This is a list of the Top Ten hikes and is just a handful of the many hiking trails that can be enjoyed in North America. Some are short and others would take an entire season to complete. No matter the type of hiker you are and no matter your skill level, there is something here for everyone. Every trail offers a new and exciting experience along with a venture through the various seasons and environments that make up our great country. Click on any of the trail names for a link to more information.
1. Zion National Park – Zion comes from the ancient Hebrew word meaning a place of refuge or sanctuary. Protected within the park’s 229 square miles is a dramatic landscape of sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs. Zion is located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert provinces.
2. Glacier National Park – Glacier preserves over million acres of forests, alpine meadows, and lakes. Its diverse habitats are home to over 70 species of mammals and over 260 species of birds. The spectacular glaciated landscape is a hikers paradise containing 700 miles of maintained trails that lead deep into one of the largest intact ecosystems in the lower 48 states.
3. Yosemite National Park – Yosemite National Park embraces spectacular mountain and valley scenic views in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the California side. Yosemite was elected a national park in 1890. The park harbors a grand collection of meadows, waterfalls, and forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world’s largest living things.
4. Appalachian Trail – The Appalachian Trail is a 2,174-mile footpath along the ridge crests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
5. Grand Canyon National Park – The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over millennia through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau. It is more than an awe-inspiring view. It is more than a pleasuring ground for those who explore the roads, hike the trails, or float the currents of the turbulent Colorado River. Come and explore and hike.
6. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through three western states: California, Oregon and Washington. Thousands of hikers and equestrians enjoy the PCT each year. It harbors grand scenic views and California’s sunny weather.
7. Continental Divide Trail – The CDT was described as a 3,100 mile trail, traveling from Canada to Mexico, through five western states- Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
8. North Country National Scenic Trail – The North Country National Scenic Trail links scenic, natural, historic, and cultural areas in seven northern states(New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvannia, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota). The approximately four thousand mile long trail incudes a variety of hikes from easy walking to challenging treks. When completed, through the efforts of many people, the trail will become the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States. From the Missouri River in North Dakota to the shores of Lake Champlain in New York, the trail allows hikers to experience a variety of features, from clear-flowing streams, to thick Northern woods, from vast prairies to clean lakes.
9. Pinnell Mountain – National Recreation Trail – Alaska – (27.3 miles, up and down along ridgecrests, 500′ total gain northbound)—This is one of the best short backpack routes in the state. From Mile 85.6 to Mile 107.3 of the Steese Highway, the maintained path follows a ridge line route entirely above treeline. Two emergency shelters are available.
10. Nantahala National Forest – Mountains surpassing 5000 feet, cascading waterfalls, towering hardwood forests and whitewater foaming over the backs of boulders–these are the sights awaiting you in the Nantahala National Forest. Enjoy the panoramic views from Whiteside Mountain or Wayah Bald. A 2-mile loop trail to the top of the Whiteside cliffs, provides a spectacular view. Wayah Bald is especially beautiful in June when the azaleas and laurel bloom. Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, with it’s 400-year old trees, is another breathtaking sight, as is Whitewater Falls – the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains.
And one more for good measure…
11. Florida National Scenic Trail – Long distance hikers can walk the Florida Trail by following the orange blazes from Loop Road in Big Cypress National Preserve to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, but those blazes follow paved roads in places where we have not yet been able to protect the corridor.
Enjoy your hike from Coast to Coast !!