Our 10 Most Special Hikes In The US
1. Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
Views of the crystal clear turquoise water along the coastline, Na Pali’s towering cliffs and lush green valleys make this hike very special.
We left Kalalau Trail when we reached Hanakapi’ai Beach and headed into the valley on Hanakapi’ai Trail aiming the enormous Hanakapi’ai Falls. Hiking Kalalau Trail all the way takes multiple days and it’s a strenuous hike, but no matter how far you get on this trail, you will be more than satisfied with what you get.
Read our post about Kalalau Trail here!
Length: 8 miles round-trip (when hiking to Hanakapi’ai Falls and back)
2. Grinnell Glacier Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana
Wildflower bloom in the middle of July, stunning panorama of snowcapped peaks and crystal clear glacial lakes…
The serene peacefulness of Glacier National Park couldn’t be compared to any other places we’ve been to. From all the magical scenic hikes we’ve done there probably Grinnell Glacier is our favorite because of the stunning views ALL THE WAY.
Length: 6 miles round-trip
3. Angels Landing via West Rim Trail, Zion National Park, Utah
The most challenging hike we’ve done so far offers astonishing views of Zion Canyon!
No special equipment is needed to do this hike, but it’s not recommended if you have a fear of heights, because the last section is on a steep, narrow ridge to the summit and you have to hold onto chains almost all the way.
Read our post about this hike here!
Length: 5.4 miles round-trip
4. Mist Trail – Panorama Trail – Four Miles Trail Loop, Yosemite National Park, California
Do you love waterfalls? Then this hike should be on your bucket list!
It is a loop including several shorter trails and passing by 3 incredibly beautiful waterfalls on the way (Vernal, Nevada and Illilouette Falls). You will also get to the famous Glacier Point which has the best panorama of Yosemite Valley with all of the waterfalls.
Length: 13.3 miles loop (Happy Isles to Four Miles Trailhead – use the valley shuttle between the starting and end point)
5. South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The unexpectedly strenuous South Kaibab Trail made us feel very-very small among the huge cliffs. This trail is heading down to the heart of Grand Canyon and you can even get relatively close views of Colorado River.
Don’t let time fool you though: you might feel close to the river relatively early during the day, but believe us, you need time to climb up. Reaching Colorado is only an option if you plan this hike at least 2 days long.
Length: 6 miles round-trip
Difficulty: very strenuous
6. Cinder Cone Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Have you ever hiked down into the crater of a volcano? Lassen Volcanic’s Cinder Cone is a good reason to do it!
The last (and only) eruption of Cinder Cone was in the 1600s and still there’s very few plants on Cinder Cone. It really looks like what you imagine when you think of ‘a volcano’.
In order to hike down to the crater, you need to hike to the top of the volcano first. It’s a short, but strenuous section, but it will reward you with amazing views of the surrounding lava beds, lakes and the colorful Painted Dunes formed by ash and lava.
Read our post about hiking Cinder Cone here!
Length: 4 miles round-trip
7. Lakes Trail to Pear Lake, Sequoia National Park, California
Sequoia’s Lakes Trail leads you high up in the Sierra Nevada and rewards you with the view of white granite peaks and alpine lakes which reflect those peaks like magic mirrors.
This hike was especially beautiful in May when we still hiked in snow at some sections, but the weather already got warm and sunny and curious marmots were running around everywhere.
Length: 12.2 miles round-trip
8. Cascade Canyon Trail, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton was a park we visited because we had to drive though it anyway to get to Yellowstone. And it became so much more than just a stopover!
Its almost 4000 meters high peaks are snowcapped even in July and they appear so suddenly when you are on your way to the park, just as if they want to make a strong impression – and they do.
Cascade Canyon is between those enormous peaks and it fascinated us with a magically clear river, colorful wildflowers and the views of the high peaks all the way. Because of the melting snow we saw waterfalls everywhere! It was like a valley in Paradise.
Read more about our hike in Cascade Canyon here!
Length: 8 miles round-trip if you take the boat shuttle through Jenny Lake / 12.8 miles round-trip from Jenny Lake Trailhead
9. Maggie Peaks, Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe area is an alpine lake paradise: not only the magically clear and blue Lake Tahoe itself, but the dozens of more hidden smaller alpine lakes in the area are also waiting for you to explore.
The trail to Maggie Peaks has great panoramas of Tahoe and other alpine lakes on the way, but the best of it comes at the end: a view of Tahoe and 6-7 other – some closer, some more distant – alpine lakes.
Length: 3 miles round-trip
10. James Irvine Trail to Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California
North California’s redwoods are love at first sight. Once you hiked under the tallest trees on Earth, a piece of your heart always remains in those woods.
James Irvine Trail is one of the most amazing redwood hikes and it ends at Fern Canyon which is a place made us feel like we are in the Jurassic times (and not only because we knew that parts of Jurassic Park movie were filmed here :)).
Length: 12 miles round-trip