In just a short time, our team at 10Hikes has explored some of the most exciting and dynamic landscapes that North America has to offer. We’ve had a great time hiking along the emerald waters of Lake Louise, walking along the steaming geysers at Yellowstone, enjoying luxury and stunning hikes in Whistler and the remote beauty of Montana in Glacier National Park.
Here’s a quick introduction to the regions we’ve hiked thus far, and a preview of where we’re going next:
Yosemite National Park is located in central California, spans 3,026 square kilometers (747,956 acres), and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. It was first established in 1890 and today draws roughly 4 million visitors each year. The most traveled section of the park is the 11.3km wide canyon – known as Yosemite Valley- home to stunning rock formations, the world’s tallest granite monolith and Yosemite Falls – the largest waterfall in North America. A highlight of the park is also the ancient Giant Sequoia Trees.
More than 95% of the park is classified as wilderness, which makes it an ideal place for hiking, with tons of incredible trails that wind through breathtaking landscapes, plentiful waterfalls and bustling wildlife. Our favourite hike in Yosemite is the Panorama Trail, taking you through Yosemite’s most spectacular sites including unparalleled views of Yosemite Falls and the Valley.
With more than 8,000 square kilometers (2 million acres), Yellowstone is not only the world’s first national park, but also one of it’s most spectacular. The majority of the park is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, extending into Idaho and Montana. Spread across the vast and diverse landscape, Yellowstone is home to a number of highlights including the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Lake and many geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles – with the most famous being Old Faithful. The park also sits upon one of the world’s largest calderas and is actually an active supervolcano!
Hiking and exploring Yellowstone on foot gives you the opportunity to check out all of the magnificent rock formations, lakes, waterfalls, wildlife – including a migratory population of bison – and much more. It’s suitable for all ages and hiking levels – perfect for a family trip – and can be combined with a visit to nearby Grand Teton as well. Though short and steep, the Avalanche Peak hike is our favourite hike in Yellowstone, as it provides exceptional views of the valley and landscape below.
Just south of Yellowstone stands the towering Teton Mountain range and the Grand Teton National Park. The park itself stretches roughly 1,200 square kilometers (300,000 acres) and is home to staggering mountain peaks – with the largest being Grand Teton, standing at 4198m high. There are also pristine lakes, the mighty Snake River and a thriving ecosystem – with flora and fauna from prehistoric times still alive today.
There are more than 321.9km of hiking trails that wind through the rugged landscape, with wildflowers painting the meadows a diverse canvas of colors in the warmer months. Hikes here tend to be long, but can easily be shortened if you wish. Our favourite hikes in the Tetons include the Paintbrush Divide Hike – bringing you to a alpine meadow blanketed in a canvas of wildflowers – and Hanging Canyon Lake, which brings you to a the secluded Lake of the Crags on an unofficial trail.
Glacier National Park covers roughly 4,000 square kilometers (one million acres) of land in northern Montana, stretching into the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Colombia. The park’s most famous feature (and its namesake) is the glacier-carved terrain and remaining glaciers from the ice age more than 10,000 years ago. The ecosystem here has been relatively undisturbed, and when receding glaciers expose bedrock and deposited materials, visitors have the unique opportunity to peer into ancient history and prehistoric Rocky Mountain life. Nicknamed the “Crown of the Continent”, Glacier is the headwaters for streams that eventually flow into the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay, giving rise to an incredibly diverse selection of plants and animals that call the park home.
There are more than 1126.5km of hiking trails throughout Glacier, giving explorers the opportunity to discover the vast variety of features including fossils, forests, mountains, glaciers, lakes, streams, geological formations and more. There are three main hiking areas in this region: Many Glacier, Going-to-the-Sun Road and Two Medicine. Our favorite hike in Glacier National Park is the hike up to Grinnell Glacier, guiding you up to a spectacular lake, waterfall and glacier.
From it’s humble beginnings as a 27 square kilometers (6670 acres) hot spring reserve, Banff National Park has evolved into a sprawling 6,641 square kilometers (1,641,026 acres) of preserved paradise – home to the emerald waters of Lake Louse, sweeping vistas, abundant flora and fauna, bountiful wildlife, the jagged peaks of the Icefields Parkway and more. Canmore, a mecca for outdoor adventurers, also borders the park. With more than 1599.7km of maintained trails, hiking and exploring Banff offers unparalleled view of the Canadian Rockies, and the opportunity to explore the regions many world-class sites and natural attractions. It’s hard to choose our favourite trail, so we broke this region into a few sections on the site.
There is so much hiking in and around Banff that we have four regions to help you enjoy the stunning hiking on offer. The four regions are: Banff, which includes hikes near the townsite. Our Canmore region allows visitors just outside the park to explore the mountains above Canmore and down into Kananaskis Provincial Park. Lake Louise focuses on the incredibly concentrated beauty around Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Finally, the Icefields region shares the best hikes outside Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway and into Yoho National Park.
Our favorite hike in Banff is the Healy Pass, ideal in autumn to check out the native larches changing colors. Lake Louise is a destination in itself, but if you venture on the Paradise Valley Circuit, for example, you’re guaranteed stunning mountain scenery, waterfalls and – of course – more lakes. Canmore and the nearby Kananaskis region full of dense, dramatic scenery with the chance for secluded hikes in shoulder season. And one of our favorites in the Icefields? Lake O’Hara All Souls Route. This is truly one of the finest routes in the Rockies in autumn.
Jasper National Park is Canada’s largest, spanning an impressive 10,878 square kilometers (2,688,012 acres) of Rocky Mountain wilderness. The park is known for its impressive backcountry, complete with waterfalls, canyons, valleys, glaciers, mountaintops, abundant and rare wildlife – all with less visitors than Banff National Park. It’s also home to the Columbia Icefields, one of the only worldwide that is accessible by a road, the Maligne Lake – the second largest glacier-fed lake in the world – and the Maligne Canyon boasting plunging limestone cliffs.
With an expansive trail network, Jasper National Park is a highlight for hikers from all over the world. Hike here tend to be mostly beginner and intermediate, perfect for families. One of our favorites is the Opal Hills route, which takes you to Maligne Lake or the Sulphur Skyline trail, taking you high above the treeline and to the Miette Hot Springs!
Whistler is a world-class resort town on the southern Pacific Range of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia. Variety and unparalleled attention to detail are the themes in Whistler – whether you’re racing down the world-class slopes of the regions two mountains (which make up the largest ski area in North America), exploring the abundance of waterfalls, lakes or rugged backcountry trails, or testing gravity in the region’s mountain bike park. The area is as well known for its luxury and service as it is for stunning natural wilderness.
While it’s most famous for winter activities, Whistler is also a perfect place to hike and explore in the summer months, boasting stunning glacier lakes, unparalleled mountain views and beautiful flora and fauna. Nothing beats the Panorama Ridge Trail. It’s a long route that’s often done as an overnight trip, promising a trek through the forest into an alpine ridge with unforgettable views.
As the snow melts and hiking season approaches, we’re excited to be headed to some more spectacular regions in the USA, including:
We are excited to add quite a few more great hiking regions from the USA to 10Hikes this summer. We want to add hikes from Colorado, California, the Pacific Northwest, Utah and Arizona.
We are going to add a lot of hiking in Colorado, such as the hikes around Aspen, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Front Ranges around Denver and hopefully down into Telluride.
In California we are hoping to add hikes from the Sierra Nevada, however the incredible snows may mean we don’t have much time to add these hikes. We also want to add some hikes from the hills around Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Finally, we want to find some great spring and autumn hiking in Joshua Tree and around Palm Springs.
The Pacific Northwest has an abundance of stunning places to get outdoors. We want to add the best hikes from the Cascades, Olympic National Park, Mount Baker and down to Mount Rainer National Park.
Utah may be the outdoor adventure capital of the world with an incredible abundance of beautiful country to explore. We want to add some of the great places, like The Cottonwoods, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and Zion National Parks.
Finally, we want to share great hikes in Arizona, allowing hikers to get out in early and late season and still enjoy nice weather.
We are also heading to Europe to find the best hikes in the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria.
In the UK we will spend time enjoying the pastoral beauty of the Lake District and the haunting mountains of Snowdonia in Wales.
We also want to explore around Fort William in Scotland.
In France we will explore the legendary mountain town of Chamonix and the stunning hikes around the Mont Blanc Massif.
Heading into Switzerland we will explore more legendary mountain regions. We will find the best hikes around the wonderful town of Zermatt, at the base of the Matterhorn. We will also head to the Bernese Oberland, and explore the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the towering Jungrau Peak. If time permits we will also head to the Engadine, and take in the glitzy town of St. Moritz, where designer shops far outnumber hiking shops.
In Italy we will binge on delicious food and red wine. In between we will explore the Dolomites, and their stunning rock formations. We will also explore the Aosta Valley and the history of this incredible region.
Finally, we will explore Austria, with so much to chose from it’s hard to narrow down exactly where. Right now it’s either the Arlberg region around Lech or else around Zell am see, both wonderful regions in summer.
We are always looking for help in our quest to find the best hiking on earth. If you are interested in getting involved with 10Hikes, our upcoming trips or our websites please contact us at Contributors page. We’re always ready for the next adventure.