The Best States for Hiking: Exploring America’s Natural Treasures

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  • Post last modified:October 24, 2023

When it comes to hiking in the United States, the possibilities are nearly endless. With a diverse range of landscapes, climates, and ecosystems, hikers are spoiled for choice. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a novice looking for your next adventure, the United States offers a wide array of hiking opportunities. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best states for hiking, each with its unique beauty and charm.

1. California: The Pacific Wonderland

California, often known for its stunning coastline and bustling cities, also boasts a wide variety of hiking options. From the iconic Pacific Crest Trail to the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Golden State offers diverse terrains for hikers of all levels. Don’t miss the breathtaking vistas in Yosemite National Park and the lush trails of the Redwood National and State Parks.

2. Colorado: Rocky Mountain High

Colorado is a hiker’s paradise, with its rugged landscapes, dramatic peaks, and over 300 days of sunshine a year. The Rocky Mountains provide endless trails, including those in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Colorado is also home to the renowned 486-mile Colorado Trail.

3. Utah: The Land of Red Rocks

Utah’s unique geological formations and stunning red rock landscapes make it a prime destination for hikers. Explore the otherworldly arches and canyons in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks or embark on a journey through the surreal landscapes of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. The state’s diverse terrains offer something for hikers of all skill levels.

4. Washington: The Evergreen State

Washington is known for its lush forests, glacier-carved mountains, and Pacific coastline. The state offers a wide range of hiking opportunities, including the Pacific Northwest Trail and the renowned Pacific Crest Trail. Explore the enchanting Olympic National Park with its moss-draped rainforests or tackle the challenging trails in the North Cascades.

5. North Carolina: Appalachian Adventures

Home to a portion of the Appalachian Trail, North Carolina gives hikers a taste of the Appalachian Mountains’ natural beauty. You can explore diverse ecosystems and stunning vistas from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Don’t miss the challenging hike to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies.

6. Alaska: The Last Frontier

For the ultimate wilderness experience, Alaska is a hiker’s dream. Explore the rugged and pristine landscapes of Denali National Park, where North America’s highest peak, Denali, towers above the surroundings. Hike through the Tongass National Forest, the United States’ largest national forest, and keep an eye out for wildlife along the way.

7. Arizona: The Grand Canyon State

While the Grand Canyon is the most famous attraction, Arizona offers many more hiking opportunities. Explore Sedona’s enchanting red rock formations, trek through the Sonoran Desert, or hike to Humphreys Peak, Arizona’s highest point. The state’s arid beauty provides a unique and unforgettable hiking experience.

8. Oregon: The Pacific Northwest Gem

Oregon’s diverse landscapes are a hiker’s paradise. The Pacific Crest Trail traverses through the state, offering endless hiking options. Explore the lush and mystical forests of Crater Lake National Park or venture into the rugged terrain of the Wallowa Mountains. The stunning Oregon coastline also offers breathtaking coastal trails.

9. Montana: Big Sky Country

Montana is a state of vast open spaces, towering mountains, and pristine wilderness. Hike the Glacier National Park’s iconic trails and enjoy the pristine wilderness of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Montana’s untouched landscapes and abundant wildlife make it a hidden gem for hikers.

10. New Hampshire: The White Mountains

New Hampshire is known for its picturesque White Mountains, which offer a variety of hiking experiences, from challenging peaks to more leisurely walks. Don’t miss the opportunity to hike the Presidential Range or explore the Franconia Notch State Park, home to Franconia Ridge.

These states are just a few examples of the incredible hiking destinations the United States has to offer. Each state has its unique charm, and exploring them will allow you to witness the stunning diversity of America’s natural beauty. Remember to check trail conditions, regulations, and permits, and always prioritize safety and Leave No Trace principles during your hiking adventures. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, the U.S. has a trail for everyone, waiting to be explored. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and embark on your next outdoor adventure in one of these fantastic states. Happy hiking!