10 Spectacular Hikes to Consider for Your Next Outdoor Adventure
The benefits of hiking are numerous. It’s an inexpensive activity with a relatively low impact that provides exercise and enjoyment. Research shows that spending time in nature improves mental health and there many reasons why you feel so good in nature. Whether you’re an avid hiker always looking for the next great trail to hike or an occasional trekker seeking tips on where to go, this list of the top 10 national park hikes is sure to help you plan your next great adventure.
10. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Hikers on the Queens Garden Trail experience the beauty of southwestern Utah’s multi-colored rock formations known as hoodoos. You can take in these stunning hoodoos—the product of erosion—as you descend into the canyon. The trail is a moderate day hike and it’s three miles round trip.
9. Acadia National Park, Maine
The Sargent Mountain Loop will take you from an elevation of 200 feet at Jordan Pond House to 1,373 feet at the summit of Sargent Mountain. The hike is not for those who are afraid of heights as hikers have to walk along steep cliffs. But the view from the top is well worth the harrowing journey. You have breathtaking views of the park and the coast. The trail is a moderate day hike and it’s 5.5 miles round trip.
8. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
This park, situated along the Blue Ridge Mountains, allows hikers to get a taste of the Appalachian Trail without committing to the entire thing. The trail winds along the famous Skyline Drive, giving hikers amazing forest views. Fall is an especially beautiful time to visit with the leaves changing color, but you won’t be disappointed any time of the year. The trail moderately difficult and is 7.9 miles round trip.
7. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
According to Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails website, Mt. Ida is the best hike in the park. The site describes the views as “simply epic.” The hike is definitely strenuous. It’s a 9.6-mile trek with an elevation gain of 2,465 feet, so it is sure to be a workout. If that sounds too challenging, you can cut the hike short at Peak 12,150, which will still give you breathtaking views of the Colorado Rockies.
6. Everglades National Park, Florida
The Shark Valley Trail, a 15-mile loop, is a great bike or walking trail, according to the Florida Rambler’s writer, Bonnie Gross. Alligators and wading birds abound. November through April is the best time to visit the park. Wildlife viewing is better because the water is lower, it’s not as hot and the mosquitoes aren’t as bad.
5. Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Many people might only think of the beach-related activities when they think of Hawaii, but Hawaii is home to impressive volcanoes, forests and so much more. The Waikamoi Cloud Forest Hike will take you to the Haleakala crater. Weather.com says the hike “comprises five different climate zones and amazingly contrasting nature realms of lush coastal jungle and stark subalpine desert mountains.” The area provides habitat for some of the rarest species in the world. It’s moderate to strenuous and three miles round trip.
4. Yosemite National Park, California
There’s a reason John Muir loved this place. If you’re feeling ambitious, try hiking Half Dome Cables Route. You will need to apply for a permit, but the slight hassle and small fee are well worth the breathtaking views as you hike to the top. You will need to allot 12 hours for this strenuous hike, so you’ll have to start early in the morning.
3. Zion National Park, Utah
This gem of a park in southwestern Utah has so many great things to offer. You can hike the narrows, which involves a 10-mile trek through the Virgin River as it carves its way through the canyon walls. Feeling more lazy? How about floating the river on a hot summer day. If you’re looking for an amazing hike with stunning, out of this world views, do Angel’s Landing. On this challenging 5.5-mile round trip hike, trekkers can take in Zion’s red rock walls and sandstone canyons. At the top, you will take in 360-degree views of the canyon walls and the valley below.
2. Glacier National Park, Montana
Scientists estimate that the park’s glaciers could be gone within the next few decades. To get a breathtaking view of these fast-melting glaciers, take the Grinnell Glacier Overlook Trail, where you will climb more than 1,000 feet to take in views of Upper Grinnell Lake and the Grinnell Glacier. It’s strenuous and seven miles round trip.
1. Denali National Park, Alaska
This six-million-acre park is unlike any other in the lower 48. It contains North America’s tallest peak, Mount McKinley. There are many trails to hike in the park, but your first go should be something tame like the Savage River Trail, which is a two mile, easy jaunt that runs along the Savage River. In good weather conditions, you can see Mount McKinley.
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