Hiking is a favourite hobby of many an outdoor adventurer and it’s not hard to see why its popularity never wavers. There is something about standing on the edge of a cliff and putting earth beneath your feet to get there that can’t be matched. There are no modern distractions, technology crazes fall behind you and you have everything you need to survive the trek in your trusty backpack. Bask in the beauty of Mother Nature and get in touch with yourself and the stunning vistas on offer in the United States and around the world. Read on for ten of the best hiking spots in the United States ranging from novice trails to highly-experienced enthusiasts.
A National Park that was designed for a rugged and untamed adventurer, Denali National Park is in the northernmost part of the United States—Alaska. While there aren’t perfectly cut-out and well-marked trails to follow in Denali, it means that you’ll be able to partake in unmatched backcountry hiking. There are numerous challenges to face, from dangerous terrain, deep and fast-moving waters you cannot cross, and potentially encounters with dangerous wildlife. As these uncertainties pile up, hiking in Denali National Park isn’t recommended for a novice hiker or even a weekend enthusiast—the rough nature of Denali calls for experience, confidence and unwavering resolve.
Mount Whitney boasts the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. Standing at 4,418 m above sea level, Mount Whitney’s hike is designed for experienced and serious hikers. You will cross rivers, navigate almost 100 switchbacks and boulders and traverse a snowfield before reaching the summit. At the top you’ll be treated to 360 degree views of the unparalleled scenery and vistas. Enjoy it for an hour or two, snap some pictures and revel in the accomplishment of reaching the top of Mount Whitney—only about half the hikers who set out to reach the summit make it, so you’ll be in prestigious company at the top.
Located in Utah, Arches National Park is a must-see hiking destination for hiking (and mountain biking) enthusiasts. Pictures don’t do the red rocks and sandstone arches justice, and by walking through them, you’ll get a real feeling for the beauty and majesty you can find at Arches National Park. This is an ideal spot for a novice hiker to get their footing as the trails through this National Park aren’t difficult. But, if you are looking for more of a challenge, don’t shy away from the Park’s more difficult hikes that take you up steep and rocky trails. The Devil’s Garden Trail is 7 miles long and offers one-of-a-kind views of the park’s namesake arches.
Another Utah National Park to explore is Zion which is well-known for its beautiful cliffs and canyons this desert park boasts. Whether you straddle the cliffs or delve into its canyons, you’ll be treated to a truly diverse ecology on your hike(s). You will need a backcountry permit to explore the entirety of Zion, or if you prefer to spend just a day in the park, you can take an easy hike that will take you by waterfalls, sandstone canyons and more. If gorge hiking is more your style, Zion is the place to be—the Zion narrows offer up the best sheer walls the United States has to offer.
The crown jewel of the national parks program in the United States is the Grand Canyon. There are 5 million visitors annually who come to see the incredible works of nature displayed before them. There are 15 official trails that lead into and down the canyon. Like Zion National Park, you will need a backcountry permit to spend the night in the national park and keep in mind the competition is tough—there are 13,000 permits awarded a year and almost 30,000 requests made. Most notably about hiking the Grand Canyon is be aware that what goes down must come up. Many a hiker find themselves worn out once they reach the bottom and before they have to tackle the hardest part of the hike—the ascent back up the canyon walls. If you travel to the Grand Canyon in the summer be sure to bring plenty of water and try out the North Rim for an uncrowded hiking and camping experience.
Regardless of where you trek, there are certain precautions and arrangements that need to be made before you leave the comforts of home and head into the wilderness. Protect your hike and your health with an adventure travel insurance plan from Cover-More Australia.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Gautam Dogra.