Explore the great outdoors and enjoy the breathtaking views of US National Parks’ best hiking trails. Whether you’re after an adrenaline-fueled trek or a serene stroll, there’s a trail perfect for every hiker. So, grab your boots, pack your bag, and prepare for an adventure of a lifetime. Let’s embark on this journey to discover some of the most popular trails and hidden gems across America’s majestic national parks.
Popular Hiking Trails in US National Parks
Uncover the captivating beauty of the country’s iconic landscapes with these renowned hiking trails.
Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park
Easily the best hike in Zion National Park, Angels Landing Trail, presents a thrilling five-mile round-trip journey. Known for its spine-tingling narrow ridges and spectacular panoramic views, it is a day hike that will get your heart racing and provide an unforgettable experience.
Half Dome Trail in Yosemite National Park
In Yosemite, the Half Dome Trail is the most popular hike you shouldn’t miss. With a 14 to 16-mile round trip, this challenging trail is rewarded with unparalleled views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, and the Half Dome—the best view of Yosemite National Park.
Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
If you are up for a challenge, embark on the Rim-to-Rim hike in the Grand Canyon, one of the best hikes in America. This 21 to 24-mile trek can be done in one extremely long day hike or broken up over a few days for those who want to savor the journey.
Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park
Another Yosemite gem is the Mist Trail, offering a beautiful 3-mile round trip hike to Vernal Fall and a 7-mile round trip to Nevada Fall. This trail takes you up close to two of Yosemite’s most powerful cascades and is an excellent choice for a day hike.
High Peaks Trail in Pinnacles National Park
Are you looking for a rugged, challenging, yet rewarding hike? The High Peaks Trail in Pinnacles National Park is your best bet. This 8.4-mile trail lets you navigate craggy pinnacles and, with any luck, spot a California condor along the way.
Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Hiking Experience in National Parks
Before setting foot on any of these trails, consider these tips for a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Plan ahead and check the weather and trail conditions: Information is vital. Understand the trail and get updated weather forecasts and trail conditions from the official US National Parks website.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear: Choose suitable attire for the weather and trail conditions. Sturdy footwear is a must for safe and comfortable hiking.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks: Hydration and energy are essential. Always bring more than you think you’ll need.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles: Respect nature. Pack out what you pack in and stay on the designated paths.
- Know the trail’s difficulty level: Some courses may be too difficult for inexperienced hikers. Always choose routes that match your skill level and physical condition.
Hidden Gems: Lesser-known and Underrated Hiking Trails in National Parks
Now, let’s unveil some underrated hikes that offer equally stunning landscapes and less crowded paths.
Garden Wall Trail in Glacier National Park
This trail is a moderately challenging day hike, but the panoramic views of the park are unparalleled, making it one of the best hikes in Glacier National Park.
Grandview Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
Take advantage of the Grandview Trail for a less crowded but equally magnificent experience of the Grand Canyon. The hike is strenuous but yields incredible vistas and peaceful solitude.
Sol Duc Falls Trail in Olympic National Park
Discover a quiet forest walk leading to a majestic waterfall on the Sol Duc Falls Trail. This easy 1.6-mile round-trip hike is perfect for families and beginner hikers.
South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
Another under-the-radar Grand Canyon National Park trail, the South Kaibab Trail, offers outstanding views. Take the day hike to Skeleton Point for an unforgettable experience.
Highline Trail in Glacier National Park
The Highline Trail offers a moderate to strenuous 11.8-mile hike with an impressive view of Glacier’s high peaks and the chance to see wildlife.
The Narrows in Zion National Park
One of the best hikes in Zion National Park is also one of the least known. The Narrows provides an unparalleled slot canyon experience that adventurous hikers shouldn’t miss.
Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
The Bright Angel Trail offers a less crowded but equally breathtaking descent into the heart of the Grand Canyon. The full hike is challenging, but shorter trips to resthouses along the trail are also worthwhile.
Conclusion: The Beauty and Adventure of Hiking in National Parks
Hiking in US National Parks offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature and discover the majestic beauty of the American landscape. From popular trails in Zion and Yosemite to lesser-known paths in Glacier National Park and beyond, there’s a trail perfect for every hiker.
Before your trip, consider getting a National Park Pass to access all the country’s incredible parks. Check out this comprehensive Guide to US National Park Passes for more information.
To further enhance your national parks adventure, consider camping. Here’s a list of the Best National Parks for Camping in the USA.
Remember, a great hiking experience isn’t about reaching the destination—it’s about enjoying the journey. So lace up your boots, pack your bag, and embrace the adventure that awaits in the great American outdoors.