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Epic Hikes Near You: The Best Places to Hike in All 50 States

1. Alabama:

Hike: Blue Spring Loop, Conecuh National Forest

Distance: 6.1 Miles

The Scoop: A diverse display of vegetation and wildlife will have you on the lookout for longleaf pines, turkey oaks, otters, snakes, and even alligators.

 

2. Alaska:

Hike: The Goat Trail to Skolai Pass, Wrangell-St. Elias NP

Distance: 10 Miles

The Scoop: 10 miles of the authentic Alaska experience, some of the best miles in the entire national park system.

 

3. Arizona:

Hike: Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

Distance: 9.5 Miles

The Scoop: An epic journey through one of the Grand Canyon’s natural superhighways.  Spectacular views abound on this day trek.

 

4. Arkansas:

Hike:  Eagle Rock Loop – Glenwood

Distance: 26.8 Miles

The Scoop:  Explore the beauty of Ouachita National Forest through the longest loop trail in Arkansas.

Ouachita National Forest | Flickr CC – Richard May

5. California:

Hike:  Mist Trail, Half Dome, Yosemite

Distance: 14.2 Miles

The Scoop:  The most hallowed trail in America’s best national park in the lower 48.  Hit the road by 5 am. or you may not make it. Permit required.

 

Half Dome, Yosemite Valley | Flickr CC – Todd Petrie

6. Colorado:

Hike:  Maroon Bells South Ridge

Distance: 12 Miles

The Scoop:  Just take this warning from a sign at the start of the trail: “The beautiful Maroon Bells … have claimed many lives in the past few years. They are not extreme technical climbs, but they are unbelievably deceptive. The rock is down sloping, rotten, loose, and unstable. It kills without warning”

 

Maroon Bells, CO | Flickr CC – Dhaval S

7. Connecticut:

Hike:  Bear Mountain Loop – Mount Frissell

Distance: 6 Miles

The Scoop: Hike the highest peak in CT with spectacular views of the surrounding area, a short day hike that packs a punch.

 

Bear Mountain Bridge | Flickr CC – Dave O


8. Delaware:

Hike:  Creek Road Trail, Brandywine Creek State Park

Distance: 2.8 Miles

The Scoop: One of the shortest hikes on our list for one of the smaller states in the union. Go back in time and escape civilization with this quick retreat.

 

Brandywine Falls | Flickr CC – David F


9. Florida:

Hike:  Eastern Continental Trail

Distance: 5400 Miles

The Scoop: Following the shortest with the longest hike on our list. This one goes from Key West through the entire state of Florida and up to Newfoundland connecting through the Appalachian Trail. Better start requesting that time off now as a thru hike takes about a full year to complete.

 

Pasco County Florida | Flickr CC – B A Bowen


10. Georgia:

Hike:  Cohutta Wilderness, Jacks River Trail

Distance: 16.2 Miles

The Scoop: Get lost in the Georgia jungle and cool off with a plethora of swimming spots along Jack’s River in the Cohutta Wilderness.

Jacks River Falls, Cohutta Wilderness | Flickr CC ChattOconeeNF


11. Hawaii:

Hike:  Kalalau Trail, Kauai

Distance: 11 Miles

The Scoop: A treacherous but gorgeous hike along a 300 foot cliff down to a pristine beach, including the infamous Crawler’s ledge that is just begging for a selfie. Widely renowned as one of the most beautiful (and dangerous) in the US.

Kalalau Trail | Flickr CC – Dylan


12. Idaho:

Hike:  Sawtooth Lake Hike

Distance: 10 Miles

The Scoop: Backpack through iconic Idaho scenery, with the famous jagged mountains and you’ll be rewarded with a campsite on a beautiful alpine lake. Make it a multi-day with numerous day hikes from the lake camp.

Sawtooth Mountain | Flickr CC – Steven B


13. Illinois:

Hike:  Starved Rock State Park

Distance: 13 Miles

The Scoop: Explore majestic bluffs and canyons with 13 miles of hiking through this state park.

Starved Rock State Park | Flickr CC – Tom


14. Indiana:

Hike:  Turkey Run State Park

Distance: 3 Miles

The Scoop: My home state, I still remember this hike as a little one. Climb up and down stairs, wade through rivers, and skip rocks across the running streams in this southern Indiana beauty. Make sure to visit the punch bowl.

Turkey Run State Park | Flickr CC – Boqiang L

15. Iowa:

Hike:  Backbone State Park

Distance: 6 Miles

The Scoop: Great bluff and lake views, and plenty of climbing routes make this trail tops in Iowa. Hike to one of the highest points in Iowa at Devil’s Backbone.

Backbone State Park | Flickr CC – Mahalie S


16. Kansas:

Hike:  Prairie Fire-Palmer Creek Loop – Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Distance: 10 Miles

The Scoop: A great day hike, this is the best way to explore the 11,000 acre Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Aim to hit this one during the spring as the prairie is lush and blooming.

Morning Fog in Flint Hills – Tallgrass Prairie | Flickr CC – Patrick E


17. Kentucky:

Hike:  Indian Staircase – Red River Gorge

Distance: 3.5 Miles

The Scoop: This one is of the short but extreme variety, your reward for the dangerous hike up the trail and then final 200 ft scramble up the Indian Staircase is the best views in Kentucky.

Red River Gorge | Flickr CC – Mark S


18. Louisiana:

Hike:  Wild Azalea National Recreation Trail

Distance: 28 Miles

The Scoop: This multi-day trip is best experienced in the spring as well when the pink azeala blossoms and white dogwood flowers are in bloom. Old growth forests, swamps, and rocky hilltops are featured in this hike showcasing the states natural beauty.

Kisatchie National Forest | Flickr CC Dean S


19. Maine:

Hike:  Bigelow Range Traverse

Distance: 17 Miles

The Scoop: A challenging, full day hike with hazards such as pesky black flies, leg burning elevation changes, and rocky studded paths this one is worth the effort for the views of Flagstaff Lake. Part of the AT.

Flagstaff Lake, ME | Flickr CC – Chris M


20. Maryland:

Hike:  Old Misery Trail – Cunningham Falls State Park

Distance: 8.7 Miles

The Scoop: Old misery (must be named after the numerous uphill switchbacks), another trail worth the effort when you get to the views of the Catoctin Mountains. Then split off to the campground trail to reach the 78-foot cascade at Cunningham Falls, the largest in the state.

Cunningham Falls, MD | Flickr CC – Nicholas R


21. Massachusetts:

Hike:  Mount Tom Traverse, Metacomet-Monadnock Trail

Distance: 6.6 Miles

The Scoop: This is known as the best section of the 114 mile Metacomet-Monadnock trail. Check out Connecticut river valley vistas as you climb the 1202 ft Mt. Tom. After finishing, check out the rooftop beer garden at Northampton Brewery.

Metacomet Blue Blazed Trail | Flickr CC – Kenneth C

22. Michigan:

Hike:  Greenstone Ridge Trail – Isle Royale National Park

Distance: 40 Miles

The Scoop: The most remote national park in the continental US, Isle Royale is in the northwest corner of Lake Superior nestled close to the Canadian border. This is the best hike the park has to offer a 40-mile 4 day trip cutting straight through the majority of the Island.

 

 A view of Isle Royale | Flickr CC – Ray D

23. Minnesota:

Hike:  Superior Hiking Trail

Distance: 310 Miles

The Scoop: Over 300 miles of rocky terrain going from Duluth to the Canadian border along Lake Superior.

Lake Superior | Flickr CC – Chris H

  


24. Mississippi:

Hike:  Bear Creek Outcropping Trail – Tishomingo State Park

Distance: 3.3 Miles

The Scoop: This unique trail in the Appalachian foothills features a swinging bridge, waterfall and massive rock formations, unlike anything else in Mississippi.

Tishoming State Park | Flickr CC – Brad C


25. Missouri:

Hike:  Peck Ranch Trailhead – Ozark National Scenic Riverway

Distance: 14 Miles

The Scoop: The rewards for this overnight trail through the Ozark National Scenic Riverway include a 300-foot deep natural spring and a 40-foot waterfall.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways | Flickr CC – NPS Natural Resources


26. Montana:

Hike:  Glacier National Park: Huckleberry Mountain

Distance: 14.2 Miles

The Scoop: Not for the faint of heart, this hike is in a section of Glacier National Park with the highest bear density in the lower 48 at 1 for every 3 square miles.

Huckleberry Mountain, MT | Flickr CC – Peter S


27. Nebraska:

Hike:  Bison Trail – Toadstool National Park

Distance: 3 Miles

The Scoop: A bit of a hidden gem, this trail is getting notice and was recently named one of the best in the country. Toadstool Geological Forest is a place unlike any other, featuring the remnants of sandstone shapes carved out of wind and water over 30 million years.

 Toadstool Geologic Park | Flickr CC – Kevin S


28. Nevada:

Hike:  Old Mount Rose Trail

Distance: 6 Miles

The Scoop: A steep hike to the 2nd highest peak in Nevada with gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding basin. The old trail is the original way to experience it, without the aid of stairs.

Mount Rose | Flickr CC – Jonathan F

29. New Hampshire:

Hike:  Great Gulf Trail – Mount Washington

Distance: 15.8 Miles

The Scoop: This is the most extreme way to hike Mount Washington, already a bit of an adventure. It features a massive headwall scaling 1600 feet in less than a mile.

Mount Washington Summit | Flickr CC – Willeke_igkt


30. New Jersey:

Hike:  Mt. Tammany – Worthington State Forest

Distance: 3.5 Miles

The Scoop: A short but strenuous hike up rocky, steep terrain with rewarding views of the Delaware water gap and Mt. Minsi.

Delaware Water Gap | Flickr CC – Jiashiang

31. New Mexico:

Hike:  Yapashi Ruins Trail

Distance: 6 Miles

The Scoop: A hike through the protected wilderness of the Pajarito Plateau northwest of Santa Fe, the historical site of Puebloan people. A strenuous that will take the better part of the day.

Bandelier National Monument | Flickr CC – Doug F


32. New York:

Hike:  Devil’s Path, Catskills

Distance: 24 Miles

The Scoop: Considered by many to be the most challenging route in the northeast and perhaps even the lower 48 features over 18,000 feet of total elevation change. This trail was named by Dutch and German settlers who first came upon this path.

Devil’s Path | Flickr CC – Miguel V


33. North Carolina:

Hike:  Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Distance: 1150 Miles

The Scoop: Over 1000 miles spanning the entire state, this epic trail ranges from the Great Smoky Mountains to the spectacular Outer Banks.

Mountain To Sea Trail | Flickr CC – Joe G

 

34. North Dakota:

Hike:  North Country Scenic Trail

Distance: 4600 Miles

The Scoop: Another epic cross-country trail, this one starts in Wahpeton, North Dakota and reaches all the way to New York, spanning 7 states and 12 national forests throughout the upper midwest and atlantic.

North Dakota High Plains | Flickr CC – Bri W

 

35. Ohio:

Hike:  Buckeye Trail

Distance: 1444 Miles

The Scoop: The buckeye trail is a long distance loop that spans the entire state of Ohio. It’s rumored that only 6 have completed the entire hike in one consecutive hike, although many more have done it in smaller “circuits.”

 

Fall in Hocking Hills | Flickr CC – Chris P

36. Oklahoma:

Hike:  Horsethief Springs Loop

Distance: 12.8 Miles

The Scoop: This trail, named after cowboys like Jesse James who would hideout near the natural spring and ambush travelers, is a great overnight hike through the Ouachita Mountains featuring vistas and wildflowers.

Ouachita National Forest | Flickr CC – Alex B


37. Oregon:

Hike:  Timberline Trail – Mt. Hood

Distance: 41 Miles

The Scoop: All you really need to know about this one, is that it’s a 40+ mile day hike, at least for those ambitious souls.

Mt Hood from Bald Mountain | Flickr CC – Thomas S 


38. Pennsylvania:

Hike:  Stairway to Heaven

Distance: 9 Miles

The Scoop: 1000 steps trail (yes those are more like boulder-stairs) to get to the top of Jack’s Mountain. This was actually an old workers commute to the sandstone quarry.

Detweiler Run Natural Area | Flickr CC – Nicholas T.

39. Rhode Island:

Hike:  North-South Trail, Arcadia Management Area

Distance: 13.3 Miles

The Scoop: Find rare solitude in this densely populated area. You’ll be crossing through farmland and forests on this remote section of Rhode Islands North South Trail that spans the state.

Reflections – Arcadia | Flickr CC – Clara S


40. South Carolina:

Hike:  River Trail, Congaree National Park

Distance: 10 Miles

The Scoop: Your reward for bushwhacking through 10 miles of South Carolina jungle is private sanctuary on the secluded banks of the Congaree river.

Congaree National Park | Flickr CC – David F

41. South Dakota:

Hike:  Highland and Centennial Trails – Wind Cave National Park

Distance: 7.3 Miles

The Scoop: A solitary day hike with long views and tall prairie grass that’s packed with potential wildlife – be on the lookout for elk, bison, pronghorn, and mule deer.

Entrance to Wind Cave National park | Flickr CC – David F


42. Tennessee:

Hike:  Abrams Falls, Great Smoky Mtns

Distance: 2.5 Miles

The Scoop: This is a deceivingly easy hike, the real dangers lurk in the strong currents below the falls, especially when the storms hit which can cause flash floods.

Abrams Falls | Flickr CC – Chris M

43. Texas:

Hike:  Outer Mountain Loop – Big Bend National Park

Distance: 30 Miles

The Scoop: A 3 day marathon of a backpacking trip, this trek offers limitless views, ponderosa forests, and high plateaus through the Chihuahuan desert.

Chihuahuan Desert | Flickr CC – Corey L

 


44. Utah:

Hike:  The Maze, Canyonlands National Parkk

Distance: 15 Miles

The Scoop: The least accessible area of the Canyonlands, the Maze requires that hikers are extremely self-sufficient as help can be a long way off. Trails here are primitive and best accessed by off-road vehicles, and require basic climbing technique to get through.

Maze, Canyonlands National Park | Flickr CC – Nick T


45. Vermont:

Hike:  Long Trail, Jay Peak Long Trail North

Distance: 3.5 Miles

The Scoop: Est in 1900’s, this hike is the best segment on the oldest long distance trail in the USA, which runs 272 miles over the length of the state.

Jay Peak, VT | Flickr CC – Jean-François R


46. Virginia:

Hike:  Old Rag Loop – Shenandoah National Park

Distance: 8.8 Miles

The Scoop: Best in the spring, this is an all terrain hike requiring the use of all limbs as you scramble up the 3291 foot peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Shenandoah National Park | Flickr CC – m01229

47. Washington:

Hike:  Skyline/Muir Snowfield Trail at Mount Rainier

Distance: 8 Miles

The Scoop: Perhaps the most treacherous place to hike on the list, this hike requires a formidable alpine climb where more than 90 previous hikers have stumbled or frozen. However, it’s worth the risk for unbridled views of hanging glaciers.

Mount Rainer | Flickr CC – Teresa T


48. West Virginia:

Hike:  Blackbird Knob Loop

Distance: 10.4 Miles

The Scoop: Soak up the views on this moderate but long day along the river in a historic forest that was the site of WWII soldiers.

Monongahela National Forest | Flickr CC – Ron E

49. Wisconsin:

Hike:  Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Distance: 10.4 Miles

The Scoop: An epic trail staring on the banks of sturgeon bay and going all the way over to Minnesota while crossing through central Wisconsin providing a tour of the glacial land sculptures created over 12,000 years ago.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail | Flickr CC – Ryan A

50. Wyoming:

Hike:  Paintbrush Canyon-Cascade Canyon Loop

Distance: 18.1 Miles

The Scoop: A strenuous hike that features alpine lakes, rugged mountains, and opportunities for wildlife encounters in the Grand Teton Mountains. Best done as a multi-day hike, there are over 14 backcountry sites to chose from as you enjoy the scenery.

Color Landscape – Grand Tetons | Flickr CC – fortherock

Is your favorite hike on our list? Let us know in the comments below!

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