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Happy Trails: Best Hiking Trails in the USA

Glenwood Springs, Colorado is home to an array of hiking trails, including the stunning Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon, but great trails abound all over the country. Reap the benefits of fresh air and explore nature wherever you may find yourself.

Fresh air, social distance, and freedom from pandemic cabin fever drew high numbers of people to the hiking trails in the past year. A report in early 2020 showed that the activity had already grown from nearly 30 million people in 2006 to nearly 48 million in 2018 and the trail population exploded last year. The route-cataloging app AllTrails said activity tripled, with record use on Labor Day weekend, national parks saw long lines of cars backed up when they opened, and the American Hiking Society reported a 200-percent increase in cities across the country.

America’s Bounty of Hiking Trails

There’s plenty of room out there on the trail. The National Trails System alone, including 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails and more than 1,000 National Recreation Trails, has more than 50,000 miles where you can walk. That includes the Triple Crown of Hiking – the Pacific Crest, the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, and the Appalachian Trail.

Clubs and publications generate countless “best-of” lists for hiking, whether you’re looking for easy, hard, or medium exercise; mountains, rivers, lakes, rainforests, volcanos, arches, glaciers, or other scenery; day-trips or longer excursions. Here are some that earn multiple mentions in those guides.

Trails Rated Best for Hiking

Hiking trails abound throughout the USYosemite National Park, California. The par has some 50 trails, including the Half Dome Trail, 14 to 16 miles for experienced hikers with views of Vernal and Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap as one of the most iconic landmarks, the Half Dome. Clouds Rest Trail is a moderately difficult hike of 14.5 miles.

Delicate Arch Trail, Utah. This three-mile hike in Arches National Park takes you to the most famous of the 2,000 stone arches in the par, with an opening 46 feet high and 32 feet wide. You’ll also see Ute petroglyphs on the way.

Acadia National Park, Maine. Popular trails in this park are the Precipice Trail, with arise in elevation of 1,060 feet across 2.5 miles; Cadillac Mountain North Ridge, with views of Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor; and Ocean Trail, an easy walk of 4.4 miles.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. This is a 101-mile stretch along the Blue Ridge Mountains of the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail. The park has more than 500 miles of trails.

John Muir Trail, California. This trail runs 211 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and passing Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon.

Grand Canyon, Arizona. Trails include the Bright Angel Trail, the Rim Trail on the south, and the North Kaibab Trail on the north. Some are more strenuous; all offer panoramic views.

Burroughs Mountain Hike, Washington. This 4.7-mile trip in Mount Rainier Park in the Cascades has amazing mountain views and a tundra region.

Angel’s Landing, Utah. This 5.4-mile hike in Zion National park has an elevation rise of 1,488 feet, sections that are only feet wide, and 21 switchbacks.

Grinnell Glacier Trail, Montana. This 10.3-mile trail in Glacier National Park passes Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine with views of Grinnell Falls, Angel Wing, Mount Gould, and Grinnell Lake.

Halema’uma’u Trail, Hawaii. This moderately difficult trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park goes down from the Crater Rim Trail 0.8 miles through a rain forest to the Kilauea caldera floor or up 1.3 miles to the top of Byron Ledge.

Learn more about nature and our amazing world by planning a visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today! Purchase tickets online and peruse our blog for articles on a range of activity and outdoor-oriented topics.

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