For those looking for an active and engaging vacation, there is no better experience than hiking through a scenic area. The United States has some of the best hiking vacation destinations, with the most beautiful hiking trails of anywhere in the world. From tropical rainforests to tundras to deserts, and everything in between, the U.S. has hiking trails for everyone. We have compiled a list of the 5 best hiking vacation destinations for you to take into account as you are planning your trip.
Here Are the 5 Best Hiking Vacation Destinations in the United States
5. White Mountains, New Hampshire
The White Mountains are a mountain range in the northern Appalachian Mountains, covering almost a quarter of the state of New Hampshire. These mountains traverse a number of state parks, and feature some of the best hiking trails in the Northeast.
The White Mountains feature a wide variety of scenic views, from rivers, to steep cliffs and gorges, to valleys and caves. The mountains are also home to animals including moose, black bear, fox, and turkey, all of which are commonly seen on the trails. There are some guided tours that will specifically go to locations where animals are more common.
The White Mountains also have a number of swimming holes and waterfalls, which are popular destinations in the summer, and a great place to cool off after a long hike. In the winter, there is often heavy snowfall, and downhill and cross country skiing is popular.
4. Coconino National Forest, Arizona
Coconino National Forest is an incredible hiking destination for anyone looking to experience a diverse array of landscapes and scenery. The national forest features everything from vast sandy deserts, to pine forests, to alpine tundra, and dormant volcanic peaks.
Coconino National Forest sees year round sunshine and good weather, although it can get very hot in the summer. The park features day trails through all its different biomes, which will take you from scenic overlooks to dense forests. For more experienced hikers, backpacking trips are very popular.
3. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park is a 229-square-mile park in southwestern Utah. Located in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert regions, Zion National Park features numerous biomes across its vast expanse. The region is mainly desert, but also features woodlands and coniferous forests, and riparian zones.
The park’s natural beauty is legendary. Featuring enormous rock formations, canyons, mesas, mountains, natural arches, and buttes, the views all around the park are breathtaking, and you can’t go wrong hiking in just about any area of the park.
Zion is one of the best hiking vacation destinations for both experienced hikers and new hikers. Experienced hikers are free to go out backpacking on their own, and overnight camping in the backcountry is permitted with a permit. For less experienced hikers, there are shorter guided hikes and day trips, that will let you experience the park in a more manageable way.
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The largest and most well known national park in the United States, Yellowstone is famous for its natural splendor, wildlife, and geothermal features, such as the Roaring Mountain and Old Faithful. The park covers over 2.2 million acres of land, and features nearly 1,000 miles of hiking trails, and about 15 miles of boardwalk. The trails lead through vast, uninhabited expanses of land, where visitors can see bison, mule deer, wolves, mountain lions, grizzly bears, mountain goats, pronghorns, and bighorn sheep.
The trails also run past the major attractions in the park, including Mammoth Hot Springs, the Snake River, Eagle Peak, the Beartooth Mountains, the petrified forests, Yellowstone Falls, and more. The park has plenty of trails that will challenge even the most experienced hikers, and even more trails that are suitable for novices, with guided walking tours being very popular.
1. Glacier National Park, Montana
With nearly 700 miles of hiking trails, Glacier National Park is one of the best hiking vacation destinations in the world. The national park features snow capped mountains, vast plains, and wide green valleys that provide some of the most breathtaking views of any trails in the world. Wildlife including bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, mountain goats, moose, deer, elk, and bobcats are common throughout the park.
The park is open year round, with snowshoeing trips available in the winter, and hiking tours available in the rest of the year. The breathtaking views of mountains, forests, and lakes earned the region the nickname “America’s Switzerland” in the 19th century.
The park is excellent for both experienced and novice hikers. There are short excursions and day trips with tour guides available, as well as extended backpacking trips through the backcountry. Weather can change quickly in this area, so it is important to bring rain gear and dress for warmth.