Top 5 American Hiking Trails to Put On Your Bucket List
Posted on August 28 2019
The USA is a hiker’s dream country due to its hundreds of hiking trails. Impressive rock canyons and mountain sights, rainforests and thousands of miles of coastline, additionally it has awe-inspiring waterfalls and alpine landscapes. Whether you would like a multi-day trekking, or a classic clamber in a national park, you'll find miles and miles of hiking trails on the vast land. In this guide, ENKEEO will introduce the top 5 can’t-miss American hiking trails for you to get out and tackle.
Tahoe Rim Trail, California
The 165-mile loop trail around Lake Tahoe, established in 1981, is arguably one of the best moderate long hiking trails in the world. Passing through 2 states, 6 counties, 3 national forests, and 3 wilderness areas. From the volcanic rocky summit and glacially carved valleys, to verdant Tahoe meadows and dense conifer forests. The numerous sceneries and the diversity of spectacular landscapes make it a can’t-miss destination in Northern California—and the West, especially for nature lovers.
Thru-hikers can pack a camping tent and enjoy nature with a 10-to-15-day backpacking trip. The best hiking season is generally between July and September. The trail is snow-covered in winter, but lingering snow patches can sometimes also be found in the early summer.
The trail is open to equestrians, mountain bikers, and hikers. Intrepid travelers can even take their ski equipment. In a Northern segment of the trail, skiing lovers can get back to the ice-snow world near the beautiful Lake Tahoe.
Wildflowers along trail below Freel Peak. Aaron Hussmann/RootRated
Cracker Lake, Montana (Glacier National Park)
Located in Montana, Glacier National Park is a destination with over 700 miles of hiking trails for both short hikes and extended backpacking trips. The scenery here is fantastic and even surreal. You can see the various natural wonders of gorgeous turquoise-colored lake, magnificent mountain sights, and imposing glaciers.
The hike to Cracker Lake is a 12-mile moderately get out. As you walk along the Cracker Lake Trail, you will see some distinctive landscapes along the way. In the moderate 12 miles, you will cross Canyon Creek with some grand mountains emerging in front of you, visit white pine forests as you hike through the center of the huge valley, and share the red-colored rock road with some mountain goats or grizzly bears who are the frequenters here. Then you will see the beautiful turquoise-colored glacial lake. It is surrounded on three sides by cathedral-like towering mountains, revealing a gorgeous even spectacular view.
If you choose overnight backpacking, there is a backcountry campground for you. But there are absolutely no trees on these campsites, so you can bring a large camping tent for more private space. Due to the northern location, the Cracker Lake remains quite cold during most of the year, the best time to visit is from May until October.
Campers along the Cracker Lake in West Glacier, Montana./Alamy Stock Photo
Art Loeb Trail, North Carolina
Art Loeb Trail boasts numerous wonderful landscapes, connecting Haywood and Transylvania. The 30.1-mile trail traverses 3 significant peaks, passes the base of Cold Mountain, and intersects with 4 hiking trails. It is listed as one of the 30 best North American hikes by National Geographic Adventure, presents great views offered on the bald mountains, the exciting climbs, and the diverse landscape. During your hike, you can spot a variety of birds, reptiles and mammals, meadows, and typical Blue Ridge Parkway splendor. This trail is a popular place for hiking in the south-eastern US.
To complete the entire trail, we recommend a backpacking trip (3-4 days) since there are plenty of campsites along the way. Day hiking is also good for most travelers who hike shorter sections of the trail. There are unmarked trails in the northern part of the hiking trail in the Shining Rock Wilderness, so remember to bring a hiking compass and map. Most high ridges in the area are exposed, which means much cooler temperature and stronger wind. The time to hike the Art Loeb Trail is from spring to fall.
Shining Rock Wilderness, Pisgah National Forest/Great Outdoor Provision
Appalachian Trail, Georgia – Maine
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, also known as the Appalachian Trail or the A.T., is described as one of the longest hiking trails in the world. It extends for 2,200 miles, runs 14 states from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, passes through 8 different national forests, 6 national park units and numerous state parks, forests, and wild lands. That means it is an undertaking, either for hikers seeking out ultimate challenges for their adventure, or for walkers who want a small chunk of a classic route.
Section-hiking: Traversing the trail during a series of separate trips and becoming a “2000-miler.” It means that you can split the overall trail into several separate hiking trails, day hiking portions and backpacking others.
Thru-hiking: It means hiking the entire A.T. within a single season/year, regarded as another avenue to become a “2000-miler.” Most thru-hikers walk northward from Georgia to Maine, generally, use time within 5 to 7 months.
The A.T. is undoubtedly an exciting challenge for long-distance hikers. However, it has to be understood that it is unlike all other hiking trails on the list. An Appalachian Trail thru-hike takes months to finish and requires steadfast motivation day after day.
Appalachian Trail in Georgia/Altanla Trails
Grayson Highlands, Virginia
Rather than following a multi-day hiking route, Grayson Highlands, is actually a series of short hiking trails, all leading a day hike with excellent views of the surrounding area. At the same time, these trails can combine exceptionally well to make longer loop hikes. You can view a variety of unique sights, trails, and boulders, this is a moderate hiking destination suitable for everyone.
The most stunning view of Grayson Highlands is wandering through the mountain meadows along side the wild ponies. Pass through the Appalachian Spur Trail, enter into the Appalachian Trail at a T-junction, after a few steps and climbs, visit some amazing views in the Rhododendron Trail. The combination of these 3 hiking trails is the perfect route of Grayson Highlands. It is approximately 2 miles and requires 1~3 hours to finish. There is a variety of scenery along the way that the total hiking time may be longer than you’d expect. Furthermore, you can choose adventure in the woods of Mount Rogers National Recreation area, walk in the Wilson Creek Trail to seek out a beautiful waterfall, or step into a patch of boreal forest in the Twin Pinnacles Trail. Grayson Highlands hosts 16 hiking trails for day hikers to customize their travel route, ideal for people as an afternoon/early evening hike.
Wild ponies the mountain meadows of the Grayson Highlands./Pinterest