5 Hiking Trails Every American Should Visit
Apr 24, 2015 in General, Land
Hiking is as American as apple pie. And if our country’s extensive 60,000 mile trail system is any indication, today the pastime is as popular as ever. It’s interesting how the simple act of walking the bare ground through unkempt wilderness, away from the sounds and smells of civilization, is so mysteriously comforting to so many people. Maybe deep down it reminds us of our nomadic hunter gatherer roots, long before Uber taxis, bicycles, or even domesticated horses, when humanity’s only option for getting from point A to point B was by simply putting one foot in front of the other.
In honor of that great tradition and the coming spring weather, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most grand and scenic hikes our great country has to offer. Do yourself a favor and make an effort to visit as many of these as you can in your lifetime.
- 5.) Acadia National Park – This park offers hikers fantastic views of the ocean’s power as it batters against the rugged granite slabs of the Maine coast. Looking up from sea level, the park is also home to Cadillac Mountain which, at 1,530 feet, is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, and the very fist place to view the sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6. The Cadillac South Ridge Trail is one of the more interesting routes to the top. Just don’t be discouraged by the fresh-faced tourists emerging from their vehicles at the mountain peak’s parking lot once you get there. As any hiker knows, it’s far more rewarding to earn those mountain top views with a strenuous hike.
- 4.) Grand Canyon – Hiking may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the stunning vistas offered by Grand Canyon National Park. But the park has 15 trails that will bring you down into the canyon for this often overlooked view. Plan well ahead if you have an aim to spend the night inside the canyon, as you’ll need to secure a backcountry permit first. The park only issues 13,000 permits against 30,000 requests each year.
- 3.) Pacific Crest Trail – Winding through three states, the Pacific Crest Trail takes hikers inside seven national parks, 24 national forests and past more than 1,000 lakes along its more than 2,500 mile route. And if that wasn’t enough, the trail goes through several different kinds of environments from low desert to arctic-alpine country. The adventurous can thru-hike the entire thing, but for more manageable portions, hikers can pick up trailheads for day hikes in San diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.
- 2.) Appalachian Trail – This epic trail sprawls across the Atlantic seaboard from Georgia to Maine through 12 different states along its 2,178 miles. That makes it the longest marked trail in the United States and a mammoth undertaking for even experience hikers (only about one in four make it all the way). However, those who do complete the entire trek, dubbed “2,000 milers,” report it to be a life-changing experience.
- 1.) Yellowstone National Park – With more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails across about 2 million acres of land, it’s hard to pick just one trail to recommend in this nature-lover’s paradise. You really can’t go wrong whatever hike you choose, but let us recommend the trail to Mount Washburn. With an elevation of 10,243 feet, the peak gives you a gorgeous panoramic view of the surrounding park that makes it worth the roughly four hours it takes to hike up and back to the parking lot.