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20 of the Best Hikes in the USA

No matter if you are a novice or experienced hiker, there is a trail here for you.

By: Angie Vasquez + Save to a List

Presented by Sawyer

The USA has a plethora of open space to venture into the outdoors. From the coastlines of California to the mountainscapes of Maine there are plenty of trails to hike and adventure on. 

Photo: Angie Vasquez

For me, living in my camper van Parker has given me plenty of opportunity to hike and explore the trails in the states. Here is my list of the top 20 trails that I have hiked or that I have on my bucket list.

1. Box Canyon, Wendell, Idaho

Photo: CampCo

Hiking is always a rewarding adventure but what if you could swim in the springs halfway through? Box Canyon Springs trail is a moderate hike taking you down into the canyon to a beautiful turquoise blue spring waters. There are also views of a short drop waterfall. I recommend carrying trek poles with you for the descent into the canyon and your Sawyer Sunscreen, because the trail is not shaded.

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2. Hike to Cecret Lake, Alta, Utah

    Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez

    Utah is abundant in hiking trails! One of my favorite trails to visit is located just minutes outside of Salt Lake City. Cecret Lake is a hidden gem a local suggested and it definitely did not disappoint. The trail takes you through the forest to switchbacks along the mountain. Take in all of the views at the top then descend down to the lake, it’s magical.

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    3. Hike to Horseshoe Lake, Denali, Alaska

      Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez

      Traveling to Alaska and hiking in the Denali National Park was a dream come true! This trail is beautiful and full of picturesque views as you ascend through the forest towards Horseshoe lake. You may see the train pass by on the mountainside as you play on the rocks at the shore. Be sure to keep an eye out for the beaver dams along the river.

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      4. Hike the Precipice Trail of Champlain Mountain in Acadia NP, Bar Harbor, Maine

        Photo: Lara Paul

        The Precipice Trail is a short but impressive hike. Packed with some punch, this is not for anyone afraid of heights because there’s some climbing involved. Once you conquer the rungs and ladder and ascend to the mountaintop there are spectacular views of Bar Harbor islands. I carry my first aid kit with me at all times but for this trail, I’d definitely make sure to pack Sawyer Blist-O-Ban bandages to give extra comfort because the trail goes up steep rocks and uneven terrain along the way.

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        5. Hike to Hanging Rock, Danbury, North Carolina

          Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez

          The trail is on the shorter side but packs a big punch! I really loved walking through the forest of oak and pine that led me up the steep path alongside the mountain to the top. Once you reach the peak you can see views of the park, Triad cities and Blue Ridge Parkway on a clear day. The Fall is a great time to go, because the foliage changes colors to beautiful hues of oranges and red.

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          6. Hike to Lava Canyon, Mount Saint Helens, Washington

          Photo: Heather Munstermann

          Loop trails are my favorite way to hike. The Lava Canyon trail has the right amount of distance with plenty to see along the way including the falls with water running where lava once flowed. Did I mention there is a suspension bridge? Yes, who doesn’t love a suspension bridge. You cannot go wrong with this adventure.

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          7. Hike the Kuli'ou'ou Ridge Trail, Oahu, Hawaii

            Photo: senray

            The trail has an elevation gain over 1,650 feet but is worth it to see the view of both sides of the island once you reach the top of the ridge. There is plenty of shade and it’s well maintained but be sure to wear good boots because the trail can be muddy in some places and there are plenty of roots on the path. Last but not least be sure to stay on trail to help with the prevention eroding in the area.

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            8. Hike the West and East Rim Loop at Dead Horse Point, Moab, Utah

            Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez

            The great 360 degree views will have you awestruck the entire hike. The trail has all the feels of hiking the nearby national parks without all the crowds. I hiked with friends early morning and loved how many beautiful viewpoints there were to stop and appreciate Mother Nature's creation.

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            9. Hike the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls in Yosemite NP, California

            Photo: Amber Locke

            Exploring Yosemite is definitely on my bucket list and the Mist Trail looks like a challenging trail to push my hiking limits. The trail is a bit of a difficult hike that takes you to Vernal falls. Grab your trekking poles for the adventure because you will be heading up a little over 2,200 feet in elevation. As you hike up the trail there are scenic views and depending on your route back down you can take the John Muir trail to visit Emerald Lake.

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            10. Hiking McCall Point, Mosier, Oregon

            Photo: David Schelske

            I love seeing wildflowers on the side of the road. The beautiful array of colors are so inviting. When I came across this trail in Oregon, I knew I had to add it to the list! Walking along the trail there are views of Mt. Hood and tons of wildflowers on the mountainside. I suggest packing a lunch and having a picnic near the end of the trail and taking in all the views.

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            11. Hike to Alamere Falls, Point Reyes, California

            Photo: Grant

            Does hiking through the forest and ending on the beach sound amazing? Picture all of the beautiful scenery you will see along the way. This is a moderately strenuous day-hike taking you to a waterfall cascading into the Pacific Ocean.

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            12. Hike the Sacred Steps of Bear Mountain, South Dakota

            Michael Wigle

            I have always wanted to visit South Dakota and this little gem of a hike caught my eye. On the way up, the 360 degree views look spectacular but that's not what caught my attention. This land belonged to the Lakota nation. They considered it to be sacred and remnants of their story still remain on the trail.

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            13. Hiking Torrey Pines, Torrey Pines, California

            Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez

            The beachside hike gives perfect views the entire way. So many smaller trails that connect you to beautiful spots on the cliffs to sit and enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing below. Descend the natural rock stairs to the beach and take a dip in the ocean before heading back to your car.

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            14. Hike Ice Box Canyon, Red Rock Conservation Area, Nevada

            Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez

            The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area has some great trails. Of the ones I’ve hiked I really enjoyed the Ice Box Canyon trail. As you venture into the desert there are parts of the trail that will remind you of an oasis, depending on the season you visit. Be sure to look up at the rock formations, you will sometimes see rock climbers scaling the walls.

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            15. Hike Lake Louisa State Park, Clermont, Florida

            Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez

            Lake Louisa is one of my favorites because there is a trail for all levels of hikers ranging from a half mile to over five miles and you can combine trails to create the perfect hike for you. I suggest using Sawyer insect repellent on the trail, because a few of the most beautiful spots can be a little buggy.

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            16. Hike the Summit Trail Loop at Smith Rock, Deschutes, Oregon

            Photo: Rachel Davidson

            The Summit Loop trail will take you on winding switchbacks up a few steep grades on the way to the top of the mountain. The park was created mainly through volcanic activity and you will notice this in the rock formations. Make sure to grab your camera to record memories worth repeating as you enjoy spectacular views of the Cascades and Crooked River and possibly Mt. Hood on a clear day.

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            17. Hike to Red Cliffs Recreation Nature Trail, Hurricane, Utah

            Photo: Rick B.

            I love hiking along waterways and this looks like a fun hike near a stream surrounded by sandstone. The waterfall marks the end of the trail but you can climb to the top and slide down the shoot. How fun would that be on a warm day with friends?

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            18. Hike the Sinks Canyon Trail, Lander, Wyoming

            Photo: Josiah Roe

            The Sinks Canyon trail is the perfect Summer hike, because the snow has begun to melt and you can see the flow of the river. There’s plenty of opportunity to see wildlife and wildflowers on this adventure. You can even bring your fur baby! Just remember to keep them on a leash and pack out the waste, keeping it safe for wildlife and respecting others hiking as well.

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            19. Hike the Seven Bridge Walk, San Diego, California

            Hike the city in San Diego through different neighborhoods while adventuring seven different bridges and walkways. You will pass urban art, historical sites and beautiful Balboa Park. I recommend stopping for a bite to eat along the way.

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            20. Hike to Mt. LeConte Via Alum Caves, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

            Photo: Jess Fischer

            The Smoky Mountains National Park has over 850 miles of trails of all hiking levels. The Trail to Mt. LeConte is more on the challenging side because of elevation but absolutely worth it. You will see a very diverse system of trees and geology as you ascend the mountain, giving you a history lesson of the park. I recommend coming early because parking can be difficult as this is a very popular trail for the locals.

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            Okay, so there you have it -- Twenty of what I’d consider the best hikes around the USA! Hiking is a way of reconnecting to yourself and the world around you all while taking in great views. Now is the perfect time to explore some of the amazingly breathtaking trails right here in the US. So grab your gear, best friend and fur baby, and hit the trails.

            We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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