that call for a great deal of experience as well as the determination to persevere. However, if you are up for the task, the hike along Franconia Ridge will be one of the best day trips you’ve ever had and one that you won’t soon forget.
Mount Katahdin, which is the highest peak in the state of Maine and has an elevation of 5,269 feet, is the location of one of the most well-known and difficult walks in the state. However, the ridgeline, which is colloquially referred to as Knife’s Edge, is much more famous than the peak itself. This harsh, rocky ridge features dropoffs on both sides, making it a hazardous and thrilling place to hike that is only appropriate for experienced hikers. The only people who should attempt to hike here are those who have previous hiking expertise.
The trek is tough and will normally take a whole day to complete, but the views of northern Maine from the summit and adjacent peaks are out of this world and indisputably some of the most jaw-dropping panoramas the state has to offer. Even though it is not one of the hikes that is located closest to Portland, it is without a doubt one of the more exciting ones in the state, and it is absolutely deserving of the three and a half hour journey from the city!
Only experienced, seasoned hikers who are familiar with hiking at high elevations and in poor conditions (windy and maybe wet conditions) should attempt the 8.1-mile walk to the top of Mount Katahdin. In addition to that, it calls for a good deal of agility and stamina. You should only do this hike on days when the weather is clear, as it can be quite hazardous if there is poor weather.
Okay, okay, I’m aware that we stated that we wanted to steer clear of including the most well-known and overhyped trails in the United States. But Half Dome is different. This Yosemite National Park trail is 17 miles long and offers a difficult hike to the top of one of the most famous rock formations in the country. The trail is located in Yosemite National Park. Many hikers choose to start up this trail before dawn in order to reach the summit in time to see the sunrise… Believe us when we say that getting up early will pay off in the long run.
We have included this path on our list despite the fact that it is one of the most travelled trails in the United States because we believe that it is actually among the top treks in the country. Because Yosemite National Park has a permit system that is decided by a lottery, the park has restricted the amount of visitors who are permitted on this trail on an annual basis, which gives us another reason to feel comfortable suggesting it.
The Half Dome trail welcomes hikers from the end of May through the beginning of October and features a part that allows hikers to scale the rock face of the trail utilising a cable system that is bolted into the side of the cliff. Isn’t that a terrifying thought? Half Dome is one of the most gorgeous trails in the world, and it is well worth the adrenaline to climb up to this famous summit. The trail is not for those who are faint of heart, but it is one of the most spectacular trails in the world.
In most people’s minds, Texas is not the first place that comes to mind when they think of hiking. The Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park, however, is one of the best walks in the United States, and it completely disproves any and all of those misconceptions about hiking in the park. As you make your way through the Chisos Basin and up to the rim of the park, you will be treated to breathtaking panoramas of the canyons, basins, and cliffs that surround this uninhabited region on the border with Mexico. Big Bend National Park is one of the most beautiful and underrated national parks in the United States, but getting there can be a bit of a challenge due to its distance from the nearest airport, which is over three hours away. Despite this, it is absolutely worth the adventure to visit Big Bend National Park.
Big Bend National Park’s Lost Mine Trail offers hikers an experience similar to that of adventuring through the Wild West. As you climb higher into the park and pass through its dry landscapes and panoramas, you will see an abundance of desert species. If you want to see some of the most beautiful colours and lighting in the park, we suggest beginning your hike either very early in the morning or approximately 1.5 hours before sunset.