Our Bucket List of the Best Hiking Trails in the USA
The 10 essentials that you need when setting out on USA hiking trails are navigation (map and compass), sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen), insulation (extra clothing), illumination (headlamp/flashlight), first-aid supplies, fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle), repair kit and tools nutrition (extra food), hydration (extra water) as well as emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)
The US has some of the most stunning and dramatic hiking landscapes globally – from beginner USA hiking trails to advanced USA hiking trails. We’d forgive you if you found it difficult to choose what to go and see! From Big Sur to Lake Tahoe and everything in between, there are many USA hiking trails that you can go on.
What to wear when hiking
Hiking sandals, as well as sneakers, are quite appropriate for most terrains. Keep in mind that longer treks may still require you to wear hiking boots. Breathable wicking materials (no cotton) are essential for shirts, pants, and hiking socks. This is so that you can keep the sweat off your skin. Lighter colors absorb less heat and can keep you cooler on hot days.
Moisture-wicking hiking clothing
Moisture-wicking technology for hiking clothing exists in several different synthetic and natural materials (such as wool).
However, the premise is simple. These types of fabrics pull moisture away from your skin to keep you dry when you perspire. Most moisture-wicking hiking clothes are also quick-drying as moisture evaporates faster when it's on the fabric’s outer surface instead of against your skin.
In hiking clothes, moisture-wicking fabrics make it easier to regulate your body temperature as well as to ensure you don't walk around with wet clothes all day if you've already started perspiring at 9 am.
Proper fitting hiking shoes
No one ever adored a pair of ill-fitting hiking boots. The very noticeable difference between blisters and bliss is making sure that you take the time to get a great fit.
When you’re traversing the USA hiking trails, you should wear glasses with 100% UV protection that wrap around to your temples or include side blinders. A good option is a wide-brimmed hat or hat with a neck cape as this protects the head, face, and neck.
5 beginner USA hiking trails
If you’re yet to tackle those mountainous US hiking trails, now’s the time to pack your trekking poles and then start the climb. Take your pick of one of these five beginner USA hiking trails and get out there!
Wissahickon Trail, Philadelphia
There are 57 miles of scenic hiking trails in Wissahickon Valley Park, which is a lush, 1,800-acre gorge crossing forest and meadow.
The Boardwalk Loop, Congaree National Park
Boardwalk Loop Trail is a 3.2 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail near Hopkins, South Carolina, which features a lake and is good for all skill levels.
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, Death Valley National Park
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail is a 1.4 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Death Valley, California, which features a river and is good for all skill levels.
Trout Lake Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Trout Lake Loop is a 1.9-kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. This trail features a lake and is also good for all skill levels.
Crater Rim Trail, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Crater Rim Trail crosses the edge of the Kilauea summit caldera from Kīlauea Overlook to just past Keanakākoʻi Crater. This USA hiking trail is an awe-inspiring journey around the summit of one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park
The Bear Lake Loop, situated in Rocky Mountain National Park, is located at the end of Bear Lake Road and 9 miles from the turn-off at Highway 36.
Our pick of the best scenic hiking trails in the USA
Expansive views, towering trees as well as dramatic geology are just some of the astounding features of America’s most beautiful hiking trails.
Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park
The Precipice Trail is an ingenious route that heads up these steep cliffs, navigating the various fault lines and shelf systems. Numerous iron rungs, ladders, handrails, and wooden bridges help hikers at the more difficult and exposed sections.
Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park
The Angel’s Landing Trail has to be one of the most famous hikes in the USA. Hikers who are brave enough to dare the knife-edge ridge to the viewpoint of this USA scenic hike are treated to stunning 360-degree views of Zion Canyon.
Mooney Falls, Grand Canyon National Park
Hiking from Hualapai Hilltop to Supai and Mooney Falls should not be undertaken as a day hike. It is highly recommended as at least an overnight hike. A total of three days is even better.
Harding Icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park
The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area.
Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park
The Mist Trail, a popular short hike in Yosemite, follows the Merced River, starting at Happy Isles, past Vernal Fall and Emerald Pool, to Nevada Fall.
Top bucket list USA hiking trails
The vast and varied USA hiking trails are a fantastic place to get out and clear your head.
John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail begins in Yosemite National Park. It travels 210 miles along the High Sierra mountain range through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park, culminating at the highest peak in the continental United States - Mount Whitney.
Cirque of the Towers
The Cirque of the Towers is a breathtaking semi-circle of fifteen 12,000-foot craggy peaks that form a portion of the Continental Divide in the Wind River Mountain Range.
More than 70 miles of USA hiking trails run through the state park, which makes up more than 80% of Mackinac.
Nankoweap Trail, Arizona
Nankoweap Trail is a 29.2 mile, lightly trafficked out and back trail near North Rim, Arizona.
Cadillac Mountain Trail
Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail Loop is an 8.1-mile, heavily trafficked loop trail near Bar Harbor, Maine.
This is a hike that requires hiking in the Virgin River. You must get your feet wet – and the appropriate hiking apparel – as there is no trail.
Skyline Trail is a six-mile, heavily trafficked loop trail which is located near Paradise Inn, Washington.
Advanced long distance USA hiking trails
There is a long list of advanced long-distance trails in the USA.
Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2 650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington.
Kings Canyon National Park
This national park features terrain similar to Yosemite Valley. It is also home to the USA’s deepest canyon, over a mile and a half deep.
Half Dome - 3 days
Rising nearly 5 000 feet above Yosemite Valley - and 8 800 feet above sea level - Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many beginners and advanced USA trailer hikers.
Little river trail - 2 to 3 days
The trail begins relatively flat through State Forest Land where - if you look closely - you'll see old artifacts of the industry which have been reclaimed by nature.
Greenstone Ridge - 3 to 4 days
The Greenstone Ridge Trail is a 40-mile-long path that extends from Windigo Harbor and the Windigo Ranger Station.
CTA to get prepared for your next USA hiking trail adventure
To be properly prepared for your next USA hiking adventure, you need the proper hiking apparel. Find your ideal pair of hiking boots with us today!