For those who spend countless days cooped up indoors in offices, a chance to explore Mother Nature cannot be passed up. The beauty that nature offers us is unparalleled. Plus, the only way to see such things is to actually get out and walk. Snowcapped mountains and waterfalls are not visible from the office window, and even if they are, seeing them up close doesn’t compare to that rooftop view. There’s also a simplicity that comes with having everything you need to survive in a backpack, leaving behind all the distractions of modern life. And you get to learn a lot about yourself; from lessons such as patience and perseverance, hiking will offer you a glimpse into life that you never had before.
The United States is a huge country with vast swathes of natural, hiking-friendly habitats. As such, there is no shortage of places to boot up, explore, and enjoy the amazing views. Here is a list of best places to hike in the US
Located in a stretch from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail isn’t so much a single trail as a series of trails and locations. The Trail is huge, passing through a total of 12 states and encompasses more than 3,000 kilometers. It is the longest hiking trail in North America, and it is marked all along the way.
Hiking in the Appalachian Trail requires you to plan in advance. The best way to ensure you don’t run out of supplies is to mail them to the stops you will pass through in advance. The trail’s website is a good place to cater to such plans, and will also offer tips on how to venture into the trail safely.
Yosemite National Park
A lot of the country’s national parks are gorgeous, but Yosemite National Park may take the cake as the most beautiful. Occupying more than 3,000 square kilometers, the park is just about the same size as Rhode Island. The park offers more than 1,200 kilometers of hiking trails, more than enough to whet the appetite of even the most enthusiastic hiker. The park sees more than 3 million visitors per year, and the local authorities issue permits for overnight campers.
Don’t be picky when it comes to choosing which hikes to travel on. There is more than 1,000 kilometers on offer, so you will be sure to enjoy every minute of the trails. As you plan your hiking adventure, check the National Parks Service site for features you may want to see, such as lakes, wildlife, glacier covered mountains, and such.
Grand Canyon National Park
The crown jewel of all national parks in the United States, the Grand Canyon sees more than 5 million visitors a year. That’s the population of a small country in some parts of the world! For those interested in hiking there, a few things should be noted. First of all, the principle of ‘what goes up must come down’ is in full effect here. A lot of hikers are amped up for the descent, leaving little energy for the ascent. Going down the Canyon at full speed will only complicate matters for you, and make the journey back to the top grueling and dangerous.
Water is an absolute necessity if you are to hike in the Canyon. The heat that kicks up during the day has felled many a hiker, and has even prompted emergency rescue services to bail people out.
If you plan on hiking overnight, then you will need a permit for that. The park issues roughly half of the 30,000 backcountry permits requested each year. If you want to enjoy the scenery without much fuss and interaction with other tourists, try the North Rim. It usually gets a low number of visitors throughout, despite the fact it offers some of the more spectacular views of the Canyon.
John Muir Trail
Named after the legendary founder of the Sierra Club (a popular conservation organization), the John Muir Trail is located on a 340 kilometer stretch of land in high altitude country. Hikers begin their adventures in the Sierra Mountains, and have access to numerous mountain ranges, cliffs, and peaks that go as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. Due to snow limitations, the trail is generally open during summer months (June to September).
Zion National Park
Zion National Park offers hikers some of the most exquisite features of a desert hiking trail. Located in Utah, the park has spectacular views of canyons and cliffs, as well as intriguing ecology. The park authorities give out backcountry permits for overnight hikers, for which you have to apply in advance. Alternatively, you can spend the day viewing the waterfalls and the Virgin River valley.
The trails of Zion National are very popular with hikers, especially the gorges. The trail starts at the bottom of some of the highest canyons in the country, and will wind and narrow down to extents where you have to remove your backpack in order to navigate through. If you are claustrophobic, such trails might not be for you.
Denali National Park
Denali is not like most national parks: it has no trails, making it challenging and exciting. Travelers have access to six million acres of wild land, from snowy peaks to alpine tundra and forests. Wildlife include bears, moose, beautiful birds and elk. Learn more on the park’s website.
Being able to hike through country requires you to be able to face challenges as they come. It also means that sometimes you will have to forge your own path, something that comes with experience. You will encounter terrain never seen before, sometimes dangerous and life-threatening. But through it all, you will be having the time of your life. You will forget the troubles of everyday life, and focus on the challenges the trail throws at you. For nature lovers, there is no better feeling, and no reason for you not to start hiking now.