Kati and I love to get out into nature and find great hiking trails. Though I am getting older and not hiking as far as I used to, getting to the wilderness and discovering what nature has to offer is always incredible. True outdoor enthusiasts know that the diverse landscapes of America are full of hiking trails, each more attractive than the next. If you are planning a getaway in the United States, take the opportunity to try one of these excursions!
- Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park
Year after year, many travelers enjoy the view from the scenic Skyline Drive, which winds through Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park (77 miles from Washington, DC) and is incredible. Most do not know what magnificent views they would see if they walk here.
Old Rag Mountain is the most popular hike in the Shenandoah area for a reason, as climbers are rewarded with fantastic 360-degree views. Hikers need an average of seven to eight hours for the 14.48 km (about 9 miles) circular hiking trail. Be prepared for climbing passages, narrow passages, steep gradients and exposed passages on steep rocky slopes. However, the absolutely magnificent view is worth every effort. Insider tip: Start before 8 am to avoid the rush of visitors.
- Hike to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
The tour to Half Dome in California’s Yosemite National Park, for which you need a hiking permit, demands a lot from you technically, e.g. B. overcoming secured passages. It is a hike in the “challenging” category. We have done shorter hikes in Yosemite and always loved it. Half Dome is a bit challenging for us though.
With a total tour length of 22.5 to 25.7 km, climbing Half Dome is indeed a real challenge. The last section is secured with steel cables to enable hikers to access the steep summit with its magnificent view, even without climbing equipment.
If you start early enough, the hike can be managed as a day Tour. During the month of March, you can apply for advance permits for the entire hiking season. From all applications, 300 people will be randomly selected and given access to the trial every day. You can also try to get a permit on the day of the trek, but there are no guarantees.
- Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park
Don’t be fooled by the well-laid-out trails at the start of this hike. The trail to Angels Landing in Utah’s Zion National Park is not for the faint of heart!
With a total length of 8 km (about 5 miles), the circular hike is very short, but it is quite a challenge. The steep path changes into a dizzyingly steep boulder before the summit, which has to be overcome with the help of a safety rope. Those who make it to the top will be rewarded with breathtaking views from the 454-meter-high rock formation.
Kati did not do the last part of the hike with the safety ropes, but I did and it was magnificent. Even if you do not do that part of the hike, it still is an incredible view.
- Alum Cave in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Alum Cave in East Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park isn’t a cave in the traditional sense, but rather a sprawling canopy of rock (even claustrophobic feel comfortable under). This 7 km long circular hiking trail offers sensational views and steep climbing passages.
At the beginning itself, hikers have to overcome a stone staircase (safety rope) to reach Arch Rock. Then it’s almost 1.5 km over bare rock. If you want to push yourself even further, after Alum Cave you can hike to Mount LeConte, the third-highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains.
We have a house near the Great Smoky Mountains and there are many hikes, both long and short that you can take.
- Grandview Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
The Grandview Trail is considered one of the most difficult hikes in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, as hikers struggle with little shade, steep climbs, challenging trails, and countless rocky passages. A visit is only recommended for experienced hikers with desert experience. However, as the name suggests, the 10.3 km loop hike offers impressive views of the canyon and the Colorado River.
A slightly easier alternative is the 6-mile (9.6 km) South Kaibab Trail, also a loop trail. Here, too, steep ascents have to be overcome, but the path is better developed. Regardless of the route you choose, you should avoid the extremely hot summer months, because the hike is already sweaty enough.
- Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park
They don’t call Glacier National Park the “Crown of the Continent” for nothing. It is a hiker’s paradise with over 700 miles of trails and one of the most spectacular hikes in the West. Why? It’s a chance to see a sight quickly disappearing: Glacier Grinnell. There are two choices for this hike. Start on the Grinnell Glacier Trail or the shuttle that crosses Lake Swiftcurrent and Lake Josephine. The shuttle cuts 3.4 miles out of the hike, for a hike that totals 7.6 miles.
On the way to Grinnell Glacier is the amazing Grinnell Falls rushing from Lake Grinnell over the headwall. Across the alpine meadows, one can admire the 9,553-foot Mount Gould and the Gem Glacier, home to the famous Grinnell Glacier, discovered by the founder of the Audubon Society, George Grinnell.
We love Glacier National Park and the trails around it. Make sure you know the recommendations for hiking in bear country as a lot of grizzly’s roam the area.
- Pacific Crest Trail at Devils Lake
The entire Pacific Crest Trail stretches from EC Manning Provincial Park in Canada to the Mexico border. It’s the type of trip to test someone’s abilities. But without spending five months, it might be best to try the 17 miles of trail that stretches through the stunning landscapes of Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness. Start at the Mist/Obsidian Camp Trailhead at State 242 and end at the South Sister Trail Trailhead at Devils Lake. There are fir forests, waterfalls, alpine lakes, and the Obsidian Limited Entry Zone, covered in sharp black obsidian rock.
- Hoh River Trail at the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park
At 31 miles, the Hoh River Trail Hike is a 3-day event that will introduce hikers to the lush rainforest ecosystem. Towering moss-covered cedars, spruce and fir emerge from a bed of moss and verdant ferns. Hikers will find plenty of places to camp along the way to the base of Mount Olympus. There you can take in the magnificent Glacier Bleu. Gear up for the rain. And there is plenty of wildlife, including elk and black bears. Black bears and other critters are attracted to food at campsites, so you must know how to protect your campsite.
Our Final Word
Hiking can be fun, adventurous and rewarding when traveling and America offers some of the best hiking available anywhere. Any part of the country offers incredible hikes that challenge any level and offer incredible views. Take a hike, and you might see Kati and I on the trail.