Categories: Travel

5 Great Destinations for Avid Hikers

If you’re a hiking enthusiast and you’re looking for new and beautiful destinations, look no further. These national parks are the perfect place for your next scenic hiking trip. 

1. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Located in the mountains of Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is perfect destination for your next hiking trip. The sprawling alpine park is beautiful all year round, but is especially gorgeous in the Summer and Fall. The many trails and rugged environments mean that no matter how long or how short you like your hikes, there’s probably a trail there to meet your needs. Other great things about the park include the fact that during the Fall, not only are the many Aspen trees in full fall colors, but you might be lucky enough to hear the bugling of the many elk who call the park home. There are many other animals you might see while in Rocky Mountain National park, including deer, many birds, ground squirrels, and even marmots if you’re lucky. If you’re feeling adventurous you could try to go on a winter hike in the park, but it might be difficult if you don’t have snowshoes. Beautiful in any season, rugged, and sprawling, Rocky Mountain National Park is a destination you should not miss. 

2. Yosemite National Park, California.

Yosemite is one of many national parks in California, but if you’re planning a hiking trip, its one of the best. Yosemite covers almost 1,200 square miles, the majority of which are considered wilderness. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys pristine nature and wandering through beautiful rock formations and forests, Yosemite is the place for you. There are many natural wonders to see as you hike across the massive expanse of the park. These include but are not limited to massive waterfalls, towering sequoia trees, and striking glacial valleys. There are many day hikes throughout the various regions of the park with distances ranging from  half-mile strolls to 18 mile treks. No matter what level of intensity you want, there’s at least one or two hikes that will meet your standards. If you want to go backpacking, there are many routes across the park to choose from. The best times to visit this park are probably spring or summer, as the mountainous terrain will be cooler than other parts of California, and many flowers and plants will be in full bloom. However, make sure to check what trails and roads are open.

3. Arches National Park, Utah.

One of the more compact national parks on this list, a hiking trip to Arches will see you traveling through a sandstone wonderland of natural rock formations. The park is a bit compact, and the trails range from a few hundred yards to roughly seven miles in length. However, the sheer number of rock formations mean that even short hikes have amazing things to see. Geological formations aren’t the only interesting things you might see while hiking through the Park, as there are several places where petroglyphs and pictographs created by ancient peoples can be found. There are also many species of desert animals and plants to be discovered along the way.  Being located in the Utah desert, I wouldn’t really advise traveling to the park in the middle of Summer. Spring and Fall have far better hiking weather and more agreeable temperatures. Some of the more famous hikes include the iconic Delicate Arch, and the more strenuous tower arch trail. However, if you’re willing to go the extra mile and get a permit or sign up for a guided hike, you can explore the labyrinthine slot canyons of the Fiery Furnace. A great destination if you enjoy sandstone formations. 

4. Denali National Park, Alaska.

If your idea of a perfect hiking trip destination is a place where you can just wander, far away from the signs of civilization then Denali is the perfect place to go. This national park is larger than the entire U.S. State of New Hampshire, and it would take a human being literal centuries to explore every inch of it. If you want the Alaska Hiking Experience, Denali is the place to get it, as it has enough roads and amenities in and around it to ensure that casual hikers are comfortable while also having millions of acres of untamed wilderness to just wander. There are various hikes for every skill level, and the park can appear radically different depending on the time of year. I wouldn’t super recommend visiting it during the winter months, as Alaskan winters can be very harsh. Another downside, at least for any hardcore mountaineers reading this, is that at time of writing a glacial surge is preventing actual ascents of Denali itself. However, I absolutely loved the time I spent at the park and you should absolutely visit if you have the time and/or money. 

See Also

5. Acadia National Park, Maine.

Located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Acadia is wonderful place for those planning a hiking trip on the east coast. In total, Acadia has 158 miles of hiking trails, so hikers will be spoiled for choice. It’s also one of the most visited national parks in America, so if you crave deep solitude, this place may not be for you. However, what it does have is stunning natural beauty, the tallest mountain on the east coast of America, and three different flavors of hikes. If you’re a fan of mountains, and wish to survey the East Coast from on high, try one of the summit hikes at Acadia’s mountains. If you enjoy seeing aquatic life, seabirds, and love the sound of the ocean, Acadia’s coastal hiking trails and routes have you covered. Want a more classic forest hike with some scenic lakes and rivers? Acadia has those too. It’s no wonder so many people visit this park, given just how much natural beauty it has. There are even many things to do during the off season, such as snowshoeing.  Acadia also has several historic carriage roads if you’re something of a history buff. 

Are there any hiking destinations you love? Be sure to share them with us!

Featured image Source:
Edward Zukoski

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