15 Best Hikes in the US - Adventure Beast

15 Best Hikes in the US

As much as we like crossing off epic hikes off our list like Machu Picchu, we can’t always find time to get away for days at a time. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some amazing hikes to do over the weekends! Here’s a list of 15 spectacular day hikes in the US – some of which we’ve done, some of which are recommendations from friends.. and all of which we hope to do at some point in our lives!

Half Dome Hike Yosemite (15 Best Day Hikes in the US).

15 BEST HIKES IN THE US: DAY HIKES EDITION

1. Half Dome

Location: Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Distance: 16 miles
Best Time to Go: April to October

This round trip hike takes you to the top of Yosemite’s famous granite dome. You get amazing views of Vernal and Nevada Falls and the Yosemite Valley. The most iconic portion of the hike is the final 400 feet to the summit where you climb up using two metal cables, and it requires a permit.

Half Dome Yosemite National Park (15 Best Hikes in the US).

Bonus: Upper Falls Trail Hike

Location: Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Distance: 7.6 miles
Best Time to Go: March-May, September-November

In case you can’t get a permit for Half Dome, check out this equally spectacular hike. You gain 2,600 and catch amazing views of one of the tallest cascades in the world. You get to see the falls from both, the bottom and top, and once you’ve made it, you overlook the breathtaking Yosemite Valley.

2. Angel’s Landing

Location: Zion National Park, Utah, United States
Distance: 5 miles
Best Time to Go: March to October

This hike takes you up to dizzying heights with drop offs from both sides, but rewards you with an amazing view of the valley. Don’t worry, there are chains at the top to hold onto.

Angels Landing (15 Best Hikes in the US).

3. Devils Garden Trail

Location: Arches National Park, Utah, United States
Distance: 7.2 miles
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This national park is home to the most concentrated collection of natural sandstone arches in the world. The highlight is Landscape Arch, which is the longest arch in the world (the length of a football field).

Devils Garden Trail (15 Best Hikes in the US).
photo: Henrik Johansson / creative commons

4. Franconia Ridge Loop

Location: Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire, United States
Distance: 9 miles
Best Time to Go: September to November

Only a few hours from Fenway Park, don’t let the proximity to civilization fool you. This hike takes you through alpine tundra and elevation gains of over 3,400 feet in four miles.

Franconia Ridge Loop (15 Best Hikes in the US).
photo: Brendan Lynch / creative commons

5. Root Glacier Trail

Location: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska, United States
Distance: 4 miles
Best Time to Go: June to August

This hike brings you face-to-face with a magnificent glacier in the country’s largest national park. Because you are traversing over ice you will need crampons, but it’s well worth the effort.

Root Glacier Trail (15 Best Hikes in America).
photo: Mark Stevens / creative commons

6. Hoh River Trail

Location: Olympic National Park, Washington, United States
Distance: 6.2 miles
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This trail takes you into the mossy, dense forest of Olympic National Park. Like no other place in the US, this temperate rainforest is like something out of a fairy tale. The trail continues 17.6 miles to Glacier Meadows. Watch out for slugs! They are everywhere!

Hoh River Trail (15 Best Hikes in the US).

7. Wyoming Cascade Canyon Trail

Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, United States
Distance: 14.4 miles
Best Time to Go: June to November

Waterfalls, panoramas, and breath-taking mountains, this hike has it all. The trail ends at Lake Solitude, which is a great reward for all that work.

Wyoming Cascade Canyon Trail (15 Best Hikes in the US).
photo: Joshua Gatts / creative commons

8. Lakes Trail

Location: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, California, United States
Distance: 7 miles
Best Time to Go: June to November

Walk amongst giants in this national park that houses the largest trees in the world – The General Sherman. You also get to experience Watchtower – a granite behemoth.

Lakes Trail Sequoia National Park (15 Best Hikes in the US).

9. Elephant Canyon / Druid Arch

Location: Canyonlands National Park, Utah, United States
Distance: 11 miles
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This hike offers some of the best rock formations around. Spires, needles, and arches are littered throughout the trek. Be sure to get up for an early hike to catch the best light!

Elephant Canyon / Druid Arch (15 Best Hikes in America).
photo: terratrekking / creative commons

10. Halemau’u Trail

Location: Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, United States
Distance: 11.2 miles
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This otherworldly hike takes you to the floor of Haleakala’s crater. You get the chance to hike through a native scrub forest that hasn’t been overrun by non-native species, and explore a mars-like terrain of red and black cinder cones.

Halemau’u Trail (15 Best Hikes in the US).
photo: Tim Szlachetka /creative commons

11. Muliwai Trail

Location: Big Island, Hawaii, United States
Distance: 9 miles
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This 9 miles stretch takes you from Waipio Valley to Waimanu Valley where you’ll come across old ruins, swimming holds, and a black sand beach. We only got a chance to explore the beach last time but hope to do the full hike next time we visit!

Muliwai Trail BIg Island (15 Best Hikes in the US).Muliwai Trail (Best Hiking in America).

12. Precipice Trail

Location: Acadia National Park, Maine, United States
Distance: 1.8 miles
Best Time to Go: June to November

Although a short hike, this is far from easy. This is one of the most heart pounding hikes that takes you to an amazing viewpoint at the top. You don’t need to do any climbing, but there is some scrambling and boulder hopping involved. There are also iron rungs for you to navigate and climb certain portions.

Precipice Trail Acadia National Park (Best Hiking in the US).
photo: Doug Urban / creative commons

13. Washington Summerland Trail

Location: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, United States
Distance: 8.4 miles
Best Time to Go: June to August

In case you don’t have time to summit Mount Rainier, this hike takes you through a beautiful meadow full of wildflowers. And you get a pretty amazing view of Mount Rainier too!

Washington Summerland Trail (15 Best Hikes in the US).
photo: Chris Tarnawski / creative commons

14. Highline Trail

Location: Glacier National Park, Montana, United States
Distance: 11.5 miles
Best Time to Go: March to November

This hike takes you through the park’s high country. Stunning peaks, wildflowers around every corner, plus wildlife like goats, bighorn sheep, and bears, makes this a must-do hike.

Highline Trail Glacier National Park (15 Best Hikes in the US).
photo: Mark Stevens / creative commons

15. North Vista Trail

Location: Gunnison National Park, Colorado, United States
Distance: 7 miles
Best Time to Go: March to November

Black Canyon isn’t as well known as other canyons but will take you breath away with it’s narrow openings, jaw-dropping depths, and sheer walls. You can turnaround after you reach Exclamation Point, which is a spectacular overlook, or continue to Green Mountain to give you an aerial view.

North Vista Trail (15 Best Hiking Trails in the US).
photo: Kim Olson / creative commons

BONUS: The Narrows

Location: Zion National Park, Utah, United States
Distance: 16 miles
Best Time to Go: April to October

Although I would recommend doing the full top to bottom overnight hike that we did (to give you plenty of time for photos), you can explore the iconic parts of this hike, like Wall Street, on your own. Entering from the bottom of the trail you can hike up as far as you’d like before heading back.

The Narrows Zion National Park (15 Best Hikes in the US).

It was so hard to narrow it down to just 15 so let us know if you think there are other hikes that belong on this list or which ones you would replace. :)

By: Esther and Jacob