Choosing your favorite hiking trails is no easy task. The United States is a big country, full of amazing natural wonders, so choosing the 10 best hikes in the United States is a daunting task. While there are many trails that can be considered among the best, we have chosen a diverse list representing a variety of lengths, levels of difficulty, and regions of the country. Hiking is for everyone, so no matter your ability level, these hikes will get you out and enjoying spectacular trails and amazing scenery.
#1: PANORAMA TRAIL
Location: Yosemite National Park, California
Trailhead/parking: Glacier Point parking area
Length: 13.4km one way , 6-8h
Difficulty: Strenuous. 1200m total elevation change
More information on Panorama Trail.
This incredible trail passes several stunning waterfalls and also takes hikers along the Panorama Cliff ridgeline for spectacular views. Choose between two different routes, one of which takes you along several miles of the John Muir Trail. This trail can be combined with the Four Mile Trail, which is actually closer to 5 miles, for a long and strenuous loop. During the summer season, the Panorama Trail can also be hiked one-way as a bus is available to return to Glacier Point (reservations required). Hiking from the top to the bottom of the Yosemite Valley makes the Panorama Trial one of the most impressive hikes in Yosemite National Park, and one of the best hikes in the United States.
#2: CANYON OVERLOOK TRAIL
Location: Zion National Park, Utah
Trailhead/parking: near the Zion / Mount Carmel Tunnel, east entrance
Length: 1.6km, 1h
More information on Canyon Overlook Trail.
Don’t let the length and accessibility of this trail fool you, the Canyon Overlook Trail gives you maximum canyons views for the least amount of effort.The trail is rocky and there are steep drop-offs along the way, but it brings you to a viewpoint with jaw-dropping views of the lower Zion Canyon as well as the Pine Creek slot canyon. This amazing trail is also extremely popular. There is no shuttle available, so get an early start to increase your chances of finding a parking space. The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the best hikes in the United States, and can be enjoyed year-round.
#3: DELICATE ARCH TRAIL
Location: Arches National Park, Utah
Trailhead/parking: Wolfe Ranch
Length: 4.8km, 2-3h
More information on Delicate Arch Trail.
The Delicate Arch is a favorite landmark for visitors to Arches National Park. While there are easily accessible viewpoints, the only way to get up close and personal with the Delicate Arch is to brave the steep climb over bare rock and along a narrow ledge. Watch for Ute Indian petroglyphs in the rock near Wolfe Ranch Cabin. Be aware that there is no shade on this hike and the summer heat can be very intense. This trail is an incredible adventure with spectacular views, and that’s what makes the Delicate Arch Trail one of the best hiking trails in the United States.
#4: CROW PASS TRAIL
Location: Chugach State Park, Alaska
Trailhead/parking: Eagle River Nature Center or Crow Creek Trailhead
Length: 33.8km one way
More information on Crow Pass Trail.
Unique wildlife and landscapes, crossing snowfields, fording rivers and streams without the help of bridges, incredible views… the Crow Pass Trail has everything an adventurous hiker could want in a trail. While hiking the full length of this trail is generally done over two or more days, reasonable day hikes can be taken from either trailhead. Designated campsites are available for those who pursue the full Crow Pass experience. The Crow Pass Trail is part of the Iditarod National Historic Trail and it is easy to see why it is one of the best hikes in the United States.
#5: SUNRISE RIM TRAIL
Location: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Trailhead/parking: Sunrise parking lot, south end
Length: 8.0km loop, 3+ hours
More information on Sunrise Rim Trail.
The most breathtaking views of Mount Rainier can be found along the Sunrise Rim Trail. Stroll through meadows full of wildflowers and watch for picas and marmots along the way. Climb to the Glacier Overlook for a chance to see the ice towers and crevasses of Emmons Glacier, the surrounding moraine, and the turquoise glacier fed lakes. Continue climbing above the treeline up into the Burroughs Mountains, where the rocky, tundra-like terrain will challenge and impress you. This amazing trail truly has it all, making it one of the best hiking trails in America.
#6: GRINNELL GLACIER TRAIL
Location: Glacier National Park, Montana
Trailhead/parking: Grinnell Glacier trailhead or Many Glacier Hotel
Length: 17.7km round trip, 5-6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
More information on Grinnell Glacier Trail.
This incredible hike leads you to a turquoise glacial lake where icebergs float in the water. As if the view at Grinnell Glacier were not enough, the whole trail offers spectacular and varied views of the mountains and glaciers of the Many Glacier area in Glacier National Park. You’re likely to see mountain goats or moose leisurely grazing in their natural habitat. Grizzly bears like to stop for a drink in the lake. This trail can be shortened by taking a ferry across Lake Josephine (for a fee) if desired. Hiking the Grinnell Glacier Trail is the experience of a lifetime and it is easily one of the best hikes in the country.
#7: ROCK HARBOR TRAIL
Location: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Trailhead/parking: Rock Harbor Visitor Center
Length: 17.2km one way, 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
More information on Rock Harbor Trail.
The Rock Harbor Trail is a lovely stroll along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Its features change with the seasons. You’ll find abundant wild berries in late summer, and the fall colors are a sight to behold. Watch for wildlife, including moose, all along the trail. The trail itself is simple and leaves you free to focus on the amazing views that surround you. You might forget you’re looking at a lake as you gaze out over barrier islands and then see the waters of Lake Superior stretch to the horizon. The stunning scenery is what earns this trail a spot in the top 10 hiking trails in the United States.
#8: OCEAN PATH TRAIL
Location: Acadia National Park, Maine
Trailhead/parking: Sand Beach or Otter Point
Length: 3.5km one way
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
More information on Ocean Path Trail.
The Ocean Path Trail along the coast of Maine is not to be missed, especially as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean. A relatively flat walk along Maine’s rocky coastline, this popular trail can be crowded during the peak season, especially during the late morning and early afternoon. It is usually, however, a quiet peaceful place to watch the sun rise. If ocean views are not enough, explore one of the many side trails that takes you to the water’s edge. The accessibility of this trail, combined with inspiring ocean vistas, make it one of the top 10 hikes in the country.
#9: Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Trail
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Trailhead/parking: Glacier Gorge trailhead
Length: 13.7km round trip, 4-6h
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
More information on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Trail.
Imagine the sight of majestic Rocky Mountain peaks reflected in a clear mountain lake. The Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Trail gives you multiple opportunities to experience this as you pass The Loch and the Lake of Glass on your way to Sky Pond. Add to that a few beautiful waterfalls and a thrilling scrambling section of the trail, and it is easy to understand why this is one of the best hikes in the United States.
#10: Bright Angel Trail
Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Trailhead/parking: Bright Angel trailhead, near Bright Angel Lodge
Length: 15.3km round trip, 4-5 hours going down, 7-8 hours coming up (not recommended to attempt round trip in one day)
More information on Bright Angel Trail.
Hike the Grand Canyon on the ancient trail along a natural fault line that has been used for centuries by the native people of the area. The Bright Angel Trail is the safest in Grand Canyon National Park because it is well-maintained and has regular access to drinking water and sheltered rest areas. This trail provides the quintessential Grand Canyon experience. It’s the premier trail in one of America’s premier national parks, so it is only fitting that it is counted among the best hiking trails in the United States.