Are you preparing for a hiking trip and not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up top 10 best hikes in the US that all trails users are totally obsessed with. In the United States, there are plenty of options available for hikes across the country. There are 59 national parks, 154 national forests, and more than 10,000 state parks. Depending on where you go, you see waterfalls and lakes, canyons and gorges, animals and wildflowers of all varieties, or trees so tall they seem to scrape the sky.
1. Precipice Trail: Acadia National Park, Maine
If you’re not afraid of heights, this is the trail for you! This could be the most dangerous hike of Acadia and probably one of the best hikes in the US, but is the worth view. It’s more of a rock climb than a simple hike. Experienced hikers will say it’s something you need to experience yourself because views of the ocean from the mountains of the Northeast are special. It’s a rather short hike, but there’s a bit of a rock scramble in the beginning, so be prepared for that. You’ll enjoy this hike if you’re an experienced and love climbing. Precipice is a thrilling hike. Hike smart, be safe and enjoy!
2. Mooney Falls: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
If you’re looking for most beautiful and amazing scenery and probably best hikes in the US, this trail is for you! Mooney Falls, in Havasupai Indian Reservation, which is found in the Grand Canyon, is the tallest of the five waterfalls of Havasupai Waterfalls. It’s over 200 feet high, taller than Niagara and is very impressive to see! The water color, the height, and the overall adventurous hike down will make it your favorite waterfall. There are some great pools and smaller waterfalls to explore, so don’t forget to bring your water shoes with you!
The hiking down is not recommended for people who are afraid of height and for children, the hike down ladder is very scary and you should be strong, fairly flexible and not afraid of heights. Since you climb down chains and ladders that anyone can get severely injured if they fell. If hiking down, just take your time and be safe. It is a very long way to a hospital.
3. Harding Icefield Trail: Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
This is a strenuous hike and almost 8 miles round trip and 3400 ft. elevation gain, a very popular trail in the area and probably one of the best hikes in the US. If you are a good hiker and fairly fit, then you must do this hike. It’s one of the most spectacular hikes, but you do have to work for the view. Best view at the top, keep the momentum going as you climb higher and higher! There is quite a lot of ascent, but even if you don’t get right to the top (which you should it’s worth it) there are fine views all the way up. A must do!
4. Eagle Falls Trail: Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky
Eagle Falls Trail has a lower an upper falls. The lower falls can be reached from the Emerald Bay road on the lakeside north of the falls. It is a relatively steep trail down. There are many beautiful views of the falls as you head up the hill. Spring runoff is best but can be dangerous near the falls. The upper falls from the west side of the Emerald Bay road where there is a parking lot, is the most popular and easiest trail. If you’re looking for short, easy and fabulous hike, go for it! This is one of the easiest and best hikes in the US.
5. Quechee Gorge Dewey Pond Trail: Quechee State Park, Vermont
Quechee Gorge Dewey Pond Trail is also known as “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon”, very beautiful, great views and easy to reach. It’s a beginner’s lever hike that’s well suited for families, pet owners and photography. The closeness to traffic is a bit scary, so beware of the busy road as you want to see either side of the bridge looking down on the Gorge. If you’re not a hiker or fit very well, you can see the Gorge from the bridge which goes across it. There is also a Gift Shop and it has big car park. You can also get sandwiches, salad, and burgers form the Gift Shop.
6. Tall Trees Grove Trail: Redwood National Park, California
The hike to Tall Trees Grove Trail is one of the best and easy hikes in California or maybe best hikes in the US. Coast redwood, some of the tallest trees in the world, of the species Sequoia sempervirens, grows here. Many of the trees in this grove stand well over 350 feet, and are so high you can’t even see the top. The number and size of the redwoods is truly awesome. Tremendous variety of single trunks, multiple trees from burl sprouts, burned out hulks, deadfalls and hang-ups (safe to go under). Absolutely magical small groves throughout, but the riverbank grove is just magical. The trees are beyond huge and go up forever.
To protect the grove, limited numbers of cars are allowed per day, and permits must be obtained by one of the local National Park centers off US 101. You need a permit and lock code for the gate and road to the trailhead. Trail through the trees is about 4 miles easy to moderate downs and ups (more down on the way out, more up on the way back) 800 to 1000 ft. total change. Nothing really strenuous. A few wet spots and passage under and through some trees. Not paved, but generally very clear trails.
7. Rose River Trail: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Rose River Trail is the most beautiful hike in the Shenandoah National Park for streams and waterfalls. You’ll mostly hike along the Rose River, the Hog Camp Branch, and finally up the Rose River fire road. It has awesome views of running water throughout the trail. Rose River Falls itself is very beautiful and you can even swim in the pool below the falls on a hot day, and remember to bring lots of water to drink also, especially in warmer months. Take your time and enjoy the falls as the uphill hike will challenge you.
8. Ozette Triangle Trail: Olympic National Park, Washington
Ozette Triangle Trail also knows as “Ozette Loop Trail”, and it’s shaped like an equilateral triangle with the parking lot at its apex. Two sides of the triangle are trails through the woods out to the coast, and the third side where the campsites are is along the coast. If you don’t prefer to complete the triangle, just hike 3 miles to the beach, and spend time enjoying the tide pools! They are the best of the west side of the Olympic Peninsula! If you are looking for an interesting and somewhat challenging beach hike, the Ozette Loop is a great experience!
9. Canyon Overlook Trail: Zion National Park, Utah
This is a rather short hike of length half a mile and requiring roughly an hour of hiking time. The trail starts from a parking lot just east of the Zion Park Tunnel. The trailhead is located behind the ranger traffic booth on the north side of the road. Beware if you are afraid of heights. The views along the trail and at the end are spectacular. The hike starts with a climb up some fairly steep but well cut out stairs in the rock. The trail ends at an overlook that defies words. It actually rivals Observation Point somewhat even though you’re looking at a different valley. Just beautiful!
10. Jenny Lake Trail: Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
Jenny Lake is the heart of Grand Tetons National Park. It’s the most beautiful and popular hike in the Grand Tetons National Park and probably one of the best hikes in the US. It’s an easy hike at start along Jenny Lake then moderate. Never really hard. Take the boat to the trail and back again to reduce miles hiked. The view is great for little effort and the boat ride is fun. The scenery and views of Jenny Lake are stunning. One cannot take their eyes off the lake and the mountains framing it in the background. Absolutely stunning!
So these are the top 10 best hikes in the US. We hope that you’ll find it useful and it will help your first hike memorable and enjoyable! Where will you go? Leave a comment to share your ideas; we’d love to hear them!