10 Amazing Hikes in America

  • View from Wolf Rocks

    Appalachian Trail

    The Appalachian Trail extends 2,180 miles, passing through 14 states, all the way from Maine to Georgia. Each year an elite group of hikers, called 2000 milers, attempt to hike the entire length in a single season. Out of thousands, only one in four make it. Luckily, the continuously marked trail offers hundreds of access points, making it convenient (and free) for day hikers.

    Photo courtesy of Nicholas A. Tonelli

  • Half Dome

    Half Dome Hike in Yosemite National Park, California

    Hikers looking for a challenging day trek need look no further than Yosemite National Park's Half Dome, the park's most recognizable landmark. The 7-mile round trip from Little Yosemite Valley campground includes an adrenaline-pumping 900-foot cable ascent up the granite face of Half Dome to the summit. This hike is so popular that the park only offers limited permits via lottery each spring to hike the cable section.

    Photo courtesy of *~Dawn~*

  • Parkman Mountain peak

    Parkman Mountain Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine

    Hikers who make the 1.4-mile trek with a 500-foot elevation change to the top of Parkman Mountain in Maine's Acadia National Park will be rewarded with panoramic views over the Somes Sound and Sargent Mountain. The hike itself is moderate, with a good variety of terrain and a few steep sections along the way. Hiking in the autumn months means plenty of fall foliage to enjoy along the path to the top.

    Photo courtesy of Liza

  • Azure waters of Grinnell Lake

    Grinnell Glacial Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana

    The 11-mile round trip Grinnell Glacial Trail takes you past the brilliant blue waters of Lake Josephine and Grinnell Lake, through fields of wildflowers and up onto Grinnell Glacier itself. The hike starts off relatively flat before starting to gently slope, eventually ascending 1,200 feet and is one of the easier hikes in Glacier National Park.

    Photo courtesy of Navin75

  • Leaves changing over Bear Lake

    Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

    Colorado is a hiker's paradise, and this hike past some of Rocky Mountain National Park's most picturesque lakes takes you 3.6 miles round trip from the Bear Lake trail head. With an easy elevation change of only 685 feet, even novice hikers can make the journey in a day, and you'll get to enjoy views of Nymph and Dream Lakes, Flattop and Hallett Peaks and of Glacier Gorge along the way.

    Photo courtesy of Steven Bratman

  • Tunnel Falls

    Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

    Depending on how far you hike along Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, you'll pass dozens of major waterfalls along a path that was blasted through the cliffs by resourceful Italian engineers in the 1910s. For a moderate day hike, take the trail as far as Tunnel Falls, or for a challenging 12 miles with a 1,200-foot elevation gain, continue on to Punchbowl Falls. Either way, you'll be hiking one of Oregon's prettiest stretches of trail, and only 40 minutes outside of Portland.

    Photo courtesy of Mr.Thomas

  • View of Grandfather Mountain at sunset

    Grandfather Trail in Grandfather Mountain State Park in North Carolina

    The strenuous 2.4-mile hike to the top of Grandfather Mountain will test your strength and endurance as you pull yourself up hand over hand using cables and ladders in some steeper sections. All your effort will be rewarded with a view described by  naturalist John Muir as "the face of all Heaven come to earth."

    Photo courtesy of Larry Lamb

  • Kauai's Napali Coast

    Kalalau Trail on Kauai, Hawaii

    Come to the island of Kauai in Hawaii for the white sand beaches and clear, fauna-filled waters but stay for the hiking. If you can tear yourself away from the water to brave the treacherous 11-mile Kalalau Trail, you'll find yourself in the midst of the verdant cliffs of the isolated Kalalau Valley, accessible only by foot or kayak. The coastal trail drops off more than 300 feet in to rocky surf in some places, so only hike with good shoes and hiking poles during dry weather.

    Photo courtesy of Geordie Mott

  • South Rim

    South Rim Loop in Big Bend National Park, Texas

    They say everything's bigger in Texas, and Big Bend National Park's South Rim Loop is a big one in terms of hiking trails. The 12.6-mile loop includes a 2,000-foot elevation change with plenty of campsites scattered along the way in case you'd prefer to make the loop a backpacking trip instead of a long day hike. From the South Rim overlook, you can see for miles in any direction over the arid Texas terrain.

    Photo courtesy of Steve Davies