Hiking Hot Spots: 4 Incredible US Hikes for Adventurous Travelers

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Jessica Peterson

The West Coast often brings up images of palm trees along streets leading to the beach, enviable zip codes where the rich and famous play, and perfectly sunny weather for most of the year. However, people often forget that the West Coast is also home to the most scenic woodland trails in the US. States like California, Arizona, Montana, and Washington have some of the best trails in the world.

If you’re in California, stopping through Los Angeles or on your way up the coast, why not extend your vacation and explore some of the varied, unforgettable landscapes of the US? Exploration is as natural as the longing to achieve something great, and few can compare to the greatness of communing with nature. Here are some of the best outdoor trails in the US that you may want to start ticking off your bucket list.

Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

During the colder seasons of the year, Arizona offers one of the best hikes in Arizona, including the Grand Canyon. The best trail to use when traversing the canyon is the Tonto Trail, with great campsites to rest along the way. Don’t forget to bring water filtration or treatment systems for when you pass by Hermit Creek, Garden Creek, and Monument Creek for drink refills.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Witness the iconic and majestic view of the Half Dome in once-in-a-lifetime trip. With group permits that are extremely difficult to snag due to competition, make sure that you make the most out of the hike with good company. This cable trail is not for the faint-hearted but is definitely one of the most rewarding and memorable of all. Set aside a few days between May to September for this unforgettable challenge that will also lead you to huge sequoia trees, Vernal Fall, and Nevada Fall.

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West Maroon Creek Trail, Colorado

The most beautiful hike through the Rocky Mountains is through this glacial valley with a view of Maroon Bells, the most photographed cluster of peaks in the Rocky Mountain Range. Unlike the limestone and granite forming most of the Rocky Mountains, the Maroon Bells are of solidified mudstone surrounded by a rich view creeping up its footholds. Schedule your hike in July when the wildflower season is at its peak to experience standing in a field of waist-high blossoms of purple, red, yellow, and white.

Kalalau Trail, Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Hawaii

A little further out of the mainland, the island of Kauai hides a secret beach accessible only through the 11-mile trail of Kalalau. To get to the beach, you’ll need to go through five fertile valleys reminiscent of tropical rain forests from the pages of a storybooks. With views of seer sea cliffs and heart-stopping footpaths, this trail is more for the experienced hiker. A rewarding view of the secluded Hanakapi’ai beach greets those who make it. Another prized gem just 2 miles away is the 300-foot Hanakapi’ai waterfall, which offers a scenic escape from the land above.

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Jessica Peterson

Jessica Peterson is a travel filmmaker, photographer, and journalist. She released her first documentary film about indigenous culture on Guam in 2016, after having lived nearly 7 years on the Pacific island.
Jessica Peterson
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